Monday, July 31, 2006

Bombing the enemy with culture

Reports of Condoleezza Rice giving a piano recital on Friday (28 July) at the forum of the Association of South East Asian Nations (left) set me thinking about a couple of incidents in the past when the enemy was quite literally bombed with culture. I wrote here recently about the bizarre story of Hitler's court pianist, Ernst Hanfstaengl, who defected to the US in the Second World War. The US intelligence service arranged for Hanfstaengl to record a piano recital of Debussy and his own works interspersed with appeals for Hitler to sue for peace. CBS pressed thousands of copies of the recital as a single-sided phonograph record. These were then dropped by parachute over Germany addressed to the Nazi leaders, with instructions that the packages be delivered unopened to the addressees, read the full, and truly extraordinary story, here.

Somewhat better thought through was the dropping, by the RAF, of texts of Paul Eluard's famous poem Liberté over German occupied France. Eluard was born in Saint-Denis in 1895, and his works reflect the major events of the 20th century, including the World Wars, the French Resistance against the Nazis, and the political and social ideals of the 20th-century. In 1943 Francis Poulenc composed his choral work Figure Humaine to Paul Eluard's texts, including the poem Liberté.

By the miracle of the internet here is Paul Eluard himself reading Liberté. If you understand French listen to the words (this link gives the French text), if you don't just listen to the cadences of this most musical of all languages. Surely one minute of this poem is worth more than one week of vacuous posturings about Lebanon by today's world leaders? -

Now playing - Francis Poulenc's (right) Figure Humaine from the double CD of his choral works sung by The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers. Absolutely essential listening, this set also includes Chanson Francaises to the texts of Paul Eluard, and other of Poulenc's choral works. This re-issue no longer seems to be in the catalogue, but the stunning July 2006 bargain re-issue of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites performed by Kent Nagano and l'Opéra de Lyon is. For me the last act is right up there among the masterpieces of music theatre. This bargain is unmissable, buy it while you can. Dialogues des Carmélites is based on a real episode from the French revolution, in which the enclosed Carmelite nuns of Compiègne chose martyrdom rather than relinquish their faith and live in the world. Like Paul Luard's Liberté, a chilling reminder that great art never loses its relevance.

Audio file credit - Toute la TSF, an extraordinary audio archive that contains riches too numerous to describe. Image credit - inews.mk.co.kr Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Now men will go content with what we spoiled


Dateline Sunday 30 July 2006 - Hazardous material bound for Israel is believed to have been landed at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, after flights were diverted from Prestwick airport in Scotland in the wake of planned protests. A member of staff at RAF Mildenhall told the Press Association that one plane operated by US cargo firm Atlas Air was on the runway - but they could not say what was inside it. Atlas Air is being used for two hazardous material flights from Texas to Tel Aviv, and planes were due to fly into Prestwick over the weekend - but they were diverted to a military base elsewhere in the UK, according to a source at Preswtick.

An official operations spokesman at RAF Mildenhall, which has one of the biggest runways in Europe, later refused to confirm or deny the hazardous material flights had been diverted from Prestwick to Mildenhall. It is not sure exactly what is on board the planes, but their dangerous contents needed a special exemption from the Civil Aviation Authority, which was approved.

Two chartered A310 Airbuses carrying bunker-busting bombs for Israel previously stopped over for refuelling at Prestwick, apparently without following proper procedure. It led to calls for US planes to be banned from using the UK as a staging post for arms transport during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon - although the government has made clear it was the breach in protocol rather than the fact of the flights that was at issue.

US president George Bush apologised to Tony Blair over the previous use of Prestwick to refuel planes carrying bombs to Israel.Tony Blair defended allowing the use of Prestwick for US aircraft ferrying bombs to Israel.Speaking on an official visit to San Francisco he told Sky News last night:
"What happens at Prestwick airport is not going to determine whether we get a ceasefire in the Lebanon."

From the Eastern Daily Press. RAF Mildenhall is 35 miles from Aldeburgh, and 30 miles from where I write these words.


The pity of war, the pity war distilled
Now men will go content with what we spoiled
Wilfred Owen's words used in Britten's War Requiem

The heading photograph shows the aftermath of the German bombing raid on Coventry in 1940 which destroyed the 14th century cathedral. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was composed for the reconsecration of the cathedral in 1962. Britten (left) intended that the soloists for the premiere in the cathedral should be a Russian, Galina Vishnevskaya, a Britain, Peter Pears, and a German Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, but the Russian authorities blocked the participation of Vishnevskya, and her place was taken, at short notice, by Heather Harper. For Britten's peerless recording of the work made in the following year Vishnevska joined Pears and Fischer-Dieskau. Britten and Pears purchased the Chapel House in Horham, Suffolk in 1971 because the noise from US fighters flying from the RAF Bentwaters base near Aldeburgh was disturbing Britten's composing. Ironically Horham is ten miles closer to RAF Mildenhall, and it was in Horham he wrote his late works, Death in Venice, Phaedra and the Third String Quartet. Britten died in 1976, and RAF Bentwaters closed in 1993 after 43 years with a US presence on the base.


