Sunday, July 10, 2005

New music feast at BBC Proms

In London the show goes on despite last Thursday’s terrible atrocities. And the world’s biggest music festival, the BBC Promenade Concerts, starts next Friday (15th July) and runs through to 10th September. That is nine weeks of world class music making. The good news is that you can listen to all the concerts live over BBC Radio 3 webcasts, and most (but not all) the concerts will be available for seven days after broadcast on the BBC Listen Again service. Highlights include the opening Child of Our Time (15th July), Domingo in a concert Walkure (18th July), Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius (24th July), Berio’s Coro (2nd August), the Concertgebouw playing Lutoslawski and Brahms (2nd Sept), and Bruckner 8 with the Vienna Philharmonic (8th Sept). Choral fans are also in for a treat with Paul Hillier directing the Estonian Chamber Choir in Perotin and Part (17th August), and The Sixteen singing Tallis including Spem in alium (1st Sept).

It is impossible to do justice to the vast range (and quality) of music available in one post (this link opens the full programme). So each week I am going to give a subjective preview of highlights from the coming weeks concerts. For this post I am going to limit myself to Proms commissions and premieres. But even that is going to be difficult as there are no fewer than twenty-one new works in the season. Here is an overview by composer of the new music riches on offer with the dates of the broadcasts:

Hans AbrahamsenFour Pieces for Orchestra, UK premiere, 1st August: Danish composer’s four movement work for large orchestra including guitar and synthesizer.
Thomas AdesViolin Concerto, UK premiere, 6th Sept: Written for Anthony Marwood of the Florestan Trio.
Michael BerkeleyConcerto for Orchestra, BBC commission and world premiere, 19th July: From Sir Lennox's son, the slow movement is a tribute to victims of the South-East Asian tsunami.
Unsuk ChinsnagS & Snarls (sic), world premiere of revised version, 10th August: Song cycle for soprano, mezzo and orchestra by Berlin based Korean composer.
John CoriglianoViolin Concerto, UK premiere, 28th July: Joshua Bell plays concerto extracted from film score.
Marc-Andre DalbaviePiano Concerto, world premiere, 16th August: Leif Ove Andsnes plays new concerto with homage to Boulez post-serialism and New York minimalism.
Henri DutilleuxCorrespondances, London premiere, 27th July: 89 year old senior figure of French music’s new song cycle.
Detlev GlanertTheatrum bestiarum, BBC commission and world premiere, 26th July: Orchestral work for large orchestra and organ with roots in the late-Romantics.
Sofia GubaidulinaThe Light of the End, UK premiere, 20th August: 24 minute large orchestral work by Russian composer.
Morgan HayesStrip, BBC commission and world premiere, 25th August: Orchestral deconstruction from young British composer with wood-blocks and log drums (presumably a block-buster?).
Tatjana KomarovaTanze mit verbundenen Augen (Blindfold Dances), UK premiere, 15th August lunchtime: As relief from all the orchestral showpieces another Russian lady composer’s solo piano work.
James MacMillanA Scotch Bestiary, London premiere, 21st July: Concerto for organ and orchestra inspired by American cartoons.
Stuart Macrae Hamartia, London Premiere, 19th August: Cello concerto from 29 year old compatriot of James McMillan.
Thea MusgraveTurbulent Landscapes, London premiere, 19th August: The third Scot (but US resident) in a row with new work inspired by Turner seascapes.
Paul PattersonOrchestra on Parade, London premiere, 6th August: Five minute orchestral showpiece written for National Youth Orchestra.
Esa-Pekka Salonennew work, BBC Commission and world premiere, 27th August: I can tell you it is composed by the highly acclaimed conductor. But I can’t tell you anything else as I think E-PS is sweating on the deadline.
Bent SorensenThe Little Mermaid, world premiere, 12th August: A setting of Hans Christian Andersen for tenor, girl’s chorus and orchestra by a fellow Dane.
Fraser Trainerfor the living (sic), world premiere, world premiere, 30th July: Violin concerto written for, and premiered by, Victoria Mullova.
Mark-Anthony TurnageFrom the Wreckage, UK premiere, 9th September: Trumpet showpiece for Hakan Hardenberger, with four percussionists surrounding the orchestra to guarantee never a dull moment..
Huw WatkinsDouble Concerto for viola and cello, world premiere, 4th August: Respected Welsh composer stays with a traditional form.
John WoolrichAfter the Clock, BBC commission and world premiere, 1st August lunchtime: New chamber piece with horological sub-text.

Wow, it just makes me giddy typing it all out – new works from Ades, Turnage, Dutilleux, MacMillan, Corigliano, Musgrave, Woolrich and fourteen others in a veritable excess of new music. Can you afford not to be there via the BBC Radio 3 webcasts?

If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to First performance - Douglas Weiland's Second Piano Trio, Pavey Ark
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4 comments:

Marcus Maroney said...

Not to be picky, but I think it's "Abrahamsen" :)

Pliable said...

Thanks Marcus for such a fast response. You are of course right. I'm afraid this one was a bit of a nightmare to type up!

I've corrected it now, apologies to readers taking RSS feeds for the multiple versions of this (and most of my other) posts. I do try to get things right, but it sometimes takes several tries!

Tim Rutherford-Johnson said...

Many thanks for this - you've saved me a few pounds buying a festival programme!

Marcus Maroney said...

No prob! If anyone happens to, um, record any of these, I'd love a CD of some (especially the Dutilleux)....