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24 September 2014
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BBC Proms 2007 
Audience at the Last Night Of The Proms 2006

BBC Proms 2007

Themes: Auden and Blake

Celebrating the anniversaries of W H Auden (born 1907) and William Blake (born 1757) the BBC Proms 2007 includes important musical works inspired by their words, in particular those of Benjamin Britten.




  • Two Cadogan Hall concerts featuring settings of Auden and Blake by Britten, from Polyphony (30 July, also including John Tavener's much-loved Blake settings ‘The Lamb’ and 'The Tyger') and the Nash Ensemble (1 September, also including a rare screening of the Auden/Britten film Night Mail).


  • Parry's famous setting of Jerusalem on the Last Night.


  • Royal Albert Hall highlights for Auden include Britten's Our Hunting Fathers from Lisa Milne and the Hallé (27 July), Hymn to St Cecilia from the BBC Singers (3 September) and Bernstein's The Age of Anxiety Symphony from the BBC Symphony Orchestra (17 July)


Benjamin Britten formed a close friendship with W H Auden in the 1930s when they worked together on Night Mail, a much celebrated five-minute documentary following the train journey of the mail from London to Scotland. With verse by Auden (who partly directed the film) and original music by Britten, Night Mail is screened in a Proms Saturday Matinee devoted to Britten, Auden and Blake with the Nash Ensemble under Edward Gardner (1 September).


The intense period of creative collaboration between poet and composer also resulted in the song-cycle Our Hunting Fathers to be performed by soprano Lisa Milne with the Hallé and Mark Elder (27 July), and his most famous choral work, Hymn to St Cecilia written as Auden’s great paean to Britten. The BBC Singers perform it in a Late Night Prom with their new Chief Conductor David Hill (3 September).


Leonard Bernstein was inspired by Auden’s Pulitzer prizewinning poem The Age of Anxiety for his Symphony No. 2, given by the BBC SO under David Robertson with acclaimed American pianist Orli Shaham making her Proms debut (17 July).


Britten was also fascinated by William Blake and his setting of the Elegy ('The Sick Rose') is the powerful centrepiece of his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings to be given in the Nash Ensemble Prom with BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artist Andrew Kennedy (tenor) and Richard Watkins (horn) on 1 September.


Sir John Tavener has been inspired to write some of his most unforgettable music by William Blake. His much-loved settings of 'The Lamb' and 'The Tyger' are performed for the first time at the Proms by Polyphony under Stephen Layton (30 July).




Tuesday 17 July, 7.00pm (Prom 5)
Bernstein: Symphony No. 2, 'The Age of Anxiety'
Orli Shaham (piano); BBC Symphony Orchestra/David Robertson


Friday 27 July, 7.30pm (Prom 19)
Britten: Our Hunting Fathers
Lisa Milne (soprano); Hallé/Mark Elder


Monday 30 July, 1.00pm (PCM 3)
Britten: Chorale after an Old French Carol; Shepherd’s Carol;
Tavener:The Tyger;The Lamb
Polyphony/Stephen Layton


Wednesday 29 August, 10.00pm (Prom 61)
Oliver Knussen: Requiem – Songs for Sue
Claire Booth (soprano); Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/ Oliver Knussen


Saturday 1 September, 3.00pm (PSM 4)
Britten:The Way to the Sea; On This Island; Cabaret Songs (arr. Daryl Runswick); Night Mail; Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
Samuel West (narrator); Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano); Andrew Kennedy (tenor); Richard Watkins (horn); Nash Ensemble/Edward Gardner


Monday 3 September, 10.15pm (Prom 67)
Britten: Hymn to St Cecilia
BBC Singers/David Hill


Saturday 8 September, 7.30pm
(Prom 72 – Last Night Of The Proms)

Parry (orch. Elgar): Jerusalem
BBC Symphony Chorus; BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Jiří Bĕlohlávek



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