Classical Source greets Roger Wright – Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Director of the BBC Proms – as the guest writer of the July and August editorial…
Welcome to the 2014 BBC Proms.
Some things never change – not least the marking of the passing of summertime, by the start and end of each Proms festival.
However, this summer is going to be unusual for me.
I’m leaving the BBC after the First Night (on July 18). I’ll still have the chance to hear all the BBC Proms – but this year, unlike the last seven, I won’t be sitting in the Royal Albert Hall. I shall instead have the opportunity to hear them all live (and exclusively) on the home of the Proms, BBC Radio 3.
I’ll miss the atmosphere of the Hall and the regular banter I enjoyed with the Prommers, but will enjoy the additional context which the broadcasts provide on radio, TV and online for the 76 Royal Albert Hall concerts and the 12 at Cadogan Hall.
I am pleased that, as in recent years, there is a considerable amount of British music. We have a focus on William Walton and a host of others – among them Alwyn, Bax, Bridge, George Butterworth, Elgar, Gurney, Moeran and Vaughan Williams.
A remarkable range and quality of music-making is now emerging in countries outside the established European and American centres, and this year we’re excited to welcome for the first time orchestras from China, Greece, Iceland, Lapland, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea and Turkey – a unique snapshot of the developing global classical music scene and more international orchestras than ever before.
Where else in one festival can you hear Daniel Barenboim one day and Paloma Faith on another, and enjoy Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, then Peter Sellars’s staging of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, or explore contemporary works by Birtwistle and Maxwell Davies, the late John Tavener and many others? Where else, too, can you hear them all at such little cost? Promming tickets remain at £5.00 for the ninth year running, and seats start at just £7.50.
In addition to the live broadcasts on Radio 3, many are repeated on weekday afternoons, and this year 28 concerts are broadcast on BBC TV. All this is available to take pleasure in afterwards on BBC iPlayer Radio and BBC iPlayer. And, I am assured, Classical Source will do a great job in reviewing every Prom. However you experience the Proms, I hope you enjoy a summer full of thrilling musical experiences and lasting memories.
I head off now to take up the exciting new challenge of running Aldeburgh Music but will never forget the thrill of managing this great festival, the BBC Proms.
For The Classical Source
July & August 2014
[posted July 11]
As for numerous previous seasons, Classical Source plans to review every concert of this year’s BBC Proms: July 18-September 13