On promming

Went to a couple of proms.

Prom #9: Chopin Nocturnes. Stood in the arena. The hall was packed, despite it being the late prom, starting at 10pm. Heard mainly shuffling, unzipping of bags, at one point some snoring. One girl a couple of imaginary rows in front managed a whole ten minutes before checking her iPhone.  And through that, just about, Maria Joao Pires playing Chopin's Nocturnes (Spotify link). Which were stunning. And you block out the white noise and then some of the harmonies just hit certain frequencies and go right to the core of your brain. Like you're hearing the stuff from somewhere else. Or like your brain is being massaged. Or as if there was a funny bone in the ear. Or something. And as she played the last few notes, drawing the evening to a beautiful close…somebody's piano ringtone went off. Nice. Classy. How can you live with yourself, ringtone person??

Prom #24: Mahler 3. Stood in the gallery this time, where there is considerably less shuffling. Cos people have a balcony rail to lean on. And a lot of people just sit down. One girl had brought a yoga mat. Nice way to listen. One older man had packed himself into the gap between a pillar and the balcony rail, and peeked through the bars. He didn't have any shoes on. Think they all had a nice time. Not an iPhone in sight. Music wasn't bad. Lovely section of solo brass at one point. Quite a long piece though, Mahler 3. And can't help feeling a little bit like I picked the wrong Mahler night. The World Orchestra for Peace (they turn AKs into string sections!) played the 4th and 5th a day later. And the 5th, especially, looks and sounds amazing, even on iPlayer.


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