BBC Proms and beyond

Here are Pliable's personal picks for the coming week's BBC Proms. All Proms are available for seven days online, detailed programmes and broadcast times for every concert are available from the BBC web site.

* August 13, 1.00pm Cadogan Hall, Philip Langridge sings Elizabeth Maconchy's Four Elizabethan Songs together with Britten and Schumann.

* August 13, 7.30pm - Schoenberg's orchestration of Brahms' Piano Quartet Op. 25 is played by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony conduced by Paavo Järvi.
* August 15, 7.30pm - a rare performaance of Sibelius' complete incidental music for The Tempest in an authentically Finnish performance by the Lahti Symphony orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä.
* August 16, 10.15pm - a nice chewy programme of contemporary music by James MacMillan and ending with Harrison Birtwistle's Panic which was infamously premiered at the 1995 Last Night of the Prom. Martyn Brabbins conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. It's a sign of the times that under John Drummond Birtwistle was programmed in the most popular Prom of all, while under Nicholas Kenyon Birtwistle is marginalised to the bedtime slot.
* August 17, 7.30pm - More Schoenberg (the Five Orchestral Pieces) coupled with Stravinsky, Oliver Knussen's Violin Concerto and the UK premiere of Henze's Sebastian im Traum.
* August 18, 6.30pm - the Elgar anniversary is celebrated with his oratorio The Apostles. Outgoing City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra music director Sakari Oramo conducts. Let's hope there are no silly Guardian articles written by his spin doctors this time.
* August 19, 6.30pm - Gustavo Dudamel, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Deutsche Grammophon PR machine play Shostakovich, Bernstein, Revueltas and Ginastera between Edinburgh, Essen, Schleswig Holstein, Leipzig, Dresden, Bonn and Frankfurt.

There's also lots of great music making elsewhere.
* Delft Music Festival, Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft (The Netherlands), August 12, 2.15pm - chamber music by Dutilleux, Hindemith, D'Riviera and R. Schumann and the world premiere of Springs Eternal by Vanessa Lann.
* Edinburgh Usher Hall, August 13, 8.00pm - Thomas Adès conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Beethoven, Stravinsky, and his own Violin Concerto.

* Snape Maltings, Suffolk, August 14, 7.30pm - Mr McFall's Chamber mix classical, jazz, tango and rock, including a brand new piece by Gavin Bryars.

And now read Gavin Bryars on independent record labels.
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Pliable said…
Email received:

Greetings From Washington, D. C.!:

I realize that what I am writing here falls outside your specific invitation for using this E-Mail address of yours, but I will explain why I am chancing doing so before too very long.

When you write of _The_ _Guardian's_ spin-doctors in connection with the upcoming Proms performance of Elgar's _The_ _Apostles_, are you telling us that you do not like this oratorio, or even Elgar's music as a whole (I recall previously visiting your blog within the past few weeks, but currently do not recall what the subject of the other post I read was)? Though it _MAY_ have its longeurs, I personally like this oratorio very much, and hope Maestro Oramo gives us another fine performance of it despite his tendency, it sometimes seems to me, to drag the quiet middle of its final chorus. I also recall, from a little of his Birmingham performance over the Elgar weekend in June which I sampled, that he had a rather fine sextet of soloists then. This one is different, but hopefully can somehow be equally impressive, if not more so! Dare I say it, if only he had asked my favourite soprano, Miss Susan Gritton, to sing in one or both of these, she having given a _SUPERB_, in my opinion, account of the soprano solos in the Huddersfield Choral Society's performance of _The_ _Apostles'_ companion, _The_ _Kingdom_, last year!

Now for that other matter. I am a legally-blind Blogger user, and, for some reason, the link where such users are to listen to the characters they are to type for visual verification does not work for me, thus preventing me from commenting in your blog, where, of course, what I wrote above could better belong. If your schedule is too busy for you to use comment moderation, or if you feel that use of it, apart from preventing spam (which, of course, visual verification is also intended to do), might constitute undue censorship, such must be conceded, even though it prevents me from placing my comments where I should.

Although this often-lazy so-and-so has not posted in it since last November, you are welcome, if you wish, to visit my own blog, _The_ _House_ _Of_ _Old_-_School_ (possibly an inept title after all for a lazy person?), at, where you can find, among other things, some posts on musical subjects, mostly English! Further, both of my visits to yours were prompted by Google Alerts I have set, one for Elgar and another for Vaughan Williams! Yet another is for Sir Charles Mackerras, but I currently think that the Elgar one brought me both times. I may still have that earlier alert, and could try to overcome _IT_ to find that other post of yours! Another procedure which just occurs to me, and a potentially-simpler one, is to return to your current Proms post and then check the links below it for your other if it is there!

