First Night of the Proms: Karina Canellakis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra

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Live from Royal Albert Hall, the BBC launches their 2019 season with the first concert of their Our Classical Century series, which marks and celebrates important musical moments within the last 100 years. Under the baton of celebrated American conductor, Karina Canellakis. The concert opens with the world premiere of a new BBC Commission by Canadian composer Zoshi Di Castri that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Combining the forces of the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Long is the Journey, Short is the Memory explores people’s fascination with the moon throughout time, drawing on texts from Ancient Greece to the present day. Following on from Di Castri, we dive into Dvorak’s The Golden Spinning Wheel for its first performance at the Proms. This symphonic poem is inspired a Czech poem by Karel Jaromír Erben that follows a dramatic story of jealousy, murder and magic. There’s a young king falling in love with a beautiful woman, an evil stepmother and stepsister vying for the king’s attention, and a magician who uses their powers to set things right through a magic golden spinning wheel. Dvorak paints the scenery of this story through the sounds of hunting horns scattered throughout the piece, the repetitive churning of the wheel, as well as sweeping melodies that tap into the romance of the king falling in love. Following the Dvorak is Leos Janacek’s iconic Glagolitic Mass. First premiered by the Proms’ founder and conductor, Henry Wood, at the Norwich Festival in 1930, this piece combines various facets of Janaceks life, as it celebrates his Slavonic heritage, elements of nature, as well as his love for Kamila Stosslova, a married woman with whom he was infatuated with for almost ten years. Consisting of eight parts and written for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass, Organ and chorus alongside the orchestra, this vast work is dramatic, influenced by his experience as an opera composer. Karina Canellakis is the Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.

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