The First Night of the Proms I mean. Yes, I believe some book or other was launched last night. No, I haven't bought a copy, and probably won't for a week or two. In any case I won't be reading anything else until I've finished Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, lent to me by the inimitable Eurotrash*. Like her I'd had a certain amount of scepticism, but so far it's brilliant.
Yes, I have deliberately read properly spoiler-warned posts. Heigh ho.
But I digress. Gorgeous evening at the Albert Hall but sadly not a staggeringly good concert, either in programme or performance terms. I probably wouldn't have gone had it not been the First Night. BBC SO under Sir Roger "at least I'm not Slatkin" Norrington: Berlioz overture The Corsair: yeah, whatever; Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (Janice Jansen): started off ok, went via "quite good" and "mediocre" to "actually quite bad" -not entirely her fault, the balance was badly off for one thing; rambling sentimental speech by Norrington about last Thursday -speeches, other than on the Last Night, are very rare at the Proms; Elgar overture Cockaigne ("about London and Londonders of course", says Norrington, "no, that's Cockaigne with a 'g' ha ha"): a solid performance; Tippett, A Child of Our Time (BBC Symphony Chorus, Indra Thomas, Christine Rice, Ian Bostridge, Sir Willard White): mixed, this one. I love the piece and haven't heard it performed often: thought the chorus did their usual sterling work, and Sir Willard on top form as ever, but the female soloists were a bit dodgy and Bostridge was, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, "not quite right", and also has silly hair. And all in all it seemed an odd programme to put together, particularly for the First Night, which ought to be an Event.
Still, early days yet, so far as the season is concerned. Failed to crash the BBC party this year though, which was the main disappointment.
*who's a brilliant cook and can still drink me under the table, incidentally.