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 Announcement, BBC Proms 2019 - Our Top Related Recordings

Proms Guide 2019 The 2019 BBC Proms season was announced earlier today; we've been leafing through our Guide in the office this afternoon, and have put together a selective discography of relevant recordings, including Berlioz from Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bruckner from Andris Nelsons, Tchaikovsky from Martha Argerich, and Elgar from Dame Sarah Connolly and Sir Andrew Davis.

There are also several forthcoming releases with close connections to the concerts, including Lise Davidsen's debut album of Strauss and Wagner on Decca, Weinberg from Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Qigang Chen's The Five Elements from Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

The full details of this year's programme are available in the BBC Proms 2019 Official Guide, which went on sale this morning.

Prom 6 - Monday 22nd July, 7.30pm

Britten: Violin Concerto (James Ehnes, Orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music and the Juilliard School, Edward Gardner)

James Ehnes (violin) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits

'It's the way that James Ehnes closes the opening movement [of the Britten] that most impresses, essaying a gossamer thread of such subtlety it becomes almost transparent.' (The Independent)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Prom 12 - Saturday 27th July, 7.30pm

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (Nicola Benedetti, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Mark Wigglesworth)

Nicola Benedetti (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hruša

'Her approach to the Tchaikovsky is both full-blooded and sensitive. She rides the first movement’s emotional storms with utter confidence and complete command of old Romantic tricks...The central canzonetta is taken very slowly, yet the flow of feeling never stops, and her magically sustained pianissimos deserve an Oscar.' (The Times)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Prom 15 - Tuesday 30th July, 7.00pm

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D & Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E minor (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons)

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

'Jansons conducts the first two symphonies with a sense they are youthful works by a composer whose musical depth was still developing. Wisely, there's no searching for angst or profundity that isn't there. Both performances are excellent in their precision and lively spirit.' (Classical.net)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons

'The music of Shostakovich must be in Mariss Jansons’ blood...Jansons seems to me to demonstrate a firm grip on the vast, brooding first movement and he appears to have a very good grasp of the structure. He’s helped by superb playing by the orchestra.' (MusicWeb International)

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 17 - Wednesday 31st July, 7.30pm

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor (Lisa Batiashvili, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Jansons)

Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

'Everything's perfectly judged: the scherzo [of the First Concerto] whizzes past, and the finale’s ticking clock has the right amount of dry wit. The end is a treat, Batiashvili and Nézet-Seguin disappearing into the ether, arm in arm…These are technically immaculate, thoughtful performances, handsomely recorded.' (The Arts Desk)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 18 - Thursday 1st August, 7.30pm

Britten: Piano Concerto (Leif Ove Andsnes) & Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Stuart Skelton, Claudia Mahnke; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner)

Magdalena Kožená (mezzo), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Simon Rattle

'Skelton’s heroic voice is an ideal instrument for the more flamboyant tenor songs, singing with bravado.' (The Sunday Times)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 19 - Friday 2nd August, 7.30pm

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor (Alexander Melnikov, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard)

Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano), Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado

'Melnikov’s performance of possibly the best-loved of the concertos takes one by the scruff of the neck and gives a good shake – there is nothing nostalgic about his reading...The sound worlds are so different, and yet the calibre of performance is maintained. It is impossible [for me] to fault a splendid achievement.' (Early Music Review)

Available Formats: CD + DVD Video, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 21 - Sunday 4th August, 11.00am

Transcriptions of works by Falla, Liszt, Khachaturian and Saint‐Saëns, and organ music by JS Bach, Gigout and Widor (Olivier Latry)

Olivier Latry (organ)

'Latry’s characteristic integrity and virtuosic verve illuminate everything he touches – particularly in the lascivious glissando that ends his own arrangement of Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance…when a master organist and instrument collide, what’s not to love?' (BBC Music Magazine)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Prom 31 - Saturday 10th August, 7.30pm

Strauss: Vier Lieder Op. 27 (Lise Davidsen, Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen)

