The weekly Proms magazine show. This programme focuses on Walton's Facade from the Malcolm Sargent Prom and celebrates the genius of Scott Walker.
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ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYS
Hello, and welcome to Proms Extra.
Tonight it's all eyes and ears on Mozart, Walton, and Scott Walker.
And we have another simply thrilling Chord of the Week
from David Owen Norris.
It's been two whole weeks since the Proms started
and this week we went back in time.
Ladies and gentlemen...
ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYS
PROMS MUSICAL MONTAGE
# ..Why the war is going on
# And on and on
# Why the war is going on
# Why the war is going on. #
Not at all a bad week, was it?
And it's not a bad sofa, joining me tonight are the conductors
Xian Zhang and Jules Buckley and the violinist Tai Murray.
Welcome all of you, lovely to see all of you here.
Xian, you've got your Prom with the National Orchestra of Wales
tomorrow, are you excited?
-Are you looking forward to it?
-Very much so.
And this time we have a very big chorus with us,
it's about 180 people.
Made up with two choirs, one from Birmingham
and the other one from Wales. We are very excited.
We're doing James MacMillan's
A European Requiem which is a European premiere.
And the other work is, of course,
the most famous Beethoven Ninth Symphony.
So I am very excited.
And, Jules, we'll talk about Scott Walker later on in the programme,
but, meanwhile, how's your Charlie Mingus rehearsal going?
Everything is revving up very nicely, I'm happy to say.
Metropole Orkest is on fine form
and we've got artists coming from as far afield as the States.
We got Kandace Springs, Christian Scott and obviously home-grown
talent in the likes of Shabaka Hutchings so we're feeling good.
And, Tai, you played here for the first time in the Proms
last year, great excitement.
Is it a bit more relaxed this year?
You can come and just enjoy some concerts, right?
Yes, I can come and enjoy the experience from the outside.
-Have you seen some good ones?
I saw the Scott Walker Prom on Tuesday.
Unbelievable, I am sitting next to the conductor.
It's almost as if we planned it, you know.
Well, it is lovely to have you all here, settle back, we are
going to take in our first piece of music from the Chamber
Orchestra of Europe, conducted by Bernard Haitink,
with violinist Isabelle Faust playing Mozart's Third Violin Concerto.
Isabelle Faust playing Mozart's Third Violin Concerto, accompanied
by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, conducted by Bernard Haitink.
Tai, it struck me that that was a very elegant,
rather pared-back performance by Isabelle, what did you make of it?
I love the way that she speaks Mozart.
It's... I find that many people sing Mozart very well,
but the way that she articulates every note and articulates
every phrase and obviously the way that she just enjoys it.
Isabelle Faust is one of my role models, has been
throughout my development and I loved the performance.
She had some very particular cadenzas written for her, I understand.
Ooh. Wow! They were written...
I had a question about who wrote them
because in the first movement cadenza there was a moment where
I was hoping it would go into the Pink Panther and it didn't quite.
-So, I enjoyed it.
-That would have been a story!
Now, let's just turn our attention from Isabelle to
-Bernard Haitink, Xian, he is 88 years old now...
-He's just getting started.
Have you met him? Do you know him?
I had the chance to meet him once.
He was doing a concert of a Beethoven symphony with
the LSO on tour.
In, I believe, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.
I went to his dressing room afterwards to congratulate him
and that was the first time I met him.
And he talked to me in such a gentle way, very softly,
but he looked at me right in the eye.
I was a very young conductor back then, a very young girl.
I was very impressed just by the fact that he would
take that time to talk to me and we talked about the Beethoven,
about the symphony, I was very touched by it, so ever since...
Of course, also, his recordings of Mahler has always, always been
one of my really favourites and so I have really great
memory of this man and completely adore him.
I mean, Jules, do you see yourself still conducting when you're 88?
I hope so.
I'm not sure I am going to be in peak physical form like Bernard,
but I'm going to try my best.
It's interesting in a way, isn't it, that orchestral musicians often have
a sort of the natural cut-off point of 65 for a retirement in a way
through the job? But conductors and soloists alike, they just
keep going until, you know, until the bitter end, I suppose.
-Until the baton drops.
-Yeah, that's it.
Let's go back to the Mozart because Xian, of course, you famously made
-your debut as a conductor conducting Mozart, opera in that instance.
Does it still give you a thrill to conduct works like the Violin
-Concerto that we have just heard?
Mozart, I really believe, is one of the hardest composers to
-interpret and to perform because... Don't you agree?
-I would agree.
To most musicians, Mozart's music is so transparent,
it has to be so refined, it has to be so natural.
To be natural is the hardest thing to do in life
because we learn this,
we learn that, but to be natural is actually the most difficult.
For that, I find it always very challenging, actually, to do Mozart.
Is that a challenge you find as a performer as well, Tai?
I would agree very much with what you're saying.
The whole natural thing, to be organic,
to be yourself but yet be him, or be whoever you have decided he's
trying to represent in the particular piece.
Sorry, sometimes we get to talk to audience after concert and
they will say, "That sounded so natural, so easy. That was very easy, right?"
But... Actually, in fact, usually that's very hard to make it sound
natural and organic.
-That's the challenge but when it works...
..magic happens, right?
Well, if you want to see the grand master Haitink at work,
then go to the BBC iPlayer, you'll find this Proms performance with
Haitink and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Now, cast your mind back to 7th September 2013
and the Last Night of the Proms.
It was a night of firsts,
Marin Alsop became the first woman to conduct
the Last Night of the Proms and
it was also the first time that anyone had heard this...
MUSIC: Masquerade by Anna Clyne
Composed by Anna Clyne, that piece of music is called Masquerade,
and it's part of the new look Proms titles all over the BBC.
So, you'll be hearing it a lot.
As you can see, we like nothing more than a makeover
here at Proms Extra so we headed up to Salford,
home of the BBC Philharmonic,
where, under the baton of conductor John Wilson,
they were recording the new Proms theme tune.
ORCHESTRA TUNES UP
One of the exciting things about being a composer, or challenges
too, is when you are composing, it's very solitary, you are by yourself.
You are at your piano working away and then suddenly you are in front
of 90-100 musicians, bringing this music to life
so it is always a mix of excitement and also a little anxiety,
just hoping that it is going to sound as you imagined it to sound.
From the top, one, two, three.
MUSIC PLAYS WITH DRAMATIC FLOURISH
One of the challenges in rearranging Masquerade for this purpose
was to find moments where the music would synchronise precisely
with the visuals.
So if you got a sudden change of shot,
you want the music to shift at that same point.
So, the images impose a structure on the music.
I'm wondering, actually, if they should hold forte
-and then come down, actually.
-Let's try it.
When you're recording it, you have to make sure the timings are exact.
31, just give me some click, please.
One, two, two, two.
The way we do that is that the conductor has the click track
which is like a metronome which he'll hear through an earpiece.
Through that we make sure that these things align perfectly
and that the timing is precisely 20, 30 or 40 seconds.
Each of these different musics opens with a very distinct sound,
which is the sound of a whip crack.
That very percussive opening gesture that sets in motion
the strings with these fast scale.
One, two, three.
These sort of fanfare-like brass sounds that give a sense of joy and wonder.
So, that then sort of blossoms into the imagination that comes to
life at the Proms, at the Royal Albert Hall
and how to really evoke that through music.
-Yeah, it's better.
-It's the best two chords as well.
Bravo, everybody, thanks very much. Thanks...
And that is a little insight into the new Proms makeover.
You've all recorded, it's a fascinating process.
Tai, is it one you enjoy?
Yes and no, because what is missing in a recording is the vibe of
the audience, the energy,
the synergy that is created by the amount of people in this space.
And so when you are in a recording situation, in a studio,
without that audience, it is
how you create that spinning top without them being there.
I totally agree with that.
I've done many recordings over the years where we will take that
project and put it live and sometimes
we've actually ended up releasing the live version instead
of the stuff we slaved away for three days in the studio to record.
-It often gets very technical.
You guys were just talking about the challenge of working to
a click track, that seems a very unmusical process somehow?
Yes, sometimes when we do film scores, you have to follow...
