BBC Proms 2008
BBC Proms Chamber Music
21 July to 8 September, 1.00-2.00pm, Cadogan Hall
Now in its fourth year at Cadogan Hall, BBC Proms Chamber Music goes from strength to strength in 2008 with eight Monday lunchtime concerts throughout the season.
Leading artists from home and abroad present a variety of programmes reflecting the strands running through the Proms, with opportunities to hear smaller-scale works of composers whose anniversaries we celebrate – Vaughan Williams, Olivier Messiaen and Elliott Carter.
The festival spirit continues as several artists return throughout the season – Pierre-Laurent Aimard opens both the first night and the Proms Chamber Music series, and Mark Padmore, Elizabeth Watts, Julia Fischer and Yakov Kreizberg all perform at both the Royal Albert Hall and in the Proms Chamber Music series.
Other highlights include early music groups I Fagiolini and Les Talens Lyriques, the Proms debut of Jordi Savall and a performance by one of Britain's leading chamber groups, the Nash Ensemble, performing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Clarinet Quintet and Vaughan Williams's On Wenlock Edge.
Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard opens the Proms Chamber Music series with a piano recital including works by Messiaen and Carter, both composers with whom he has a great affinity. He plays Carter's Night Fantasies and Messiaen's L'alouette lulu from Catalogue d'oiseaux, alongside Schumann's Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133, and Bartók's Out Of Doors Suite (PCM 1, 21 July).
To complement Glyndebourne Festival Opera's production of Monteverdi's The Coronation Of Poppaea later the same week, I Fagiolini, directed by Robert Hollingworth, perform an all-Monteverdi concert. Lamento D'Arianna is all that remains of his second opera, Arianna, arranged for five voices, and remains one of the masterpieces of Italian madrigal writing. This is coupled with Volgendo Il Ciel and Il Ballo Delle Ingrate (PCM 2, 28 July).
Julia Fischer and Yakov Kreizberg perform regularly as soloist and conductor (see Prom 25), but here they form a chamber music partnership with Kreizberg at the piano. Their recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was received with great critical acclaim and here they continue with the same composer and three pieces written in the same period of his life – Sérénade Mélancolique, Souvenir D'Un Lieu Cher and Valse-Scherzo. These are set alongside Grieg's Violin Sonata No. 3 (PCM 3, 4 August).
More Messiaen – this time for soprano and piano. Harawi is an extended song-cycle that forms the first part of a trilogy of works inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Unlike the majority of Messiaen's works, the trilogy explores human rather than divine love. Soprano Gweneth-Ann Jeffers, a former member of the Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, is joined by pianist Simon Lepper (PCM 4, 11 August).
Legendary bass viol and viola da gamba player Jordi Savall makes his Proms debut with long-time collaborator Rolf Lislevand in a programme highlighting the Renaissance and Baroque musical worlds of the Iberian peninsula. Works by Ortiz, Hume, Sanz and French-Baroque gamba player Marin Marais (PCM 5, 18 August).
Christophe Rousset directs Les Talens Lyriques in a concert of French Baroque chamber music reflecting the intimacy of chamber-music evenings at the court of Versailles. With Montéclair's Cantata Le Dépit Généreux at the centre we also hear Rameau's Cantata Orphée, excerpts from Marais's Sonate Á La Marésienne and a touch of the nightingale with Couperin's Le Rossignol (PCM 6, 25 August).
The Nash Ensemble is joined by tenor Mark Padmore for a performance of Vaughan Williams's On Wenlock Edge, a song-cycle of six settings of AE Housman's words. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was a contemporary of Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music (PCM 7, 1 September).
The final Proms Chamber Music concert of the season showcases some of the finest talent of the current Radio 3 New Generation Artists – the Aronowitz Ensemble and soprano Elizabeth Watts. Richard Strauss's string sextet is followed by Fauré's La Bonne Chanson, as well as the world premiere of a BBC commission by Welsh Composer Huw Watkins entitled Sad Steps (PCM 8, 8 September).