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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Yesterday, September 1, was the 70th birthday of conductor Leonard Slatkin. The son of Hollywood conductor and violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, Mr. Slatkin has had a long and active career. Of what American orchestra is he currently the music director? Answer >>

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      Prom 60: RPO/Dutoit review aplomb and bags of panache

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      It was hard to imagine Respighi's Roman trilogy done better

      Charles Dutoit, principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has long been an advocate of Respighi's so-called Roman trilogy, his sequence of symphonic poems composed between 1915 and 1928, which obliquely survey the city's history and culture through depictions of its fountains, pines and festivals.

      Individually, the three pieces are variably familiar: we hear Roman Festivals less frequently than its two companions. Dutoit and the RPO, however, gave us all three in a single evening. And what a treat it turned out to be.

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      BBC accused of editing out new music from Proms on television

      Composers left disappointed by broadcaster's decision to cut works out of televised versions as BBC blames scheduling

      Since 1927, when the BBC took over the Henry Wood promenade concerts, the Proms have been Britain's most important champion of new music, commissioning countless works from composers that have been experienced by an enthusiastic and open-minded audience that, in the words of Sir Harrison Birtwistle, is "in for anything".

      But this year, those watching selected Proms on BBC2 and BBC4 have been confronted by a mystery: the case of the disappearing contemporary music.

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      Prom 59: Strauss's Elektra review a highlight of the season

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      The BBCSO was on vibrant form under Semyon Bychkov, while the five main principals struck sparks off one another

      Salome one day, Elektra the next: the Proms' Strauss weekend was a heady pairing that will go down as a highlight of this season. The BBC Symphony Orchestra's Elektra, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, lived up to the Deutsche Oper's iridescent Salome the night before, and in at least one respect improved on it: this time each singer had his or her role securely by heart, and with no music stands for the cast to step around, director Justin Way could make the presentation less static than he had for Salome. The five main principals in concert dress struck sparks off one another within their narrow strip of platform.

      They had space to sing as well, thanks to Bychkov's expansive, fluid conducting. The BBCSO was on vibrant form. Did they sound quite as confident and at ease with this seething score as an opera-house orchestra might have? Perhaps not, but this was still quite a performance: the brass were searing at the bloodthirsty close of Elektra's first monologue, the wind dark and evil at the start of her scene with Clytemnestra, the whole orchestra voluptuous when she finally recognises her long-lost brother, Orestes.

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