My initial reaction was that I was a bit disappointed - after 70th birthday concerts for Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich in recent years, nothing for Philip Glass this year. In anniversary mode, it's all about Elgar (born 1857) - but relatively little Sibelius (died 1957), a composer of significant contemporary popularity in Britain. There are big name soloists for Götterdämerung - for example Christine Brewer and Sir John Tomlinson - but it's just the BBC SO, Singers and Symphony Chorus, and whilst there's nothing wrong with that, it seems a bit of an anticlimax, particularly after the Royal Opera House production of Die Walküre, though to be fair, one wouldn't have thought Das Rheingold was natural territory for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in 2004.
However, a closer inspection reveals that there is quite a bit of interest and I have compiled my long list. I imagine I will decide against some of these nearer the time, but we'll see.
- Prom 2 - "Music from Great British Films". It's infuriating when they won't list the programme, but by looking at the composer A-Z I see that this is expected to include Eric Coates' The Dam Busters and Anton Karas' Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man (Great British films rather than British music). This means that PSM 1 is also tempting, though it's a relatively weak candidate, particularly as it would likely guarantee a position towards the rear of the arena.
- Prom 8 - Arvo Pärt's sublime Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, plus Rachmaninov and Glière, a composer I only know through piano music
- Prom 16 - because I enjoy Marin Alsop and the BSO, and enjoyed Barber's Knoxville last year
- Prom 20/21 - Brass Day. Not sure about this, as usual with these things there are attractions to both concerts, specifically an arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition and Janáček's Sinfonietta. "Traditional Uzbek Music" could be interesting, like the Silk Road concert a few years back, or it could be something to miss.
- Prom 31 - Brahms' St Anthony Variations and Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier
- Prom 33 - Mahler's spectral Tenth Symphony, completed by Deryck Cooke. The late night Prom 34 is tempting, but not if I go to ...
- Prom 35 - sounds a little experimental, but could be fun. I overheard someone last year bemoaning that the BBC had never asked Humphrey Lyttleton to do a Prom - now that would be interesting.
- Prom 39 - I skipped the prelude to the Proms Ring cycle, but I intend to be there when The Fat Lady Sings
- Prom 40 - Schoenberg's orchestration of Brahms' First Piano Quartet is amazing
- Prom 50 - John Adams premieres his Doctor Atomic Symphony
- Prom 55 - if I haven't had enough of Wagner by then
- PSM 4 / Prom 64 - not top of my list, but I do like Night Mail
- Prom 68 - Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody contains well known tunes, even if people don't know it by name; the rest of the programme is a bit more adventurous
- Prom 69 - Beethoven's great violin concerto and Brahms' final symphony
And finally - for now - a memento to go and visit the Proms exhibition at the British Library before 8 July.