The BBC has announced the line-up for this year’s promenade concerts but has issued an early plea for music to take precedence over politics. The fabled Last Night is already ringing alarm bells but the usual Union Flags threatened to be overshadowed by EU flags, as the inescapable spectre of Brexit haunts the Albert Hall. On the plus side, we can always just close our eyes and listen to the music.
On the 150th anniversary of founder, Henry Wood’s birth, the line-up is typically eclectic. Among the highlights of the 2019 programme, which takes place from July 19 to September 14, is a Sci-Fi prom which will include scores from films including Gravity and Alien: Covenant; the premiere of Zosha Di Castri’s Long Is The Journey, Short Is The Memory on Friday July 19, with Karina Canellakis set to become the first female conductor to perform at the First Night of the Proms. Elsewhere, Public Service Broadcasting will stage their 2015 concept album The Race For Space with the Multi-Story Orchestra as part of a late night Prom.
Across the season, classical music fans will be treated to performances from the likes of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and artist Angélique Kidjo. The Proms will also feature Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood on September 10, who will perform Steve Reich’s Pulse, among other minimalist pieces.
As well as the emphasis on sci-fi, there will be a celebration of Nina Simone, as well as an environmental theme to this year’s programme. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony will feature alongside other music inspired by nature, while the Lost Words performance inspired by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris’s book of the same name is set for August 25.