Click here to Log in / Become a member  
Classical News
 
To Hull and back, the Proms are now in full swing...

Classical Source welcomes David Pickard – Director, BBC Proms – as the guest writer of the August editorial…

It is 122 years since the first season of 'Henry Wood Promenade Concerts' and 90 since the BBC took over responsibility for the festival. Three weeks into my second season at the Proms and I’m reminded again and again how lucky we are to have this vibrant festival which still upholds the same founding principles of those very first concerts: to bring the best of classical music to the widest possible audiences.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms
Photograph: Thane Bruckland

If last year seemed dauntingly new to me, this time around I have the benefit of knowing what it feels like to be immersed in eight weeks of music with barely a moment to pause for breath. As I listen to each concert, I am reminded of the conversations that took place over the previous 18 months or even longer, that shaped the final programme. The discussions about soloists, the negotiations that took place over this or that piece, the need to balance new work with more familiar repertoire, the themes that it seemed interesting to explore. Every concert has its own back-story to tell and it’s a fantastic feeling seeing the finished result.

But even if the plans may be familiar to me, the programme can still throw up surprises – either unscripted moments, or strange, unintended juxtapositions. I for one was not expecting to see dancing at Cadogan Hall (as part of the Finnish Folk Prom), hear an unfamiliar version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (Nicola Benedetti’s encore) or find myself listening to Handel’s Water Music in Hull with the sounds of a nearby folk festival drifting across the city. And when planning the programmes, it had it had never occurred to me that in one day (July 25) we would be presenting two completely different composers (Vaughan Williams and Scott Walker) whose work was separated by less than a decade. As I write, we have just completed a splendid Baroque festival within a festival – Monteverdi, Handel and Bach on consecutive nights – all a happy coincidence of our planning.

And if you haven’t visited us yet this summer there’s still plenty more to choose from with at least a concert every day until Saturday September 9! Next week will see Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s second Prom of the season – conducting the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, and we’ll present our second ‘Proms at…’ concert of the season – the BBC Singers and Nash Ensemble performing a programme of Palestrina and Judith Weir (a world premiere) at Southwark Cathedral. We continue our exploration of the music of the Russian Revolution with Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers) by the Latvian Radio Choir and present our “Reformation Day” – giving audiences the chance to immerse themselves in the music that stemmed from this time of radical religious and political transformation.

Just as Henry Wood enjoyed mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar, the serious with the light-hearted, so we continue to explore a huge range of different music this year – from jazz tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie (tonight!), world music from India and Pakistan; two special staged performances of the classic musical 'Oklahoma!'; and a tribute to Philip Glass in his 80th year with a live performance of his album 'Passages', which he created with Ravi Shankar.

There’s so much more, and there really is something for everyone.

As always, if you didn’t manage to get the seated tickets for the Prom you wanted there are always up to 1,350 Promming (standing) tickets available on the day for just £6, and it's also always worth checking the Royal Albert Hall website for returns as seats can come back on sale. And if you have time don’t forget that there’s a Proms Extra event before each and every concert at the Royal Albert Hall – they’re completely free and a brilliant way to discover more about classical music.

And if you can’t make it to the hall, as always, every Prom is broadcast live on Radio 3 – this year as a lossless audio stream, allowing listeners to experience the concerts as if they were present in the Albert Hall – and many are broadcast on television.

Whatever, and however, you experience the Proms, I hope you have a wonderful summer of music.

David Pickard
For The Classical Source
4 August 2017
As for numerous previous seasons, Classical Source plans to review every concert of this year’s BBC Proms

 

BBC Proms 2017

about this prom Prom 51 – Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Sibelius & Elgar-Payne – Javier Perianes plays Saint-Saëns
about this prom Prom 50: CBSO/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla – Leonore No.3 & Beethoven’s Fifth, Leila Josefowicz plays Stravinsky, and Allan Clayton premieres Gerald Barry’s Canada
about this prom Proms at ... Cadogan Hall, PCM6 – Christiane Karg & Malcolm Martineau
about this prom Prom 49: Reformation Day 3 – J. S. Bach’s St John Passion with the Dunedin Ensemble and John Butt
about this prom Prom 48: Reformation Day 2 – A Patchwork Passion – BBC Singers & City of London Sinfonia conducted by Sofi Jeannin

| more |

Latest Concert & Opera Reviews

about this concert Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Don Giovanni – Christopher Maltman, José Fardilha, Laura Aikin, Lucy Crowe, Sylvia Schwartz, Kristinn Sigmundsson; Budapest Festival Orchestra; directed & conducted by Iván Fischer
about this concert Teatro Reggio Torino at Edinburgh International Festival – Verdi’s Macbeth – Gabriele Viviani & Oksana Dyka; directed by Emma Dante; conducted by Gianandrea Noseda
about this concert Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Louis Langrée conducts Prokofiev & Mozart – Gil Shaham plays Tchaikovsky
about this concert Edinburgh International Festival – Mikhail Pletnev plays Rachmaninov at Queen’s Hall
about this concert Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart – Andrew Manze conducts Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony – Joshua Bell & Steven Isserlis play Brahms

| more |

Latest CD & DVD Reviews

about this cd/dvd Mendelssohn’s Scottish & Reformation Symphonies – Kammerakademie Potsdam/Antonella Manacorda [Sony Classical]
about this cd/dvd Max Reger’s Clarinet Sonatas – Michael Collins & Michael McHale [Chandos]
about this cd/dvd Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony – Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [CSO Resound]
about this cd/dvd Aldeburgh Strings and Aldeburgh Winds – Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Serenade, and Fröhliche Werkstatt [Linn]
about this cd/dvd François Couperin – L’Apothéose de Lully & Leçons de ténèbres – Arcangelo & Jonathan Cohen [Hyperion]

| more |

Latest Features

about this feature Barbara Cook (1927-2017) – An Appreciation
about this feature A guitar threesome – recordings of music by Antoine Lhoyer, Johann Kaspar Mertz, and Schubert Songs
about this feature A Tanglewood Diary – July 7-16, 2017 – Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, Anne-Sophie Mutter, John Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Stephen Sondheim, Resurrection Symphony, Das Rheingold, Daniil Trifonov, The Knights…
about this feature Better Heard Than Seen – The Fhadikistania Conducting Competition, written by Leonard Slatkin
about this feature They’re Off and Flying, a piano competition in the future, a stellar speculation by Leonard Slatkin

| more |

 
 
Why Donate?    
The Classical Source needs reviewers