This year’s Proms programme was unveiled today, & it makes for a typically interesting, if somewhat unadventurous, prospect. Both the season & 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 & 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 & Tansy Davies, expanding the set originally composed in 1952 by Britten, Berkeley, Tippett & others. Like last year, the UK premières are in some ways more exciting, particularly those by Helmut Lachenmann, Stockhausen, Harrison Birtwistle & Peter Eötvös. Inevitably, it’s not a season devoid of potential humdrummery—works from both Colin & David Matthews, Philip Glass, Diana Burrell & 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.