WSKG Radio and the BBC World Service will broadcast seven lunch time programs of Proms concerts. This summers's highlights include Handel's Water Music, Bernstein's On the Waterfront, a centenary tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, and more.
Each hour-long episode will be hosted by a BBC Radio 3 classical music presenter, and feature conversations with special guests on the themes, composers and performers, along with the context in which the music was written and performed.
August 4 - Episode One: Handel - Water Music, Suites Nos. 3 and 2
Musicians: The Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Nicholas McGegan. Our specially selected broadcasts from the 2017 BBC Proms opens with a celebration of one of Handel’s best-loved scores. Water Music was first heard in public 300 years ago, performed by about 50 musicians squeezed into a barge on the River Thames in London. The music was such a success that it was repeated at least three times that very day, and no doubt the Proms audience for this concert at the Stage@Dock in Hull, the 2017 UK city of culture, will be equally appreciative.
August 11 - Episode Two: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor and BBC Commission and world premiere of Coult: St John’s Dance
Musicians: Igor Levit on piano with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner.
Award-winning pianist Igor Levit is the soloist in Beethoven’s ground-breaking Third Piano Concerto. It was in the third concerto for his favourite musical instrument that Beethoven broke free of the influences of his great predecessors Mozart and Haydn and forged his highly personal style of grand gestures contrasted with passages of great calm and tenderness. Russian-born Igor has made Beethoven central to his repertoire and, despite being just 30 years old, has already garnered prestigious accolades for his interpretations of the Viennese master, including the Gramophone magazine’s ‘Recording of the Year 2016’ award. We also hear the world premiere of St John’s Dance by rising British composer Tom Coult.
August 18 - Episode Three: Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie - A Centenary Tribute
Musicians: Vocalist Dianne Reeves and James Morrison on trumpet with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Mauceri. A celebration of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie in the centenary year of their births. Conducted by Broadway musical and Hollywood movie-score legend John Mauceri, the concert contrasts the Great American Songbook, which played a key role in Fitzgerald’s live and recording career, with the bebop and Afro-Latin sounds in which Gillespie excelled. Mauceri is joined on the Royal Albert Hall stage by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves, who was described by The New York Times as, “the most admired jazz diva since the heyday of Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday,” and by virtuoso trumpeter James Morrison.
August 25 - Episode Four: Purcell (arranged by Elgar): Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei and Elgar: ‘Enigma’ Variations
Musicians: Tenor Toby Spence with the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. A programme of English music, starting with Purcell’s dramatic choral motet, Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei. The composer used such advanced harmonies that when Edward Elgar was orchestrating the work two centuries later, he is said to have been concerned that the particular Purcell score which he was using might contain misprints! In his own ‘Enigma’ Variations, Elgar created one of the most enduring, as well as most delightful, musical mysteries. It’s a set of orchestral variations on a theme, each variation a disguised sonic portrait of one of Elgar’s friends. But what of the theme itself, the enigma at the heart of the work?
September 1 - Episode Five: Grieg: Peer Gynt - excerpts from incidental music and Schumann: Cello Concerto
Musicians: Soprano Lise Davidsen and cellist Alban Gerhardt with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Storgårds. Grieg’s Peer Gynt is one of Norway’s best known scores but it is usually performed in the form of orchestral suites which the composer arranged from his original music for Ibsen’s play of the same name. 150 years after the play’s first publication, Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen makes her Proms debut in excerpts from Grieg’s incidental music. Alban Gerhardt is then the soloist for Schumann’s Cello Concerto which rejects overt solo virtuosity in favour of a dialogue between cello and orchestra.
September 8 - Episode Six: Bernstein: On the Waterfront - symphonic suite and Copland: Lincoln Portrait
Musicians: The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Louis Langrée The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra makes its Proms debut with Music Director Louis Langrée, bringing works by two celebrated American composers: Bernstein’s symphonic suite drawn from his soundtrack to On the Waterfront is a cinematic journey through the docks and slums of post-war New Jersey, telling the story of one man’s heroic fight against corruption and intimidation. Plus, in a year in which America has inaugurated a new president, Copland’s Lincoln Portrait offers a musical homage to another. Lincoln’s greatest speeches are set against a stirring orchestral tone-poem.
September 15 - Episode Seven: Barber: Knoxville - Summer of 1915; Strauss: Daphne - Daphne’s Verwandlung ‘Ich komme, ich komme’ and Tarrodi: Liguria
Musicians: Soprano Renée Fleming with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo One of the most glamorous and celebrated musicians of our time, soprano Renée Fleming comes to the Proms to join Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra for the shimmering ‘transformation’ music that closes Richard Strauss’s opera, Daphne, and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a nostalgic portrait of the America of a simpler age. The orchestra also brings Liguria - a new work by its Swedish compatriot Andrea Tarrodi. It’s a vivid musical ‘walking tour’ through Italian fishing villages.