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Proms 2021


S_L
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The new 'Proms' programme is announced and, whilst not as imaginative as I had hoped, it does include more music for organ than in previous years.

The 'first night' includes a performance of the Poulenc Concerto with Daniel Hyde as the soloist, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Dalia Stasevska conducting.

Oliver Latry gives a Recital on Sunday 1st of August - (11h45) - including three Latry improvisations preceded by three Bach Preludes & Fugues (BWV 552, 572, 582).

Thomas Trotter gives a Recital on Saturday 4th of September  (11h45) - playing Bach, Widor, Saint-Saens & Liszt (Ad Nos)

There is a performance of Saint-Saens 'Organ' Symphony on Tuesday 7th of September with Anna Lapwood playing the organ.

The full programme is here: BBC Proms Calendar - By Year - BBC

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I'm delighted to see the programme, and while I'm a bit puzzled at what appears to be the extremely short duration of some of the concerts, it can't be denied that, as Attenborough says on the promotional video for the season, a wonderful brightness will appear in our diaries! Very good news! 

I'll also be interested to see what becomes of the arena and gallery. There's talk of either shifting fewer than the usual number of prommers to the seated areas - or providing socially distanced fixed seats in the usual areas - at usual promming prices and on the day only...

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The Royal Albert Hall twitter feed is suggesting the 4 scheduled "Mystery Proms" will all be organ recitals. 

That would certainly massively increase the exposure to organ music compared to any normal Prom year.  Exciting if true!

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2 hours ago, AndrewG said:

The Royal Albert Hall twitter feed is suggesting the 4 scheduled "Mystery Proms" will all be organ recitals. 

That would certainly massively increase the exposure to organ music compared to any normal Prom year.  Exciting if true!

Absolutely - but, without those 'Mystery Proms', there is still an increase in exposure to the AH organ with an Organ Concerto, two Organ Recitals and the Saint-Saens Symphony.

And will the organ be used on the 'Last Night' for 52 bars of the Elgar P & C and the Parry arr. Elgar?

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Must confess to my being a bit of a " non-proms type ",especially with regard to the ubiquitous " Last Night.......   " but have to say it is encouraging in the one fact alone that the organ is being singled out for solo use.  I suppose the hall management are forced into having to since so much capital has been invested into this instrument.

I know I will court scorn contempt and derision; but here goes; the proposed programme appears to be a bit , shall we say " so last year ".

Could the honourable members on here care to suggest an alternative?    Mine would be one of orchestral arrangements maybe including those excellent pieces by Karl Jenkins. another one might be Jongens "  Concert Symphony "?  Don`t think one of  Fela Sowendas  pieces would go down too badly either - " Joshua and the walls of Jericho" for example.

I will now take up my customary position in front of a wall and position my blindfold.

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3 hours ago, Adnosad said:

Could the honourable members on here care to suggest an alternative? 

The most spectacular (and insane) piece for organ and orchestra (which would suit the RAH really well) is surely Khatchaturian Symphony no 3. Quite amusing comments below below the YouTube recording including 'is it even legal to write music this exciting' and 'pure musical carnage' (not sure if that's a compliment).  Needs a huge orchestra including 12 trumpets.  An amazing recording here - make sure the neighbours are out though... (disclosure - I was page turning for this!)

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23 hours ago, Adnosad said:

Could the honourable members on here care to suggest an alternative?

 

No way an 'honourable' member but I'm told I have a fairly wide knowledge of repertoire though my knowledge of organ repertoire is a little limited!!!!

I'd like to hear a live performance of Ligeti's Volumina but I understand that on one occasion it was performed at the RAH the organ couldn't cope with it! Was that the 'Proms' performance in 1978 that also included Stockhausen Stimmung?

If you're 'into' French music there is a Concerto by Marcel Dupre, three Concerti by Langlais and seven by Jean Guillou although No.5 is only for organ & Str. Quintet!

Hindemith is, seemingly, deeply out of fashion at the moment, but Kammermusik 7 is for organ and wind band and there is a Organ Concerto as well, written in the final year of his life and, like most Hindemith, beautifully crafted.