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Dresden Requiem for eleven young victims and I am a camera - Britten's Aldeburgh

Abbado on French orchestras

Daniel Harding walked out of a production of Cosi fan tutte at the Paris Opera last autumn, after one rehearsal, appalled by the orchestra's arrogance. 'Now you know why the French gave me the Legion d'Honneur,' Claudio Abbado (left) told him later, 'I never conducted a French orchestra!'

The cheesy headline 'Conducting his life with brio' does not bode well, and the quote above is just about the most illuminating comment in a not very illuminating full page profile of Daniel Harding in today's Observer which draws too heavily on press releases and anecdotes. I have been an admirer of the 32 year old Harding since hearing his revelatory 1999 CD of Beethoven Overtures recorded with the Bremen Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and tonight (July 30) he conducts a gala concert in Salzburg's Grosses Festspielhaus, with a roster of top-class singers, including Rene Pape, Anna Netrebko and Thomas Hampson. But he (or his agent, the ubiquitous Askonas Holt) should remember that, thanks to Nigel Kennedy, name dropping your favourite football (soccer) team is now a very risky way for a serious musician to establish street cred.

The credibility of the article is not helped by the fact that, as French reader Antoine Leboyer points out in the first comment below, Observer journalist Michael Henderson hasn't checked his facts. Abbado has in fact conducted several French orchestras including l''Orchestre de Paris/Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française and at the Paris Opera. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

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Modest maestro - marvellous journalism

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Anniversary for classical music's poster boy


Robert Schumann died on 29th July 1856. The picture above was taken by On An Overgrown Path in Schumann's birthplace Zwickau earlier this year. For the full story follow An Overgrown Path to Robert Schumann's Zwickau

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Rare Romantic Requiems in Avignon

Thursday, July 27, 2006

BBC Proms – Hans Werner Henze at 80

The delights in next week's Proms include performances of Hans Werner Henze’s (left) vast song-cycle Voices, Haydn’s Heiligmesse, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The nuggets are certainly there, but boy, do you have to dig for them among some really muddled programming. Wednesday’s (2 August) is typical of this year’s ‘throw as much mud at the wall and some will stick’ programmes. Have I missed the link between Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, Britten’s Les Illuminations, yet another Elgar/Payne ‘realisation’, a Bach orchestration by Andrew Davis, and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 1? And in another example of perverse programming there are two Proms on Saturday 29 July which happens to be the 150th anniversary of Robert Schumann's death, and there is not one note of his music in the four hours of Proms performances. Much that I love Poulenc's Gloria and the Chichester Psalms couldn't we instead have had one of the two rarely performed Schumann Requiems that I heard in Avignon last year and wrote about here?

But at least Saturday afternoon’s Prom by the National Youth Choirs of Scotland and Great Britain (isn’t Scotland in Great Britain?) features a cappella works by Alan Hovhaness, Thea Musgrave and Steven Sametz as well as the Poulenc and Bernstein. In the evening Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is sung by Christine Brewer in a concert that also includes Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky. More choral music follows on Tuesday (30 July) when Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic combine Haydn’s Heiligmesse with Schubert’s Symphony No 9 in C major, ‘the Great’.

At least Hans Werner Henze’s 90 minute song cycle on Tuesday (1 August) presents a single coherent piece of programming. Henze’s 80th birthday went almost unnoticed on 1st July, submerged by the Mozart and Shostakovich overload. Voices is from his politically motivated early output, and the style is eclectic including texts by Bertolt Brecht and sounds from Trinidadian steel drums and electric guitars. Mary King (mezzo) and Christopher Gillett (tenor) are soloists with Oliver Knussen conducting the London Sinfonietta. Here is Henze writing about Voices in his autobiography Bohemian Fifths:

Then, at the beginning of 1973, I made a start on Voices, a setting of twenty-two songs. This collection was intended as a contribution to the political art song. With the exception of a single poem by Heinrich Heine (a highly personal product of its age), all are based on texts by twentieth-century poets from Ho Chi Minh (right) to Heberto Padilla, from Giuseppe Ungaretti to the voices of Black America, and from Becht to F.C. Delius. Each song has its own instrumental accompaniment. I wrote them for the London Sinfonietta, a full-length 'Song of the Earth' (as it was called at the time), rather than for the sort of amateur choirs and other non-professional groups with whom I had occasionally worked in the past only to make the appalling discovery that they are incapable of singing or staying in time ... The voices of the title are those of the young and old artists whose work is politically committed. These people are concerned with their fellow human beings, with the contemporary human condition within the world around them and with all the problems of race and class in which they themselves often seem fated to be embroiled.

Thursday (3 August) brings the UK premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Circulating Ocean, while Friday has another delight, a rare performance of Karol Szymanowski’s Symphonia Concertante (Symphony No 4) bizarrely sandwiched between Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. It is also good to see Szymanowski’s String Quartet No 2 in Monday’s (31 July) lunchtime (1.00pm) chamber music Prom.

