Magazine article Musical Opinion

THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL: A Victorian Masterpiece for the 21st-Century

Magazine article Musical Opinion

THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL: A Victorian Masterpiece for the 21st-Century

Article excerpt

THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL A Victorian Masterpiece for the 21st-Century By Roger Williams Edited by Jonathan Stone Fitzhardinge Press Distributed in the UK by Art Books International ISBN 1-8740-44554 £19.95

Wen the 2004 Prommers arrive at the V Royal Albert Hall they will find themselves in a superbly redeveloped and restored Victorian masterpiece which is also a memorable performance venue for 21st-century events. There were a number of us who trekked to the RAH in the summer of 1941, mourning the loss of Queen's Hall only a couple of months earlier, who still remember looking at the rostrum in the massive hall with awe, for Elgar, Verdi and Wagner had stood there and conducted their own music.

My own first memory was of seeing Malcolm Sargent conducting a spectacular staging of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha in the middle 1930s. Now I was to learn so much practical music-making through taking scores and following the music from the rail as a promenader. Which brings me back to the old hall year after year.

This magazine described some of the restoration work being done in a series of pieces as they progressed and we felt the excitement generated by the work force and staff. Now, Prince Albert's visionary project is not only refurbished but brought to a fuller realisation of his intentions than was even possible in 1867 and this exceptionally well researched and lavishly illustrated book, available at a real bargain price, has been brought out by the RAH to celebrate. …

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