Today at the Proms - Prom 31

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 31: Brahms, Bruckner & Strauss ...

Looking at today's list, I must admit that, even though I'm not a huge Brahms fan (I may have mentioned this before) I was surprised that I didn't recognise the title of his Variations, so I went looking. It turns out that it's just another name for his Variations on a Theme by Haydn which I did recognise. Quite why they decided to change the name I don't know but there you go.

After the interval is Bruckner's Symphony No 4, which he himself called the "Romantic" symphony. This doesn't mean it's all hearts and flowers lovey-dovey stuff but the term refers more to the Romantic period in music history, characterised by a move away from the strict form and structure of the Classical period to much more artistic, dramatic and expressive music, often telling some kind of story or evoking particular emotions.

But it's the Strauss songs, sung tonight by Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, that really catch my eye for tonight. The four songs are really existing poems set to music, including one called "Morgen!" (Tomorrow), written by Scots-born German poet John Henry Mackay. I've included the English translation of the words here but listen to the wonderful Jessye Normal sing the original German version below. Simply beautiful.

And tomorrow the sun will shine again

and on the way that I will go,
she will again unite us, the happy ones
amidst this sun-breathing earth,
and to the beach, wide, wave-blue
will we still and slowly descend
silently we will look in each other's eyes
and upon us will sink the mute silence of happiness

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 

Johannes Brahms
Variations on the St Anthony Chorale(18 mins)

Richard Strauss
Four Songs, Op. 27(13 mins)


Anton Bruckner
Symphony No 4 in E flat major 'Romantic'(68 mins)(1878–80 version, ed. Nowak)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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