That's much more challenging than opera or ballet,
anything, your company, you have to follow a clock.
That wouldn't, you know...
I mean, generally, the theory is that you have three takes
or at least in my world, if you're doing often what would be
shorter pieces, you've got about three takes to nail it.
Once you go past the third take, the energy naturally starts to
diminish so you need to try, as Tai said, to keep this energy up and
really imagine that you're live
and sort of performing to an audience to try to get that peak.
Yeah. Really usually the best is that run-through actually.
From beginning to end, the run-through usually is the best.
Always record the rehearsal.
You can always retouch, yes,
but the run-through usually has a better flow.
It's the same with demos for artists,
with a lot of artists, with the demo you can never get it.
Oh, wow. Well, we've got no more makeovers but still to come here on Proms Extra...
I don't think so anyway! David Owen Norris and his jumbo chord,
and we go behind the scenes at the Royal Albert Hall
with tenor Stuart Skelton
and at the end of the show, we've got a performance by Tai,
which will be marvellous.
for two decades, Sir Malcolm Sargent was the colourful,
chief conductor of the Proms until his death in 1967.
He was a great believer in bringing classical music to the masses,
and he played a big part in bringing the Proms to a TV audience.
To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, last week's Proms Extra
guest, Sir Andrew Davis, recreated Sargent's 500th Prom from 1966.
It was shown last night on BBC Four,
and we have a clip, and, yes, it is in colour.
That was Sir Andrew Davis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra
in a performance of Popular Song from Walton's Facade.
Other pieces in that Prom honouring Malcolm Sargent
included Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, The Perfect Fool by Holst
Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
Xian, it was quite a festival of English music.
There was Berlioz and Schumann as well,
but there was a lot of this English sound world.
Is it one you like and are familiar with?
Erm, I would...
I like it very, very much, but actually this is the kind of music
you don't get to hear that much outside the UK, which is a shame.
I always find this kind of music has a lot of humour and charm in it.
That makes it very British or English, however you call it.
Outside the UK, really we don't get to play it often.
-It is a shame!
We don't play a lot of English composers' music.
Britten, Elgar, that's pretty much what you hear,
but really not enough.
-It's all going to change after tonight, I can see it.
Tai, was Walton's Facade a piece that you knew and liked?
Absolutely, yes. I think I was introduced to it
in my middle teens at some point.
Fast forwarding a few years.
I love ballroom dancing and so this,
-as a sort of a parody of all those dances...
-My kind of girl.
..I love it.
No, it's a highly entertaining piece from start to finish
and I think Sir Andrew Davis was the perfect conductor
as well on that occasion. I don't know if you agree.
I would agree.
I think that the charisma of his mannerisms perfectly seemed
to mirror the music as it went along.
Of course, if no-one has told him this before,
he absolutely has that TV thing down, you know.
I tell you the other thing that struck me,
because I was at the Prom and enjoyed it very much,
but also you go back 50 years,
I think there were seven or eight pieces of music in the programme.
It felt like the Last Night of the Proms, almost.
We're so used to having maybe three works
and it's quite a nostalgic trip.
Is it one that you would like to see more of now,
to reintroduce a longer, more varied programme, shorter pieces?
I think that's a great idea.
I really think, actually, we should also reduce
the general timing of a concert.
This one was long, though.
Not only shorter pieces, more pieces, shorter pieces,
and slightly shorter concert. I think.
In a way, I think it works better for modern-day life.
What do you think, Jules, would you agree with that?
I think that there's definitely an element of truth in it.
I think sometimes 75 minutes as a concert
often for an audience feels better than 90.
But, in a way, regardless, how you're going to piece together
a programme of many short pieces is always a challenge
and for that you always need to bear in mind who is the audience
and what are they coming for, and you want to try to take them
on a trip that really reaches the feeling of an arrival point
when often the pieces themselves might not necessarily be
so related to one another.
-May I ask a really silly question?
When you're putting together shorter pieces, do you ever think
this piece stopped on this note
so the next one has to start on this note.
When I do programming, I should really think about that.
Like keys, tempos.
-Keys, I've thought.
But the note, hm, very interesting.
