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Proms 2009: Prom 8 – 800th Cambridge University Anniversary

July 22, 2009

“It seems a bit of a bitty programme,” I said to the significant other as I peered over the brochure trying to keep my flour-covered hands away from the pages. 

That’s how it looked on the page. I’m a vanilla kind of Prommer. Give me an overture and a concerto with a symphony to finish off for the second half desert. Start cramming in all sorts of little bits and pieces in to both halves and I start screwing up my nose and scratching the back of my legs with my feet. 

The first half was good. I particularly loved the Vaughan Williams Wasps Overture. The real stars however were – without doubt – the massed choirs of Cambridge University in the second half

The Stanford ‘Mag and Nunc’ was gorgeously celebratory but the real eye openers was Jonathan Harvey’s Come, Holy Ghost and Judith Weir brilliantly simple and perfectly executed Ascending into Heaven. Both composers had given the chorus much sought after opportunities to produce different soundscapes. And, given that it was the Cambridge University choirs, the execution of both scores seemed effortless. 

Yes, I’ll hold up my hands and say I didn’t stop to listen to the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. I’ve heard it a few times already and I didn’t feel the need to listen to it live. Maybe I’ll listen to it tomorrow. Right now, I’m wanting more choral music … a lot more.

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One Comment
  1. David England permalink

    Actually the massed choirs of the Cambridge colleges only fully appeared in the first half. The Stanford was given by the choirs of Clare, Caius and Trinity; and the Harvey and Weir pieces by King’s and John’s.

    I agree with your sentiments absolutely. The Harvey piece was amazingly effective, and I could grow to enjoy the music of Judith Weir based on tonight’s performance.

    If you are wanting more choral music. I’m sure I can give a few suggestions of which proms to attend …

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