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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

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BBC Proms 2010: celebrating Henry Wood

© BBC/Chris Christodoulou

In a day...

The Henry Wood Day (5 September) is the centrepiece of the BBC Proms tribute to its great founder-conductor.

It begins with a free afternoon Prom recreating the epic programme of the Last Night of the Proms from 1910, making this the first ever Proms season with two Last Nights.

The free 1910 Last Night includes such diverse music as Wagner, Beethoven, popular light music of the day, Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance March No. 4 (not No. 1, a familiar fixture of more recent Last Nights) and Wood's Fantasia On British Sea-Songs (ending with Rule, Britannia!).

To reflect Wood's love of "novelties", there's the world premiere of David Matthews's BBC commission based on the surviving fragment of the slow movement of Vaughan Williams's unfinished Cello Concerto, played here by Steven Isserlis with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Paul Daniel.

The Henry Wood Day ends with a concert of music either dedicated to Wood or strongly associated with him, by his British contemporaries Bax, Bliss, Howell and Parry, and by international luminaries Rachmaninov (whose First Piano Concerto, which received its world premiere under Wood at a 1900 Prom, is played by Steven Osborne), Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, performed by the Ulster Orchestra and conductor Paul Watkins.

And keeping him at the heart of the season

The tribute to Wood continues with a celebration of his passion for the new. This season there are more than 25 works which he introduced to UK audiences during his five decades at the helm of the Proms.

Among them are Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, Debussy's Prélude à L'après midi d'un faune, Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces and Mahler Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 7 and 8.

There is also the rare chance to hear some of Wood's orchestral arrangements of JS Bach (14 August) and Mussorgsky (2 September).

The season also includes 14 BBC commissions and a further 17 important premieres, as well as more than 60 other works performed at the Proms for the first time, showing that Henry Wood's spirit of musical adventure remains at the heart of today's festival.

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