Tuesday, 14 July 2009

BBC Proms 2009 - starting this week!

This year's Proms start on Friday 17th July. Live, broadcast on radio, TV, online and available for repeat on demand listening.

This year's Proms are solid good value. The First Night starts with fireworks, of course! – a short burst of Stravinsky's Fireworks, op 4. The music in the video comes from The Firebird, which it eventually inspired, but visually this clip is fun! This concert has an all-star line=up: Alice Coote singing Brahms's Alto Rhapsody (the reason I'm going), Stephen Hough and the sisters Labèque, heralding this year's emphasis on music for the piano; Ailish Tynan and Jiřì Bélohlávek. The atmosphere on the First Night, though, is what makes it special. Even if you can't be there in person, crack open the champagne or at least a cold beer and imagine!

Next night, Paul McCreesh conducts Haydn The Creation with a new, revised text.

This year's earlier Handel Partenopes have been covered on this blog – ENO HERE and Theatre an der Wien HERE. The BBC broadcast the Vienna performance with Christine Schäfer and Patricia Bardon earlier this year – it was excellent! This Proms version on 19th July has Lars Ulrik Mortensen conducting Concerto Copenhagen. This one should stand up to the more elaborate staged performances by sheer musical quality, since CoCo is one of the top specialist baroque orchestras in Europe. With Andreas Scholl, Christophe Dumaux, and Inger Dam-Jensen singing, you can bet this is going to be good. I heard Inger sing songs by Grieg, Stenhammer and Sibelius ten days ago at the City of London Festival. She's in good form.

That's the first weekend, three concerts of nearly 80. The Proms are fun because they're a communal event. Even if you listen alone on your PC you are part of what is happening perhaps thousands of miles away. Most years I listen to nearly every Prom, live and on the radio. Last year I wrote about 45 of the concerts, so please keep coming back to this blog for more. There's a button "Subscribe" top right which enables automatic updates. Here you won't get much cliché. Contributions and suggestions are welcome. I've already done a preview about new music at this year's Proms HERE. Being a mass audience festival supported by the taxpayer, it's pretty remarkable how much new music gets into the Proms.


Boon said...

I'm listening to it live now on BBC3, and it is just amazing... the Proms is something I look forward to every year!

As a occasional classical music enthusiast, sometimes it is really hard to choose which of the 70+ proms to attend. There are numerous guides out there to the top picks, but I did my own research and after a few hours came up with my top 5 Proms which I will be attending this year and which I can recommend:


Doundou Tchil said...

Fyun choice ! The more you listen the more fun you have ! The Proms are an experience, more than "just" music, it's the whole atmosphere. That said nothing will drsg me to the Last Night. My top pick is I think Chailly Mahler 10 - not an obvious choice but the guy is seriously good and not run of the mill. Keep reading, you are always welcome. As you can see from the labels there is tons on London, its architecture, history etc to read on this blog. Keep in touch !