April 24, 2014

BBC Proms: William Christie, John Wilson Orchestra and Simon Rattle announced

The 2014 program has just been unveiled with a slew of Warner Classics and Erato artists coming to the party.

The 250th anniversary of Jean-Philippe Rameau this year brings a touch of French chic to the BBC Proms, according to the mammoth festival program announced this week.

And who better to celebrate with than William Christie, the harpsichordist and conductor who has been at the forefront of the French Baroque movement for the past 30 years, and whose Rameau recordings with Les Arts Florissants for Erato remain unparalleled in their vibrant energy, elegance and historical authority?

First, Les Arts Florissants open the Proms Chamber Music series with the charming Pièces de clavecin en concerts. Christie then directs the full ensemble and a cast of France’s finest Baroque singers, transporting listeners from the vast Royal Albert Hall to the glittering, marbled splendour of Versailles in a concert of Rameau’s motets — a classic recording on Erato. (In keeping with the French theme, Alexandre Tharaud makes his Proms concerto debut with Ravel's tour-de-force Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.)

From Baroque to Broadway: another major act in this years Proms is returning favourite the John Wilson Orchestra, with a production of Kiss Me Kate in its original 1948 arrangements.

On the orchestral and opera front, Simon Rattle leads his Berlin forces in a blazing Russian program of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances and Stravinsky’s Firebird (both available on Warner Classics, the former released last year); Roxanna Panufnik's Three Paths to Peace receives its premiere from the Orchestra for World Peace, and Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra take on Strauss and Elgar. Emmanuel Pahud gives the world premiere of Simon Holt's flute concerto Morpheus Wakes. Soprano Kate Royal makes for a very regal Marschallin in Glyndebourne's Der Rosenkavalier, while Britain's raining trumpet queen, Alison Balsom, premieres a new concerto by Shanghai composer Qigang Chen.

The 2014 BBC Proms runs from 18 July to 13 September and will be streamed live. Full program now online.

Watch the video of last year’s highlights featuring Alison Balsom: