The final week of the BBC Proms brings what may well be the concert of the season. Bernard Haitink is one of the great living Mahlerians, and on Wednesday (September 6) he conducts the mighty Symphony No 2, ‘Resurrection’. I have attended some inspirational performances by Haitink of this symphony, and next week, with the combined forces of the BBC Symphony and London Symphony Choruses underpinned by the Royal Albert Hall organ, the finale of Mahler’s masterpiece should add some spiritual uplift to what has been a distinctly earthbound season.
It is a good week for both the late romantics and adagios, and the Berlin Philharmonic’s concert on Saturday (September 2) couples Bruckner Symphony No 7 with Karol Szymanowski’s rather neglected Violin Concerto No 1. And can you get more romantic, or adagio, than Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2? I have heard Tadaaki Otaka do it blisteringly well, listen out for his performance on Tuesday (September 5) with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. It is a very lean week for anything remotely post-Romantic, and all I can really highlight are Matthias Pintscher’s setting of Mallarmé, Hérodiade-Fragmente, on Sunday (September 3), and the lunchtime recital on Monday (September 4) which brings Stephen Kovacevich playing Berg’s early Piano Sonata Op 1. The Proms season ends for me on Friday (September 8), and inevitably it is an all Mozart programme, with Sir Charles Mackerras bringing us the UK premiere of Robert Levin’s new edition of the Mass in C minor, K427.
The traditional Last Night of the Proms on Saturday September 9 is celebrated in many different ways. This year I will be celebrating it in the best possible fashion by leaving the country. By the time the egregious mono-cultural ritual is in full swing I will be 800 miles away, and listening on CD to one of the pinnacles of English music, Christopher Tye's Mass Euge Bone, in the seclusion of the provençal countryside. I will be in France for the rest of September, but please don't go away. Posting will continue, but I am sure you will understand if the frequency of upload is a little variable, and if there is a delay answering emails and responding to comments - even I need the occasional break! But stay tuned, there are some great articles in the pipeline from France.
Learn to live within yourself. Explore a universe
That's you. Behold between your soul's shores
All the mysterious thoughts. Know: noise
Rips the enigmatic lace , destroys
The magic chorus. Noon rays will make it weak.
Listen to its song. But do not speak.
Fedor Tyutchev (1830)
Saturday September 2 – Szymanowski Violin Concerto No 1, Bruckner Symphony No 7, Berlin Philharmonic conductor Simon Rattle
Sunday September 3 – Pintscher Hérodiade-Fragmente, Philadelphia Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus conductor Christoph Eschenbach
Monday September 4 – Berg Piano Sonata Op 1, Stephen Kovacevich
Tuesday September 5 – Rachmaniniov Symphony No 2, BBC National Orchestra of Wales conductor Tadaaki Otaka
Wednesday September 6, Mahler Symphony No 2, ‘Resurrection’, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus conductor Bernard Haitink
Friday September 8 – Mozart Mass in C minor completed by Robert Levin. Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conductor Sir Charles Mackerras.
This is the final personal selection from the 2006 BBC Proms 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. All Proms should be available for seven days after broadcast on the BBC listen again service, but check BBC listings for confirmation. Concert start times are 07.30pm British Summer Time unless otherwise stated. Convert these timings to your local time zone using this link.
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