Proms Highlights:
* Saturday 29 June 2.30pmA cappella choral works by Alan Hovhaness, Thea Musgrave and Steven Sametz, Poulenc Gloria and Bernstein Chichester Psalms; National Youth Choir of Scotland and Great Britain, Susan Gritton (soprano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins.
* Saturday 29 June 7.30pm – Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Christine Brewer (soprano), BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Robertson
* Sunday 30 July – Haydn Mass in B flat major Heiligmesse; BBC Singers and Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda
* Monday 31 July – Szymanowski String Quartet No 2; Royal String Quartet
* Tuesday 1 August – Henze Voices; Mary King (mezzo), Christopher Gillett (tenor), London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen.
* Thursday 3 August – Toshio Hosokawa Circulating Ocean; BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Kazushi Ono
* Friday 4 August – Szymanowski Symphonia Concertante (Symphony No 4); Piotr Anderszewski (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Stéphane Deneve.

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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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BBC Proms - I am a woman, I am a composer

There has been much quite justified comment about the absence of women composers at this year's BBC Proms, including the following post by Jenny Fowler on the listserv of the International Alliance of Women in Music.

Dear All, The BBC Proms in London, is the biggest music festival in the world: 85 concerts, well over 100 composers, over 50 conductors, and so on. Since 1989 I have been doing a survey of women in the Proms. In 2006 there are 105 composers including 27 living composers in the Proms. All men. 52 conductors. All men. Only 14% of instrumental soloists are women. So I wrote an article, published in Classical Music, called "Where are the Women"?

However, I would like now to report on the reactions so far. I sent copies of my article to some music journalists and invited them to publicise the issue. And wow, it has taken off! I was whisked to the BBC studios to make a comment on a main early evening news programme on Radio 4. The Director of the Proms, has been having to make rather limp statements in defense. And, by the way, saying that he only chooses pieces on merit can sound pretty insulting too. (But what else can he say?) He has been caught entirely by surprise not having been aware of the total lack of women this year. And neither was anyone else aware of it in all the extensive Proms publicity both by the BBC and by independent journalists. On the contrary, the BBC had been boasting about how their coverage of contemporary music was doing so much for living composers, providing opprotunies, including commissions, exposure, new audiences etc.

One consequence of note, is that when other women composers have been asked for comments and reactions, some of them decided not to make any comments at all, and others made comments such as: "I wouldn't want to be selected as part of a quota". It is interesting to do a gender reversal on that. The Proms are playing 27 living women composers and no men. Men composers are reluctant to comment. Or again, if I could reverse another comment which was quoted:
"There are some hot male composing talents coming up. In 50 years time the Proms season will always include work by men".

On An Overgrown Path is totally agrees with these comments, and in fact highlighted the absence of women composers back at the beginning of May. But saying '105 composers including 27 living composers in the Proms. All men' is actually wrong. On Saturday in the Prom that starts at 2.30pm the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Scotland are performing an a cappella work by Thea Musgrave, in a concert that also includes works by Alan Hovhaness and Steven Sametz.

Thea Musgrave (right) was born in Edinburgh in 1928. She studied at the University of Edinburgh, and then spent four years as a pupil of Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire in Paris. In 1970 she became Guest Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her musical activities became increasingly centred in the United States. In 1971 she married the American violist and opera conductor Peter Mark, and has lived in the U.S. since 1972.

The Koussevitzky Award was awarded to Thea Musgrave in 1974, and this resulted in the composition of Space Play. After its London premier the work was performed in New York by the Lincoln Center Chamber Players. She was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1974-75 and 1982-83. As Distinguished Professor at Queens College, City University of New York between 1987 and 2002 Thea Musgrave worked with many gifted young student composers. Her compositions include orchestral, choral, operatic, and chamber works. She has achieved widespread recognition by joint commissions such as Harriet, the Woman Called Moses (1985) commissioned by the Royal Opera House, London and Virginia Opera (where her husband is Artistic Director), and Simón Bolívar for Los Angeles Music Centre Opera and Scottish Opera. Thea Musgrave is frequently interviewed and questioned about being a "woman" composer, to which she has replied: "Yes, I am a woman; and I am a composer. But rarely at the same time."

Now playing - Thea Musgrave Helios - Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra played by Nicholas Daniel (left) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Kraemer (sleeve image at head of article). This highly recommended CD from the enterprising contemporary music label NME offers four Musgrave works - Memento Vitae , Concerto in Homage to Beethoven (1970), Night Music (1969), The Season (1988) and Helios (1994). The perfect introduction to a very rewarding composer.

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the first woman to conduct a BBC Prom

Monday, July 24, 2006

Anonymous no longer

Compositions by anonymous composers have an important place in music history. Recently Tonus Peregrinus' recording of the anonymous Mass Of Tournai and St Luke Passion has given me great pleasure. These are the two earliest extant polyphonic settings of the Mass and Passion. Both settings are written in three parts, the 14th-century Mass of Tournai was found in a manuscript from Tournai Cathedral (left) in what is now Belgium, while the source of the English St Luke Passion is an early 15th-century 'Windsor' manuscript. The works are sung by the excellent young ensemble Tonus Peregrinus directed by Antony Pitts, and the CD is unmissable at budget price on Naxos.

