One of my most precious musical memories is of sitting on stage, my part played out, listening to the dying embers of Mahler’s 9th symphony. Bernard Haitink guided the LSO through a performance which transfixed 6000 prommers at the Royal Albert Hall. The space between final tones and silence impossible to determine, the hush of held breath and hearts beating before thunderous applause. It was a moment I’ll never forget, the mixture of Bernard, the LSO, Mahler and The Proms. Anyone who’s ever played in a Prom will tell you just how special an occasion it is. I was playing again this year with the LSO under Gergiev as we made our way through all five Prokofiev concerti; an exhausting but exhilarating evening (Although the Prommers applauding the leader giving the A on the piano gag did get a little tired by the 4th concerto). I was back this week in a guise which I have written about before on this blog, the nervous parent. My son was playing at the proms for the first time. It was a performance with Sir Mark Elder and the National Youth Orchestra, and they too were playing Mahler 9. Wonderful.
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