Proms Prompter - Week 1


With the excitement of the First Night of the Proms tonight, what else can we look forward to in the first full week of the 2017 Proms season? Susan Omand gives you some Proms Prompters...

The mix of “classical” classical and ultra-modern orchestral that made up this year’s First Night of the Proms is the kind of eclectic mix that the Sir Henry Wood would be proud of. And that mix of music carries on into the first full week of promenade concerts.

Of the televised Proms this coming week, I suggest you look out for Sunday’s UK premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Deep Time. Dedicated to the memory of Peter Maxwell Davies, it promises to be an adventurous, challenging and fascinating listen if his previous works, such as the Moth Requiem, are anything to go by. And having the temerity to pair his sparse and spiky work in a prom concert with the lush orchestration of Elgar’s beautiful 2nd Symphony is a contrast that I can’t wait to hear.

For the film buffs, a must listen/see (it’s on the radio on Thursday and televised on Friday) is the John Williams concert. Promising an evening featuring excerpts from the composer’s best-loved scores, as well as some lesser-known gems, you’re sure to hear film themes that you know and love and I’m fully prepared for the odd “Wow, I didn’t know he wrote that” moment.

My final recommendation for this week (not that the rest aren’t worth listening to – they definitely are) is the prom concert on Wednesday that pairs another UK Premiere, this time it’s Dusapin’s new cello concerto, Outscape, with the vivid and visceral orchestral work of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique which Leonard Bernstein described as the first musical expedition into psychedelia (which may well be true as it is rumoured that Berlioz wrote it while chasing the dragon) saying, "Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral." See now that’s my kinda music.

Wednesday’s prom is opened by a short piece, Les Elemens, le Cahos (The Elements, Chaos) by a French composer called Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747) and I find it almost unbelievable to think that this could have been written at the same time as Bach and Handel were in full Baroque flow, as it sounds so modern and dischordant that it is almost Stravinsky in nature and I have no idea what the audiences of the time would have made of it. Let me know what you think.



As well as the televised concerts, every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and HD Sound online, so “people in countries all over the world can tune in and have 'the best seat in the house’”. They’ll also be available to download on the Radio 3 app and you’ll find any you missed on iPlayer.

Here’s the full list of what’s on this week (Saturday 15th to Friday 21st July)


Saturday 15 July 2017

DANIEL BARENBOIM CONDUCTS SIBELIUS AND ELGAR

Daniel Barenboim and the mighty Staatskapelle Berlin launch this year’s cycle of Elgar symphonies with the thrilling emotional extremes of the Symphony No. 1. Lisa Batiashvili joins the orchestra for Sibelius’s exhilarating Violin Concerto.

Programme

Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor(33 mins)

INTERVAL

Edward Elgar Symphony No 1 in A flat major(52 mins)


Sunday 16 July 2017

BERNARD HAITINK CONDUCTS MOZART AND SCHUMANN (televised on 23rd July on BBC 4)

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Bernard Haitink are joined by soloist Isabelle Faust for Mozart’s graceful Violin Concerto No. 3. It is framed by two symphonies from Mozart and Schumann, which each represent a defiant, optimistic challenge.

Programme

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony No 38 in D major 'Prague', K 504(29 mins)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, K 216(24 mins)

INTERVAL

Robert Schumann Symphony No 2 in C major(38 mins)


Sunday 16 July 2017

DANIEL BARENBOIM AND STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN (televised live on BBC 4)

Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin perform Elgar’s Second Symphony – a ‘passionate pilgrimage of the soul’. Hear the UK premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Deep Time – a work that swaps the tick-tock of the everyday for something more alien.

Programme

Sir Harrison Birtwistle Deep Time(25 mins)BBC co-commission with the Staatskapelle Berlin: UK premiere

INTERVAL

Edward Elgar Symphony No 2 in E flat major(56 mins)


Monday 17 July 2017

SIBELIUS, RACHMANINOV AND SHOSTAKOVICH

A concert of emotional extremes opens with Sibelius’s tempestuous Symphony No. 7 and closes with the horror of Shostakovich’s Stalin-inspired Symphony No. 10. Exciting young Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov performs Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto.

Programme

Jean Sibelius Symphony No 7 in C major (21 mins)
Sergei Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor (33 mins)

INTERVAL

Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No 10 in E minor (57 mins)


Tuesday 18 July 2017

NICOLA BENEDETTI PLAYS SHOSTAKOVICH’S VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 1

Violinist Nicola Benedetti joins Thomas Søndergård and the BBC NOW for a concert charged with nationalistic fervour. Sibelius’s stirring Second Symphony is paired with Shostakovich’s subversive symphonic poem October and his First Violin Concerto.

Programme

Dmitri Shostakovich October (12 mins)
Dmitri Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor (39 mins)

INTERVAL

Jean Sibelius Symphony No 2 in D major (44 mins)


Wednesday 19 July 2017

BERLIOZ’S SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE

Take a musical thrill-ride from the chaos of creation to wild witches’ dances. Joshua Weilerstein conducts Berlioz’s phantasmagoric Symphonie fantastique, and is joined by his sister, cellist Alisa Weilerstein for Pascal Dusapin’s concerto Outscape.

Programme

Jean‐Féry Rebel Les élémens – Le cahos(7 mins)
Pascal Dusapin Outscape(28 mins)BBC co-commission with the Casa da Música Foundation (Porto), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Opéra de Paris and Stuttgart Opera: UK premiere

INTERVAL

Hector Berlioz Symphonie fantastique(50 mins)


Thursday 20 July 2017 (televised on 21st July on BBC Four)

CELEBRATING JOHN WILLIAMS

Celebrate the 85th birthday of one of the world’s favourite film composers in an evening of big emotions and even bigger melodies.


Friday 21 July 2017 (televised on 30th July on BBC Four)

BEETHOVEN – FIDELIO

Beethoven’s only opera is a passionate musical protest against political oppression that premiered in the wake of the French Revolution. Stuart Skelton stars as the imprisoned Florestan, with soprano Ricarda Merbeth as Leonore. Juanjo Mena conducts.

Programme

Ludwig van Beethoven Fidelio(108 mins)(concert performance; sung in German)

Original Image - © David Iliff, Royal Albert Hall
Info - BBC