BBC Proms Concerts Begin in London

Outside of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in July of 2008(Photo: Wikipedia)
Outside of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in July of 2008(Photo: Wikipedia)

What is called the world’s biggest music festival begins in London tonight at the Royal Albert Hall.  The summer season of concerts of this great British tradition runs for 57 consecutive nights, certainly making it a huge event. See the full story here.

Appropriately enough, this years Proms begins with major English composers: Ralf Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony and Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes will be featured.  There is also variety in the programming, with the world premier of Julian Anderson’s Harmony and Stephen Hough playing Rachmaninoff.

Other events during the season will include violinist Nigel Kennedy playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and the first complete Proms cycle of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.  Talk about an ambitious concert series!

The Proms concerts are not all classical music, however.  Pop music is also part of the mix as you can tell in this video from last year’s BBC Proms in the Park with singer Kylie.

The heart and soul of the Proms, however, is the mission of its founder, the late Victorian conductor Henry Woods, “to make classical music affordable to all,” in an era before recordings were available.  The cheapest tickets were for standing places right in front of the performers on the stage.  The more expensive seats were farther back.  This altruistic vision was furthered in 1927 when the BBC took over running the Proms and began broadcasting the concerts on the radio, and in 1947 they began televising the Last Night.

Here’s to a great summertime music tradition continuing, not only for its current run through September 7 of this year, but for many more years to come.

This is just a bit from Last Night of the BBC Proms 2012.

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