Today at the Proms - Prom 40 & 41

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2018, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 40: Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Prom 41: Edward Gardner conducts Elgar & Vaughan Williams ...

Reminder - Watch Prom 28: The National Youth Orchestra perform Mussorgsky, Ligeti and Debussy on BBC Four tonight

The afternoon Prom today is all about being Romantic with a capital R because the Romantic era covers the style of composers (and other creatives as it is also a literary and artistic movement) who worked in the late 18th and early 19th century. Mendelssohn's instantly recognisable overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream kicking things off. Saint Saens follows, with Joshua Bell himself taking the solo and the main piece after the interval is by Beethoven, who was a crucial link between the Classical and Romantic era of composers. The incongruous piece here is the short Bridge... er... bridge, as he was an early 20th century composer but his Lament is a beautiful viola duet.

The evening Prom is also a sombre but beautiful affair with Elgar's cellos in a minor key and a short work by Lili Boulanger (whose work I'm now getting to know better after Prom 8) but the main event in Prom 41 is Vaughan Williams' superb choral cantata Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace). In it he uses texts from the Roman Catholic Mass blended with three poems by Walt Whitman, some political speeches and biblical quotes. First performed in 1936 it feels, more than just looking back at the travesties of war in the past, more prescient of the war still to come. It will be a powerful piece to hear live.

Here's the first movement (it's only 4 minutes long) to give you a taster - the Agnus Dei performed by the Choir of King's College Cambridge with the soloist Ailish Tynan.

Here's the full programme for this evening's Prom which you can listen to live on Radio 3 or on the iPlayer

Prom 40 - 16:00

Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream – overture(12 mins)

Camille Saint‐Saëns
Violin Concerto No 3 in B minor(29 mins)


Frank Bridge
Lament(5 mins)

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 4 in B flat major(34 mins)

Prom 41 - 20:00

Lili Boulanger
Pour les funerailles d'un soldat(9 mins)

Edward Elgar
Cello Concerto in E minor(28 mins)


Ralph Vaughan Williams
Dona nobis pacem(36 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou
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