Faber composers at the 2013 BBC Proms – 7 premieres!

Faber composers at the 2013 BBC Proms – 7 premieres!

The 2013 BBC Proms are under way, and with a bumper crop of contemporary music and 7 premieres by Faber composers, it is sure to be one of the most exciting seasons yet. You can find out more and buy orchestral scores by these composers here.

Julian Anderson’s Harmony opens the Proms
The very first piece to be performed at this year’s Proms will be Harmony, a new work by Julian Anderson. ‘It’s for chorus and orchestra,’ Anderson explains, ‘in which the two are blended into a seamless textural whole. The piece emerges gradually, hovers, spreads through the hall and vanishes. It sets a brief text by Richard Jefferies about time and eternity in which he says that time is nothing but an illusion. This seemed to me a suitable text with which to celebrate music-making and concert-giving, as the opening work of the Proms should do. What’s so magical about listening to music, or indeed playing it, is transcending everyday clock-timing and replacing it with a completely illusory musical time which suspends our awareness of normal time altogether.’ The premiere will be given on 12 July by the massed forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus.
Read the reviews here.
 
David Matthews’s new tone poem: A Vision of the Sea
2013 marks David Matthews’s 70th birthday and the Proms are celebrating this with a new orchestral commission. The resulting piece, a 20-minute symphonic poem, evokes themes common in much of Matthews’s music: landscape, the change of the seasons and with the special light quality of dawn and dusk. ‘My piece’, writes Matthews, ‘is called A Vision of the Sea - the title comes from a poem by Shelley. Most of the piece was written at my house in Deal in Kent, where I am constantly aware of the sea. I have attempted to portray the sea in all its various moods, as I have observed them. I have included the calls of herring gulls, which I hear all day while writing. The piece ends with an evocation of dawn over the sea - which I often see in winter - based on the sound of the sunrise as recorded by scientists at Sheffield University.’ The piece will be premiered on 16 July by the BBC Philharmonic and its principal conductor Juanjo Mena.
Read the reviews here.
 
World premiere of Thomas Adès’s Totentanz
A new work by Adès is always eagerly anticipated, especially one as substantial and important as Totentanz promises to be. The BBC Symphony Orchestra under the composer’s own baton brings the work to the public on 17 July, with baritone and mezzo soloists Simon Keenlyside and Christine Stoijn. Totentanz lasts around 40 minutes and was a commission from Robin Boyle in memory of Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) and his wife, Danuta. The piece is a setting of the anonymous text that appeared under a fifteenth-century frieze in the Marienkirche, Lübeck which was later destroyed by bombing in World War Two. As Adès writes: ‘The frieze depicted members of every category of human society in strictly descending order of status, from the Pope to a baby. In-between each human figure is an image of Death, dancing and inviting the humans to join him. In this setting, each of the humans in turn is represented by a low soprano, and Death by a baritone.’
Read the reviews here.
 
UK premiere of Colin Matthews’s Turning Point
Colin Matthews’s 18-minute orchestral work Turning Point was commissioned by the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and first performed there in 2007. This summer it receives its UK premiere at the Proms (29 July) with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Thomas Sondergard. As Matthews writes, the title describes the work’s structure:  ‘I began it in the spring of 2003 but, having completed the first main section, I couldn’t find the way to continue. This first section was almost wholly fast music and when I came back to it I realised what was needed was a complete change of direction, a “turning point”, into music that is very slow and intense.’
Read the reviews here.

World premiere of Nishat Khan's 'The Gate of the Moon' (Sitar Concerto No 1)
Nishat Khan's 45-minute work for sitar and orchestra promises to be a ground-breaking BBC commission.  It will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and on the BBC Asian Network.  The composer will be the soloist and is joined by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under David Atherton.  Khan writes of the piece: 'It will be a commemoration of the treasures of Western classical music that ring in my psyche and my soul… There will be composed music for myself and the orchestra, and parts where I improvise alone; there will be dialogue, development, rhythmic exploration, a lot of interaction… I think of Western classical music as a huge ocean I’m swimming through…'  This is to be Nishat Khan's 3rd appearance at the Proms.  Previously he performed there in 1989, and then in 2008, when he combined ragas with plainchant, together with the BBC Singers.
 
John Woolrich and Tansy Davies add variations to Sellinger’s Round
The history of Sellinger’s Round is an interesting one. Originally an Irish dance tune, it was harmonised for the keyboard by William Byrd. Centuries later in 1952, Benjamin Britten came upon the idea to use it as the basis for a set of variations for string orchestra, to be written collaboratively by six of the finest composers of the day: Lennox Berkeley, Arthur Oldham, Humphrey Searle, Michael Tippett, William Walton and Britten himself. This year John Woolrich and Tansy Davies will add their own names to that illustrious list of composers, following a commission to produce their own variations to add to the set. The updated set will be performed by the English Chamber Orchestra on 24 August.
 
Faber performance listings:
 
12.7.13
Harmony
(world premiere)
Anderson, Julian
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo
7:30pm
 
16.7.13
A Vision of the Sea
(world premiere)
Matthews, David
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Juan Jose Mena
7pm
 
17.7.13
Totentanz
(world premiere)
Adès, Thomas
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
Simon Keenlyside/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Adès/Christianne Stotijn
7:30pm
 
29.7.13
Turning Point
(UK premiere)
Matthews, Colin
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Thomas Sondergard
7pm
 
31.7.13
Concerto for Two Pianos (3 hands)
Arnold, Malcolm
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
Noriko Ogawa/Kathryn Stott/BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth
7pm
 
3.8.13
Phaedra
Britten, Benjamin
BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall, London
Sarah Connolly/Britten Sinfonia/Sian Edwards
3pm
 
10.8.13
Young Apollo
Britten, Benjamin
BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall, London
Camerata ireland/Barry Douglas
3pm
 
12.8.13
'The Gate of the Moon': Sitar Concerto No 1
(world premiere)
Khan, Nishat
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
Nishat Khan/BBC National Orchestra of Wales/David Atherton
7pm
 
19.8.13
Les baricades mistérieuses
Couperin, Francois / Adès, Thomas
BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall, London
London Conchord Ensemble/London Conchord Ensemble
1pm
 
19.8.13
Canon & Fugue (from The Art of Fugue)
Bach, J S / Benjamin, George
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati
7pm
 
24.8.13
Sellinger's Round
(world premiere)
Davies, Tansy / Woolrich, John
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
English Chamber Orchestra
3pm