The Anonymous 4 (right) are another favourite. Their CD la belle marie features conductus and chansons in praise of the Virgin Mary from 13th-century France, and all the compositions are anonymous with the exception of Perotin's sublime Beata Viscera. Anomymous 4 are an American ensemble of four female voices, and their repertoire ranges from the medieval to contemporary composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, John Tavener, Steve Reich, and Richard Einhorn. Some may find their tone too burnished for medieval repertoire, and they certainly present a different interpretation to the hairshirt approach of groups such as Marcel Pérès' Ensemble Organum. Tonus Peregrinus steer a middle course, and it is rewarding to compare Rebecca Hickey's solo performance of Perotin's Beata Viscera on their Notre Dame School CD with Anonymous 4's ensemble version. But in the final analysis no one knows how this music was originally performed, so all interpreations are equally valid. A particular mention is due for the superb sound on la bel marie which was recorded in the Christian Brothers Retreat and Conference Centre, Napa, California. Anonymous 4 record for Harmonia Mundi USA, which means that la bele marie, and their other releases, are available at particularly low prices from Amazon marketplace reseller Caiman USA.

Although anonymous musical contributions are important historically I am afraid they no longer have a place in the comments On An Overgrown Path. Spam and unwanted comments have not been a serious problem here due to the use of that maddening word verification feature. But increasingly a few anonymous readers have been posting strong comments while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. So, in common with many other blogs, On An Overgrown Path now no longer accepts anonymous comments. Registration for comments is simple, takes a minute, and can of course use a webname if required. All the other rules remain the same. Comments of any persuasion very welcome as long as they are not offensive, legally actionable, off-message, or gratuitously promoting an unrelated blog/website. Anyone who is unhappy with this please remember it is the publisher of the blog (i.e. me) who is legally responsible, not the writer of the comments.

Here are the last ever anonymous words On An Overgrown Path:

Servant and Master am I:
Servant of the dead
And master of the living.
Through my spirit the immortals speak the message
That make the world weep and laugh,
And wonder and worship.
For I am the instrument of God:
I am music.
-Anonymous


Image credits: Tournai Cathedral - Trabel.com, Anonymous 4 Christian Steiner via their web site. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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What exactly is a classic? and Raindrops are falling on my chant

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lebanon - a war of our time


'Humanity's suffering belongs to everyone' - Bernard Kouchner, director of Médecins Sans Frontières

As world leaders talk a lot and do very little, one team from Médecins Sans Frontières is already in Lebanon, and others are currently arriving there and in the surrounding countries. The teams are assessing the needs of the civilian population and focusing on displaced people in order to organize health relief activities, and essential goods are currently on their way.


Médecins Sans Frontières is an independent humanitarian medical aid agency committed to two objectives: providing medical aid wherever needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or sex, and raising awareness of the plight of the people they help. In 1999 Médecins Sans Frontières was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 'in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents'. More information on their work in Lebanon, including podcasts, will be available in the coming days via this link.


Now playing - Michael Tippett A Child of Our Time with Sir John Pritchard conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir. In his autobiography Tippett (above) says that in A Child of Our Time 'I wished to commemorate the unnamed, deranged soldier/murderer ... the work began to come together with the sounds of the shot itself - prophetic of the imminent gunfire of the war'.

A Child of Our Time was composed in 1941. In June 1943, whilst Director of Music at Morley College, London, Tippett refused to comply with the condition of his conscientious objection Tribunal that he should undertake full-time civil defence, fire service or land work. He argued,
with the support of non-pacifist Ralph Vaughan Williams as a witness, that music was his most constructive contribution to society. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment. He later commented, ‘When I entered Wormwood Scrubs Prison it was really as if I had come home’. At the same time he was aware of the ultimate price of pacifism paid by his contemporaries on the other side of the war saying: ‘If I had been in Germany, I would have been shot’. Michael Tippett was President of the Peace Pledge Union.

Now read about Musicians against nuclear weapons
Image credit: Beirut from CBS News. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Beecham on the BBC

'To a young friend looking for a BBC job: 'What on earth do you want to join the BBC for? London is divided into two sections musically. One wants to get into the BBC and the other wants to get out, and I find it strangely reminiscent of modern matrimony.'


But to show I really love the BBC here is a link to a photograph taken in the BBC's old Langham House training centre in 1972 of nine young people who joined the BBC that year. One went on to make outstanding arts documentaries, one went on to be a Radio 3 producer (I love the comment 'Retired in March 1998 as Senior Producer, Radio 3 Music Department and mightly relieved to do so!'), one worked on the technical side, and one started a blog ...

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BBC's Annual Report gets its facts wrong

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's official - music is good for you

Listening to music makes us feel better - but many doctors are now beginning to believe that it does much more. There is emerging evidence that it can bring about physical changes to the body that can improve our health. The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London has regular performances - and has seen impressive results. A scientific study by the hospital has found that patients who listen to live music need less drugs and recover more quickly than those who do not.

