The BBC Proms season is about to kick off, and I decided that this year it was time I sat down ahead of schedule to look at what’s coming, and mark in my diary what not to miss. I don’t think I’ll be making it to the RAH for the live experience this year, but most of the Proms are televised and I believe they’re all broadcast on BBC Radio 3 – meaning that even if you don’t catch them live, just look them up later on iPlayer.
Without further ado, here’s my slightly random but generally reliable list of picks for ones definitely not to miss. Of course really, you should just try to catch all of them, for an educational and entertaining feast for the ears and eyes. You’ll find a link at the end of each month to take you to the BBC Proms website for full details of all the Proms.
- 13 July Prom 1 – because it’s a first night, and a new work is featured.
- 15 July Prom 3 – because young musicians.
- 18 July Prom 6 – Looks suitably bombastic (mainly because of Turangalîla).
- 19 July Prom 7 – because Jacob Collier and friends should be set to explode your mind. Oh and Take 6 are among those friends!
- 21 July Prom 9 – The World Orchestra for Peace? A new work and Britten paired with Beethoven 9? This just looks exciting!
- 22 July Prom 11 – Mahler’s Symphony of a thousand might be one of my favourite things ever. And I did see this live at the Proms years ago with the NYO under Sir Simon Rattle. Brilliant.
- 30 July Prom 21 – the Alpine Symphony is spectacular.
- 4 August Prom 28 – both for programme and artists, the NYO (National Youth Orchestra).
- 5 August Proms 29 & 30 – well this is just intriguing. The complete Brandenburg concertos alongside a newly commissioned work to accompany them, heard side by side.
- 9 August Prom 36 – if only for Mahler’s 10th (first movement) alone, but the whole Austro-Germanic programme is exciting.
- 11 August Prom 38/39 – Bernstein’s West Side Story is so good, they’re putting it on twice. You definitely don’t want to miss either.
- 14 August Prom 43 – for a politically dynamic orchestra playing an unusual programme including new work.
- 16 August Prom 46 – a late prom featuring NYJO (National Youth Jazz Orchestra)
- 18 August Prom 48 – just to watch Sir Simon.
- 19 August Prom 50 – to be honest Mahler just gets an honorary mention from me every time he crops up.
- 20 August Prom 51 – Strauss’s Four Last Songs are outrageously lush and romantic, and the rest of the programme looks good too.
- 27 August Prom 60 – because Marin Alsop is wonderful.
- 30 August Prom 64 – You gotta hear the Verdi Requiem.
- 31 August Prom 65 – You gotta hear The Rite of Spring. (Though hopefully it won’t be like that time at the Proms with – again Sir Simon Rattle and the NYO – when the Nokia ringtone went off in the first few bars. Awkward.) And Berio’s Sinfonia is a whole other experience which might be of more interest if you’re a general classical music nerd but just haven’t come across this piece yet – a patchwork quilt of classical pieces together with sung and spoken word. Very interesting.
- 3 September – Prom 69 – Shostakovich’s Fourth is one of his most brazen and avant-garde symphonic offerings as far as I’m concerned.
- 6 September Prom 72 – Even if you missed Verdi’s Requiem, you mustn’t miss Britten’s War Requiem.
- 8 September Prom 75 – well, it’s the last one, so you gotta really.