Today at the Proms - Prom 53 & 54

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 53: Elgar's The Music Makers and 54: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music ...

It's another double prom day today and the late prom really should appeal to me, I mean Duke Ellington, tick, and sacred music, tick, but somehow the thought of both together really doesn't get me excited. However, that is reason enough for me to listen to it to prove myself right. [Again - Ed]

The early start is more enticing as it sees Elgar making music, Vaughan Williams making a copy and Hugh Wood making a scene. The Elgar is fascinating as it sets the whole of the 1874 poem Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy, to music. Yes, you do know the poem, it's the one that begins...

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;

(You can read the rest of it here)

If you're a (whisper it - this is the BBC you know) Classic FM listener, you'll know the Vaughan Williams as well as this work often ends up top 5 in their annual Hall of Fame vote. I reckon it's the added string quartet that gives it that extra edge.  By contrast, the Hugh Wood is not as well known as it should be but I can understand that people find him "difficult". Written in 1965 it's a musical setting of episodes from Milton’s masque Comus, and is a symphonic poem of sorts, crossed with a cantata, with added astringency. Here's the opening to it, to let you give it a try.

Here's the full programme for this evening's Prom which you can listen to live on Radio 3 or on the iPlayer 

Prom 53 - 19:00

Ralph Vaughan Williams
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis(16 mins)

Hugh Wood
Scenes from Comus(28 mins)


Edward Elgar
The Music Makers(38 mins)

Prom 54 - 22:15

Duke Ellington
In The Beginning God(10 mins)
Something 'Bout Believing(9 mins)
The Lord's Prayer(3 mins)
Praise God and Dance(6 mins)
My Love(7 mins)
Ain't But the One(3 mins)
Father Forgive(4 mins)
Freedom(11 mins)
Heritage (AKA My Mother, My Father, and Love)(3 mins)
Tell Me It's The Truth(3 mins)
Heaven(5 mins)
Come Sunday(4 mins)
David Danced(7 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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