Aurora at the Live BBC Proms 2020

14th October 2020

‘A joyous celebration of energy’ ★★★★ The Guardian

We’re still buzzing after our big night at the Live BBC Proms and feeling very thankful for the overwhelming enthusiasm we’ve received. As part of the special Live Proms season, we returned to the Royal Albert Hall with an extraordinary new commission from Richard Ayres, alongside an exploration of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony – including a complete performance of the Symphony from memory. You can still catch the full performance on BBC iPlayer.

 

Richard Ayres’s No. 52: Three Pieces about Ludwig van Beethoven

‘Here was the composer demonstrating that he can still write invigorating, apparently high-spirited music, while also indicating how painful that music sounds to him. Unbearably poignant, yet also indefatigably stoic. Beethoven would have recognised a kindred spirit.’ ★★★★★ The Times

‘the most surreal ideas and juxtapositions take on an unexpected emotional power’ ★★★★ The Guardian

‘Music can inspire compassion and empathy as it burrows us into the mind of another human being, and this assuredly did’ ★★★★ The Artsdesk

‘Aurora and Collon gave the piece a brilliant – albeit harrowing – first outing that was full of disturbing orchestral colour’ ★★★★★ Music OMH

‘It was difficult listening – as it should be – but grippingly effective and ultimately tragic’ ★★★★ Bachtrack

 

Exploring Beethoven 7 with BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service

‘an elucidating introduction from the conductor Nicholas Collon and the BBC’s presenter Tom Service, aided and abetted by the players demonstrating extracts. Revelations emerged even for those who thought they knew the work well.’ ★★★★ The Artsdesk

 

Performing Beethoven 7 from memory

‘Collon’s performance was light, lithe and immaculately played, always keeping something in reserve; this was the Seventh as a joyous celebration of energy’ ★★★★ The Guardian

‘Grass would have had scant chance of growing under the feet of these musicians, who each had room to breathe, move and play out. It was in many ways an absolute tour-de-force, displaying sky-high musicianship, memory and nerves of steel.’ ★★★★ The Artsdesk

‘Aurora played Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony from memory, with exactly the same vitality and vigour as it had in the semi-outdoor performance I reviewed earlier in the week, but this time with the textures crystal-clear. A magnificent achievement.’ ★★★★★ The Times

‘it was clear that every player absolutely inhabited the music, pushed into physical gesture by its unflagging brilliance…THIS is how to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary!’ ★★★★★ Music OMH

‘organic, irresistible and thrilling’ ★★★★ Bachtrack

 

Earlier in the week…

The BBC Prom wasn’t our only live performance that week. On Monday 7 September, we gave two memorised performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 at the West Handyside Canopy in Kings Cross – the first time a UK orchestra has come together since March to perform a full-scale symphony to a ticketed audience. The film above gives a behind-the-scenes look at Monday’s concerts, and what it all meant to the Aurora team and players.

‘how wonderful to see an orchestra not only playing its socks off, but looking elated to be in front of an audience again.’ ★★★★ The Times

‘This was an evening which positively fizzed, and the joy was palpable’ Planet Hugill

 

What the audience thought: