The first time they gave a contemporary composer the honor of premiering a piece at the closing concert of the Proms was in September 1995. The fortunate composer was Sir Harrison Birtwistle and the result was a national scandal, with the audience and part of the press reacting furiously. The piece in question was Panic and ends this program dedicated to the Scandals at the Proms.
Written for the first concert of the Pierrot ensemble – a British ensemble created by Harrison Birtwistle to present works by Schoenberg and British composers – Peter Maxwell Davis’s Antechrist is inspired by a medieval melody and illuminations depicting Christ and the Antichrist, exposing a double reality that is confused and which leads us to question reality. The concert is completed with tributes to Schoenberg and two of his most popular works, Chamber Symphony No. 1 and Five pieces for orchestra.