BBC Proms In The Park – Glasgow Green (8 September 2007)

Yay! Once again the best free night of music rolls around and for the third year running the weather does us proud (let’s not think about that global warming malarkey).

It gets off to a slow start, with the SSO starting with some Bernstein (reliably bombastic) and following it with four scots ‘dances’ which I recognise none of, nor felt the toe tapping as you would expect. But, when kiwi baritone Jonathan Lemalu takes to the stage things bump up several degrees. We get the usual mix of popular classics (Mozart, Rogers & Hammerstein, Gershwin) all of which are rather lovely. But, when he gives us the traditional Te Harinui, joined by the National Youth Choir Of Scotland and it is truly magical (apparently, a xmas tune – so well suited to the evening). The choir then get to regale us with some stuff on their own (well, with the orchestra but not with the soloist) where they roll out a few scots trad. numbers. I get the feeling that I’m the only person that doesn’t know the Piper O’ Dundee (certainly within the unscientifically seleted group I’m with) and the only one that does know Johnnie Cope, which must say something about what’s wrong with the world. In my ongoing journey of expanding my musical knowledge I’m surprising myself in finding a liking of choral pieces. And, these two are brilliant.

Then we have the star turn of the evening, Julian Lloyd Webber. Slightly less repugnant a prospect than his brother, but only slightly. I’ve been told that the members of the orchestra sneer at his abilities and mutter to themselves about nepotism. Luckily my ear is not so finely tuned to be able to comment. He starts with Bach‘s Adagio In G and I’m mesmerised. By the time he gets to Saint-Saëns The Swan (trust me, you know it) he’s my favouritest cello player ever (well after Rebecca Lee Lewis Harlot). Then my ineducated populist heart cries for joy as we get the inevitable run through the South Bank Show Theme.

I then manage to miss most of what’s going on but catch all the TV links. There’s some faffing about with a Carnyx, one of the big horn things that look like a dragon. there’s been some pieces commissioned for it. Someone ignorant of this kinda stuff might call it a load od cacophonous bellowing. I couldn’t possibly comment. Then the Peatbog Fairies take to the stage. Being one of those bands I’ve always been near when their playing but always missed, I was interested to see what they were like. Exactly as I imagined, is the answer to that. One of those ‘oh, it’s them moments’. In view of the football score, they go down extra well with the flag waving contingent of the crowd. Actually, they go down well with everyone. I even quite enjoy them, but I won’t be going out of my way to catch them again.

A trip to the toilets means I then miss all the jingoistic last night stuff. Not because of under provision, just finding my way through the crowd. But, I’m back and ready for the traditional float through Highland Cathedral. Nice. Then we get the Overture in E Flat Major Op. 49, or as it’s better know the 1812 Overture! With cannons!! And, fireworks!!! Heavy metal classics!!!! I’m on my feet punching the air, getting tuts from the more discerning listener (and, my mates kids). Who cares. When it moves you like this, this is what it’s all about.

Now, I really must got to more proper recitals before next year.


Written by Tony Kiernan

10 September 2007 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Classical music, Gigs

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