According to Dr Rosalia Staricoff, who carried out the study, there is growing scientific evidence that music aids physical changes which can help heal the body. She said: "The physiological benefits have been measured. Music reduces blood pressure, the heart rate, and hormones related to stress." Professor Paul Robertson regularly plays violin for patients in various hospitals. He is a scientist as well as an accomplished musician. He is now carrying out clinical trials to see how exactly music affects the brain and the body. He said: "We are approaching the point where a doctor would legitimately be negligent not to actually recommend music as a therapeutic intervention. What we are currently doing is building up the body of evidence so that we can say with clinical confidence that this is truly a beneficial intervention."

The worlds largest medical charity, The Wellcome Trust, is now bringing together academics and artists to explore the possibility of putting music therapy on a more scientific footing. The man behind it is Dr Ken Arnold, head of public programmes for the trust. He said "Our interest is in bringing together people as disparate as a musician, a psychologist, and a social thinker to share their ideas on music health and well being."

From BBC News

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Sernedipity 2

Thursday, July 20, 2006

BBC Proms aim for the Mass market

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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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maxwell Davies rages at musical garbage

What it adds up to is the rampant anti-intellectualism that I found Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (left) raging against, when I visited him at the Royal Academy of Music. The Master of the Queen's Music has just been listening to David Cameron's Desert Island Discs choice on BBC Radio 4, and he's not amused. "In any other European country," he says, "a politician who chose that sort of garbage would be laughed out of court. The anti-artistic stance of our leaders gets up my nose. Their main aim is to turn us all into unquestioning passive consumers who put money into the bosses' pockets. That is now the purpose of education."

From an excellent article by Michael Church in The Independent.

David Cameron is the leader of the Conservative Party, and here is the music he chose. Max raged about it - do you think it is garbage?

1. Tangled Up In Blue, Bob Dylan, CBS 26334
2. Ernie, Benny Hill, EMI CDGO 2040
3. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd, EMI 536112
4. On Wings of Song, Mendelssohn, Kiri Te Kanawa and Utah Symphony Orchestra
Decca 475 6013
5. Fake Plastic Trees, Radiohead, Parlophone CDRS6411
6. This Charming Man, Smiths, WEA, YZ000ICD2
7. Perfect Circle, R.E.M, I.R.S.DMIRHI
8. All these Things that I've Done, The Killers, Lizard King,Lizard012

Book:The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Luxury: A crate of Scottish whisky.

Hopefully not musical garbage is Max's new composition A Little Birthday Music which is being premiered at tonight's BBC Prom with birthday girl Queen Elizabeth in the audience, listen to it via this link.

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A musician with teeth

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's a feel good day

A heads up and a hello - Hello Pliable, I wanted to thank you for your wonderful site. In general, I am not a particularly avid blog reader: I feel to some degree the form facilitates laziness for no matter how great the ideas present many bloggers do not take the time to develop & flesh them out in writing as is necessitated by the best of the more traditional forms of journalism. That said your blog is an excellent exception to that sorry rule, being polished, well thought out & tackling the most interesting subjects.

This year I graduated from high school; although I've studied violin for most of my life it is in these last four years that I have really developed a love for classical & experimental music, come to listen to it in a new way and come to appreciate it (more) fully. As an aspiring composer and writer among other things, it has been On An Overgrown Path and Alex Ross' New Yorker articles that have played a particularly important role in this development by exposing so much in what is anything but a cold and past-its-time subject. I am spending some of my summer doing a little writing of my own on the subject of music and I hope it will come to something.

Finally thanks for recommending Keith Jarret's Book of Ways. Absolutely mind blowingly brilliant! Peace, SZ Portland, OR but soon CT for college.

Now playing - forte ma dolce, Johannes Brahms, the works for organ. It is currently very fashionable to present complete cycles of composer's music, but these rarely explore beyond the superficially appealing. This disc on the wonderfully innovative, and eccentric, French Edition Hortus label presents the complete organ works of Johannes Brahms on a single CD, played by organist François Ménissier. Brahms wrote for the organ at two different periods in his career, and the Preludes and Fugues and one Chorale were composed when he was a young man.

His absolute masterpiece is the liturgical cycle of Eleven Chorale Preludes (opus 122) which were Brahms' last compositions before he died in 1897. Brahms wrote them immediately after completing the Four Serious Songs opus 121 in 1896. Both works may be considered as meditations upon death, and the title of the CD comes from Brahms' marking forte ma dolce - strongly but sweetly. The Eleven Chorale Preludes mean a lot to me, not least because of the obvious links to Bach's Leipzig Chorales. They should be better known, if you don't know them buy this disc. And yes, I know there is an alternative version on Naxos, but please don't just buy the cheapest. Unless companies like Edition Hortus are supported we will end up with just one record company.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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Ma fin est mon commencement

Monday, July 17, 2006

Classical music's new audience?

