'Everything you wanted to know about the Proms (but were afraid to ask)' is the screaming headline for a double-page spread in today's Independent by fellow blogger Jessica Duchen. Now something I wanted to know is why there is not a single note of Benjamin Britten's music in the 2008 Proms season, and, yes, the answer is in the Indie. The article helpfully explains that he wrote, and I quote, 'music of chilly glumness'. Like The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Noye's Fludde presumably? Fortunately we are spared an explanation as to why Peter Maxwell Davies' music is another notable absentee.
Elsewhere in the article Leonard Bernstein's Mass, which is represented at the Proms by three short excerpts, gets the treatment - 'this isn't the place to explain the whole Mass - be glad they're only doing the best bits'. But I did benefit from some of the other Proms insights in the article which include 'Wear comfortable shoes. If you go in high heels, you'll regret it' and 'Don't talk, eat, snog or slurp while the music is playing.'
Classical music promotion may be a lost art in London, but BBC Radio 3's excellent lunchtime concert from the Cheltenham Festival yesterday, together with an email from helpful reader, reminded me it is flourishing elsewhere.
This Mondrian-style poster is for a 2006 concert series by the Dutch wind ensemble Calefax whose repertoire ranges from arrangements of the 14th century Libre Vermell de Montserrat through Ellington to Conlon Nancarrow. Their recordings include an arrangement of Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues, which, unlike some of the things going on in London, is unmissable.
More Dutch contemporary music here and music promotion here.
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