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The halfway mark

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Roger Wright Roger Wright | 18:30 UK Time, Friday, 14 August 2009

Albert Hall at night  by Ben Dodson

We are halfway through the 2009 Proms festival today - in days if not in number of concerts!

I'm always intrigued by the variety of responses to the concerts, not least those from the music critics.

The same concert can receive widely differing responses from the critics - and concerts which are very much enjoyed by audiences (loud cheering and long applause) can sometimes be those that don't resonate so powerfully with those who write about them. The first ever Philip Glass Prom was a good example of this.

A large audience turned up for this late night Prom and the warmth of welcome shown to Glass when he appeared on stage at the start of the concert might have been a surprise to some. But to those who have followed Glass and his audience it was no surprise. I suspect many there were attending a Prom for the first time and were ready to hear his orchestral work with open ears and minds.

Go to the Your Proms Reviews page for a flavour of the widely differing opinions and thanks to all who have taken time to file reviews.

We all have valid responses to music and performances - there are no absolute rights or wrongs - and it is to breadth as well as quality that I hope the Proms remains true. (The sold out ukulele Prom next week is an example of both - so queue early for your promming place!).

How good it has been to have the chance to hear and contrast the work of so many new young conductors in close succession - Petrenko with the NYO, Nelsons and the CBSO, Karabits and the BSO and Nézet-Séguin with the SCO to name but a few. How lucky we are in the UK to have such great talent working with our orchestras as well as the strong line-up of British conductors.

Now I'm back to the Royal Albert Hall for Apollo and two takes on the Orpheus myth - courtesy of Birtwistle and Stravinsky!


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