BBC Proms banish Bach to bedtime

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 7, 7.00pm - Mahler Symphony No. 10 in Deryk Cooke's completion and Britten's Sinfonai da Requiem. Two superb works, but in one programme? Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic dispense the double dose of death. Noseda and the BBC don't quite seem to have got blogging. The latest entry in his 'Life of a Conductor' blog on the BBC Philharmonic site is for April 2007. If you want to find out about chocolate in Torino it is a rivetting read

* August 7, 10.00pm - it is really good to see Nicholas Kenyon using the late-night Proms slot for fringe repertoire. The choral music in this late-night Prom is all from that little known composer J.S. Bach, and the performers are Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan. But let's count our blessings. The late-night Proms suffer less from the intrusive audience noises and disruptive inter-movement dribbles of applause that have sadly become a feature of the main concerts. When will a visiting conductor finally have the nerve to criticise the sacrosanct, and spoilt, Prommers? While Masaaki Suzuki plays Bach at bedtime the core repertoire in the main concert at 7.30pm the following day is John Dankworth and the BBC Concert Band. At least Aldeburgh got it right. Masaaki Suzuki conducted a life-affirming B minor Mass as the closing concert of the 2007 Aldeburgh Festival. While back in London all the Proms can offer is the cringe-inducing Last Night, which at least includes a token three minutes of music by Thomas Adès.

* August 10, 9pm - this not-quite-late-night Prom is exactly what the slot should be used for, with Nitin Sawhney bringing his cross-genre and cross-cultural music and a lot of friends. Check out his music here on YouTube.

* August 11, 6.30pm - one of the season's highlights is the young in mind Sir Colin Davis conducting the European Union Youth Orchestra in a programme ending with Sibelius' glorious Symphony No. 5. But why the 6.30pm start time for a Saturday evening concert? Could it be that the BBC2 live telecast has to fit in with the sacrosanct 9.00pm programme junction for BBC1 and 2 and their satellite channels?

* August 12, 4.00pm - the bright idea of a Proms Ring Cycle ends somewhat ambiguously with a 'pick-up' performance of Götterdämmerung. Donald Runnicles conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Christine Brewer is Brünnhilde and Stig Andersen Siegfried. The BBC Symphony's Vaughan Williams Fifth Symphony on July 26 with Andrew Davis showed they can play gloriously with the right music and the right conductor. But if they didn't have time to prepare Sam Hayden's new 15 minute work for the July 17 Prom what chance Götterdämmerung?

There was some very interesting discussion here on the music that wasn't in Marin Alsop's American Prom on July 17. This Sunday, August 5th I will be playing Americans symphonies in my Overgrown Path radio programme. The featured works will will be William Howard Schuman Symphony No.5 (Symphony for Strings), Aaron Copland Short Symphony (No. 2), and Alan Hovhaness Symphony No. 2 "Mysterious Mountain".

The programme is a test transmission, and will be broadcast between 5.00pm and 6.00pm British Summer Time on Sunday August 15, and is available on web radio. Convert on-air times to your local time zone using this link. Click here for the audio stream. Windows Media Player doesn't like the stream very much and takes ages to buffer, WinAmp or iTunes handle it best. Unfortunately the royalty license doesn't permit on-demand replay, so you have to listen in real time. If you happen to be in the Norwich, UK area tune to 96.9FM. Details of future webcasts are here.

Now, for more whacky JSB try Bach and modern technology.
CD sleeve is Bach at Bedtime from Philips, and I aplogise for touching out the logo. 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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