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Promenade Concerts

Promenade Concerts. Literally, concerts at which the audience can walk about, but in modern usage concerts at which a section of the audience stands. First Eng. promenade concerts were held in London 1838 under title ‘Promenade Concerts à la Musard’ ( Musard was the leader). Later concerts on similar lines were promoted by Jullien, Balfe, Mellon, and others. In 1895 Robert Newman began new series at Queen's Hall, cond. Henry Wood. These still continue. They have been sponsored by BBC since 1927 (except for 1940 and 1941) and the majority of concerts has been given by BBCSO. After Wood died in 1944, Malcolm Sargent became prin. cond. in 1948, but after his death in 1967 no single cond. dominated. The ‘Proms’, now held in the Royal Albert Hall and other venues for 8 weeks from mid-July each year, are in effect an enormous mus. fest., embracing semi-staged opera perfs. and chamber mus. Several orchs. take part, each concert is broadcast, and several are televised. The Last Night has become a traditional feature of Brit. life, especially the 2nd half in which the audience enthusiastically joins in the perfs. of Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory, Parry's Jerusalem, and Wood's Fantasia on British Sea-Songs. Various other orchs., e.g. the Hallé, CBSO, RLPO, and RSNO, give their own series of promenade concerts.

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Promenade Concerts

Promenade Concerts. London's leading concert series. The Queen's Hall Promenade Concerts were established by impresario Robert Newman and conductor Henry Wood in 1895. Initially they were all given by Wood and the Queen's Hall Orchestra, which was replaced by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1930 following the BBC's adoption of the series, but later various orchestras and conductors were involved. After the Queen's Hall was bombed in 1941, the series moved to the Royal Albert Hall, becoming the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts on Wood's death in 1944. William Glock's tenure as head of music at the BBC (1959–72) saw a broadening of repertoire, ranging from medieval music to Stockhausen and including ‘semi-staged’ operas. The concerts have fostered many new British works, while their unique, vibrant atmosphere culminates in the exuberant ‘Last Night of the Proms’.

Eric Cross

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promenade concerts

promenade concerts Annual concert series organized by the BBC in the Royal Albert Hall, London, where inexpensive standing room is available in the gallery and the stalls. Such concerts originated in Paris in 1833, and from 1838 were given at Drury Lane, Covent Garden and elsewhere. ‘Proms’ in their modern series began at the Queen's Hall, London, in 1895, under the baton of Sir Henry Wood.

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