Live at BBC Proms: BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, National Youth Choir and Proms Youth Ensemble conducted by Sakari Oramo in music by Holst, Vaughan Williams and Anna Meredith.
From the Royal Albert Hall, London
Presented by Georgia Mann and Petroc Trelawny
Oliver Knussen: Flourish with Fireworks, Op 22
Vaughan Williams: Toward the Unknown Region
Holst: The Planets
- 9.20 pm
Live Interval: On the opening night of the 2018 BBC Proms, Georgia Mann and Petroc Trelawny look forward to two months of world-class music-making in the company of guests, and go backstage to chat to some of the performers in tonight’s Prom.
Anna Meredith: Five Telegrams
BBC co-commission with 14-18 NOW and Edinburgh International Festival
National Youth Choir of Great Britain
BBC Proms Youth Ensemble
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo (conductor)
An all-British season launch, featuring two major figures who composed responses to the First World War. Holst’s much-loved The Planets (premiered in 1918) and Vaughan Williams’s choral masterpiece Toward the Unknown Region contrast with a new work by Anna Meredith, featuring the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble. Five Telegrams draws on communications sent by young soldiers in 1918, taken from a British Field Service Postcard.
FIRST NIGHT OF THE PROMS, REVIEW: A BOLD AND IMAGINATIVE MUSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE END OF WWI
(Ivan Hewett’s article appeared in the Telegraph 7/14.)
The First Night has two important jobs to perform: to make a big splash, and to set the tone and signal the big themes of the coming season. The second half of this year’s first nightpromised to do both, spectacularly.
It was a brand-new piece named Five Telegrams, commissioned in commemoration of the end of the First World War, a major theme of the season.
It was a big bold statement, involving two choirs as well as a BBC Symphony Orchestra heavily reinforced with extra trumpets of the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble, and moving imagery projected onto the curved walls and hanging mushrooms of the Albert Hall by the co-creators of the piece, 59 Productions.
PROMS 2018 REVIEW – OPENING NIGHT DUTIFULLY HONOURS MUSICAL GREATS
(Andrew Clements’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/13.)
The visuals were mostly abstract, but here and there one caught a hint of something more concrete, a suggestion of maps and gun placements in one movement, a tangle of lines suggesting messages running down telephone wires to the front.
Meredith’s musical idiom is a pop-flavoured minimalism with hints of Steve Reich, which doesn’t lend itself to lyrical effusion – an advantage in this piece, where feelings tend to be obliterated by the machinery of war.
Even so, one sometimes felt her usually buoyant inventiveness was hampered by the need to serve a symbolic purpose.
As for the visuals, they were so beautifully decorative that one sometimes forgot their sinister implication. Nonetheless this was a spectacular and brilliantly conceived start to the season.
(Photos–top to bottom–Classical Iconoclast, Telegraph, BBC)