Today at the Proms - Prom 62 & 63

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2018, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 62: Strauss Songs and Prom 63: Sir András Schiff plays 'The Well-Tempered Clavier' (Book 2) ...

Starting with the Late Night Prom and it's good to see some "properly" classical music in this timeslot for a change. Okay, I suppose it's really Baroque, being Bach, I know, but you know what I mean. The two books of The Well Tempered Clavier are a fascinating project, each containing 24 Preludes and Fugues written by Bach, one for every major and minor key in the musical scale - so starting with C Major key signature and ending with B Minor. The Clavier referred to is not an instrument in itself but it refers to the style of instruments use the press of keys to make sounds - like a harpsichord (where the keypress makes a quill pluck a tuned string like a guitar) or a clavichord (where a keypress makes a blade strike the string). These instruments were much more popular in the early 1700's than the pianoforte that we know today, which was only invented in 1700.

Before that though we get a nice mix of new and old, with a world premiere of a new piece by Iain Bell called Aurora, sitting alongside the heat of an atypical Elgar and the energy of a Bartok concerto as well as the eponymous songs of Richard Strauss. In fact he didn't write the songs as such but set existing poems to music. In some cases, Strauss didn't even do his own orchestration, with the original versions being composed purely for voice and piano.  It's interesting though that they seem to have picked songs from completely different intended sets to go together here.

Have a listen to one of the most famous, Ständchen, here with a cello replacing the voice.

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

Prom 62: Strauss Songs

Edward Elgar
In the South (Alassio)(19 mins)

Iain Bell
Aurora(17 mins)BBC co-commission: world premiere


Richard Strauss
Ständchen(3 mins)
Das Bächlein(4 mins)
Morgen!(3 mins)
Zueignung(3 mins)

Béla Bartók
Concerto for Orchestra(35 mins)

Prom 63 - 21:30

Johann Sebastian Bach

The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2(145 mins)
Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou
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