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24 September 2014
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BBC Proms 2008 
BBC Proms 2008: Daniel Barenboim and members of his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform a Late Night Prom. © Riky Davila

BBC Proms 2008

Late Night Proms

Since their introduction in 1970, the Late Night Proms have established themselves as an unmissable opportunity to hear a broader and more eclectic range of repertoire. Late Night Proms have a special atmosphere and the programme for 2008 reflects this and presents a festival in itself.


Ten Late Night Proms this season range from vocal delights such as the Tallis Scholars with Renaissance music, The King's Singers in celebration of their 40th birthday, Stockhausen's Stimmung and Rachmaninov's Vespers, to jazz with Nigel Kennedy and his quintet, NKQ, Daniel Barenboim and members of his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a cello recital by Jian Wang and traditional Indian music.


A night with Nigel Kennedy and NKQ, his jazz quintet from Poland, where he has been living for the past few years, provides a rare opportunity to hear this fascinating combination in the UK (19 July, Prom 3).


The Tallis Scholars and director Peter Phillips have established themselves as some of the UK's finest interpreters of Renaissance polyphonic music. In their Late Night Prom they explore two 15th-century composers – Jacob Obrecht, whose 550th birthday we celebrate this year, and Josquin des Prez – both of whom wrote Masses based on the chanson Malheur Me Bat (22 July, Prom 8).


To end Stockhausen Day, Theatre Of Voices gives a Late Night Prom performance of the hypnotic Stimmung. The ensemble has recorded Stimmung to great critical acclaim and director Paul Hillier has a long-standing association with the piece as one of the singers in a performance at the Proms 30 years ago (2 August, Prom 21).


The King's Singers celebrate their 40th anniversary with an Anglo-French programme including six of Poulenc's French folk songs, French Renaissance madrigals, Victorian part-songs, John McCabe's Scenes In America Deserta and recent arrangements of traditional English folk songs (5 August, Prom 26).


One Late Night Prom combines an Olympic theme – marking the opening of the Beijing Olympics – and 20th century Americana. Kristjan Järvi conducts the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in performances of Michael Torke's Javelin, a previous Olympics commission, John Adams's The Chairman Dances, derived from his opera Nixon In China, and Duke Ellington's Harlem. Cellist Han-Na Chang joins the orchestra for Bernstein's Three Mediations from Mass (8 August, Prom 30).


Paul Hillier returns with his other choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, to conduct Rachmaninov's heartfelt setting of the Orthodox All-Night Vigil (Vespers), written shortly after the composer left his native Russia (12 August, Prom 36).


In their second concert on 14 August, members of Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat, narrated by renowned French stage director, Patrice Chéreau. This is coupled with Pierre Boulez's Mémoriale, commemorating the death of flautist Lawrence Beauregard (14 August, Prom 39).


Chinese cellist Jian Wang ends Bach Day with a performance of three Bach solo cello suites – No. 1 in G major, No. 2 in D minor and No. 3 in C major. This also marks the end of the Beijing Olympics as the baton is passed to Britain in the lead-up to 2012 (August 24, Prom 52).


The London Sinfonietta celebrates its 40th birthday in 2008 with a performance of Sir John Tavener's The Whale, first heard at the ensemble's inaugural concert in 1968 with conductor David Atherton, who also conducts the work this year, joined by Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano) and David Wilson-Johnson (baritone) as soloists. This is juxtaposed with Einojuhani Rautavaara's Cantus arcticus and the UK premiere of Tavener's Cantus mysticus (27 August, Prom 56).


The final Late Night Prom of 2008 concludes the Messiaen celebrations with Cinq rechants, alongside a unique collaboration between the BBC Singers and sitar master Nishat Khan, who also performs traditional night ragas. Messiaen's Cinq rechants drew their inspiration from Sanskrit texts, traditional Indian rhythms and Renaissance polyphony (1 September, Prom 63).



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