Prom 45 All is vanity: Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's take on Shostakovich 15

BACHTRACK

This month sees the 40th anniversary of the death of the 20th century’s most versatile composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. How appropriate, therefore, that the RPO under its principal conductor Charles Dutoit marked the event with the composer’s last symphony, a summation of his life’s work.

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Prom 45: Leonskaja, RPO, Dutoit

CLASSICAL SOURCE

Drawing an audience of five and a half thousand in to listen intently is harder than pushing out into the vasts of the Albert Hall. Yet it’s what seems to work best in this unpredictable space, and last night masterful veterans Elisabeth Leonskaja and Charles Dutoit knew exactly what to do. The results were romantic introspection in Mozart - an unfashionable but valid alternative to authentic sprightliness - and a Shostakovich Fifteenth Symphony that was more skull than skin, but a compellingly decorated skull for all that.

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Prom 32: RPO / Whitacre @ Royal Albert Hall, London

MUSICOMH

“It’s like Carmina Burana on steroids” was how Eric Whitacre introduced his filmic piece Equus at Sunday afternoon’s family-friendly all-American Prom. Whitacre has great charisma, and engages well with his audience – both in the flesh and via his online presence. 

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Prom 32: Eric Whitacre leads forces through Earth and Space

BACHTRACK

A packed Royal Albert Hall cheered as rocker-come-classical composer Eric Whitacre took to the stage for this Sunday matinee. Thanking the audience for the “thrill and honour” of performing at The Proms and describing the event as “a dream”, the bar was set high. With the full force of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus behind him, Whitacre kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

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