Orchestras have long been trying to boost their ageing audiences. Now the London Symphony Orchestra, widely regarded as the most glamorous of Britain's orchestras, is taking the fight to the frontline - by marketing itself to babies. The orchestra has developed a series of DVDs aimed at babies aged above six months, with themes such as "shapes and patterns", "the world around us", and "seasons". Images of swirling paints, cloud-filled skies, wooden animals, and fields of rustling lavender, are accompanied by Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, or Holst's The Planets Suite.

Kathryn McDowell, the LSO's managing director, called it a "cradle-to-grave" audience development idea, put together with a company called Baby IQ. "If you introduce people to music [when they are] toddlers, then perhaps later they come to family concerts or get involved in an LSO education project. Then they know it's the LSO. It's all about brand recognition."

Chaz Jenkins, of the LSO, who developed the project for the orchestra, said:
"The LSO already reaches people from as young as three years old with education work ... babies are much more difficult to reach but a lot of research suggests [they] are very receptive to classical music, much more than to music with more beats. So we have been looking for a long time about how to reach very young children."

Only nine of 39 LSO Barbican concerts, in London, during the 2006-07 season, include works by living composers, plus an arrangement by Colin Matthews. Ms McDowell indicated that the contemporary music programming would depend on the predilection of the orchestra's conductors.


She added that, in the past, it was "the trappings of classical concerts that tended to put people off [going to a performance]". The way the orchestra presented itself to potential audiences was important. She would be banishing images of the orchestra itself from their brochures and leaflets. The LSO also now communicated via text messages, and had LSO ringtones available on its website.

From today's Guardian.


Photo of enthusiastic concergoer at end of last Friday's Proms Shostakovich 5 from Illinois Family Institute. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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Classical music is not a brand * LSO Not So Live? * The latest avant garde tricks

Sunday, July 16, 2006

BBC Proms - summer in the city


Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

Lyrics from Lovin' Spoonful's 1966 song Summer in the City


On Friday, as my photos show, there didn't seem to be a shadow in the city as a sweltering London launched into the 112th season of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. The concerts are in the Royal Albert Hall, which is located west of the city centre in the university and museum district. The hall is located between two major roads out of London, and the traffic and parking are horrendous. The Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, but only became the Proms venue in 1941 when the more central, and acoustically far superior, Queen's Hall was destroyed by German bombs. Unique is the only word to describe the Albert Hall; the Grade 1 listed building is oval in shape, and is topped by a huge glass and iron dome. In my photo below you can see the great terra cotta frieze, depicting "The Triumph of Arts and Sciences", that runs around the top of the building.

The capacity of the hall is more than 5000, which is a very large audience by classical standards. Last season more than 250,000 tickets were sold for the Proms, and an average capacity of more than 80% was achieved with 20 concerts sold out. The Proms take their name from the 900 standing room tickets sold for the Promenade in front of the orchestra (you can see the front rows of the promenaders in my last photo below), and for the 'gods' at the top of the auditorium. Ticket prices for the most expensive concerts range from £27 ($49) for a seat in a box to £5 ($9) for standing. My excellent choir seat for the opening night, from which the last photo below was taken during the applause, cost £18 ($32). For obvious reasons there are no reservations in the promenade (although season tickets are available for £160 [$290]) , and the promenaders queue for hours outside the hall for their places. My photo above shows the good natured, but very hot, queue for Friday's First Night.

A little background to the concerts is useful here. They were founded by the eminent conductor Sir Henry Wood in 1895. The BBC has been involved since 1927 but did not take full control of the concerts until 1942, and although more than half a century has passed since then the BBC's remorseless branding and media promotion of the series is still sometimes difficult to accept. For many years the programming of the concerts followed a particular pattern according to the day of the week. The very first concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood started with the Rienzi Overture, and Monday was traditionally Wagner night. By contrast in the 2006 season Wagner receives just four performances, one more than John Adams, although in fairness one of those is a complete Siegfried .


Wood also bravely introduced British audiences to many noteworthy European composers, especially Sibelius and composers of the Russian school. In 1912 he conducted Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces. His words to the orchestra at that time were: “Stick to it, gentlemen, this is nothing to what you’ll have to play in 25 years’ time”. That advice from seventy-five years ago is curiously at variance with the 2006 Prom director Nicholas Kenyon's stated policy of 'taking the audience with us', particularly as the 2006 season contains not a single note of Schoenberg's music.


Although my ticket above warns in very small print 'TV Cameras Present' the presence of BBC TV and radio broadcasting equipment at the concerts is no small matter. My photo below shows just a small part of the outside broadcast circus that will be camped outside the hall until September. In recent years the Proms have moved from being a concert series with media coverage to a media event with an audience present. There are an awful lot of cameras and microphones present, and cameras roam freely on stage during the performance with a boom mounted camera sweeping backwards and forwards over the players. The start of the concert is controlled by the spoken introduction from talking heads who are visible to the audience doing their stuff in one of the loggia boxes. Although the technology baggage is not a deal breaker the heat generated by the mass of TV lights and equipment can be.

I will show my age by saying that I was there in the audience in 1974 when the heat from the TV lights caused the baritone Thomas Allen to faint during his big solo, "Estuans interius" in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and his place was taken by a music student from the promenade. In the thirty-odd years since than the ventilation in the hall hasn't improved, and the temperatures on Friday were well into faint-inducing levels. In fact the start of the concert was delayed by a few minutes due to the illness of one of the brass players, although I don't know whether or not this was heat related.

