This year’s Proms programme was unveiled today, and it makes for a typically interesting, if somewhat unadventurous, prospect. Both the season and the assortment of world premières will be kicked off, as usual, with a safe, mainstream choice, Julian Anderson. As for the rest, it’s impressive to see how large-scale some of these new works are going to be, with Thomas Adès, Naresh Sohal and Nishat Khan each contributing pieces touted to be of at least 40 minutes’ duration. The prospect of a new commission from Frederic Rzewski is rather mouth-watering too, as is a brace of new variations from John Woolrich and Tansy Davies, expanding the set originally composed in 1952 by Britten, Berkeley, Tippett and others. Like last year, the UK premières are in some ways more exciting, particularly those by Helmut Lachenmann, Stockhausen, Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Eötvös. Inevitably, it’s not a season devoid of potential humdrummery—works from both Colin and David Matthews, Philip Glass, Diana Burrell and George Lloyd may well present the wrong kind of challenge—but hopefully the season’s damp squibs will once again pale beside its triumphs.
The season starts on Friday 12 July; all of the information you might want or need can be found here. Good, bad or indifferent, i’ll be covering all of the premières on 5:4—be there or be Philip Glass.