Meanwhile, Back in South Ken


A relatively normal summer has been happening. Warm days on the allotment, a few swims in the Serpentine, and I even saw a swift England batting collapse at our local cricket ground (pictured). But the essence of summer for me is the bike trip over the Royal Parks to the Proms. The concerts have been steadily getting much closer to "normal" than last year's understandably Covid-spooky edition, with audiences sitting and standing closer together as the regulations progressively eased over the 2021 season.


I must report that the BBC Concert Orchestra Prom in which my own work (still, glowing) appeared had spacious areas of empty seats, more to do with the contemporary repertoire being played than observance of social distancing. Actually I love the feel of the Albert Hall when it's largely empty, and there was a suavely relaxed atmosphere for this sequence of nine short...hmmm, am I going to call them post-minimalist..mostly quiet works.


The BBC's production team always say to people complaining about the Hall's acoustic (me, for instance) "it's the world's greatest live studio broadcast" and for my own piece I would certainly recommend the radio, having found the music almost inaudible in the Hall - ok it is marked mostly 'ppp'. Out of the programme sequence I personally would recommend the two final works by Missy Mazzoli and Samy Moussa. But towering above everyone, of course, was Messiaen (Dieu est immense) played with incredible elegance by James McVinnie. The RAH organ at its absolute best.



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JUDITH WEIR

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