Both the Royal Albert Hall and I have seen some big events since Wednesday night, but I figured you'd still like to hear about Yo-Yo Ma's performance. He and the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Graham Fitkin's new Cello Concerto. Fitkin composed this piece with Yo-Yo in mind, and it showed. The long, subtle tones of the solos could have become dull in a lesser cellist's hands, but Yo-Yo made them tender and expressive. The orchestra gradually filled the background like mille-fleurs, then became louder and more insistent until it almost seemed to be competing with the cello; then it faded away again, and the piece seemed to return to the beginning.
I enjoyed the piece, but it was the curtain call that really made my night. Fitkin came on stage to get a big hug from Ma, who also presented him with a red yo-yo. The pair managed to knock over a music stand in their excitement.
The second half was Beethoven's Ninth, about which I really don't have anything new to say. The orchestra's performance was not electrifying, but the BBC Symphony Chorus and the Philharmonia Chorus gave the audience what they were waiting for in the Ode to Joy.