This tape is the Last Night of the Proms 1993 introduced by Richard Baker. This year, it consists entirely of British music.
The first piece is The Perfect Fool by Gustav Holst. I always think of Holst as a composer of an older era – closer to Beethoven and Brahms – but he died in 1934, so he’s more contemporary with Rachmaninov. I love his music, it’s so English, and you can hear things that show how much he influenced someone like John Williams.
The Proms audience seems to be at the height of its ‘yahoo’ behaviour at this time. Actually, I should say, the Last Night audience, which is unrepresentative of the regular Proms audience. During a particularly quiet moment in this piece, someone lets off a very loud bang. That’s clearly someone who’s not there for the music, which I thought was the whole point.
The next piece is the Second Clarinet Concerto by Malcolm Arnold. The soloist is Michael Collins.
This one’s a bit more jazz-inflected than I usually like, but it has nice moments. It was written for Benny Goodman. The composer himself was in the audience, and takes to the podium to receive applause at the end.
Before the next piece, as the orchestra rearranges itself, Richard Baker compliments the dress sense of the proms audience this year – cue plenty of men in dinner jackets and bow ties. “They decided to get into rather more elegant shape.”
Cut to this chap.
“Well some of them, at least. There’s a sort of backwoodsman among the very well dressed fellows in the front.”
Next, it’s Dance Rhapsody No 2 by Frederick Delius. Followed by excerpts from a ballet, The Triumph of Neptune, by Lord Berners. Not a piece I’m familiar with.
The first half of the concert ends with Rio Grande by Constant Lambert. Kathryn Stott is the pianist.
Mezzosoprano Della Jones is the soloist.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th September 1993 – 19:30
The second half is shown on BBC1, in a simulcast with Radio 3. Richard Baker introduces it from up in the gallery, from where I’ve watched a few Proms concerts. He talks to Andrew, who was first in the queue.
He also talks to Bridget, who’s been coming since the 70s.
“And this is your husband Christopher. Christopher, what have you enjoyed most about this season?” I guess Bridget’s opinion wasn’t worth canvassing.
The first piece is some of William Walton’s film music for Richard III.
Next, Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams, with Bass John Tomlinson.
There’s music from Murder on the Orient Express by Richard Rodney Bennett.
Then, the traditional Land of Hope and Glory by Elgar.
The concert finishes in what used to be the traditional style, with Sir Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs. In a slight departure from the norm, John Tomlinson sings part of it, and clarinetist Michael Collins takes part in the Hornpipe.
Also not always performed, is the cadenza clarinet part in Spanish Ladies, played by the retiring principal clarinet of the orchestra Colin Bradbury, who gets a special mention by conductor Barry Wordsworth in his speech.
The concert concludes in traditional fashion with Jerusalem, and the national anthem.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 11th September 1993 – 21:05
After this, there’s a trailer for a new series of Omnibus.
Then, what I assume is an extra programme, a short film called The Novelty, written and directed by Christophe Wassort. A little boy runs through a rural town, talking to the villagers, and all the dialogue is birdsong. Something exciting is happening, and all the villagers start spreading the news, and converging in the centre of town, but the recording finishes before we discover what the excitement is for.