I suppose I'm sometimes able to take liberties
with the music I'm often working in,
so I might create segues with the orchestras on the spot,
we'll work something out as we did on the Scott concert,
-but I'm not sure I could take those liberties with...
-He's not around to ask, to be fair.
He wouldn't probably mind.
Well, we've just heard a little snippet of Walton's Popular Song
so we're going to delve a little bit further into that music,
courtesy of Proms Extra's keyboard wizard, David Owen Norris.
HE PLAYS DISCORDANT CHORD
Quite a shocking discord
but actually our chord of the week
is just the end of William Walton's Popular Song from Facade.
HE PLAYS PASSAGE FROM POPULAR SONG
Facade is a series of brilliant parodies of musical styles
current in the 1920s, and I think Walton got the idea
for this chord from a little piece published 100 years ago
in the middle of the First World War while Walton was studying at Oxford,
Nola by Felix Arndt.
HE PLAYS PASSAGE FROM NOLA
Now, that chord...
is a dominant seventh...
with an extra note,
and Walton, the young tearaway, thought what if that extra note
had a dominant seventh all of its own?
And then I can play them together.
And then I can add an extra note!
But why was he thinking of Nola in the first place?
Well, here's Nola.
HE PLAYS PASSAGE FROM NOLA
And here's Popular Song, practically Nola upside down.
HE PLAYS SIMILAR PASSAGE FROM NOLA
Here's a riff from Nola.
Here's a riff from Popular Song.
In fact, they are so similar that you can simply weave them together.
And even both at once.
We love him. We just love him.
The Don of the chords will be back on Proms Extra next week
with his notes on Beethoven's 9th Symphony, well, you can't miss it.
Now, I did want to ask all of you but I think
I'm going to just focus on you, Tai, I'm putting you on the spot.
How do you respond after you finish performing? What do you do?
Do you have any little rituals?
Yes. As soon as I walk offstage, especially if things have gone well,
-I do a happy dance which I will not demonstrate right now.
Which looks very happy, I think.
That's my thing.
And then I just, you know, maybe I go have a glass of champagne,
which is always nice.
And just decompress. It takes a while before the adrenaline disappears.
I can't go and take a nap after a concert, it's not possible.
I am slightly distraught that you're not going to do the happy dance
but the reason I was asking this is in the last series,
we asked pianist Stephen Hough to tell us how he got ready
for his Proms concert but we wanted to know what happens after a show.
This time, Proms Extra persuaded tenor Stuart Skelton to let us
follow him before and after his performance of Beethoven's Fidelio.
I don't think there's any other word for it.
Performing live is everything.
The bringing the audience along with you.
Making them love you, making them hate you,
making them fear for you, making them feel for you.
You've given of yourself to the point
where when you're done, there's nothing left.
When I'm singing, I'm actually quite fastidious
about protecting my voice.
One of the things I get constant teasing about from my colleagues
is that I don't drink 72 hours before
any performance or any rehearsal with orchestra,
just to make sure that little tiny bit of gristle
and cartilage in there behaves itself
for the two or three or four hours you're on stage.
The euphoria for me is all about anticipation
of that first martini and a couple of cocktail onions.
I'm genuinely serious.
You can almost taste the cold gin, you know.
I've put a beer in here for afterwards.
It's staying cold for the time being.
If you sing a note and the voice cracks or splits, or doesn't sound,
pick yourself up, get up, keep going as if nothing happened.
There's not a singer on the planet that can remember any word
from a decent review, but we know word for word
everyone that slated us, every time without fail.
And then you go home, you obsess over it for 24 hours
and then you realise you're the only person that cares now
so you might want to stop and suck it up, daffodil.
His first note, there's nothing underneath him, it's just the voice,
that's what was everyone in, makes that space very small very quickly.
# God. #
And there is no do-overs, there's no Mulligans,
so you should feel empty at the end, a physical exhaustion.
It's euphoria, it's relief and being able to be with your colleagues
and come off the stage and look at each other
and know that what you gave was everything you had to give.
Hot, sweaty. Really good.
Everyone is obviously very happy, it was a terrific performance.
We're just ecstatic.
Good show, what a reaction from the crowd, eh?
