Today at the Proms - Prom 19

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 19: Strauss, Schumann & MacMillan ...

Reminder - watch PROM 18: Britten & Mahler tonight on BBC Four

A very famous piece of music to start tonight's Prom. Even if you're not a fan of classical music, if you've ever watched Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, you'll know it. [If you haven't watched the film, watch it! - Ed]

After the interval we get Schumann's only Piano Concerto; written in A minor because, according to the man himself ""I think the piano concerto must be in C major or in A minor." So there.

But it's the final piece of the night that's most interesting for me this time. The Confession of Isobel Gowdie is written by the Scottish Composer James MacMillan in 1990 as "a requiem for a witch." 

Isobel Gowdie (the Witch of Auldearn) was a real person who, in 1662, voluntarily confessed (allegedly - MacMillan believed she was tortured and this is reflected in his music) to being a witch in the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-62, the last wave of witch prosecutions held in Scotland, giving some of the most detailed testimonies ever recorded and leaving a legacy of an indepth insight into Scottish witchcraft and folklore. 

Find out more about Isobel Gowdie, James MacMillan and the music in this short (10 minute) documentary featurette for the Proms way back in 1990 when the work premiered. 

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 

Richard Strauss
Also sprach Zarathustra(34 mins)


Robert Schumann
Piano Concerto in A minor(32 mins)

Sir James MacMillan
The Confession of Isobel Gowdie(26 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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