Pick the Piece that Gets You Pumped For the BBC Proms

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall. The BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall. (Michael Caroe Andersen/flickr)

This Saturday, July 20, at 5 pm, WQXR brings you the first in a series of broadcasts from the BBC Proms festival in London. To get ready for this British invasion, this week's Showdown offers up a choice of three great works by British composers.

Just one vote decided our winner today. At noon we played Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations, Op. 36 performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Davis.

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Comments [11]

GCL from Astoria NY

The one you did not air. It featured the music to Doctor Who.

Aug. 26 2013 07:57 PM
A. W. Ames from 10023

How about Edward Elgar's "Sea Pictures" -- unless QXR is still so allergic to vocal music other than the Met broadcasts? The 5-song cycle for mezzo-soprano and orchestra is a great English classic. Alas, we are not to be treated to it on the Last Night, which features the great Joyce DiDonato -- but the finest recording (IMHO) stars Janet Baker. Thank you.

Jul. 19 2013 03:18 PM
Toni from NYC

I'm really disappointed that the Enigma variations won out over the Vaughn Williams piece. Not that I don't like the Enigma but it is in danger of being overplayed, and it is so rare to here anything by Vaughn Williams besides his Lark Ascending and Variations on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. There were so many comments here that express the same opinion about the Enigma variations...so who are all these listeners who voted for this piece that is played so often - and on EVERY compilation CD that WQXR offers as premiums!?

Jul. 17 2013 12:09 PM
NYMike from Manhattan

I agree with those who's like to hear the London Symphony on the premise that it's less played than the other two fine works.

Jul. 17 2013 11:53 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

i agree with all of the below - you rarely hear the London Symphony - at first, i figured you must mean by Haydn and thought it a little odd but would love to hear something new - even if you like the Enigma Variations (which i don't particularly) and the Planets (which i do), how often do you play them? didn't you just play the Enigma Variations this week or last? how about a little more creativity? how about some of the great Early English music but i don't suppose they play that at the Proms - still, glad you are doing this and it does bring back fond memories of taking my mother to the Proms when i lived in London - thanks

and hello to Belfast - love it - have a house in Maine

Jul. 17 2013 11:53 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

As usual, I agree with Peter! Some of the announcers on WQXR seem to be getting a bit over exuberant, and it sounds phony. The music does speak for itself, and it doesn't need your "help."
Many WQXR listeners probably already know this, but for those who don't, you can hear all of the Proms concerts live on BBC Radio 3 if you go on their website: www.bbc.co.uk/proms. You can get their entire schedule and much more information about all the concerts. You also can listen to previous concerts for seven days after the original broadcast.

Jul. 17 2013 11:12 AM
Tim Brown from Washington DC

The Elgar and Holst are personal favorites but they are tired from being over-played on the radio. I, too, vote for the less-heard London Symphony.

Jul. 17 2013 11:06 AM

My vote would be for the Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Jerusalem and Rule Britannia - and I'm not even a Brit. Still, because those weren't options, I would join with the other voters who want to hear Vaughn-Williams. It's a nice change from the other works which get plenty of airplay as it is.

Jul. 17 2013 10:51 AM
Patrick from Wallington, NJ

I agree with Peter--how often do we get to hear the London Symphony? First Night of the Proms featured the Sea Symphony, so I think this is appropriate.

Jul. 17 2013 10:18 AM
Leslie from Belfast, Maine

I voted for the RVW 2nd symphony.

If I never hear the Enigma variations again, in any form, it will be too soon. Yes, I get into it and enjoy an listen in concert, but I wish the radio would forget about it.

Jul. 17 2013 10:11 AM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

I am voting for the RVW London Symphony, as we don't hear it that often.
and without the forced zany exuberance that certain morning announcers keep up on this station, as if that will bring in the hipster audience they seem to be seeking. The music ultimately speaks for itself, guys. If you play it,they will come (they who want to hear it).

Jul. 17 2013 09:23 AM

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