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First Night Of The Proms 1943

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Premier CD Release From The First Night Of The Proms 1943. London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted By Sir Henry Wood, with Moura Lympany and Heddle Nash.
Bax: London Pageant; Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2; Handel: Love in her eyes sits playing, from Acis and Galatea; Beethoven: Symphony No. 5; Lamar Stringfield: Negro Parade; Tchaikovsky: Theme and Variations from Suite No. 3

Moura Lympany – Piano
Heddle Nash – Tenor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Sir Henry Wood

A valuable new addition to the SOMM catalogue is the premier CD release, this month, of a BBC broadcast of the first night of the 1943 Proms Season.

Sir Henry Wood was the first, and for decades the only conductor of The Proms from their very beginning, in August 1895  A musician of tremendous dynamism and enterprise he conducted between 1889 and 1944, the world or British premières of no fewer than 716 works by 356 composers. As it happened, 1943 was to be the last complete Proms season under his direction. On June 10th 1944 he conducted at what was to be his final Proms First Night – but the first half only; ill-health was taking its toll, and he died after a short illness on August 19th 1944.

The complete, and by today’s standards very long programme for the 1943 First Night was:- Bax: London Pageant; Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with the brilliant 27-year old pianist Moura Lympany, a firm favourite of Sir Henry’s and of Proms audiences judging by the deafening applause which breaks out even before the end of her performance); Handel: Love in her eyes sits playing, from Acis and Galatea with the well-loved tenor Heddle Nash; Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 – Interval – Lamar Stringfield: Negro Parade (first performance in Britain); Tchaikovsky: Theme and Variations from Suite No. 3.

Despite the survival of most of the broadcast of this concert, it has not proved possible to obtain all the items performed on that First Night and the following have not been included on this CD: Bax’s London Pageant. The second movement of the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 and the second, third and fourth movements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. However, this surviving broadcast vividly conveys the frisson of that First Proms Night. It’s also a rare and valuable document and, we hope, a fitting tribute to one of England’s greatest musicians and musical pioneers.

On This Recording

  1. Radio Broadcast Introduction to the First Night of the Proms, June 19, 1943
  2. Great Britain [God Save the Queen, “God save our gracious Queen …”]
  3. L’apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
  4. Radio Broadcast Introduction to Saint-Saens’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the first night of the Proms, June 19, 1943
  5. Piano Concerto No. 2: I. Andante sostenuto
  6. Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Presto
  7. Acis and Galatea: Acis and Galatea, HWV 49, Act I: Love in her eyes sits playing
  8. Symphony No. 5: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67: I. Allegro con brio
  9. A Negro Parade
  10. Suite No. 3: Suite No. 3 in G Major, Op. 55: Theme and Variations