Proms 64 & 66, Simon Rattle Rattle/Berlin Philharmonic Royal Albert Hall, London, 2nd and 3rd September Until September 2017, when Simon Rattle officially joins the London Symphony Orchestra, the best chance to see this dynamic conductor in action is still his annual visit to the BBC Proms with the Berlin Philharmonic. This superb group have always had a gleaming, oak-dark string tone and incomparable wind and brass soloists, but under Rattle they’ve gained a precision to equal their textural richness.
Prom 64 pairs music by arch-modernist Pierre Boulez (his astonishing Eclat, a sequence of musical fragments that unfold as an expansive musical whole) with Mahler’s radical Seventh Symphony—a concert of intricate, densely-woven textures and atmosphere studies. Prom 66 is a more extrovert affair, opening with Dvorak’s rhythmically charged Slavonic Dances before retreating to the calm of the countryside in Brahms’s Second Symphony, a vivid musical landscape painting full of stillness, beauty and consolation.
Proms at… Bold Tendencies Multi-Story Car Park Bold Tendencies Multi-Story Car Park, Peckham, 3rd September
This year the BBC Proms is setting up camp across London. You can catch performances at the Globe’s Wanamaker Playhouse or in a Peckham car park. It’s the latter that hosts this enticing concert—a programme of music by American minimalist Steve Reich, presented by Proms debut artist Christopher Stark and his orchestra. The motoric energy of Reich’s rhythms are the soundscape of the modern city, so where better to hear Music for a Large Ensemble or Eight Lines than in the urban heart of contemporary London.
The Scottish Ensemble: American Life Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, 11th September
America’s musical life is the focus of a concert by the Scottish Ensemble this month. The UK’s only professional string orchestra are a thrilling force in the concert hall, and here they channel this energy into works by three generations of American composers. You’ll hear America’s musical history unfold from Aaron Copland’s folk-influenced ballet Appalachian Spring, through to the work of pioneering minimalists John Adams and Philip Glass before arriving at contemporary composer Nico Muhly’s Motion—a work ticking with nervous musical energy.