End of the Proms

End of the Proms
The BBC Proms 2004 season has now run its course. The final week included the celebration of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies at 70 with a late-night concert on his birthday; and the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's Orion.

 "The stars are certainly auspicious for Kaija Saariaho … Orion illuminates a night sky of wide horizons. This stellar triptych has all the marks of Saariaho's minutely heard, meticulously imagined aural-visual synthesis, now writ confidently large on a formidable orchestral canvas." - Hilary Finch, The Times

Towards the end of the season were the world premieres of two Proms commissions: Joby Talbot’s Sneaker Wave, and Simon Holt’s The Coroner’s Report.

"Sneaker Wave proved remarkably effective, building to a thunderous, organ-enhanced climax, as Talbot's musical waves crashed on to the unlikely beach of the Proms arena." - Anthony Holden, The Observer

"A murder in the V&A. At lunchtime! The Coroner's Report is a compelling piece of work … I found its dark, almost sadistic mood gripping." - Richard Morrison, The Times

The centrepiece weekend of the East/West theme included the UK premiere of Bright Sheng's The Song and Dance of Tears, a quadruple concerto for cello, pipa, sheng, and piano; and featuring Yo-Yo Ma amongst the soloists.

"An extraordinary feat of musical and cultural subtlety." - Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph
"[The] quartet of soloists carried the musical argument, which veered from dizzying energy to impassioned lament." - Tom Service, The Guardian

Other concerts over the summer included two concertos by Tan Dun, the London premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen Verlernt for solo violin, and the London premiere of John Corigliano's Clarinet Concerto. The world premiere of the concert version of Sir John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple was warmly received:

 "The piece appeared stronger than ever. The iron grip of the form, and the telling economy of the music - and its amazing beauty - made it a profound experience" - Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph