This is the seventh of my Proms-Watch analysis of British Music being performed during the 2011 season. Once again it is not a great week for British music...
Friday 26 August
Tonight’s concert kicks off with Richard Strauss’s rarely heard Burleske for piano and orchestra. The soloist is Kirill Gerstein. After the interval there is a performance of yet another symphony by Gustav Mahler. This time is it the turn of the Symphony No.6 in A minor. The BBC Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Semyon Bychkov.
Saturday 27 August
This is a good day for British music. At the afternoon concert at the Cadogan Hall, after hearing Hildegard of Bingen’s Symphonia armonie celestium, there are three important British works.
First up is Britten’s ‘Sacred and Profane,’ this is followed by Harrison Birtwistle’s A Description of the Passing of a Year. The final work in this BBC Singers’ concert is a world premiere of Stevie Wishart’s Out of this World. Three important and challenging works.
However the evening concert contains no British music. There is a premiere by the Swedish Anders Hillborg ‘Cold Heat’ and performance of Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595 and finally Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich is conducted by David Zinman.
Sunday 28 August
One work tonight- Felix Mendelssohn’s great oratorio Elijah. This is a work that was premiered in Birmingham in 1846. So there is a huge British connection. In fact St Paul and Elijah probably had a disproportionate influence on Victorian choral music that can be heard in Sullivan, Parry and Stanford.
Monday 29 August
Kathryn Stott and Yo Yo Ma give a reading of Graham Fitkin’s (b.1963) L which was composed in 2005 for Ma's 50th birthday. Other works on this programme include Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata, Egberto Gismonti/Geraldo Carneira Bodas de prata and Quatro cantos.
The evening concert ‘goes to the movies with John Wilson and his Orchestra in ‘a celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood film musicals.’ So unlikely to be a big input of British music there, but who can tell?
Tuesday 30 August
No British music tonight. The concert is dedicated to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503 and Anton Bruckner’s massive Symphony No. 8 in C minor. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Jaap van Zweden. David Frey is the piano soloist.
Wednesday 31 August
Another big night for Graham Fitkin with a premiere of his Cello Concerto. Yo Yo Ma makes reappearance at this year’s Proms to play this work accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. After the interval, David Robertson conducts a galaxy of stars in Beethoven’s Ninth ‘Choral’ Symphony.
Thursday 1 September
A welcome visit from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with their conductor Zubin Mehta. Alas there are no British works given tonight. There is a performance of Max Bruch’s ubiquitous Violin Concerto in G minor, extracts from Isaac Albeniz’s Iberia, Rimsky Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol and Anton Webern’s Passacaglia.
So, apart from it being a huge week for Graham Fitkin, with two important works, it is a bit of a wash out for British music. I agree that there is some Britten, Birtwistle and Wishart choral music, but this is at an afternoon concert.
And the next week is the last week!