Today at the Proms - Prom 40

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 40: Queen Victoria's 200th Anniversary ...

Reminder - Watch Prom 32:An Alpine Symphony tonight on BBC Four

Happy birthday(ish) Queen Victoria, turning 200 this year - I didn't think Eastenders had been going for that lo... oh. Never mind then. Not one but two pieces by Mendelssohn tonight, and that's after last night's Fingal's Cave too, we're being spoiled here. However he was apparently the favourite composer of her madge and it is her birthday so I guess she gets to pick. What makes tonight's performances extra special though is that the Piano Concerto is being played on Queen Victoria's own piano, lent by the Royal Collection specially.

Just after the interval, it's a bit of "gather the family round the piano for a sing-song" as Victoria's Royal Consort, her husband Prince Albert, gets a few of his compositions played. Kicking off tonight's prom though is Arthur Sullivan, probably better known as half of the operetta kings Gilbert and Sullivan. The frivolity of comic opera is left aside for his solo suite dedicated to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, as it began life as a full length ballet based on the history of Merrie England.

It's the final work of the evening though that I want to play you a bit from and it's more Mendelssohn, this time, his Scottish Symphony, which was inspired by the same trip to Scotland when he went to Fingal's Cave. Here's the first movement.

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 

Arthur Sullivan
Victoria and Merrie England – suite(15 mins)

Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Concerto No 1 in G minor(21 mins)


Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Songs(12 mins) Gruss aus der Ferne; Ständchen; Gruss an den Bruder; Aus Wilhelm Meister; Lebewohl (Wanderlied)

Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, 'Scottish'(40 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou
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