Full of Prom-ise: BBC Proms archive goes on-line

Ahhhh: with only a week to go until the BBC Proms season begins, it’s time to start getting excited. With every concert broadcast on Radio 3, and some of them televised on BBC4 (mainly) and BBC2, it’s possible to enjoy Prom season even if you’re not living in, or planning to go to, London.

Sir Henry Wood
On the beat: Sir Henry Wood

If the excitement’s almost too much, then you can alleviate it slightly by browsing the new BBC Proms Archive, a veritable treasure-trove of information, covering every single Prom performance since Sir Henry Wood first stepped up to the podium in 1895. That’s 115 years’ worth of music-making, catalogued for users to explore.

I’m sure cultural historians are drooling at the prospect of being able to discern listening trends, composer popularity and how tastes in music have changed over the years; viewers can trace how often a work has been performed, who is the most-often performed composer (answer: Wagner – personal acquaintances of mine will know my reaction to that!), and see how the vogue for particular pieces and composers has ebbed and flowed over the years.

It’s one way of distracting yourself from the excitement of waiting for this year’s season to get underway, especially since England’s departure from the World Cup.

In the meantime, vintage footage of Sir Henry Wood in action to tide you over until a week on Friday.

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