With more than 5000 people in the audience, with all the brouhaha of TV cameras, and some extreme temperatures, the atmosphere often resembles a rock concert. This is probably a good thing as the electric atmosphere covers the troublesome acoustics of the cavernous circular hall. There have been several partially successful attemps to tame the reverberation using a canopy over the stage and 'flying saucers' up in the dome. But the simple fact is that apart from the Proms the Albert Hall is hardly used for serious classical concerts because of its problematic acoustics and layout. The sound is at its best in the meatier repertoire, and on Friday it was more than acceptable in the Dvorák Te Deum and Shostakovich Fifth Symphony. But it lacked any intimacy in the Mozart arias, which is not really surprising given the sheer size of the auditorium.


Which neatly brings me on Friday's First Night which the BBC Symphony's new Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek conducting Dvorák's Te Deum, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, plus Vltava from Smetana's Má Vlast and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro Overture and two Mozart arias. I'll leave the reviewing to the qualified critics, and just say that although it was a very fine concert the conductor, orchestra and audience still seemed to be getting to know each other in the first half. After the interval the Shostakovich symphony was a blast. But that was probably due to the composer as much as the conductor, particularly in the Allegro non troppo finale. Shostakovich Five and Mahler One, with their superbly orchestrated finales, are two symphonies that I cannot recall too many bad performances of. But that shouldn't detract from the fine contribution from the BBC Symphony and Jiří Bělohlávek, plus of course the soloists and BBC Singers. It is very good news that this partnership of conductor and orchestra promises so much after the frustratingly fallow years with Leonard Slatkin at the helm.


The BBC Promenade concerts are a bizarre mix of hi-tech media, and low technology venue. So, in conclusion, let's celebrate that unique mix by revisiting a poem written in 1945, by the then Poet Laureate John Masefield, which celebrated both the Jubilee Year of the concerts, and Sir Henry Wood's seventy-fifth birthday. The words are from an age, and culture, that soon disappeared as London was rebuilt after the War. But how may music festival founders have had a poem written in their honour? And most importantly, among all the doggerel, there is a blinding truth that applies just as much the Proms today as it did in 1945 - In the dry desert giving living dew.

To Sir Henry Wood

How many thousand times have you upheld
A batonette between two multitudes,
Each hushed to ready and receptive moods,
Waiting your mind's impulsion, that will bring
Oneness to beat, to breath and and stroken string,
And beauty's presence, holding the house spelled?

Ah, many times to me, as to the race,
You will have compelled this ecstasy of law
Lifting the human pattern from its flaw,
In the dry desert giving living dew.
Lord of sweet Music and of Langham Place,
Today, this nation thanks and praises you.


* Watch the First Night of the Proms via BBC video on demand until 21st July via this link
* On An Overgrown Path carries a weekly Proms preview

All photos taken by Pliable on July 14th 2006 using a Casio EX-Z120 digital camera, and copyright On an Overgrown Path. Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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I am a camera - Leipzig

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Shostakovich's persecutor finally speaks out


The purges of the 1920s and 30s had destroyed the writers: Mandelstam, Babel, Yesenin, Mayakovsky, Tsvetaeva, Gumilyov and many others were dead, executed or by their own hand. Then, in 1948, Stalin turned to the composers. The Great Leader and Teacher had heard an opera that displeased him. His anger spread to all avant-garde music, to all music that didn't fit his own taste for old-fashioned, accessible melodies, easily understood by the people, upbeat and celebrating the superiority of all things Soviet. Stalin ordered his commissars to impose socialist realism in music, and to weed out those who had other ideas. The Central Committee drew up a decree condemning composers of music that was "inimical to the people" and "formalist".

They handed the task of wiping out formalism to the head of the soviet composers union, Tikhon Khrennikov. At the first congress of the union of composers from April 19-25 1948, Khrennikov listed those who were in the firing line: the "elitist, anti-socialist" Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Miaskovsky and others ... "In the music of Comrade Shostakovich we find all sorts of things alien to realistic Soviet art, such as tenseness, neuroticism, escapism and repulsive pathology. In the work of Comrade Prokofiev ... natural emotion and melody has been replaced by grunting and scraping."

Khrennikov reported that people "all over the USSR" had "voted unanimously" to condemn the so-called formalists and let it be known that those named in the decree were now officially regarded as little better than traitors: "Enough of these pseudo-philosophic symphonies! Armed with clear party directives, we will stop all manifestations of formalism and decadence."

For Shostakovich, undoubtedly the main target and whose satirical operas and ballets are being performed by Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre at the London Coliseum this month, it was a terrifying moment. The guilty men were forced into a public recantation of their errors and a humiliating exhibition of self-criticism and abasement. Prokofiev suffered a stroke and never recovered; he died five years later, on the same day as Stalin in 1953.