MUSIC: Back In Black by AC/DC
I'll come back to that later.
Cover the glasses up. I'll take them down to the photo shoot.
It's a good day. A really good day.
Come along for the ride, guys.
It's like after work drinks.
Whatever job you do, on a Friday night,
the office group or whatever, let's head down to the pub
for a couple of rounds. It's exactly the same thing.
You just happen to have other people here
and your job just happened to have been in front of 6,000 people.
Here you go. Cheers.
Part of what we do is connecting with an audience
when you're performing.
I think the other half is connecting with the audience
when we're not performing, and the way to do that is just to be you.
How are you? Hiya.
How are you? Hiya.
Hiya. How are you doing?
'And I try to get changed into civvies.
'I need to get back to real life.
I'm the guy headed to the bar for the first martini
just like everyone else.
See you later, guys. Bye-bye, thanks!
The wonderful Stuart Skelton, and I can tell you
that you can see him performing in Beethoven's Fidelio tomorrow night,
BBC Four at 9:30, straight after Xian Zhang's Prom which is at 7:30.
And if that's not enough of the man,
he's going to be here in the studio with me next week
and we are all looking forward to the drinks after the show already.
Now, let's turn to the man behind Proms such as Quincy Jones,
the Radio 1 Ibiza Prom, the Urban Prom, Jamie Cullum, and so forth.
Jules, you're the man. You conducted the Scott Walker Prom
just this last week.
-Was it fantastic?
-It felt good.
I have to ask the question,
because not everybody will know about the genius of Scott Walker,
tell us a little bit about the man, the artist.
Scott Walker is an artist who originally was in a group
called the Walker Brothers.
He was brought to public fame through this group.
And at a certain point in the mid '60s, he just decided
he wanted to break away and do his own thing.
He therefore set about recording a series of solo
albums in a very short period of time, like 1967-70.
And he teamed up with an incredible arranger called Angela Morley
who at that point was writing stuff for the BBC Big Band
and the BBC Radio Orchestra,
and also another guy called Reg Guest.
And between them they basically crafted these albums which have
gone on to become cult albums because what's unique about
Scott is that he makes an album, he puts his heart and soul into it.
He listens to it, so the legend goes,
he listens to it once and then moves straight on to the next album.
So he never performs it, he never listens to it again.
And this music has never been performed since 1967
and another legend has it that in '70, he was offered
an orchestra and the Albert Hall,
but for whatever reason it didn't happen so it's something
I think a lot of people have been waiting a long time to hear.
Well, let's not keep them waiting any longer.
It's time to see a little bit of the Scott Walker Prom right now.
# It's raining today
# But once there was summer and you
# And dark little rooms
# And sleep in late afternoons
# You are all right now
# So stop a while behind our smile... #
# My life's a meaningless pursuit of meaningless smiles
# Why can't God touch me with a sign
# Perhaps there's no-one there answered the booth
# And Death hid within his cloak and smiled... #
# Plastic palace Alice
# Blows gaping holes to store her fears
# Inside her lover's head
# Listen, they're laughing in the halls
# They rip your face with lies
# To buzzing eyes you cry for help
# Like gods they bark replies. #
The stars there paying tribute to Scott Walker with
Jules Buckley conducting the Heritage Orchestra.
Schooling an audience into the genius mind of Scott Walker
who we hear was there, and indeed we have proof.
One of the soloists Susanne Sundfor tweeted this picture of her
and John Grant with Scott Walker after the show saying
she got to meet her hero and, Tai, you were there,
tell us what your impressions of it were?
Emotional, actually. Quite emotional.
All the performances were incredibly touching.
But also it was an education for me
because I grew up listening to so many great rock, pop singers.
Huge ballads, Broadway and just the realisation of the impact
that he had on all of these different artists and art forms.
It means quite a lot to music in all of its forms, I think.
And just to be a part of that audience that was so emotionally
engaged and so happy to be there and enjoying themselves so much.
It was fantastic and I thank this man sitting right here.
Jules, you were saying artists were queuing up to be part of this
Prom but it's not just about the singers,
though even though their performances were marvellous.
The orchestra was very much centre stage in all these arrangements.
