Today at the Proms - Prom 1

The Proms 2019 Season gets underway tonight and to kick off our daily coverage of what's on, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 1: First Night of the Proms...

Reminder - Watch Prom 1: First Night of the Proms 2019 on BBC Two, 19:30, with part 2 on BBC Four 

Welcome to the start of 58 days (and 75 Proms-worth) of me wittering on about classical music as we get to grips with yet another year of fantastic Promenade concerts from the Royal Albert Hall. Well, I'm not at the Royal Albert Hall. Like most of you, I'm stuck at home with a computer for company but will be firing up iPlayer to listen to as many concerts as I can.

What's on for the first night? The full programme is below but, I'll be honest, I don't recognise any of the works although I do know of two of the three composers (note to self - change auto-correct so that it doesn't keep substituting "composters" for "composers" as that's going to get annoying).

On doing some background research, the Golden Spinning Wheel is a tone poem by Dvořák based on a typically gruesome European folk tale that involved much severing of limbs and eye-gouging. Lovely.

The world premiere by Zosha Di Castri should be interesting. She is a Canadian composer and pianist who uses a lot of electronics and ambient sounds in her work as well as the more traditional orchestra.

I think my choice for today will be the Mass because, as you know, I'm a sucker for religious music, especially choral work and that's what this promises to be. Janáček's music can be challenging though, and very much an acquired taste with atonality and whole tone scales mixing with unusual vocal rhythms. By the way Glagolitic apparently refers to an ancient Slavic alphabet script that was the precursor to Cyrillic. So we've all learned something anyway.

I've found a short excerpt from when the Mass was performed at the Proms in 2011. See what you think.

Here's the full programme for this evening's Prom which you can listen to live from 19:30 on Radio 3 or on the iPlayer 

Zosha Di Castri

Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory (15 mins) - BBC commission: world premiere

Antonín Dvořák
The Golden Spinning Wheel (28 mins)


Leos Janáček
Glagolitic Mass (43 mins) - Final version 1928 Henry Wood Novelties: UK premiere, 1930

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou
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