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Top five: Proms

12 July 2013 | Charlie Kenber

With the Proms starting tonight, it can often be hard to choose from such a wide selection of concerts. Here’s our top five…

The UK’s biggest festival of classical music, the BBC Proms takes over the Royal Albert Hall every year with a comprehensive programme of concerts. But with so many to choose from it can sometimes be hard With a wide range of ticket options, it is accessible to all – and at just £5 ‘Promming’ is something everyone should try!

Prom 19: Wagner – Tristan and Isolde

Saturday 27th July, 5.00pm - c. 11.00pm

A sound worthy of the magnitude of the Royal Albert Hall, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde is a bold fusion of harmonic innovation and Cornish legend. In one of their many appearances the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov join a cast led by Violeta Urmana and Peter Seiffert. Although proms don’t often feature opera, this one is well worth catching. Be warned though, this is one of the longest concerts: at six hours including two half hour intervals you certainly get value for money.

Prom 34: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons

Thursday 8th August, 10.15pm – c. 11.30pm

In contrast to Wagner, this late night prom focuses on world-renowned British violinist Nigel Kennedy. He returns this year following performances in both 2008 and 2011 with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – a work he recorded back in 1989. He is supported by the Palestine Strings from the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music as well as members of his own Orchestra of Life. Nigel will also be appearing on the Last Night of the Proms.

Prom 40: 6 Music Prom

Monday 12th August, 10.15pm – c. 11.30pm

Fresh off the back of performing at a bespoke Secret Cinema run, folk sensation Laura Marling makes her Proms debut. The double Mercury Prize-nominated act is sure to bring her distinctive style to proceedings, in an evening co-hosted by Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Radio 3’s Tom Service. In the first ever collaboration between these two stations, the evening also features The Stranglers, Cerys Matthews and Anna Stéphany. The London Sinfonietta also join, playing works by Varése, Berio, John Adams and Anna Meredith. A great prom for newcomers and old-hands alike.

Prom 48: Ravel, Matthias Pintscher & Stravinsky

Sunday 18th August, 7.30pm – c. 9.30pm

This Prom includes a whole range of work, with Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole, the London Premier of Matthias Pintscher’s Chute d'étoiles and Stravinsky’s famed The Firebird. Pintscher’s piece features trumpeters Tine Thing Helseth and Marco Blaauw, alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. It will be the composer’s Proms conducting debut, with his musical homage to German artist Anselm Kiefer’s 2007 installation in the Grand Palais, Paris, which experimented in weight and movement through a shower of falling stars.

Prom 62: A Celebration of Charlie Parker

Wednesday 28th August, 10.15pm – c.11.30pm

Django Bates first appeared at the Proms twenty-six years ago, and here he returns accompanied by Grammy-nominated Norrbotten Big Band from northern Sweden. The jazz pianist and composer presents a celebration of Charlie Parker’s work, adding a new spin to such classics as ‘Donna Lee’, ‘Confirmation’ and ‘Scrapple from the Apple’. Thus Parker’s bebop tones are interleaves with Bates’ own compositions creating a new and exciting sound. An unusual Prom that is bound to light up the Royal Albert Hall.

Tickets and further information on all this year’s Proms available here. If you can’t make any of them, all Proms are broadcast live on BBC Radio 4, and many are televised.

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