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First Night of the Proms 2019

First Night of the Proms 2019

18 July 2019

This year, the First Night of the Proms is on Friday the 19th July, heralding an eight-week programme of daily music concerts centred at the Royal Albert Hall, along with Proms in the Park events around the UK. Although promenade concerts have existed since the 18th century, when the audience were allowed to stroll around whilst listening to concerts in pleasure gardens of the day, the modern day incarnation is accepted as coming from the series of concerts conducted by Henry Wood in the Royal Albert Hall, beginning in 1894.

These days the only reference to promenading is in the name given to members of the audience in the standing areas where ticket prices are cheapest; they are known as ‘Promenaders’ or ‘Prommers’. The aim of the concerts was to make classical music concerts available to a wider audience, and to educate that audience by providing a range of popular pieces as well as introducing new works. The tradition has continued over many years and is now under the auspices of the BBC who make the concerts available on many platforms, including television, radio and online.

To celebrate the first night of the Proms we are taking a look at some of the newer additions to our collection of books about classical music, and musicians, to provide you with some background information on some of the big names in classical music over the centuries as well as newer genres including musicals.

Being Wagner by Simon Callow 13029

Simon Callow plunges headlong into Wagner's world to discover what it was like to be Wagner, and to be around one of music's most influential figures. The perfect introduction to ‘The Master’, a hundred-and-thirty-five years after his death, Richard Wagner's music dramas stand at the centre of the culture of classical music.

Franz Schubert by Jeremy Siepman 12680

Franz Schubert was a beautiful, brilliant, modest boy who sprang to fully fledged genius at the age of sixteen; an unrecognised master who died almost penniless at the age of thirty-one. But, as revealed in this dramatised biography (lavishly illustrated with musical examples), there was a secret, darker side to Schubert which only renders his story that much more fascinating.

Giuseppe Verdi by Daniel Snowman 12496

A concise overview of Verdi, the man and the artist, tracing his ascent from humble beginnings to the status of a cultural patriarch of the new Italy, whose cause he had done much to promote, and the operatic world in which he worked.

Joseph Haydn: His Life and Works by Jeremy Siepmann 12532

Symphonies, quartets, concertos and keyboard works poured from the pen of Joseph Haydn, making him one of the most important figures in classical music. This is the story of the man and his work, enhanced by numerous examples of the music itself.

The Last Waltz by John Suchet 11255

The Strauss name and their music are forever intertwined with Vienna. This remarkable family transformed and popularised the waltz, delighting all of Viennese society with their prolific compositions. But behind the melody lay a darker discord, as the Strauss family tore themselves apart while Vienna itself struggled to secure its place in a rapidly changing world.

Mozart: The Man Revealed by John Suchet 12649

The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life is well known. But in this comprehensive biography, John Suchet examines the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the world's best-loved composer.

Mozart’s Women by Jane Glover 7243

A fascinating look at the women who influenced Mozart in his life and work, and inspired the female roles in many of his operas.

Music for the People by Gareth Malone 9307

With his infectious enthusiasm and gift for explanation, Gareth Malone’s personal narrative provides a foundation of classical music understanding and gives the reader the tools to appreciate a whole new world of music.

Tchaikovsky: The Man Revealed by John Suchet 13312

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of the most successful composers that Russia has ever produced, but his path to success was not an easy one. John Suchet examines the complex and contradictory character of this great artist, long hidden behind sanitised depictions by the Russian authorities, and how he came to take his rightful place among the world’s greatest composers.

Unmasked: A Memoir by Andrew Lloyd Webber 13085

One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. Here, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment and the passions that inspire and sustain him.

Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day by Clemency Burton-Hill 12609

A unique celebration of classical music by an author who wants to encourage a love for this genre in all readers, whether complete novices or lifetime enthusiasts. Clemency chooses one piece of music for each day of the year, with a short explanation about the composer to put it into context.