The first highlight of the coming week’s BBC Proms is shunted away into a late night slot, presumably to avoid challenging the all important mass market too much. But the concert will delight another sort of Mass market as the centrepiece is Monteverdi’s four part Mass setting. You will need to tune in at 10.15pm on Wednesday (26 July) to catch the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s (above) programme of Giovanni Gabrielli, Monteverdi and Cavalli.
The second highlight also stands a very good chance of challenging, surprising and delighting – attributes that are in desperately short supply in this year’s Proms season. The young British conductor Jonathan Nott has quietly been doing wonderful things with the little known Bamberg Symphony in Germany. He has avoided the fast track route which Gustavo Dudamel and others have skidded off, and instead has built an enviable reputation by working closely with his orchestra in the old kapellmeister tradition. But there is nothing traditional in his programme opener, the UK premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Verwandlung. This new work explores musical transformations - a pity that the same can't be said for more programmes this year. Isn’t it interesting that this media shy conductor has programmed one of the few new contemporary works this year?
Sunday’s (23 July) should certainly deliver ‘bang for your bucks’ as Richard Hickox conducts Arthur Bliss’ rarely heard, and highly recommendable, Colour Symphony, and Bryn Terfel takes the baritone role in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. American David Robertson is the BBC Symphony’s new Principal Guest Conductor, and his performance of Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist should be worth catching on Monday (24 July), but with that conductor and soloist couldn’t we have had something more adventurous than the ‘war-horse’ Brahms concerto? At least the BBC Scottish Prom on Friday (28 July) balances Ein Heldenleben with the UK premiere of an ‘expansion’ of Brahm’s Four serious Songs by Detlev Glanert.
Sunday 23 July; Bliss Colour Symphony & Walton Belshazzar’s Feast; Richard Hickox, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bryn Terfel
Monday 24 July; Brahms Piano Concerto No 1; David Robertson, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday 26 July; Venetian Polyphony; Sir John Ekiot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
Thursday 27 July; Wolfgang Rihm Verwandlung; Jonathan Nott, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Friday 28 July; Brahms/Glanert Four Preludes and serious songs; Marc Albrecht, BBC Scottish Orchestra
This personal selection from the next week's Proms appears every week On An Overgrown Path, a full listing of the concerts is available here. All the concerts are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and as web casts. Many of them are also available for seven days after broadcast on the BBC listen again service but some aren’t. Check BBC listings for which are available via ‘listen again’ but as a rule of thumb high profile orchestras and artists are usually too expensive for the BBC to buy repeat broadcast rights. Concerts start times are given in British Summer Time using 24 hour clock (19.00h = 7.00pm) Convert these timings to your local time zone using this link.
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