On one album of Scott's, Scott 3,
there's a track called It's Raining Today.
And what's very interesting is that at the time, think about it,
'67, you have no references, you have no Spotify, you don't
have CDs, you can't really delve into these classic
pop albums to find some orchestral inspiration, so,
Angela Morley came up with this crazy atonal cluster chord
that's a combination of string harmonics, string trills,
some wind notes that are fading in and out.
And that abstractly works against this tonal and very,
sort of, more melodic guitar bass, sort of groove.
That track alone stands the test of time against so many pop albums,
Radiohead, Anohni, Last Shadow Puppets,
Marc Almond, you name it, they've all been influenced by Scott Walker.
And none more so than David Bowie
who once, on radio Scott Walker phoned in
and wished him happy birthday and he wasn't even able to speak.
This is the gravity of the man we're talking about.
So I think for many people in the audience, there was this cathartic
feeling, you know, they were waiting to hear these tracks because it was
a revolutionary type of production technique
in that day and age. It was orchestra up front
instead of the...
often, sort of wallpaper style at the back thing you get.
Xian, is this a style of music you'd like to conduct?
I think nowadays conductors do all genres, all sorts.
We do film scores, we do ballet, dances, waltzes.
Of course, anything. Tango.
I just performed with Indian musicians and the sarods, all sorts.
I think they're all connected, eventually. All forms are connected.
It's just wonderful hearing what the Proms comes up with very year
but particularly you, Jules. Is there anything on your list now,
genres you've yet to bring to the hall?
I was thinking about Eminem, actually.
No, seriously speaking, actually, Flying Lotus would be awesome.
Anderson Paak, someone like that.
An artist that's absolutely at the forefront of what's going on
at this point in time.
And you mentioned Eminem because I know, Tai, you want to work with him.
I am a huge fan, yes.
-I am looking forward to that day. It's coming.
-We could team up.
-You said that now on air.
-Let's shake on it live on TV.
-I love it.
If you want to see Jules at work, head to the BBC iPlayer
where you will find the Scott Walker Revisited Prom in all its glory.
This is also a good time to remind you that besides the iPlayer,
the Proms can be consumed in all sorts of ways,
there's the Proms website, every concert is broadcast
live on Radio 3, and the Proms has gone all modern and got
itself a weekly podcast presented by the comedienne, Vikki Stone,
which is great.
All of that is yours to feast on, do it responsibly.
Earlier in the show, you saw the tenor Stuart Skelton
winding down after his performance in Beethoven's only opera,
Fidelio and you can see that on BBC Four tomorrow at 9.30.
Here's a clip.
MUSIC: Fidelio by Beethoven
Juanjo Mena, conducting Fidelio on BBC Four tomorrow night at 9.30,
and Stuart Skelton is coming to join me in the studio next week
so do tune in for that.
It's a week of voices as Proms highlights to listen out for on Radio 3 include
Finnish folk music at Cadogan Hall.
We've got the conductor William Christie and the Orchestra
and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment coming together
to perform Handel's oratorio, Israel in Egypt, and there's
a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie on Friday.
That's also on BBC Four at eight o'clock
which is handy because we're reviewing it next Saturday
on this show.
Now, I'd like to thank my guests,
Xian Zhang and Jules Buckley. Good luck, Xian, for your Prom tomorrow.
-Very much looking forward to that one.
Lots of excitement about that Prom, I must say.
Jules, all the crew want to carry your baton to the
Mingus Prom cos it's the only way they are going to get tickets.
Actually, it's funny you say that cos I left it in the hall
after the Scott concert.
-If anyone's seen it, it's about this long.
We're on it, we'll find it.
And thank you to violinist Tai Murray who is playing the show out with Humoresque
by Sibelius, accompanied by her pianist Fiachra Garvey.
MUSIC: Humoresque by Sibelius
Join Katie Derham as she looks back at the week's events from the Proms, with conductors Xian Zhang, Jules Buckley and violinist Tai Murray. This programme focuses on Walton's Facade from the Malcolm Sargent Prom and celebrates the genius of Scott Walker. Plus there is Chord of the Week with David Owen Norris.