Gigs, gigs, gigs: Proms 2015

by 5:4

It’s that time again; the 2015 Proms season has today been unveiled, and once again offers more than a few treats for lovers of new music. That’s putting it extremely mildly; in truth, the amount of contemporary music in this year’s concerts is actually rather jaw-dropping, with no fewer than 20 world premières, plus a host of European and UK first performances and a healthy additional cluster of recent works. Having been temporarily usurped in 2014, the tradition of a world première in the opening concert has been restored, the honour this time falling to Gary Carpenter, whose new work Dadaville i would expect to provide something more meaty than the ephemeral offerings of the last few years. Encouragingly, a third of the first performances are works by women composers, including a Tallis homage from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, ensemble pieces by Shiori Usui and Birmingham Conservatoire alumnus Joanna Lee, a piano concerto from Anna Meredith, something Nordic-inspired from Alissa Firsova, and new orchestral works by Tansy Davies and Eleanor Alberga, whose Arise, Athena! will kickstart the Last Night. As for the rest, there’s a new cantata from Hugh Wood setting words by John Donne, Luke Bedford—whose rapturous Or voit tout en aventure, performed in 2010, remains one of the best things i’ve ever heard at the Proms—has written a new work involving the Royal Albert Hall organ, and having whinged in 2012 at how ignored Michael Finnissy has been at the Proms, there’ll be the first performance of his orchestral work Janne, apparently inspired by Sibelius. Among the remaining highlights, the season finally offers the opportunity—postponed last year—to hear Luca Francesconi‘s Duende – The Dark Notes in this country, Arlene Sierra‘s Butterflies Remember a Mountain (the UK première of which blew me away last year) is featured in the Cadogan Hall chamber concert series, Anders Hillborg will be getting animalistic in the UK première of his orchestral behemoth Beast Sampler, and those with a penchant for timbres with a whiff of ‘elegant fart’ to them will be as delighted as i am at the prospect of hearing John Woolrich‘s contrabassoon concerto Falling Down. The Boulez 90th birthday celebrations continue through the Proms too, with performances of Dèrive 2, the orchestral NotationsFigures-Doubles-Prismes‘… explosante-fixe …’Mémoriale (‘… explosante-fixe …’ Originel) and Domaines, plus Boulez’s rather charming arrangement of Ravel’s Frontispiece, and some arrangements of Boulez’s other Notations by Johannes Schöllhorn.

So, a great deal to get excited about, and it all gets cracking on 17 July. As always the premières will all be featured here on 5:4, and maybe one or two of the other interesting recent pieces along the way. Full details can be found at the Proms website, as well as in the published guide—and, new this year, there’s an iOS app available which, having explored it at length this morning, i can heartily recommend; it’s beautifully presented, a doddle to negotiate and much cheaper than the book (plus you don’t have to wade through 100 pages of adverts to get to the information you really want). Below is a summary of the contemporary works in this year’s season (** = world première, * = European/UK première):

  • Gary Carpenter – Dadaville **
  • John Woolrich – Falling Down
  • HK Gruber – into the open … **
  • Cheryl Frances-Hoad – Homage to Tallis **
  • Hugh Wood – Epithalamium **
  • Boulez, arr. J. Schöllhorn – Notations 2, 12 & 10; La treizième *
  • Shiori Usui – Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l. **
  • Betsy Jolas – Wanderlied *
  • Joanna Lee – Hammer of Solitude **
  • Luca Francesconi – Duende – The Dark Notes *
  • Qigang Chen – Iris dévoilée
  • Luke Bedford – Instability **
  • Brett Dean – Pastoral Symphony
  • Anna Meredith – Smatter Hauler **
  • James MacMillan – Symphony No. 4 **
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage – On Opened Ground
  • Gunther Schuller – Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee
  • Messiaen, orch. C. Dingle – Un oiseau des arbes de Vie (Oiseau tui) **
  • Tansy Davies – Re-greening
  • Jonathan Newman – Blow It Up, Start Again *
  • Eric Whitacre – Deep Field *
  • Michael Finnissy – Janne **
  • Anders Hillborg – Beast Sampler *
  • Brett Dean – Dramatis personae
  • Colin Matthews – String Quartet No. 5 *
  • Bertram Wee – Dithyrambs **
  • John Psathas – View from Olympus **
  • Raymond Yiu – Symphony **
  • Ørjan Matre – preSage **
  • Alissa Firsova – Bergen’s Bonfire **
  • Helen Grime – A Cold Spring
  • Christian Mason – Open to Infinity: a Grain of Sand *
  • B Tommy Andersson – Pan **
  • Guy Barker – The Lanterne of Light **
  • Arlene Sierra – Butterflies Remember A Mountain
  • Eleanor Alberga – Arise, Athena! **

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Anna Meredith, yet again!!!! Still…some premieres to keenly anticipate.

[…] 5 against 4 has some alternative reactions. […]


Hello, was curious if you might torrent all the past proms in a file for download, would love to explore each work in the past. Thank you.

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