MUSIC PROMS 99: THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS

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The Independent Culture
PROM OF THE WEEK

Simon Rattle's "American night" is the sort of big show at which the Proms excels. The first half is a serious but entertaining look at the cacophonous magnificence of Charles Ives (memories of childhood and marching bands), plus the mechanistic brilliance of Conlon Nancarrow, whose reputedly unperformable Study for Orchestra gets its world premiere under the baton of the ubiquitous Thomas Ades. In the second half, Simon Rattle resumes command with what should be a riotous performance of Wonderful Town by Leonard Bernstein (above). The early 1950s musical about two girls on the loose in New York is not to be confused with the still earlier On the Town, which was about three guys on the loose in New York. Effectively a love letter to the Big Apple, it has come to occupy a marginal position in Bernstein's output, eclipsed by West Side Story. It's full, though, of engaging tunes, gags and dance routines. Tuesday 7.30pm

Tickets: available at all prices

TODAY

TREVOR PINNOCK

One of the founding fathers of period performance conducts his choir, the English Concert, in Mozart's Requiem, Bach's motet Singet dem Herrn and Haydn's Symphony no 49. 7.30pm

Tickets: sold out

MONDAY

FRENCH NIGHT

Ooh-la-la frivolity with Poulenc's wicked Les biches, tempered somewhat by Ophelia's mad scene from the Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet. In the second part, Barry Wordsworth conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra in Roussel's Symphony no 3 in G minor, and Poulenc's Concert for Two Pianos, with pianists Pascal Roge and Jean-Philippe Collard. 7.30pm

Tickets: available at all prices (pounds 9-20)

TUESDAY

AMERICAN NIGHT

See panel, left

WEDNESDAY

POUL RUDERS PREMIERE

First UK performance of Ruders's Gong - which is probably self-explanatory - by the leading living Danish composer. Plus the life-enhancing Third Symphony, Sinfonia espansiva, by the leading dead one, Carl Nielsen. Before the Danish pair, on the day of the eclipse, Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts the BBC Symphony in Sibelius's Night Ride and Sunrise. 7.30pm

Tickets: only circle available, pounds 9 and pounds 12

THURSDAY

RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT'S FLUTE CONCERTO

One of this year's BBC commissions has been written for James Galway by a composer who lives in New York and tends to be most often heard these days in film and TV music. (Bennett is currently writing the score for the epic production of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, which will be big-screen news next year.) The programme also includes Strauss's Metamorphosen, Mozart's Flute Concerto in D major and Mozart's Symphony no 40 in G minor, played by the London Mozart Players. 7pm

Tickets: a few available at pounds 16 and pounds 20

THURSDAY

IRISH MUSIC

Not an Irish dancer in sight at this celebratory night of music by Anna. Known for their creation of the atmospheric sound that was an integral part of the original Riverdance show, Anna have also collaborated with Sting and Elvis Costello. In this performance the choir joins forces with one of Ireland's leading uilleann pipes players, Liam O'Flynn. 10pm

Tickets: available, all at pounds 9

FRIDAY

NIELSEN'S 4TH SYMPHONY

This is perhaps the greatest of all 20th-century symphonies. It's certainly the most invigorating and uplifting. An amazing score, it's performed here by the CBSO under Sakari Oramo, who's still trying to prove himself as Simon Rattle's successor. The programme also includes Frank Bridge's The Sea, which was premiered at the Proms in 1912, and Sibelius's Violin Concerto in D minor, with Sarah Chang on violin. 7pm

Tickets: available at all prices

SATURDAY

STEPHEN HOUGH

He's the winner of so many Gramophone Awards that he probably can't shut his lavatory door. (Where else do you put them?) Now the pianist is back living in Britain after years of exile in America. Here he plays - no doubt in his sharply focused way - Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, which shares a programme with more Nielsen and Sibelius. The BBC SO accompanies. 8pm

Tickets: a few available at all prices

Ticket information correct at time of going to press. Five hundred standing tickets are on sale one hour before each performance.

All concerts at Royal Albert Hall, SW7 (0171 589 8212)

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