Wednesday, July 12, 2006

BBC Proms - Ligeti remembered

Another year has passed, and another BBC Proms season kicks off on Friday. The BBC does comes in for criticism here, but the Proms are a wonderful institution that we should all be thankful for. The opening night of the season brings us the BBC Symphony's new Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (left) conducting Dvorák's Te Deum and Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, and On An Overgrown Path will be there. This year's programmes suffer from Mozart and Shostakovich overload, and I will be concentrating on some of the other composers to add some variety. Wth two Mozart operas in a week it is difficult to avoid Wolfgang Amadeus, but even though the week is mostly Mozart the opera highlight should be a complete Siegfried on Sunday. I say 'should be' as the conductor is Christoph Eschenbach and the orchestra is the Orchestre de Paris, so the jury is out as to whether they can live up to last year's superlative Walkure from the Royal Opera with Bryn Terfel as Wotan. Christoph Eschenbach makes two further appearances later in the season with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The BBC's perverse programming continues with two works by contemporary composer Colin Matthews in the first week. He has four performances in this his 60th birthday year, while Malcolm Arnold receives no performances in this his 85th birthday year. And the Colin Matthews performance in Wednesday evening's late night Prom gets the pseuds corner award for 2006 - 'To Compose Without the Least Knowledge of Music'. The poor old Queen gets a typically dire programme for her 80th birthday on Wednesday, so dire in fact I'm not detailing it even though it contains a Maxwell Davies premiere (is Max becoming a little establishment in his old age?) And if you want early or baroque music fire up the CD player, there isn't a note of it in this week at the Proms.

The highlight of the week for me will be György Ligeti's Ramifications for string orchestra, with Thomas Zehetmair conducting the Northern Sinfonia. The programme was planned long before Ligeti's recent death, but it is sure to be an emotional evening. The Ligeti opens a concert that also features the original version of Schumann's Fourth Symphony and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Zehetmair as conductor and soloist.

Friday 14 June 7.30 - Dvorák Te Deum & Shostakovich Symphony No 5; Jiří Bělohlávek conducting BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 16 July 4.00 - Wagner Siegfried; Christoph Eschenbach conducting Orchestre de Paris with Jon Frederic west in the title role
Monday 17 July 7.00 & 10.00 - Colin Matthews performances, plus Jonathan Dove's Figures in the Garden in the late night concert.
Friday 21 July 7.30 - György Ligeti Ramifications for string orchestra, Thomas Zehetmair conducting Northern Sinfonia

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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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Neither avant-garde, nor traditional ... and New BBC conductor brings European balance

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