Hoping this finds you well, with apologies if this message of mine is out of order for any reason, and with many best wishes, I am

Respectfully and sincerely,

J. Vaughan
Pliable said…
Mr. Vaughan, many thanks for visiting On An Overgrown Path and leaving a comment.

I am very sorry about the difficulties you experienced with the Blogger comments facility as a visually impaired user, and I have passed these comments on to Blogger with a request that the audio facility be enabled.

Even with the word verification facility the volume of spam is high, and is increasing. If there is any unintended censorship it is forced on me by the many spammers who abuse the internet.

Unfortunately the specific circumstances here have made the nuance of my post difficult to interpret.

I am very enthusiastic about Elgar's music and his oratorios, and on the 150th anniversary of his birth wrote this article:

The headline is "Carrying on Beethoven's business."

The context of my comment on the Guardian article is as follows.

In the Guardian in May an article over Sakari Oramo's byline promoted his forthcoming Gerontius and attacked historic Elgarians, including Sir Adrian Boult's interpretations which he described as "stoic stodginess".

Here is the Guardian article.,,2087164,00.html

At the time I responded and defended Boult, about who Elgar said "my reputation is safe in your hands". Here is my article.


The Apostles is a very fine work. I am sure Sakari Oramo's Prom will be very good, and I am very much looking forward to it. But it is a pity that he used (or his PR agency used in his name) the silly tabloid style journalism so unsuccessfully pioneered by another high profile music journalist.

Thanks again for visiting my blog, and I will try to make it more accessible to sight impaired readers.
Pliable said…
Another email received

Thank you _VERY_ much for your thorough and, in the main at least, _SPOT_-_ON_ reply to my message!

I indeed read Maestro Oramo's, or his Agent's if applicable, article on the oratorios and _Gerontius_ back in the Anniversary Month, and found it most thought-provoking. Yet I trust, and expect, you saw that, while being somewhat critical of their interpretations, he expressed respect for Sir Adrian, Sir John and Sir Malcolm. Yet, as you _RIGHTLY_ observed, Elgar indeed made the comment about the first which you attributed to him, and obviously meant it! I am one who am now interested more than ever in how many interpretive liberties composers were, and are, willing to allow their performers. I am told that Elgar is very precise when marking his scores, and yet I have been also reading and hearing that he was prepared to allow certain license, a paper in _The_ _Cambridge_ _Companion_ _To_ _Elgar_ being particularly telling on this matter. And yet, in defense of Maestro Oramo, it would seem that he is right to try to recapture what is in the scores of these big choral works, and I think he has shown that Elgar's prescribed tempo for "Turn You To The Stronghold" in _The_ _Apostles_ can work after all! Regretably we have only one example of the composer's approach to both of these two big Biblical oratorios, the Prelude to _The_ _Kingdom_, so, without being able to hear reliable comments from those who heard him conduct them, such as a few at least we have from Sir Adrian, it is nigh impossible to know what he did with them himself. Yet, based on some recently-resurfaced recordings, we can know that at least some of Sir Adrian's interpretive approach to _Gerontius_ was in place as early as the 1930's, e.g., his broadening of the tempo when a theme from the Prelude recurs in the orchestral passage after "Sanctus, Fortis." Yet Sir John, and Sir Simon Rattle in his 1980's recording, take this passage at approximately the same tempo as the bars just after Gerontius finishes, and I personally think that works much better (I forget what Maestro Oramo did there in his recent Birmingham account, but _MAYBE_ he kept it quick as well). Yet further, the late Maestro Del Mar's book cited in my second message suggests that Elgar himself sometimes deviated from his own instructions when he presumably found them impractical in performance. By the bye, to go a little afield for a moment, Britten reputedly insisted that his performers follow his markings to the letter, and yet he took at least one liberty in his recording of _Gerontius_, adding timpani crescendi at two close points in the Prelude where they are not marked. Is he being arrogant there, saying that his way is always the right way, no "do unto others," or did he discover that Elgar was more lenient than he as per literalism, and was thus just taking the liberty he thought was expressly given? Vaughan Williams, another enthusiasm of mine, was apparently another who was prepared to give some room, even giving ranges for his metronome markings instead of just one on at least occasions as well as optional scoring variants.

Perhaps this is enough, if not too much, for now, and thus I will close after I observe that I have also tried to get the audio-link option for visual verification sorted out, but without success. I think someone from Google suggested that my screen-reader software or something else might not be compatible with something relevant to this on Blogger. Yet thank you _VERY_ much for your try, and I obviously hope it succeeds where mine failed!

J. V.

p.s. In view of your Blogger username, can I assume that you like perhaps the most famous Christian allegory ever written, and thus possibly the morality which a composer cited above wrote based on it? If so, please know that that work is probably still at least one of my _ABSOLUTE_ favourites in the whole of Western serious music!

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