Arthur Butterworth, a much under-rated composer, in my opinion, wrote a splendid Organ Concerto (1973) for, I think, Gillian Weir and Malcolm Arnold's Concerto written in 1954, is in true Malcolm Arnold style!!! There is a Concerto, heard at the Proms in 1984, and, again I think, written for Gillian Weir, by William Mathias and Kenneth Leighton wrote a Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings, seemingly a favourite combination of instruments!! I don't know Andrew Carter's Concerto, he taught my late wife at school, and his music is always well crafted. 

 

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4 hours ago, S_L said:

 

I'd like to hear a performance of Ligeti's Volumina but I understand that on one occasion it was performed at the RAH the organ couldn't cope with it! Was that the 'Proms' performance in 1978 that also included Stockhausen Stimmung?

 

Wasn't that a performance in the RFH? Or perhaps it happened more than once.

Ian

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On 29/05/2021 at 10:17, iy45 said:

Wasn't that a performance in the RFH? Or perhaps it happened more than once.

Ian

You may, very well be right. I don't know but I do know that Volumina was performed in the RAH on 10th of September 1978. It was the first (and last!) time the work had been performed at the 'Proms' It was the first work in the programme - followed by Stockhausen's Stimmung and some traditional Raga. The organist was Karl-Erik Welin

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Wow! some interesting suggs here; the Khachaturian piece chosen by DB I am going to savour when Mrs. Adnosad is out shopping!

" Volumina " is out of this world ( literally! )     I believe it was in Goteborg Cathedral that the organ started smouldering during the  " playing " of this piece; seems that this is part of the performance!

I am not sure on this post as to whether we are discussing solo organ works or organ + orchestra. One way or the other it doesn`t really matter so long as interest is enhanced with regard to  The Noble Instrument.

IMO some pieces which we like may not be exactly suitable for newbies / promenaders.   The intention surely is to encourage them , not frighten them off completely .  ad nos " I think would have them running for the exits as; as well as Bach P&F`s.   Hindemith ( one of the most marvellous composers ever  ( again IMO )  I think would be a total no-no.

Educate `em but don`t frighten `em. however I hope I am not coming across as being a sanctimonious patronising know all; which Mrs. Adnos says I am!

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17 hours ago, S_L said:

Hindemith is, seemingly, deeply out of fashion at the moment, but Kammermusik 7 is for organ and wind band and there is a Organ Concerto as well, written in the final year of his life and, like most Hindemith, beautifully crafted.

I was thinking only the other day that he has fallen out of favour.  A pity that, as his organ sonatas are all first rate and very well written for the instrument - although IMO they are very much better suited to neo-classical organs than the Romantic ones he apparently had in mind.  Hearing his organ concerto (played by Marie-Claire Alain, I think) on what was probably still then called 'The Third Programme' was the first Hindemith I ever heard.  I was totally unprepared for his style of chromaticism. It remains the only time a piece of music has given me motion sickness.

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9 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

 A pity that, as his organ sonatas are all first rate and very well written for the instrument

I once said, on here, that I thought Benjamin Britten to be a composer of beautifully crafted music - as if he played the instrument he was writing for. I was even brave enough to suggest, and was, very slightly, shot down for it, that there was no bad Britten!!

I have always thought that Hindemith, like Britten, was an absolute craftsman. There are sonatas for Alto Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet, Bass Tuba, Clarinet, 'cello, English Horn, Oboe, Flute, Horn, Trombone, Violin, Viola (of which, of course, he was a great player) and organ. And there are concerti for Clarinet, Horn, Organ, Piano, Trumpet, Bassoon & strings, Violin, Viola and 'cello. All of the music beautifully written for the instrument as if he was a player of that instrument, which, contrary to popular belief, he wasn't!! And then there is piano, vocal and choral music, again, beautifully written.

I'm prepared to repeat my comment - there is no bad Hindemith!!

And, when they finally put me in my box and take me to church I have asked that the clergy don't preach but, instead the assembled company, if there is anyone there, listen to the Trauermusik by Hindemith. It exists in three versions, the original is for viola but there is also a version for violin and one for 'cello. Beautifully written music, beautifully crafted!! The harmonisation of 'Fur deinen Thron tret ich hiermit', the last movement, is simply wonderful and moves me to tears every time I hear it.

