Today at the Proms - Prom 7

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 7: Schumann, Schoenberg & Mozart ...

This Prom will be shown on BBC Four on Friday 26th

Oooh this is going to be an interesting one. Yes, I know, you're probably already fed up of me calling every prom "interesting" but it's true. I mean, Schumann, Schoenberg and Mozart, what's not to like?

But let's start with the guy that didn't quite make the headline - Paul Ben-Haim and his Symphony No 1. This is an important work because it was composed in 1939/40 and was highly evocative of the time, the dark days of the war and its effect on Israel and the Jewish people. Listen out for traditional Jewish folk tune themes and its descent into a military march and Jewish lament before lifting again into a Hora dance.

Before that we have the marvellous Mozart and his Piano Concerto no 15, which was first performed in 1784 in Vienna where Mozart himself was the soloist. Tonight it's South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son at the piano with a task ahead of her as it is a lot more difficult to play than it sounds, with immense technical skill needed in perfecting the ascending and descending scales throughout at such speed.

After the break there's the two Sch's. Schumann's Symphony No 4 is the "revised" fully orchestrated version from 1851 rather than the lighter sketches of the same music from 1841, the earlier of which was actually published in the 1890s by Brahms, who preferred it to the weightier and more stately orchestration, much to the annoyance of Schumann's widow Clara. 

But the piece I want to share with you is the Schoenberg. You may half recognise bits of it has been "sampled" by Holst for phrases in his own music, including the Planets suite. But with Schoenberg's use of a chromatic scale (i.e. all the notes rather than sticking to a specific major or minor key) and the expressive intensity of the work, this is a very challenging listen so it's as well to get some practice in and, if you can follow the score in the video below, you're doing better than me!


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 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Concerto No. 15 in B flat major, K450 (25 mins)

Paul Ben-Haim
Symphony No. 1 (30 mins)


Arnold Schoenberg
Five Orchestral Pieces (16 mins)original version 1909

Robert Schumann
Symphony No 4 in D minor (26 mins)(revised version, 1851)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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