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Proms fever

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Suzanne Aspden Suzanne Aspden | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 10 July 2009

Last Monday I went to the BBC TV launch for the Proms, held in the upstairs room of a pub, which allowed producers, presenters, and the hard-working programme researchers to get together and share ideas, prior to the start of the season itself. We were a diverse bunch, just as the Proms itself is a diverse programme: I didn't meet any of my fellow bloggers there, and instead of chatting about our Big Four, discussed 'light' vs. 'serious' classical music, John Cage, Eric Satie, Arvo Pärt and so on.

Of course, our four 'Composers of the Year' do feature prominently in the Proms programme, three of them in the first week: Haydn's Creation is on the Saturday the 18th (I wrote about Handelians' reaction to The Creation a couple of blogs ago) with his Seven Last Words on Monday the 20th; Handel's Partenope is between them on Sunday the 19th, and Purcell's Fairy Queen on Tuesday the 21st. So, something of a dramatic theme in that first week as well. But, as always, there are so many thematic strands one can enjoy: I'm particularly looking forward to hearing all eleven of Stravinsky's ballets, for instance.

I'll be participating in the Proms Intro on Radio 3 for Partenope, at 4.15 on Sunday the 19th - a fascinating opera which, in contrast to its rather lacklustre reception at its first performance, is enjoying quite a revival at present. Then Prom 36 on August 12th (broadcast live on Radio 3 and on the evening of Saturday 15th on BBC2) with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, with an all-Handel programme, featuring the four coronation anthems, interspersed with other works from throughout the composer's career. I'll certainly have more to say about each on these pages...


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