Lise Davidsen (soprano), Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

The Norwegian lyric-dramatic soprano's debut solo album on Decca will be released on 31st May, and includes Strauss's Op. 27 and Vier Letzte Lieder as well as scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos and Wagner's Tannhäuser.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 32 - Sunday 11th August, 11.00am

Berlioz: Les nuits d'été (Joyce DiDonato, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Sir Antonio Pappano)

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert

'DiDonato approached the work with a bright but flexible timbre and projected its emotional power, as well as the suave surfaces of Berlioz’s vocal writing, with an appealing directness.' (The New York Times)

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC

Prom 34 - Monday 12th August, 7.30pm

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor (Martha Argerich, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim)

Martha Argerich (piano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

'The 1970 Tchaikovsky First (with the Royal Philharmonic) can restore your love for this overplayed warhorse. The grand length of the first movement goes unnoticed, as each piano note is approached thoughtfully and poetically. There is no hurry, everything is sung, things grow into each other naturally. Power, not blind force, steers the music.' (MusicWeb International)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Martha Argerich (piano), Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado

'Argerich has never sounded on better terms with the piano, more virtuoso yet engagingly human. Lyrical and insinuating, to a degree her performance seems to be made of the tumultuous elements themselves, of fire and ice, rain and sunshine.' (Gramophone Guide)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Prom 35 - Tuesday 13th August, 7.00pm

Elgar: Enigma Variations (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

'Brabbins’s Enigma is a delight: tempi and tone perfectly judged, a feeling of freshness throughout which is lacking from a number of high-profile recent accounts.' (Classical Music Magazine)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 40 - Friday 16th August, 7.30pm

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (Stephen Hough, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Ádám Fischer)

Stephen Hough (piano), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Foster

'One can sense the background – especially the operatic background against which these works were composed. The first solo doesn't simply storm away, fortissimo; one hears distinct emotional traits: the imperious, thundering octaves, the agitated semiquavers, the pleading appoggiaturas.' (Gramophone Guide)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Prom 46 - Thursday 22nd August, 7.30pm

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor (Sheku Kanneh-Mason) & Weinberg: Symphony No. 3 (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla)

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

'There’s nothing cool or gritty about the sounds produced from his Amati cello of 1610. They’re always heartfelt, often as yielding as softened butter, and they shine out of every track...even at the start of his career, nothing masks the authority or technical finesse of his playing...Above all, Kanneh-Mason’s playing radiates love of life, commitment and hope.' (The Times)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

The CBSO's debut album with their Lithuanian music director (who took over the role in 2016, and is the first female conductor to sign an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon) will be released on 3rd May.

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 47 - Friday 23rd August, 7.30pm

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Andris Nelsons)

Gewandhausorchester, Andris Nelsons

'As a Bruckner interpreter, Nelsons is direct, clear-sighted and spacious, the performance guided with a sure hand and a sense of inevitability but also meticulous in observing tempo and dynamic markings...The warmth and sonority of the playing at the start is enthralling and the performance unfolds with character and excitement.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Gewandhausorchester, Andris Nelsons

'His Bruckner is by no means impulsive — though there is tremendous momentum in both scherzos and the “Bewegt” (with movement) finales. But, like most great Brucknerians, Nelsons sees the slow movements as key to the composer’s symphonic mastery and faith.' (The Sunday Times)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Gewandhausorchester, Andris Nelsons

'You feel the love immediately in the orchestra’s quiet warmth, admirably captured in the live recording. There’s also Nelsons’ lyrical phrasing, important for generating the momentum that stops Bruckner’s quirky musical architecture freezing into separate blocks.' (The Times)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Andris Nelsons

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Prom 53 - Thursday 29th August, 7.00pm

Elgar: The Music Makers (Dame Sarah Connolly, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Andrew Davis)

Dame Sarah Connolly, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Andrew Davis

