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Proms, last night
Posted by Geoff Diggines on September 11, 2016, 11:21 am
Yesterday evening I tuned into the TV last night of the Proms, not being too inspired by Butterworth's Banks of Green Willow - real cow pat music! Then later Katie Derham announced that the next piece, in the first half, was a real 'corker'! Who uses such fogyish expressions now? In fact the Jonathan Dove piece was at best mediocre. Even though BBC Radio 3 has tried hard (or not so hard!) to become more user-friendly, their real procrustean, elitist ethos slips through all the time. They still talk of 'going up to Oxford, or Cambridge'. If you live north of these universities (there are others)do you 'go down to Oxford or Cambridge'? BBC Prom presenters overdo their gushing praise of the Proms, almost as if there is some insecurity at play here. Last night a couple of them were extolling the 'sheer diversity' of the Proms - the range of composers etc. But I heard nothing from the likes of important composers like Xenakis, Ligeti Robert Simpson (an ex BBC man!)Peter Racine Fricker, and many others. In fact the Proms are still quite conservative: Beethoven,Mahler, Bruckner,Brahms, Tchaikovsky etc and other mainstream favourites, with a handful of tokenistic Proms commissions. But overall, it is simply not a presenters job to glorify ones own institution, oneself as part of that institution. I decided to give the concluding Flag-waving, jingoistic/militaristic frolics, which turn most people off, a miss, and watch a 40's film noir with Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame. A film genre that has never required any kind of mawkish self-congratulation!
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