All those attacked by Khrennikov in 1948 knew their careers were stymied, and until Stalin's death they lived in constant expectation of arrest, imprisonment or even execution. Astoundingly, Khrennikov remained in his post as chief arbiter and inquisitor of Russian musical life until 1991. He is now aged 93 and agreed to talk to me in Moscow last month.

When I suggest he led the regime's repression of musical life, he becomes angry and yells at me that I am recounting lies and slander; he says the reason the Soviet Union needed to encourage positive socialist realism in music was because "you" (the west) had erected an iron curtain to threaten the USSR; the campaign against Jewish composers was regrettable, he says, "but don't forget there were many Jews in musical life and they launched unfair attacks on my compositions".

Khrennikov tells me he was simply told - forced - to read out the speech attacking Shostakovich and Prokofiev in 1948: "What else could I have done? If I'd refused, it could have been curtains ... death. They made me do it; and anyway, Shostakovich and Prokofiev were sympathetic to my plight - they knew I had no choice: I did everything I could to help them financially while they were banned and repressed ... and they were grateful to me".

But even now he is proud of the power he wielded under Stalin: "My word was law", he says. "People knew I was appointed personally by Stalin and they were afraid that ... I would go and tell Stalin about them. I was Stalin's Commissar. When I said No! (he shouts), it meant No." Khrennikov tells me with relish of his own meetings with Stalin: he was a connoisseur of art and music; he understood it much better than anyone, so much so that he would hold Politburo meetings in a private box at the Bolshoi: when the most accomplished singers came on stage, Stalin would hold up his hand and order a pause from the mighty affairs of state to hear the voice of genius.

An edited extract from a very important article in today's Guardian by Martin Sixsmith which also includes a meeting with Shostakovich's widow Irina - absolutely essential reading.

Image credit - Katerina Dalayman in Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, photograph by Tristram Kenton via Guardian, Shostakovich illustration by Nathan Jensen. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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Thursday, July 13, 2006

The gender bias at the BBC Proms

Nicholas Kenyon needs to stop being so complacent (Not enough women? Well ... July 3). Instead, he should apologise and start addressing the gender bias at the Proms. The absence of female composers is indefensible, but the figure of 15% for female instrumentalists featured as soloists is in many ways more shocking.

The picture becomes worse if one focuses on British artists. Apart from two recorder players in a chamber-music concert, only one female British instrumentalist features as a soloist in this year's Proms, in 73 concerts. There are almost 20 British men. This is disgraceful; unlike with composers and conductors, it cannot be argued that there are fewer women to choose from. British women have equal representation at all levels of the music business, and most well-known British soloists are women. The two biggest-selling concerto CDs in the UK in 2005 were by British women and the Barbican's Mostly Mozart festival of 18 concerts features six female instrumental soloists, four of them British.

As things stand, the Proms do not reflect the reality of British musical life. They are certainly not the "best of a musical culture", as Kenyon claims. Yet they get a disproportionate amount of airtime and press coverage. It is scandalous that the BBC should support an event exhibiting such clear gender bias.

Letter from Chris West in today's Guardian

Photo is of Joanna MacGregor, one of the many female soloists not appearing at this year's BBC Proms. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
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Music gets in the way of running BBC Proms

In Memoriam Ruth Schonthal

News has come of the passing of the composer and teacher Ruth Schonthal. She was born in Hamburg in 1924 of Viennese parents, began composing at five and became the youngest student ever accepted at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin where she received piano and theory lessons. In 1935, as a Jew, she was banished from the Conservatory. The persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany led the family into exile, and they settled in Stockholm. Because of her exceptional talent she was accepted at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, in spite of not meeting the standard regulations for admission, a fact the Swedish press noted and duly protested. In 1940 her first Piano Sonatina was published. At the Academy Ruth Schonthal studied piano with Olaf Wibergh and composition with Ingemar Liljefors.

In 1941 the political situation became too dangerous again, and the family was forced to flee a second time, this time to settle in Mexico City. There Ruth Schonthal continued her studies of composition with Manuel Ponce. When she was nineteen years old she was the soloist at the world premiere of her own Piano Concerto in the Palacio de Bellas Artes. In 1946 she met Paul Hindemith, who was on a concert tour in Mexico City. She accepted his offer to study with him at the Yale University on a scholarship that Hindemith procured for her. She graduated in 1948, one of the few who graduated with honors.

Ruth Schonthal never followed the prevalent contemporary aesthetic fashions. At a time when Anton Webern and John Cage were the American role models, she followed her own musical path, never denying her own classic-romantic heritage. The extraordinarily varied impressions she absorbed in the course of her life in the different parts of the world provided the foundation of her musical style. Through the exposure to diverse influences and methods in Germany, Sweden, Mexico and the USA, Ruth Schonthal was able to extrapolate from these experiences an unusually rich mixture of compositional techniques. She used these to form a comprehensive stylistic synthesis. For the latter part of her career Ruth Schonthal was on the composition faculty of New York University.

* Follow this link for Ruth Schonthal's website

* Ruth Schonthal's music is published by Furore-Verlag

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BBC Proms 2006 lacks the eternal feminine

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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