Eric Whitacre and Imogen Heap at The Proms

Eric Whitacre at The Proms

Eric Whitacre at The Proms


Warm-Up using music of Bernstein (2 mins)

Eric Whitacre

Alleluia (9 mins)

Eric Whitacre

Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine (9 mins)

Music inspired by flying machine of Leonardo da Vinci, using words of Leonardo and performed (allegedly) in the style of Victoria and Palestrina (sounded nothing like to me).

J S Bach

Bach Again (arr E London) (5 mins)

This bore no resemblance to Bach!

Eric Whitacre

Higher, Faster, Stronger (c8 mins) BBC Commission, World Premiere

Inspired by Olympics. Three choirs aranged as medal award, Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Bloody awful noise.

Imogen Heap

The Listening Chair (arr Eric Whitacre) (c5 mins) World Premiere

The Listening Chair a project of Imogen Heap. Literally a chair in which people sat and voiced their thoughts. What is the song which still needs to be written? No common theme. What am I doing with my life? The song represents her life. One minute, every seven years of her life. Who am I now?

Starts like a nursery rhyme cum folk tale cum folk music.

This is the final song of Heapsongs.


Three Spirituals (arr Moses Hogan) (9 mins)

American sprituals. Unusal arrangements, but worked.

Eric Whitacre

Cloudburst (9 mins)

Inspired by a thunderstorm and downpour.

Eric Whitacre

Sleep (5 mins)

Originally set to words by Robert Frost until estate of Robert Frost forbade it.

Bob Dylan

Forever Young (encore)

Take words of Bob Dylan, then compose new music. Does not work!

I listened to the live broadcast by BBC Radio 3 from the Royal Albert Hall in High Definition sound (or at least I thought I was).

I was not very impressed. Came nowhere to the standard of a live concert by The Sixteen.

I wondered why, in this day of live streaming on the net, why all these concerts do not have live video feed?

Eric Whitacre I have never heard of before, and only listened because of his association with Imogen Heap. Not someone who I will be going out of my way to listen to again.

Considering how much one has to pay these days for concert tickets, the tickets were surprisingly cheap, £12 to £16 and on the night £5 for those promming. Maybe because late night.

A concert for the most part I did not enjoy. It was dire until Imogen Heap, sprituals were worth listening to.

A pity the entire concert was not Imogen Heap.

A much younger audience than usual for Proms. No doubt due to Imogen Heap!

I thought I was listening to the concert in HD. It was only towards the end of Imogen Heap I found I was not. It made amazing difference. Until then I was wondering why the sound quality was so poor.

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5 Responses to “Eric Whitacre and Imogen Heap at The Proms”

  1. Gwyn PJ Says:

    Hi Keith,
    I was at this prom and it was a wonderful, remarkable event. To resurrect a cliche I’d say very much ‘you had to be there’, which is why you can’t really compare listening to it on the radio with being present at a live performance by the 16. You sound as if you may have had some audio problems, because the choral singing (of music not found in the 16’s repertoire) was of the very highest quality, and the audience responded accordingly.

    Yo’re clearly not a choral fan – Eric Whitacre is huge in that field at present, truly world famous and with an ever-growing reputation for a young (ish) classical composer. Imogen Heap’s contribution was fun but tiny – she seemed (understandably) nervous and a bit overawed by the phenomenal musical talents around her, but her little song did provide a welcome contrast. You’re also wrong to assume that the audience were largely Heap-ites (!).Whitacre has a massive and enthusiastic following in this country and (in particular) the US, and they formed the core of the audience, along of course with the many thousands who just love great choral music and singing.

    Try to listen to some of Whitacre’s stuff – there’s masses of it on YouTube, including the famous YouTube choir, which is fascinating in itself.

    Cheers! Gwyn

  2. keithpp Says:

    I am pleased that you enjoyed the concert. It left me bored.

    I agree live concerts have that extra edge. You also get a buzz from those around you. Often in the cold light of day you can listen to a concert and wonder what you saw in it.

    I am baffled why these Proms are not streamed live video over the net. Or why thy they are only kept on-line for seven days.

    The Sixteen are in a league of their own, the gold standard by which others are judged. It is thus not fair not make the comparison, but Eric Whitacre is not in that league.

    I have experienced the Sixteen live and on recordings.

    Not being there I cannot say who brought in the most punters, but were I to hazard a guess, I would say Imogen Heap. She certainly got the most applause to what had preceded her and it was only equalled by the applause for the entire concert.

    What you saw as nervousness was her normal demeanour.

    She has in the past conducted her own composition at the Royal Albert Hall,and it was far preferable to what I heard from Eric Whitacre.

    Eric Whitacre is not comparable with Palestrina, Victoria or Handel.

    Personally I would have preferred a concert Trinity Orchestra performing Dark Side of the Moon.

  3. Gwyn PJ Says:

    Fun to hear your comments, but I have to say you’re pretty naive musically! For anyone seriously interested in music (real music that is) the visual apect is secondary; important yes, but a long way secondary. A friend of mind who is blind found the whole thing very moving (except oddly Heap’s biit, that was admittedly lower down the musical scale than the rest).

    Keith your comments about the Sixteen are off-beam; you can’t compare them to ‘Eric Whitacre’. he’s a composer/conductor, they are a chamber choir! However, I can tell you that you are quite wrong to make the casual remarks about trying to “score” the two groups against each other. Quite apart from the fact that we shouldn’t try to compare two entirely different groups singing two entirely different repertoires, it’s simply silly to say that The Sixteen (who I agree are superb in their kind of music) are in some way ‘superior’ to the phenomenal singing we heard on Wednesday. You clearly aren’t used to choral singing (from the inside or outside!) or you would have easily observed that fact.

    One final pont; you say The Sixteen are “ina league of their own”./ well that’s a cliche drawn from the sports pages, but here it again is not true. Yes, they are top-class, but you may not have heard comparable groups from other countries – e.g. the unbelievable Accentus Chamber Choir from France, or the magnificent Chamber Choir of Europe. Lots to learn – happy listening!

  4. keithpp Says:

    This has to rate as one of the most childish comments posted.

    Visual aspect not important!

    That is why we have live concerts, why we have ballet, opera.

    Clearly a blind person is not going to be effected by the visual aspect, they cannot see.

    The singing on Wednesday was not phenomenal. It was quite bland, and ultimately boring. There were the exceptions, but on the whole nothing to get excited about.

    Strange how when someone says a performance was nothing special, or even worse bad, suddenly knows nothing about music.

    I had the similar comments when I said how bad a Canarian group were.

    Not knowing anything about music, must be why a leading soprano took the trouble to call me and thank me for kind words.

    That Eric Whitacre is a composer, does not elevate him to superior status or make his music worth listening to.

    I am not the only one who has this view of The Sixteen. And no, it is not to repeat a sports cliché. Only those who lack original thought feel the need to think and converse in clichés

    I am still left wondering what is real music.

  5. keithpp Says:

    I write on trolls,and as if on cue, one crawls out of the woodwork.

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