The latest in the series of Proms cello concertos is a powerful new work from Charlotte Bray, an expression of ‘moral outrage’ at the destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, last summer, after which ‘everything changed’ in the composer’s compositional outlook.
Similarly, something changed in Mahler when he came to write his Fifth Symphony. Not only had he survived a haemorrhage that had nearly killed him, but he had also met and fallen in love with Alma Schindler, for whom the Fifth Symphony’s ardent Adagietto is a love song. Before that, Haydn’s Symphony No. 34 makes its first appearance at the Proms.