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4 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

And does it contain a fugue? But of course!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JerkzA43OI

Thanks for that VH. I take back what I said!

Interestingly, in listening to the Prout several other works were recommended by YouTube - none of which I knew. by three Americans

Howard Hanson - Concerto for organ Harp and strings Howard Hanson (1896-1981): Concerto for Organ,Harp and Strings HQ - YouTube

Leo Sowerby - Classica Concerto for Organ and Strings (1944) Leo Sowerby: Classic Concerto for Organ and String Orchestra (1944) - YouTube

Horatio Parker Organ Concerto (1902) Horatio Parker - Organ Concerto (1902) - YouTube

I have to say that I have always thought of Prout as a rather dull Victorian Academic - a view, possibly, from my student days. But there are four symphonies (No 4 is on YouTube), Two organ Concerti, Two Piano Quartets, Two String Quartets and a Piano Quintet as well as a sizeable number of Vocal works. Looking at the scores I have of his music, it is very much of its time but history hasn't been kind to Ebenezer Prout - but there is a lot worse music out there!!

Perhaps time for a little rethink on Prout!!!

And, just in case an forumites feel the need to refresh Prout's thoughts on Fugue from their student days! It's all here:

Fugue (Prout) - Wikisource, the free online library

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Personally, I would have liked to have seen the return of Richard Hills on the R.A.H organ. The concert he performed a few years back for the proms was absolutely superb, and it was a good opportunity for people to hear the organ in a way they wouldn't normally, as the concerts are typically "organ music" centric. 

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5 hours ago, carrick said:

Personally, I would have liked to have seen the return of Richard Hills on the R.A.H organ. The concert he performed a few years back for the proms was absolutely superb, and it was a good opportunity for people to hear the organ in a way they wouldn't normally, as the concerts are typically "organ music" centric. 

The 'Prom' was called 'The Light Organ Prom' & Richard Hills programme on 26th of August 2013 was the following:

Eric Coates - March 'Sound and Vision'

Arthur Sullivan - Mikado memories (arr. R. Hills)

John Ireland - Miniature Suite Villanella

Billy Mayerl - Four Aces Suite - Ace of Hearts

Edward German - Three Dances from 'Nell Gwyn'

Fats Waller - A Handful of Keys

The programme note said:

A chance to revel in the breathtaking versatility of the ‘king of instruments’! The art of performing classical favourites on the organ has a long and distinguished history and in this Bank Holiday matinee Prom, Richard Hills brings together the traditions of the great theatre organist-entertainers and the Town Hall recitalists – with the accent on melody and virtuosity.

Richard Hills also appeared in a 'Late Night Prom' 2015 entitled 'Wireless Nights Prom with Jarvis  Cocker'. Also appearing were the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Maxime Tortelier. On this occasion the programme had music by: John Adams. Ronald Binge, Echo & the Bunnymen, JS Bach, Wagner, Barry Gray, Saint-Saens, Debussy, John Williams, Alan Williams, Tim Buckley and The Beatles!

I remember 'Late Night Proms', I heard Stockhausen 'Carre' in 1972 and 'Kontakte' in 1985. Late night Proms were where they put programmes slightly 'different' to what might be called 'mainstream repertoire'. And I heard some jolly good music too!!!

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On 30/05/2021 at 16:55, S_L said:

Perhaps time for a little rethink on Prout!!!

Following my comment above I had a look at some scores of Prout's music. I have to say that the writing for instruments, which is correct in the extreme as far as notation is concerned, is far better, in my opinion, that his writing for voices - which, I think, is rather dull.

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Carl Rutti's superb concerto for organ, strings and percussion was an exciting discovery for me on CD (Guild, GMCD7386). I hope to hear it in person some day. There's a fittingly enthusiastic audience review of it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RGT23JCVDY0XZ and Gramophone's Marc Rochester was clearly happy to herald its arrival. The first movement is here:

 

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