CLASSICAL MUSIC: THE FIVE BEST CONCERTS

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The Independent Culture
The Proms 1 11 Sept

Beethoven's Ninth has been replaced as the usual penultimate Prom by another Beethoven choral masterpiece, the earlier Missa Solemnis. Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir.

Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (0171-589 8212) 7.30pm

Chicago SO tonight

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Daniel Barenboim, presents Richard Strauss's bucolic Till Eulenspiegel, Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra and Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony.

Symphony Hall, Birmingham (0121-212 3333) 8pm

Sarband tonight

As part of the early music festival, Heavenly Harmony, the ensemble Sarband gives an exotic concoction, fusing East and West hymns by Italian Renaissance masters and Sufi mystics.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London SEl (0171-960 4242) 6pm

The Proms 2 7 Sept

The lunchtime series closes with the virtuoso period instrument Wind Soloists of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The octet plays Mozart's Serenade in E flat, K375, a Magic Flute medley, and a short piece by Salieri.

Lecture Theatre, V&A, London SW7 (0171-589 8212) 1pm

The Proms 3 tonight

The European Youth Orchestra, under Vladimir Ashkenazy, give a piece from the recent BBC Masterprize competition, Berg's haunting Seven Early Songs, with Hillevi Martinpelto as soloist, and Richard Strauss's towering An Alpine Symphony, an ideal work for the Albert Hall.

Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (0171-589 8212) 7.30pm

NEW RELEASES

Various La Sposolizio

The King's Consort, King

(Hyperion)

Another marvellous concept from Robert King and his redoubtable consort, here breathtakingly recreating the celebrations which would have taken place on Ascension Day in Venice circa 1600. Fanfares are featured alongside haunting polychoral settings by Giovanni and Andrea Gabrieli, Monteverdi and others. Glitteringly recorded, and a superb booklet. HHHH

Schmidt Das Buch mit seiben Siegein Bavarian RSO, Welser-Most

(EMI)

Adding to his already acclaimed account of Schmidt's Symphony No 4, fellow Austrian Hans Welser-Most tackles Schmidt's opus summum, his 100-minute oratorio based on Revelation. This is a splendid team achievement: great soloists, terrific and terrifying choral work, blistering orchestral playing, and consummate conducting. HHHH

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