Catch-up Proms: staff picks

The 2017 Proms are already in full swing, and most of the concerts so far are available to watch or listen on iPlayer. Here are some of our staff top picks.

Prom 1 – Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor

Xenia Davies, Youth Engagement Manager

As a very beginner pianist, this prom really appealed to me. I’m finding it fascinating at the moment to watch and listen to people playing the piano, and this is a television rather than radio recording so I got to watch in awe. I’ve also not played any Beethoven yet so it’s inspiring to know what’s in store when I get better at playing (though I reckon I’m a *little* way off having orchestral accompaniment still…)

Prom 4 – Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin

Ollie Mustill, Marketing & Comms Manager

We were made to play the Pomp and Circumstance Marches year after year after year at school, so I've tended to skip Elgar in adulthood. This, however, has brought me back into the fold. Barenboim's and the Staatskapelle's Symphony No. 2 is a love-letter from Berlin: there's no hint of bombast - this is clean, clear and utterly beautiful.

Paired with the Elgar is Birtwistle's Deep Time (dedicated to the memory of MM President Peter Maxwell Davies). Managing to be at once dense and light, layers of instruments cross and re-cross each other like geological strata. The result is surprisingly moving and rewards repeat listening.

Prom 6 – Nicola Benedetti: Shostakovich, Violin Concerto No. 1

Rey Trombetta, Communications & Events Coordinator

Nicola, a fantastic violinist and a guaranteed seat-filler at the Proms, is also very involved with music education. Last year I saw her tell a children’s orchestra that if they wanted to have a great sound, every single note from every single player had to be played with the most intense love and passion. This is exactly what she does here, accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Thomas Søndergård. Nicola speaks about the tension, madness, isolation, satirical celebration of this piece at 16:05 and the music starts at 18:10.

Prom 16 – Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition

Laura Shipsey, Membership Coordinator

For me music is always painting a picture in one way or another. This could mean anything from explicitly telling a story, evoking emotion, or creating an image of some kind. This prom brings together a range of different but all equally brilliant music that explicitly sets out to take your imagination on a journey.

If you want the virtuosic and delicate playing of Steven Osborne, a Julian Anderson world premiere, two Liszt proms premieres and the well-known orchestral colours of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition listen to this!

Prom 19 – Relaxed Prom

Najia Bagi, Project Manager

I’m listening to this one now, and loving it! There are numbers for audience participation where the audience are encouraged to interact. The performance is attended by a much younger audience and those who might find being quiet for the length of the concert more challenging than others. There are also school performances, and live interpretation for those who have a variety of visual and aural ability. Sign language and vocal commentary, basically. I think this is a really fun and accessible way of sharing music. Top marks the Proms!

PCM 3 – From the Kalevala to Kaustinen: Finnish Folk and Baroque Music

Sharon Moloney, Member Engagement Manager

As a lifelong fan of Sibelius’s music, this concert featuring Finnish folk music was always going to be high on my ‘must listen’ list. Including music from the Kalevala (which has inspired just about every Finnish composer but Sibelius in particular), and demonstrating a wide variety of different moods and styles, this selection of pieces makes it easy to see how composers became inspired to explore and adapt this music. A great lunch-time listen.

What have been your favourites so far, and what are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!