The Lebrecht Interview
Monday 27 July, 9.45pm
Norman Lebrecht talks to Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn. Born in Lexington, Virginia, Hahn was a child prodigy who made her major orchestral debut while still in her early teens. Now celebrated for her captivating stage presence and deeply felt interpretations, Hahn’s international career embraces everything from concerto appearances (playing classic and new repertoire), to recitals, recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, and collaborations with singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau and folk-based singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. She talks about the sometimes harsh realities of life on the road, the challenges of sustaining relationships, busking and the effects of the credit crunch on the classical music industry.
Tuesday 28 July, 7.30pm
Prom 15, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and their principal conductor Jiri Belohlavek, opens with Smetana’s high-spirited overture to The Bartered Bride. Bartók’s Dance Suite, which incorporates folk themes from Hungary, Romania and as far afield as Africa, follows, before pianists Jaroslava Pechocova and Vaclav Macha join for Martinu’s Concerto for two pianos. Stravinsky’s vibrant orchestral score for Petrushka rounds off the evening.
Saturday 1 August, 11am
You can hear ‘Evolution! A Darwin-inspired extravaganza for kids’ twice this weekend, first on Saturday morning and again on Sunday morning. Conductor Charles Hazlewood and special guest Sir David Attenborough lead us from prehistoric Earth to outer space in John Williams’s soundtracks to Jurassic Park and Star Wars. Plus, there’s a new beginning, as DJ and drum-and-bass producer Goldie (runner-up of last year’s BBC Two Maestro competition) reveals a specially written, Darwin-inspired work – his first ever for a classical orchestra: Sine Tempore – Without Time.
Thursday 30 July, 7.30pm
The works of two contrasting composers fill the Royal Albert Hall, played by the Hallé Orchestra under the baton of their music director, Sir Mark Elder. The rousing overture to Berlioz’s opera, Benvenuto Cellini, is followed by his dramatic cantata, La mort de Cleopatra, sung by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Then after the interval, anniversary composer Mendelssohn’s 2nd Symphony, the Lobgesang or Hymn of Praise. Presented by Petroc Trelawny.
Mendelssohn, the Nazis and Me
Thursday 30 July, 9.45pm
The composer Felix Mendelssohn held strong Christian beliefs, but he was born a Jew. In this new documentary, the composer’s great great great great-niece Sheila Hayman, a filmmaker, investigates Mendelssohn’s religious identity during his lifetime. The film soon turns to murkier matters, as Hayman first looks at the effect of an anti-semitic polemic written by Wagner, and then the banning of his music by the Nazis.