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BBC Proms Live: Beethoven 7

Thu 10 September 2020
Royal Albert Hall

Live on BBC Radio 3 & on BBC Four

Catch up on BBC iPlayer here.

We were delighted to return to the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 10 September as part of the BBC Proms 2020 Live series. For the seventh year in a row, we performed a complete symphony from memory – this time Beethoven’s joyful, brilliant Symphony No. 7 – alongside a new commission by leading British composer Richard Ayres, which explores the composer’s relationship with Beethoven and hearing loss.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 has a special place in Proms history: it was the last piece Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood directed before his death in 1944. Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Players are joined by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service for a musically-illustrated introduction to Beethoven’s exhilarating and intensely rhythmic work, exploring the Symphony with live musical excerpts. We then perform Symphony No. 7 entirely from memory – without chairs, sheet music or music stands.

Richard Ayres’s deeply personal new commission, No. 52 (Three pieces about Ludwig van Beethoven), is inspired by Beethoven’s journey into deafness as well as Ayres’ own personal experience of hearing loss.