'Connolly’s delivery of the closing lines distils an aching intimacy not matched since Janet Baker’s sublime contribution on Boult’s recording…Davis’s glorious pliant conducting evinces total conviction.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 57 - Sunday 1st September, 11.00am

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (Eric Lu), Qigang Chen: Wu Xing - The Five Elements (Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Long Yu)

Eric Lu (piano), Hallé Orchestra, Edward Gardner

'With a truly beautiful tone, an innate understanding of the music’s structure, flow and emotional drives and a warm, genuine, unaffected way of shaping the phrases, it sounds as if he has a wise head on young shoulders; his playing combines that with the best of a youthful, fresh response to these perennially-loved masterpieces…Let’s hope this will be his first recording of many.' (BBC Music Magazine)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Maxim Vengerov (violin), Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Long Yu

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra's second release on Deutsche Grammophon features Qigang Chen's violin concerto The Joy of Suffering (performed by its dedicatee Vengerov) and Wu Xing (The Five Elements) alongside Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, and will be released on 28th June.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Proms at Cadogan Hall 7 - Monday 2nd September, 1pm

Grażyna Bacewicz: Piano Quintet No. 1 (Silesian String Quartet, Wojciech Świtała)

Wojciech Świtała (piano), Silesian Quartet

'It’s hard to fault the performances and recordings, which together offer all the pungency, bite and textural subtlety that the music demands, and the ensemble work is tight and engaging across all three instrumental configurations. As with the string quartets this music deserves to be a much more regular feature of concert hall programming.' (The Strad)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Prom 59 - Monday 2nd September, 7.00pm

Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini (Michael Spyres, Sophia Burgos, Matthew Rose, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner)

Joyce DiDonato (Didon), Michael Spyres (Énée), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Cassandre), Orchestre et Choeur philharmonique de Strasbourg, John Nelson

'The main selling point is the American pair of singers as Dido and Aeneas...Spyres sounds credibly the warrior hero, while managing his very high role with some elegance...DiDonato is by turns fiery and sensuous as the legendary Carthaginian queen.' (Financial Times)

Available Formats: 4 CDs + DVD Video, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 60 - Tuesday 3rd September, 7.30pm

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G (Murray Perahia) and Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E (Wiener Philharmoniker, Bernard Haitink)

Murray Perahia (piano), Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

'The perfect civility of Perahia’s playing is a joy, the deeply felt slow movements particularly rewarding...the Haydnesque qualities of the Second Concerto are well captured.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

'Haitink’s 1966 Concertgebouw recording of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony had a fine slow movement and outer movements that were swift and classically intent...Forty years on, Haitink takes an altogether more lyrical view of the symphony, with broader tempi and more luminous texturing.'

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC

Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Originally recorded between 1963 and 1972, Haitink’s Amsterdam Bruckner cycle was re-released on 10 CDs and Blu-ray Audio to mark his ninetieth birthday this March.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 61 - Wednesday 4th September, 7.00pm

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 'From the New World' (Wiener Philharmoniker, Andrés Orozco-Estrada)

Houston Symphony, Andrés Orozco-Estrada

'Orozco-Estrada’s is an interpretation full of theatricality, with a sure sense of the monumental. It’s all there in the broad sense, in his far-sighted approach to structure and pacing.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 63 - Thursday 5th September, 7.30pm

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor (Yuja Wang, Staatskapelle Dresden, Myung-Whun Chung)

Yuja Wang (piano), Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel

'Making her virtuoso credentials clear throughout, Wang dismisses every difficulty with nonchalant ease...this is a talent with a vengeance, the youthful partnership with Dudamel is ideal and both performances, recorded in Caracas, are understandably greeted with storms of applause.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prom 75 (Last Night of the Proms) - Saturday 14th September, 7.15pm

Opera arias by Bizet, Saint‐Saëns and Verdi (Jamie Barton, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sakari Oramo)

Jamie Barton (mezzo), Brian Zeger (piano)

'The voice is rich, generous and vibrant, big but beautifully controlled, impeccably smooth throughout its range. It’s the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire.' (Gramophone)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC