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|Proms First Night Highlights Exile
- Pastoral themes also centre-stage in two-month season
THE 2001 BBC PROMS kicks off tonight (Friday) with pieces by Colin Matthews, Benjamin Britten, Vaughan Williams, Edward Elgar and John Adams at the Royal Albert Hall; performances which are due to set the tone for one of this year's main themes of 'music in exile'.
The other them -the pastoral tradition - gets a look in on Saturday evening with a performance of Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. The season continues until 15 September.
To many people 'Proms' conjures up images of upper class twits waving Union Jacks and belting out Land of Hope and Glory, but that dubious spectacle is reserved for the Last Night only.
For the rest of the time, the Proms is a winning combination of low ticket prices, top drawer musicians and carefully chosen pieces - some old favourites, some newly minted - that draw in huge and varied audiences.
Proms (short for Promenade, aka a standing audience) are held at the Albert Hall every night of the season while Proms Chamber Music concerts get a run out every Monday lunchtime at the V&A. Every other Friday, Poetry Proms are staged at the Serpentine Gallery.