Composers who lost out at the BBC Proms

Composers who lost out at the BBC Proms


norman lebrecht

May 28, 2020

The Proms usually commemorate music anniversaries. Their virtual cancellation today means we won’t get a chance to hear:

Cyril Scott (d. 1970)

Peter Racine Fricker (b. 1920)

Roberto Gerhard (d. 1970, pictured)

Thomas Campion (d. 1620)

Ned Rorem (b. 1920)

Franz Lehar (b. 1870)

Bruno Maderna (b. 1920)

Luciano Chailly (b. 1920)

Tartini (d. 1770)

Vieuxtemps (b. 1820)

Moscheles (d. 1870)

Josef Strauss (d. 1870)

Max Bruch (d. 1920)

Louis Vierne (b 1870)

Florent Schmitt (b. 1870)

Novak (b. 1870)

Godowsky (b. 1870)

Bartok (d. 1945)

Reznicek (d. 1945)

John Adams (b. 1945)

The biggest losses are Maderna, Gerhard and Fricker, who are unlikely to get much of a hearing anywhere else.



  • Lindsay Wallace says:

    I dug out my cd of Gerhard’s ‘The Plague’ the other day. His setting for chorus, orchestra & narrator of parts of Camus’ novel. Antal Dorati conducting the NSO of Washington DC & Alec McCowen narrating. A fine & powerful work. A work for out times?

    • rita says:

      yes indeed, performed in Barcelona a few years ago: the ending stays with one powerfully in these days.

  • Thomas says:

    The symphonies of Fricker & Gerhard are being celebrated in the ongoing World Cup of British & Irish 20/21C Symphonies on Twitter – @britsymphcup. I know Fricker and Gerhard have already appeared several times. Presumably Scott will appear at some point. Well worth following for some seldom-head repertoire. Not sure they would have been celebrated at the Proms anyway?

  • Dimsky says:

    Peter Racine Fricker was my primary composition/orchestration teacher at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the mid 1970’s. A quiet, shy, elegant man he was, meticulous in manner whether it was in dress or correcting an assignment (I still have my orchestrations with all his fine point red pen markings). I have always valued the brief association.

    • RobK says:

      Back in 2000 I had the privilege of visiting UCSB to give a lecture recital on Fricker’s piano music (elegant is the word) hosted by his successor Bill Kraft. Hardly anyone I met there seemed to know who he was, to their loss, I think.

      • Dimsky says:

        RobK, that is truly a shame. Also, personally regretful to me is that, in a 44-year professional orchestral career so far, the only one of his orchestral pieces I have ever had occasion to play was his Symphony No. 1-and that was as last chair double bass in the UCSB University Symphony in about 1973, I think. One additional anecdote you may find amusing: as Chair of the Music Dept. he had to speak from time to time in front of audiences. Public speaking was not a gift he possessed and being the center of attention was contrary to his understated ways; yet, even in his obvious discomfort there was charm and sophistication. Such a fine gentleman.

  • Rorem was born in 1923 and Adams in 1947.

    Impressive list anyway.

    And yes, Maderna! What a great composer he was.

  • Robert Roy says:

    And STILL no George Lloyd!

  • Scott says:

    June 10, 2020 is the 60th Birthday of Mark-Anthony Turnage.

  • Dave says:

    Seriously, does anyone think that the BBC would give more than a couple of those listed any Proms time in this era? All that crossover stuff is far more important.