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Articles on this Page
- 08/12/15--04:11: _Proms 2015: Luca Fr...
- 09/08/15--02:22: _Proms 2015: B. Tomm...
- 06/05/16--08:04: _Per Nørgård – Three...
- 07/29/16--08:41: _Proms 2016: Michael...
- 08/16/16--02:25: _Proms 2016: Malcolm...
- 09/04/16--03:54: _Proms 2016: Thomas ...
- 09/25/16--03:12: _Blasts from the Pas...
- 07/22/17--04:08: _Proms 2017: Pascal ...
- 07/28/17--07:09: _Proms 2017: Julian ...
- 08/11/17--14:14: _Proms 2017: Brian E...
- 08/12/15--04:11: Proms 2015: Luca Francesconi – Duende – The Dark Notes (UK Première)
- 06/05/16--08:04: Per Nørgård – Three Nocturnal Movements (World Première)
- 07/29/16--08:41: Proms 2016: Michael Berkeley – Violin Concerto (World Première)
- 09/25/16--03:12: Blasts from the Past: Dmitri Shostakovich – Cello Concerto No. 2
- 07/22/17--04:08: Proms 2017: Pascal Dusapin – Outscape (UK Première)
- 07/28/17--07:09: Proms 2017: Julian Anderson – The Imaginary Museum (World Première)
- 08/11/17--14:14: Proms 2017: Brian Elias – Cello Concerto (World Première)
The concerto form is a popular one for new works at the Proms, and the most recent, Luca Francesconi‘s Duende – The Dark Notes (originally intended for the 2014 Proms), has, i think, set the bar higher than any of the last few years. ‘Duende’ is a somewhat complex Spanish term implying aspects of heightened emotional response to artistic stimulus, which the work’s soloist, violinist Leila Josefowicz, summarises as a “hypnotic, demonic zone in which a performer loses themselves in … →
Homage, allusion and evocation have all been heavily foregrounded in many of this year’s Proms premières, and the most recent pair are in no way an exception. Swedish composer B. Tommy Andersson has turned to the Greek god Pan for inspiration in his eponymous latest work for organ and orchestra (not, according to Andersson, a concerto) while British Jazz musician Guy Barker has turned to an early 15th century tract classifying the seven deadly sins as the basis for his … →
It’s Constitution Day (Grundlovsdag) in Denmark today, the closest the country gets to a national day, so i thought i’d mark the occasion with a piece by one of the country’s best-known composers that i’ve been spending time with lately. It’s a re-thinking by Per Nørgård of one of his earlier works, Remembering Child, a viola concerto written in 1986 in commemoration of Samantha Smith, the 13-year old American girl who became famous for contacting Yuri Andropov to express her fears about the possibility of a … →
Violin Concertos are a regular feature among the new works premièred at the Proms, and the first of this year’s came from Michael Berkeley, given by violinist Chloë Hanslip with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Jac van Steen. Berkeley’s work remains somewhat underappreciated in the UK, despite his prevalence over the years on TV and radio, maybe because he’s viewed as a traditionalist. There’s some truth in that, but the reality is, i think, more subtle. First of all, Berkeley is abundantly open … →
Three Proms, three world premières, three concertos, one for violin, two for cello, all lasting around 25 minutes. The similarities between them go little deeper than these most basic facts, though, each occupied with a very particular soundworld, aesthetic, and relationship between soloist and orchestra. The results were similarly mixed. Disappointingly—and, considering the strength of much of her work to date, surprisingly—Charlotte Bray‘s Falling in the Fire was by far the least cogent of the three, despite (or perhaps because of) … →
Following on from Emily Howard’s Torus, two further Proms premières have continued the relationship with the orchestral concerto archetype: Bayan Northcott‘s Concerto for Orchestra and Thomas Larcher‘s Symphony No. 2, which began life as one but developed in a different direction. Larcher’s symphony was commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, but far from being celebratory, the piece, dourly subtitled ‘Cenotaph‘, is bound up in thoughts and feelings instilled by the ongoing refugee crisis. Although not programmatic, Larcher has used … →
On this day, in 1966, Dmitri Shostakovich turned 60, and the evening brought a birthday concert including the world première of his Cello Concerto No. 2. The piece is well worth singling out for celebration, partly because to my mind it starts to resolve the very real difficulties that confront listeners when they engage with his music on anything more than the most superficial level. Put simply, there’s a problem, and it’s one i mentioned in a recent review (on Bachtrack) of … →
Concertos are a regular occurrence among Proms premières. Usually – too often – they’re for violin, but last year bucked this trend by featuring a pair of cello concertos (by Huw Watkins and Charlotte Bray). The 2017 season is bucking it some more, again featuring two of them, the first of which, by Pascal Dusapin, was given its UK première last Wednesday by soloist Alisa Weilerstein with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by her brother, Joshua Weilerstein. The title, Outscape, is an interesting … →
Last autumn, at the Royal Musical Association’s annual conference, composer Julian Anderson presented a paper addressing what he described as “the problem of professionals involved in modern music denigrating and otherwise attempting to devalue the music they are supposed to support”. The paper – which unfortunately i’ve not yet been able to read (anyone have a copy?) – was titled ‘Selling Ourselves Short: Inturned aggression and group self-contempt in the modern music sector since 1973’. As it happens, i was born … →
Around a month ago, i bumped into Brian Elias at the Cheltenham Music Festival, and we had a brief chat about his forthcoming Cello Concerto, premièred a couple of nights ago at the Proms. As i mentioned in my article with his pre-première questions, he expressed some reservations about including the programme note, worried that it might make people listen too analytically, trying to hear the structure rather than simply listening to the piece on its own terms. i encouraged … →