Time-Travel at the Proms

Here’s my preview of the Last Night of the Proms 1910…which is Sunday afternoon’s free concert, a little updated for the 21st century. And of course featuring Steven, as per yesterday.

A few little bits and bobs met the cutting room floor, including something Paul Daniel told me about Sir Henry Wood’s bicycle:

Fascinating to remember that 1910 was just 83 years after the death of Beethoven. Wagner and Liszt were in living memory; Strauss, Schoenberg, Debussy and Puccini were contemporary giants; Stravinsky was just starting out. And new music featured in Sir Henry’s Last Nights, as it did amply throughout the season. The gigantic catalogue of world premieres and British premieres that he presented is more than merely astonishing.

“In the BBC music library they’ve still got the pannier that Henry Wood had on the front of his bicycle,” says Daniel, “and it’s bloody big! It looks as if it was designed for a butcher’s delivery bike. It was for his scores, and he needed it. His workload was enormous – he was doing five concerts a week…”

Any conductors currently travelling by bike to & from five Proms a week, including lashings of world premieres, please raise your hand now. I promise you a guest spot here.

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