Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Proms...what is it?

Andrew is a big questioner. He hears EVERYTHING and he isn't afraid to admit when he doesn't know what something is. It occured to me that it might be kind of fun to answer his questions on this blog, since my answers are usually more general than I would like and researching the details is fun for me!

So yesterday while we were listening to MPR he heard an announcement for today's BBC Proms concert and he wanted to know what it was.

Here is what wiki says:
The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of over 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, a series of chamber concerts at Cadogan Hall, additional Proms in the Park events across the United Kingdom on the last night, and associated educational and children's events. In 2009 the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. In the context of classical music festivals, Jiří Bělohlávek has described the Proms as "the world's largest and most democratic musical festival".[1]

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London's pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. Promming now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall (the arena and gallery) for which ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Single-concert Promming tickets can be bought, with few exceptions, only on the day of the concert, which can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Proms concert-goers, particularly those who stand, are sometimes described as "Promenaders", but are most commonly referred to as "Prommers". Prommers can buy full- or half-season tickets instead for guaranteed entry (until 20 minutes before the concert is due to start), although not the assurance of a particular standing position. A number of Prommers are particularly keen in their attendance. In 1997, one programme in the BBC documentary series Modern Times covered this dedicated following of enthusiasts.

Wiki defines classical music as: the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.[1] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

This year they played Gabriel Prokofiev's Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra which certainly doesn't carry a feel of traditions or the liturgical, but is somehow so lovely anyway. And yes, the name does imply what you think: This is Sergei's grandson. Here is an interview with him about the piece.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Oh and speaking of Albert Hall, I need help adding on to my Gardens of Time on facebook, anyone want to be my neighbor?


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