The Guardian newspaper reports that the Royal Albert Hall was close to witness a rebellion on the 1969 Proms when Peter Maxwell Davies’s Worldes Blis was presented for the first time. Half of the audience left the room, and many of the people who stayed booed in the end. Interestingly, in a 2015 historical retrospective of the Proms, the British press considered Worldes Blis to be one of the 10 most fabulous debuts ever at the Proms.
It seems incredible, particularly because one thing has nothing to do with the other, but the fact is that John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine was meant to be played twice on the closing night of the Proms but kept being cancelled at the last minute due to its title. The first time in 1997, because of the death of Princess Diana, and the second in 2001, following the attacks of September 11. The piece was eventually heard at the Proms in 2004.
The lyric poetry of Sappho, the mythical poetess of Lesbos whose texts were meant to be recited with music, has been a recurring inspiration for Sir Harrison Birtwistle. … agm… is one of his most important works and was premiered under the direction of Pierre Boulez.