Today at the Proms - Prom 61 & 62

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 61: Vienna Philharmonic & Andrés Orozco-Estrada and 62: Canzionere Grecanico Salentino...

Starting with tonight's late prom and it's set to be a real cosmopolitan affair with Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino's return to London. The band, from Italy, are promising a spectacle full of dance, passion, rhythm and mystery – as they say, ‘We still have our own demons to exorcise today’. Tonight, for the first time, they will be joined on stage by Justin Adams (Robert Plants guitarist) and master of the kora Ballaké Sissoko.

What's a kora? I asked the same thing so I went looking and found this: It's a 21 string lute bridge harp from West Africa. And this is what it sounds like.

The earlier prom is a lot more staid, but no less interesting. We start with a short tone poem from Dvořák called The Noonday Witch, the title of which really sounds like it should be a children's book. However, the subject matter is, as you would expect from European folk tales, a lot darker. The general gist is that a mother warns her son that if he does not behave she will summon the Noonday Witch to take him away. He does not behave, and the witch arrives, as predicted, at the stroke of noon. The witch, described as a horrible creature, demands the child but the mother, terrified that the witch has actually come, grabs her son, and the witch begins chasing them. Finally the mother faints, grasping her child. Later that day, the father arrives home, and finds his wife passed out with the dead body of their son in her arms. The mother had accidentally smothered their son while protecting him from the witch. The story ends with the father's lament over the terrible event. And they all lived happily ever after... oh wait.

Anyhow, the next piece of music is from a composer who has the most film composery name out there - Erich Wolfgang Korngold. I mean, you can just SEE that on scrolling credits, can't you? Well, actually, you can as he wrote music for loads of Hollywood films in the 30s and 40s, including The Sea Wolf and The Adventures of Robin Hood so we can expect a bit of buckle to be swashed in his violin concerto too.

And finally for tonight, everyone knows at least some of Dvořák's New World Symphony, because the adagio from it was the music used for that Hovis ad... you know, the one directed by Ridley Scott and now newly restored by the BFI as an important piece of our celluloid heritage.

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

Prom 61 - 19:00

Antonín Dvořák
The Noonday Witch(14 mins)Henry Wood Novelties: UK premiere, 1896

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Violin Concerto(26 mins)


Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No 9 in E minor, 'From the New World'(43 mins)

Prom 62 - 22:15

Canzionere Grecanico Salentino

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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