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Associated Press Newswires

Hispanic Theme For London Proms


April 25, 2002
Copyright © 2002
Associated Press Newswires. All Rights Reserved.

LONDON (AP) - The music of Spain and Latin America will be the theme of this year's London Promenade Concerts season, director Nicholas Kenyon said Thursday.

"In casting around for a theme we decided on Hispanic music largely because of its current liveliness in Latin America, including Mexico and Puerto Rico," Kenyon told a news conference to launch the program.

"Spain's musical heritage unites a wealth of compositions, enabling the Proms to present a huge range of works both familiar and unknown," he said.

The Spanish-Latin theme will be heard in over 60 works by Spanish, North and South American and European composers, with the music of Manuel de Falla at its heart. De Falla, who lived from 1876 to 1946, is this year's featured composer in the season of 73 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, July 19-Sept. 14.

De Falla is regarded as the central figure of 20th-century Spanish music. The nine performances of his works include his ballet scores "The Three-Cornered Hat" and "El Amor brujo," his only full-scale concerto "Nights in the Gardens of Spain" and his flamenco-influenced opera "La vida breve."

Other major Spanish composers in the season are Francisco de Penalosa who lived from 1470 to 1528, Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), Enrique Granados (1867-1914) and Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999).

The haunting music of Astor Piazzolla, rooted in the tango dance of his native Argentina, is showcased in a concert conducted by the young Peruvian Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Silvestre Revueltas, the leading Mexican composer of the early 20th century, is represented by three works.

Another theme is the biblical Old Testament, with music from Joseph Haydn's "The Creation" to William Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast."

Kenyon said a flurry of patriotic tunes - dropped last year in the somber aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States - will once again crown the Last Night of the Proms concert.

The Last Night performance is normally a merry affair ending with mass singing of "Land of Hope and Glory" and "Rule Britannia!"

Last year's traditional final sequence was replaced with more solemn music, including Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings," spirituals from Michael Tippett's "A Child of Our Time" and the choral finale from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The golden jubilee this year of Queen Elizabeth II is celebrated with compositions for the coronation of King George II in 1727.

Foreign ensembles this year include the chorus and orchestra of Russia's Kirov Opera and the Royal Concertgebouw and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras.

The Proms are claimed to be the world's largest music festival, almost all of it devoted to classical music. The season is run by the British Broadcasting Corp. which broadcasts every concert on air and online.

Kenyon said 265,000 people went to last year's Proms, up from 259,000 in 2000 and over half the concerts sold out. This year's cheapest tickets at 4 pounds (dlrs 5.6) are for the "Prommers" who stand throughout in front of the platform or up in the gallery.

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