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Alan Davey on and beyond the BBC Proms ... Classical Source joins the musical party

Classical Source welcomes Alan Davey – Controller of BBC Radio 3 – as the guest writer of the July and August editorial…

Alan Davey It’s that time of year again. As I joined the BBC Proms team to visit the Royal Albert Hall and get to know the staff there (eight weeks is a long time to be living together, so saying hello is only polite) I felt a familiar surge of excitement to be back at that venue, anticipating a great summer of music and discovery as so many summers before.

Once again it’s a great season – full of things to discover and things to hear in new ways. For me the emphasis on Sibelius and Nielsen is something special – especially as the season opens with the joyous Overture from the latter’s Maskerade – that we broadcast the whole of recently in Opera on 3. Two little-performed choral works in particular attract – Nielsen’s charming Springtime on Funen and Sibelius’s mighty Kullervo Symphony. But there is so much more – from late-night Bach to a clutch of piano concertos – complete cycles from Beethoven and Prokofiev – the latter in one night and there is also a goodly smattering of Mozart. As well as a lot of new music – from a newly discovered piece of Messiaen, a new Symphony by James Macmillan, to one by Raymond Yiu – and much else. Matinees to attract families, and late-nights for everyone with an open mind for music of all kinds – from Bach (Cello Suites, Violin Sonatas & Partitas, and Goldberg Variations) to the deeply ambient music of Nils Frahm and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Many special events with a special atmosphere.

The Proms is a great festival that happens in the summer – but it’s a part of what we at BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Performing Groups are engaged with all year round. The Performing Groups have some terrific programmes being played in venues all around the country and abroad – including reaching audiences who might not otherwise be able to hear an orchestra, and also playing innovative programmes that include rare repertoire or new works. And then every night you can hear complete concerts on Radio 3 – bringing some of the world’s finest artists to your home, in beautifully engineered sound, and in HD sound if you listen online. Bringing music that is well-loved, new, or neglected but worthy of reappraisal, is something we do every day – it’s what we do.

So it’s natural that we will be bringing you every Prom live so that if you cannot get to the Royal Albert or Cadogan Halls you’ll be able to experience the thrills and discovery in the comfort of your own home. This year, if you have the right equipment, you’ll also be able to receive the concerts from the Albert Hall in Surround Sound.

So enjoy the musical feast that is the Proms – either in person, live on Radio 3, on demand for 30 days, or in carefully curated episodes on TV. But always remember Radio 3 and the BBC Performing Groups are doing this all year round. It’s what makes us a great cultural institution – one that is funded in a unique way by the licence fee, one that I am proud to lead, and one that none of us should take for granted.

Alan Davey
For The Classical Source
July & August 2015
As for numerous previous seasons, Classical Source plans to review every concert of this year’s BBC Proms


BBC Proms 2015

about this prom Prom 66: London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski – Fidelio Overture & Shostakovich 8 – Mitsuko Uchida plays Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto
about this prom Prom 65: Being Both – Alice Coote sings Handel – Giulio Cesare, Semele, Hercules, Theodora, Messiah – with The English Concert and Harry Bicket
about this prom Prom 64: BBCNOW/Thomas Sřndergĺrd – Carl Nielsen’s music for Aladdin & Mahler 4 – world premiere of B. Tommy Andersson’s Pan with David Goode; Andersson Composer Portrait
about this prom Prom 63: Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Peter Oundjian – Messiaen’s Hymne & Bruckner 7 – Igor Levit plays Mozart K595
about this prom Prom 62: Marin Alsop conducts Brahms with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Academic Festival Overture, Alto Rhapsody, Triumphlied, Symphony 1

Proms Chamber Music

about this Prom PCM7: Emerson String Quartet and Elisabeth Leonskaja – Barber, Debussy, Shostakovich
about this Prom PCM6: Jeremy Denk plays Piano Sonatas by Scriabin (Black Mass), Bartók and Beethoven (Opus 111)
about this Prom PCM5: A Sondheim Cabaret – Kitty Whately, Jamie Parker, Siân Phillips, Anthony Brown & Richard Sisson
about this Prom PCM4: Evelyn Glennie & Philip Smith
about this Prom PCM3: Apollon Musagčte Quartet – Webern, Colin Matthews and Beethoven

Proms Saturday Matinee

about this Prom PSM4: London Sinfonietta/Thierry Fischer with Michael Cox and Mark van de Wiel – Pierre Boulez, Helen Grime and Christian Mason
about this Prom PSM3: Apollo's Fire & Jeannette Sorrell with Alina Ibragimova – J. S. & C. P. E. Bach, Telemann and Vivaldi
about this Prom PSM2: B’Rock with Dmitry Sinkovsky & Mary-Ellen Nesi – Vivaldi, Caldara, Geminiani
about this Prom PSM1: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Franck Ollu – Pierre Boulez, Johannes Schöllhorn, Shiori Usui, Betsy Jolas, Joanna Lee – with Hilary Summers & Ulrich Heinen

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Latest Concert & Opera Reviews

about this concert Philharmonia Orchestra/Benjamin Ellin at Cadogan Hall – Sibelius's En saga & Dvořák 8 – Mayuko Katsumura gives world premiere of Ellin’s Miyabi
about this concert Soheil Nasseri plays music of Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven and Beethoven/Liszt at Merkin Concert Hall
about this concert Edinburgh International Festival 2015 – LSO/Valery Gergiev – The Miraculous Mandarin & The Rite of Spring – Yefim Bronfman plays Bartók
about this concert Edinburgh International Festival 2015 – Robin Ticciati conducts Beethoven’s Missa solemnis
about this concert West Australian Symphony Orchestra/Asher Fisch – Brahms Festival 4 – with Garrick Ohlsson

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Latest CD & DVD Reviews

about this cd/dvd Alexander Zemlinsky – Complete String Quartets [Brodsky Quartet; Chandos]
about this cd/dvd Markus Stenz conducts Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder [Hyperion]
about this cd/dvd Verdi’s La traviata at Glyndebourne – Venera Gimadieva, Michael Fabiano & Tassis Christoyannis; directed by Tom Cairns; conducted by Mark Elder (DVD)
about this cd/dvd Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with Reconstructed Finale by Nors S. Josephson [Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/John Gibbons; Danacord]
about this cd/dvd Allan Pettersson’s Symphonies 4 & 16 – Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Christian Lindberg with Jörgen Pettersson [BIS]

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Latest Features

about this feature BBC Proms 2015 – Raymond Yiu introduces his new Symphony [Prom 54, August 25]
about this feature Feature Review: Speakers Corner and Tacet LPs – Beethoven's Triple Concerto (Serkin/Laredo/Parnas) ... Bizet's Carmen (Marilyn Horne/James McCracken/Leonard Bernstein) ... Mozart's Gran Partita (Stuttgart Winds) ... Schumann/Horowitz
about this feature Remembering Bill Newman
about this feature José Serebrier writes about the strange history of Dvořák's First Symphony, The Bells of Zlonice
about this feature Edward Blakeman's Proms Blog for Classical Source

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