Benjamin Grosvenor

Why is this genius playing to a half-empty Royal Albert Hall? Benjamin Grosvenor Prom reviewed

There were times during last Friday’s First Night of the Proms when it felt as if we’d been transported back to Ohio during the Eisenhower administration. We could have been in Severance Hall, Cleveland, listening to its orchestra under George Szell – and there’s no higher compliment I can pay the BBC Symphony Orchestra, because the irascible maestro drilled his musicians to parade-ground perfection. You could tell the BBC orchestra was at the top of its game from the first snarls of the brass in Sibelius’s Finlandia – a more interesting piece of programming than it sounds. This was the choral version, in which the choir sings of Finland’s refusal