On the contemporary music front the UK premiere of Steven Stucky’s Second Concerto for Orchestra played by the Philharmoia conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen on Sunday (13 August) should be a highlight. Stucky currently holds the corporate sounding title of Consulting Composer for New Music (well I guess it’s better than Vice President New Music) in Los Angeles where Salonen is Music Director, and the mutual admiration society extends to the score where the letters ESA are used as a motif in the first movement which is titled ‘Overture (with friends)’. Despite that I’m sure the music itself will be just great.
The next day another talented Finn Sakari Oramo arrives with his fine Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra to deliver two salutary reminders. In the first half of the concert fellow Finn Soile Isokoski’s performance of Strauss’ Four Last Songs will be a poignant reminder of the recently departed Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. In the second a well-deserved outing for Bártok’s Concerto for Orchestra serves to remind us that there was more than one important voice among the mid-20th century composers. And Bártok also gets an outing on Wednesday (16 August) when Garrick Ohlsson plays the Third Piano Concerto.
But the Americans get my vote for the Prom of the week. Scotland's Donald Runnicle’s brings New York’s Orchestra of St Luke’s to the Albert Hall on Thursday (17 August) with a programme that includes Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, and Ian Bostridge singing Witold Lutoslawski’s Paroles Tissés (Woven Words). With all those delights in the first half I’ll forgive them yet more Mozart in the second.
Proms highlights week commencing 12th August:
Sunday 13 August 8.00pm – Steven Stucky, Second Concerto for Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Essa-Pekka Salonen
Monday 14 August – Strauss Four Last Songs, Bártok Concerto for Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo
Thursday 17 August, Stravinsky Dumbarton Oaks, Lutolawski Paroles Tissées, Wagner Siegfried Idyll.
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. 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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