Proms Extra: Episode 1 BBC Proms

Proms Extra: Episode 1

The weekly Proms magazine show. This week's review includes Elgar's Second Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim and a trip to the movies courtesy of the iconic John Williams.

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Hello and welcome to a brand new series of Proms Extra.


After four years at the Royal College of Music, we've moved


home to Central London, brought the decorators in and given


the whole Proms 2017 season a good lick of paint.


And week one of the Proms began with a full coat of gloss.


Now let's have a look at what else is going on today.


BBC Proms has headed north to this year's City of Culture, Hull,


and taken over Stage at the Dock, an historic site which overlooks


the tranquil waters of the River Hull and the Humber


Conductor Nicholas McGegan, with The Royal Northern Sinfonia,


played music inspired by water, which of course included


And this is one of five 'Proms AT' events occurring


throughout this season, the other four will be in London,


but it's nice to be out further afield.


Let's leave the Proms AT in Hull and let me tell


you about who and what is on our show this evening.


We'll be taking a look at the John Williams celebration


Prom, Daniel Barenboim conducting Elgar's Second Symphony


and John Adams' Harmonium from the First Night.


Plus we have a performance by the clarinettist,


Annelien Van Wauwe to take us out at the end of the show.


Now, I can't do all of this on my own, why would l?


To ease me through this evening I'm joined by a sofa full


The conductor, Sofi Jeannin The composer, Nitin Sawhney


Welcome to all of you. Nice to have a packed sofa this first episode


Proms actor. Jonathan, you have just come from rehearsals? Yes, it is a


replica of a Sergeant's 500th... He was an incredible figure in the


Proms? Yes, after Henry Ward, who ran the thing so many years. I used


to go on the tube from what would and I had a lot of Sergeant's


concerts. We will be re-enacting that on Monday. It will be rather a


responsibility. I have tried to lose weight to look like him, but it


hasn't worked. Sofi's, congratulations, you have your debut


prom this year, tell us about that? It is on the 20th of August. It is


part of the 500 years since the Reformation. We are going to do sort


of a patchwork passion. We are going to play extracts from passions by


composers spanning over 500 years. That sounds fabulous. Knitting


sunny, congratulations on your lifetime achievement award at the


Ivor Novello Awards. You seem too young for that! We are marking


Indian independence at the Proms? I am performing with my band on the


30th of August. That will be at the glow. And the Sam Wanamaker


Playhouse, on the 13th. I am doing a one-man show, but I do have some


guests. I am just talking, improvising about feelings and


thoughts around India and my relationship with India. It sounds


brilliant. Nicola Benedetti, happy birthday. It is a big one this year?


This was good to have the concept first and the party afterwards. Were


you pleased with your reviews? Who knows, it requires more stun. The


focus to play with that intensity of the piece itself into an audience


that is so actively focused in the way they listen and the type of


attention, it is an experience you don't forget, the combination is


quite something. I think the audience would agree.


It's a pleasure to have you all here, get stuck in,


as I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about our first


piece of music tonight which came from the First Night of the Proms.


It was an evening that contained new music,


courtesy of Tom Coult, and a big musical moment courtesy


of Beethoven's third Piano Concerto performed by Igor Levit,


but it is the work of the American composer, John Adams,


that we delve into and his piece 'Harmonium'.


The BBC Symphony Orchestra on the First Night of the Proms,


performing John Adams' Harmonium conducted by Ed Gardner.


John Adams couldn't make the night in person,


but he did tweet that he would be listening from his Mahler Hut


in the Californian Redwoods and after the performance he tweeted


Sofi, there were a lot of singers, 370, how do you approach conducting


that many bodies? This is the wonderful thing about choral


singing, the community itself, it is the fusion you feel when you stand


next to each other and sing, it does work for the conductor to connect


with that many people. I was so moved to see all those young people


from these different choruses, making that wonderful sound. I think


it goes so well with the poem as well, freshness of tone and


intensity of character. It was spine tingling. Andrew, the BBC's in the


orchestra, with whom you have a long and fun relationship, they were


shown of to their best? I was talking to someone at the rehearsal


about it and they were saying how fantastic it was and how they


enjoyed being a part of it. They have had a long association with


John Adams now, he has been composer in residence, I forget what his


title is, but he has been working with them a great deal. He is


extraordinary. It is rare for a conductor, a composer to be a


fantastic conductor. He is extraordinary. This is what put John


Adams on the map when it was first performed in the US, it was a


tremendous choice for the Albert Hall as well. Perfect location. I


love the Albert Hall and the sound is fantastic in this performance.


