The BBC Symphony Orchestra returns for its third appearance at the Proms 2018, this time in the presence of American conductor Karina Canellakis. To begin, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, which was written as a dramatic upbeat to Heinrich von Collin’s eponymous play, inspired by the derring-do of the legendary Roman general. Shostakovich wrote his First Cello Concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, who had been a student in his orchestration class at the Moscow Conservatory; the result is a work that unerringly combines humour, profundity and virtuosity. This evening’s soloist is Alisa Weilserstein, who made her Proms debut with the same piece eight years ago.
Andrew Norman is one of a younger generation of American composers making a mark through music that combines high energy, a gift for melody and a playful sense of subversiveness, qualities that abound in Spiral, which receives its UK premiere tonight.
To end, another piece written in the USA, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances; with its pulsating rhythms and luscious melodies, it gives no hint that this was to be the composer’s final orchestral work.