70th anniversary concert at Royal Festival Hall

An incredible end to a pretty busy Sunday of fun with friends, art, history, culture and now music.

We raced up to Waterloo and managed to squeeze my car into what must have been, judging by the looks we were getting, the last car parking space on the Southbank.

I had been looking forward to this concert for what seemed like a long time.  Partly because I knew it’d be wonderful but also because I wanted to see what my Proms friends thought of the Royal Festival Hall as a concert venue.  Sadly due to work commitments they had to cancel at the last minute.  However it was fortuitous for the mother and daughter who were making a beeline for the box office and to whom I donated the now spare tickets.  They were thrilled and clearly mother, visiting from overseas, was utterly delighted.

Tonight’s concert, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, was part of the 70th Anniversary Concert series at the Royal Festival Hall.

Piano Concerto in A minor – Robert Schumann
Symphony No. 9 in D minor – Ludwig van Beethoven

Clearly the pianist truly felt his way through the Schumann Piano Concerto and by that I don’t mean for the first time but more a feeling that with every note there was an emotion.  The speed at which his fingers crossed the keys and drifted from reflective quiet to decisive vigour.  Quite a performance and it certainly found us holding our breath and leaning forward to hear every note.

After the intermission we were treated to an amazing performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.  Entranced as we listened and watched whilst the orchestra bought the performance forward and were then joined by soloists and an outstanding performance by the choir.  Incredible and deserved my ‘Wow, just Wow’ comment later!

RFH Programme Notes

The evening’s performance was conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi without any notes or music.  It’s no wonder that he holds the position of Philharmonia Orchestra’s Honorary Conductor for Life.

Telegraph Review – here
FT Review – here


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