The Royal Albert Hall is interesting, a lot of people who


play their complain about big sticks. But I love the acoustics, it


is my favourite venue in London, possibly the world. Ditto. You


always get excited performing there, so I imagine they would have been


excited to perform this piece. We had Beethoven and a piece by Tom


Coult as well, eclectic, what do you think? Absolutely perfect. So


diverse, but to end with something of that magnitude, something so


grand, that many people on stage, it is an overwhelming part of this


festival, but certainly of that venue, it can take that scale. I


just wish I'd been there. The footage is incredible, I've watched


it several times and it is so moving and the stories of the individuals


and the choir. Experience for them to partake in something so large.


If you wish to see John Adams' Harmonium and indeed the epic


First Night of the Proms do head over to the BBC iPlayer where


Right, in less than half an hour, the Royal Albert Hall plays host


to the Aurora Orchestra, and our friend, Tom Service,


whom we can talk to right now at the Royal Albert Hall,


accompanied by the Aurora Orchestra's Conductor,


We know the audience are coming in now, lovely to see you so close to


start. We get on very well. We are only one part of it because the


whole first week is about the promise behind us and this hall,


which will be full tonight. The interesting thing is what you can


see behind us, you cannot see any music stands. The aurora Orchestra


is playing from memory. This is not the first Symphony you have done


from memory, but why do it like this, it makes everything harder for


you and the players? It is the fourth year we have been at the BBC


is performing a symphony from memory and we love doing it, it gives us a


new perspective on the music and hopefully it gives the audience are


different appreciation and glands into what an orchestra can deliver.


Also it gives us the opportunity in the first half of the concert, Tom


and I will be presenting on the stage, and it will give a close-up


look at the symphony, delving into it for 25 minutes. And try to sing


in tune. It is much harder than you think when you have thousands of


people looking at you. But also these experiences create a sense of


community between what happens on the stage, the way the players look


at each other when there is no music in the way, and the way you can make


eye contact with everyone here. There's no better space to be doing


something like this band here. It is so extraordinary we are able to


communicate with them in this way. You are looking forward to this?


Very much so. As an high. Back to you.


We look forward to hearing you at 7:30 tonight


If you would like both sound and vision, then you can see this


performance by the Aurora Orchestra on Friday 18th August on BBC Four.


Still to come on Proms Extra, more review chat with my sofa


guests, Nitin Sawhney, Nicola Benedetti, Sir Andrew Davis,


Shortly we're going to take a look at the John Williams celebration


Prom, we have the magnificent David Owen Norris with


his Chord of the Week, plus the clarinettist,


Annelien Van Wauwe will be performing.


Now Sofi, you're about to make your Proms debut in exactly a month,


Proms Extra found this picture of you singing with the BBC


Symphony Chorus in 2003 as conducted by Andrew Davis,


That is so funny. It was the Royal prom when we did the correlation and


it was all glorious. Sounds like the concert I am doing on Monday. Shall


we see it Sofi can come along and sing at that? This is your


opportunity? It would be wonderful. It is true, I went to the BBC since


in the said during my time as a student to see if they would let me


sing with them, although I was already a conducting student to see


what it was like to work with a symphony chorus on that scale,


working with an amateur group and seeing how that group of people work


together from the inside. I wasn't a spy, because I loved what I did, but


it was an interesting experience and I got to sing under your direction.


And you didn't put her off. Well Sofi's official debut is next


month and talking of debuts, Jess Gillam, a finalist last year


in the BBC Young Musician competition made her debut last week


at the Proms and Proms Extra decided, quite helpfully,


to add to her nerves I'm at my hometown in Ulverston


England and it's 11 days before the Prom. I practise for about four


hours every day, sometimes a bit more at my parents' tearoom. People


walk past and they don't see me. But they definitely hear me. It's been


my dream since I was about nine or ten years old to perform at the


Royal Albert Hall and I thought it would be much later on in my career


if it was ever going to happen. I'm so pleased it's happening now. I


knew I wanted to memorise this piece so I've just been playing the same


bar, the same passage over and over. We've had a few stoppers. There was


one lady that walked away. I think the proms audience might be a bit


more receptive. We are just leaving Ulverston now


ready to go to London. Mainly I travel with my dad who drives in our


van. He's definitely a calming influence before I go on stage. It's


an amazing building. The time is 6. 20 in the morning and I'm about to


play on BBC Breakfast for the First Night of the Proms in the Albert


Hall. It's so big. The 123rd proms season gits under


way this evening. You are listening to Jess Gillam and she's making her


proms debut this year. We'll be talking to her. You are looking


beautiful, as always... . Time for breakfast. We have just arrived at


the hotel. I'm feeling quite nervous just because of the size of the hall


and how prestigious the event is. I think I'm going to be quite


nervous. I need to make sure my head's in the right place and I'm


feeling on top form and I've got to be properly focussed.


