Today at the Proms - Prom 17

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 17: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – 2 ...

After last night's Prom performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, tonight we have a prom performed by ... the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra! They're playing different stuff tonight though and there's even more variety with three pieces to choose from.

The first is Sibelius' Symphony No 1 with its beautiful clarinet solo start underpinned by timpani rolls, setting the scene for the rest of the movements. After the break we get another Prokofiev piece, but a violin concerto this time rather than a ballet. His Concerto no 2 travels from Russia to Spain in its influence and has Gil Shaham as the soloist.

The final piece tonight is a suite from Strauss' comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, although allegedly Strauss didn't actually have anything to do with the suite, which is a shortened orchestral version of the full singing opera.

The story of the opera reads like a proper Oscar Wilde style country house farce with Sophie, a young lady and daughter of a wealthy merchant, who is engaged to an elderly Baron, the cousin of the Empress of Vienna, the Marschallin, who, herself, is having a passionate affair with a much younger Count, Octavian, unbeknownst to both the Baron and her husband, a Field Marshall in the army. When the Baron visits the Empress she has to sneak the Count out of her bed chamber dressed as a maid servant and the Baron takes a fancy to the "maid" and... oh it all gets a bit complicated. 

The singing version is notable for its showcasing of the female voice, as its protagonists (Sophie, the Marschallin and Octavian) are written to be portrayed by women, which is very pantomime of it. But the orchestral suite is just as torrid and passionate as the opera, to which the whooping horns in the prelude can attest. After all, there's not really a lot else you can do when you get the whooping horn... 

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 

Jean Sibelius
Symphony No 1 in E minor(38 mins)Henry Wood Novelties: UK premiere, 1903


Sergei Prokofiev
Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor(26 mins)Henry Wood Novelties: UK premiere, 1936

Richard Strauss
Der Rosenkavalier – suite(24 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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