Some quick observations for now:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies both turn 80 this year. They’re two of this country’s most important composers, no doubt, and it’s absolutely fitting that they get some recognition at this year’s Proms. However, among the
37 41 items in my list below, five of them are for Birtwistle and five are for Davies. And three of those are complete concerts, for which I haven’t bothered to list each piece. By my reckoning that means that close to a third of the new music content of this year’s Proms has been written by two octogenarian knights of the realm. Time to cast the net a bit wider perhaps?
Talking of anniversaries, peers, etc, the late Sir John Tavener gets a decent send off with two concerts featuring his music this year. That’s as many as Carter, Harvey, Henze and Nunes were given last year in their memory, between them.
The news is a little better when it comes to women composers: last year I think there were three (Burrell, Gubaidulina, Clyne). This year I count six: Panufnik, Beamish, Grime, Tabakova, Weir and Chin.
Elsewhere, more of the new music seems to be happening in the main bill this year, and not shunted out to the matinees and chamber concerts. Good. The BBC will be hoping that lightning doesn’t strike for a third time with Adams’ ill-fated Short Ride in a Fast Machine (Prom 63). Prom 72 promises “An evening of 20thC English music that looks beyond pastoral stereotypes” but manages not to find room (YET AGAIN) for a Michael Finnissy performance in the Albert Hall. Guys, Red Earth was 26 years ago.
Oh, and there’s a concert called ‘Oriental Promise‘ (Prom 16). In 2014.
As for my highlights? Much harder to pick than last year, since there are far fewer of them. Aurora’s Benedict Mason premiere (Prom 41) is a must; after that … the Francesconi (Prom 28), then either Tavener in Prom 25 or one of the Birtwistle concerts.
I’ll be honest though, there’s much more that interests me in the six concerts of the LCMF 2014 bill than the 70+ of the Proms. Here’s the list for your own perusal:
Update 1: I missed a handful of composers yesterday (Chen, Bignold, Roustom, Tiensuu), mainly because they weren’t mentioned in the headlines for their respective concerts in the guide. Some of these are big new commissions too, so it’s a shame to have to drill down to find that they’re there at all. Still that’s no excuse for me, so sorry about that.
Update 2: And another composer isn’t listed even in the guide – Tom Harrold who, according to Radio 4’s PM programme last night, is writing a piece for the Aurora Orchestra in Prom 41. However I’ll leave his name up here until I see that confirmed in the online programme.
Prom 2 Qigang Chen: Joie éternelle, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-19/14922
Prom 4 R Panufnik: Three Paths to Peace, EP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-20/14926
Prom 7 J Tavener: Gnosis, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-23/14934
Prom 8 Pet Shop Boys: A Man From the Future, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-23/14936
Prom 10 D Horne: Daedalus in Flight, LP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-25/14940
Proms 11 and 13 (CBeebies Proms) B Bignold: Around Sound http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-26/14942, http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-27/14946
Prom 14 S Holt: Morpheus Wakes, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-27/14948
Prom 15 J Dove: Gaia, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-28/14952
Prom 16 G Prokofiev: Vn Conc., WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-29/14954
Prom 18 H Birtwistle: Night’s Black Bird http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/july-30/14958
Prom 20 S Beamish: Vn Conc., LP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-01/14962
Prom 23 J McLeod: The Sun Dances, LP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-03/14972
Prom 25 J Tavener: Ikon of Light, Requiem Fragments, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-04/14992
Prom 28 L Francesconi: Duende, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-07/14976
Saturday Matinee 2 H Birtwistle: Endless Parade http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-09/14994
Saturday Matinee 2 PM Davies: Sinfonia http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-09/14994
Prom 31 H Grime: Near Midnight, LP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-09/15002
Prom 33 H Birtwistle: Sonance Severance http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-10/15038
Prom 35 PM Davies: Caroline Mathilde, suite http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-12/15048
Prom 37 S Reich: It’s Gonna Rain, Desert Music http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-13/15076
Prom 38 PM Davies: Sym no.7 http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-14/15078
Prom 39 B Rands: Pf Conc., UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-15/15080
Prom 41 D Tabakova: Spinning A Yarn http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-16/15084
Prom 41 B Mason: Meld http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-16/15084
Prom 46 K Roustom: Ramal http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-20/15118
Prom 46 A Adler: Resonating Sounds http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-20/15118
Prom 48 H Tómasson: Magma, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-22/15130
Prom 49 J Tiensuu: Voice verser, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-23/15134
Prom 55 U Chin: Su http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-27/15030
Saturday Matinee 3 PM Davies portrait http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/august-30/15072
Proms Chamber Music 7 J Weir: Day Break Shadows, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-01/15090
Prom 61 Z Long: Postures, EP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-02/15094
Prom 63 J Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-04/15098
Prom 63 J Adams: Sax Conc., UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-04/15098
Saturday Matinee 4 H Birtwistle portrait http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-06/15112
Prom 67 B Ranjbaran: Seemorgh http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-07/15120
Prom 68 J Widmann: Flûte en suite, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-07/15122
Prom 69 J Widmann: Teufel amore, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-08/15128
Prom 70 PM Davies birthday concert http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-08/15132
Prom 71 C Brubeck: Travels in Time for Three, UKP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-09/15136
Prom 72 H Birtwistle: Exody http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-10/15138
Prom 75 F Cerha: Paraphrase on the Opening of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-12/15144
Prom 76 Gavin Higgins: Velocity, WP http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/september-13/15146