Probably memory is the thing that makes me most nervous because


there's no sort of backup in performances before, I've thought, I


can't remember what's coming next. And we are going to welcome another


new young soloist to the stage, saxophonist Jess Gillam makes her


proms debut! APPLAUSE.


The saxophone is such a reliable instrument. We have been through a


lot together. It's only me that's variable in this relationship.


The only thing I'm slightly worried about is the long high note at the


end. I want to put absolutely everything into it and I want it to


fill the hall but the hall's so big, I don't think that's going to be


quite possible. Well Sofi's official debut is next


month and talking of debuts, Jess Gillam making her


unannounced Proms debut She is exploding with energy and a


desire to communicate which is the most fantastic quality. All of my


conversations with her revolved around, you just have to contain it


and channel it and because she's just bursting with wanting to give.


She's just got such a won'tderful future ahead of it. To be such a


genuine person, you know, she's just incredible. I can see you nodding as


well. Well, it's fantastic to see somebody like that who A has the


confidence and the love for the passion is bursting out of her and,


at the same time, she's very acutely aware of what an important event


this is for her. Yes. We were talking about this earlier, this


thing about nerves and how they can be used very positively to find


their own ways of being channelled. She's achieving that at a very young


age. Let's turn to a veteran


of the Albert Hall and indeed the Proms, Daniel Barenboim,


who made a weekend of it with two performances of Edward Elgar's first


and second symphonies, and it's the second symphony that


we're going to. -- that we are going to talk about


now. Elgar said he wrote his soul into this piece of music? They are


very different pieces. The first of course ends what did he say, a


massive hope for the future. The second, in a way, is the opposite.


There is a nostalgia maybe for the past. It was always said, the lights


are going out all over Europe, and, there's that sense of, you know,


leaving something, there is a sort of sorrow at the end of the piece


despite its tremendous exuberance and virtue sty of the piece. There


is a special feeling at the end. Shown last Sunday on BBC four,


here is the Staatskapelle Berlin performing Elgar's second symphony,


conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle


Berlin with Elgar's Second Symphony. Nitin, do you agree that composers


always put a bit of their soul into what they write? That's important.


It's got to start from a feeling that you want to express. I think


whatever you're doing, even if it's commissioned for a film or TV


series, you've got to find something within yourself that you're drawing


from in the first place. It was regarded as a very fine performance.


I don't know if any of you had any particular feelings about what


Daniel Barenboim brought to that performance. I know you have all


worked and known him in different ways. I didn't go to see it. I


wasn't here so I haven't seen it but Daniel of course is a very, very


long history of Elgar performances and very distinguished ones too.


He's always brought a tremendous insight. Also when people like Danny


and of course others as well did them all over the world which


actually helped the idea that Elgar is not just a composer appreciated


by the British, you know, I mean I've done a lot of Elle forward in


different places as well. But I think it's important. Yes. And we


are all moved by Elgar. It works everywhere because there is some


very special emotions there. As you say, this loss of something, perhaps


the loss of something in some way, the loss of a time that's past and


gone. You have this melancholy, this soaring feeling, whistfulness. I


think even when you open a score of Elgar's music, it couldn't be


written by anybody else, it's just such a unique image. It's just one


of the other treasures you have here in Great Britain, it's just


wonderful for us abroad to experience it. We are sensitive to


that I think. When you play Elgar, do you feel that emotional


connection with him? Absolutely. One of the requirement force a classical


musician is to step whole heartedly into the culture and feeling of


things that can be very close or very far away. And the power of a


great come pore, of course, is to make that possiblior you, regardless


of whether you were alive in 1830 and lived in Germany or this is your


time and place now, the power of their voice is something that brings


you deep into that world. Of course, Elgar is absolutely up there with


the best of them in being able to do that. We are so luck you be able to


do what we do, you know what I mean! Adventures presenting opportunities


for us all the time. That is true. You never get tired of it.


Now we're staying with Elgar for a little bit longer


as Proms Extra's finest, David Owen Norris, brings home


a little understanding of Elgar's Second Symphony.


A marvellous chord, a dominant 13th from Ed ahhed ward Elgar's Second


Symphony conceived in Venice walking around St Mark's. What makes it


sound so colourful is the fact the most discore Dan notes are on the


outside of the chord. Four French horns playing that rising phrase.


And they certainly give it a great air of triumph. And Elgar's very


good at triumph. But there's more to him than that. In his greatest


music, there's always a sense of yearning, a sense of loss, think of


the cello concerto. When our Chord of the Week comes back later in the


movement, the triumphant rising phrase is played only on the choir


Anglais and two choir trumpets then Elgar writes "fff" which is really


loud. For all the violins and Violas with the passionate word "vibrata".


Two horns this time and they're overwhelmed by the grief of the


violins. Elgar's Master of the Orchestra


allows him to paint a kaleidoscope of emotion on to one and the same


chord. David Owen Norris and his


illuminating chords will return next Time for us to turn our spotlight


on to the American film composer, John Williams,


who celebrated his 85th birthday this year, and to commemorate this


he got his own Prom. Even if you didn't know him


by name, you will have Nitin, as a fellow film composer,


what is it about John Williams Just a sample of some of it, Harry


Potter, Star Wars, lots of stuff. As a fellow film composer, how does he


get it so right, he's extraordinary? It's the breadth and diversity of


his work that is amazing. It's just how long he's been going and


creating incredible work, you know. He even worked with Bernard Herman


and Mancini. He played the piano part in Peter Gunn, he's done so


many things. This only touches on the breadth of what he's capable of.


It's interesting just that short snip that you heard there that I was


just saying it felt like parallel universes because it was so


different hearing what he's done. You have actually worked with him


when he's had themes? He came over to London to record them and it's


true that he uses phenomes. We heard extracts there and sometimes it's


about textures and sometimes he goes and does a text treatment. It's true


he has this extreme diversity. He started off like a great


orchestrator, he has a great understanding of jazz. That is


great, most composers have a good grounding. There are brilliant jazz


pianists. It's great hearing the diversity and brilliance of John


Williams' work. With every new film he does, he has


never sought relied on a past formula, he has taken the idea, the


concept, the mood of the film... He goes with the character of the film,


whatever it is, you have to serve the film, the ideas. You have played


some of his music, Nicola, some of the music from Schindler 's list was


on your album. How on earth do you decide to put into a John Williams


concert? Unbelievable quality. So nice to hear, an extract of Catch Me


If You Can and surprising scores which you don't expect. It is true,


it is difficult to make choices. How do you leave out The Raider's March?


People loved it, we had thousands of tweets coming in all evening. Sort


of saying, it was worth the licence fee on its own. But I would say


that, wouldn't eye. Do you think it's fair to say he saved the role


of the orchestra in film music? When he started getting famous in the


early 70s, it was slightly going out of fashion having a full-blooded


orchestral sound? There was a move towards pop music and people were


focusing more on pop music in the 70s. I think he brought it back,


with Star Wars, particularly. Normally, you would hear weird


science fiction sounds, like you do in Blade Runner for example with Van


Doug Ellis' incredible score. But he that power of the orchestra.


Briefly, Andrew I know you have met John Williams? I have met him


briefly. They have the student orchestra. Do you have a favourite


John Williams theme? No, they are all... Answers on a postcard later.


If you want to relive this prom, the BBC iPlayer, make like a storm


trooper in your own living room. Tomorrow night on BBC Four, we have


a preview of some lovely Schumann. Bernard Haitink with


the Chamber Orchestra of Europe which you can see in its entirety


tomorrow night on BBC Four at 7:00. The Proms as you'd expect has a busy


week ahead with the likes of Sir Andrew Davis recreating


Malcolm Sergeant's 500th Prom this Monday and Jarvis Cocker curates


a Prom dedicated to the genius of Scott Walker amongst


other Proms on offer. Do remember every Prom


is broadcast live on Radio 3, and there is of course the BBC


iPlayer if you want more Proms catch up, plus we have a Proms


podcast - it's all there. Proms Extra and I will return next


week with more nuggets I'd like to thank my guests,


Nitin Sawhney, Nicola Benedetti, Sir Andrew Davis, and Sofi Jeannin -


good luck Andrew and And we'll leave you with


a performance recorded earlier today by one of the current Radio 3


New Generation artists, the clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe


playing Stravinsky.


Katie Derham returns with the magazine show Proms Extra to review the opening week of Proms 2017 with her special guests. This week's review includes Elgar's Second Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim and a trip to the movies courtesy of the iconic John Williams.

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