Friday 26 May 2017

Classical fans bemoan poor quality of yet-to-be-announced Proms season

A broken record

Music fans have freed extra time for whinging this year by bemoaning the poor quality of programming at the 2017 BBC Proms early, three weeks before season details are even due to be published. Twitter, Facebook and other forms of carping have been awash with complaints of slim pickings and dumbing down in the yet-to-be-announced concert series. Twitter user @classicalbore commented that there would be “not much worth seeing at the #2017Proms. Can tell already.” There have also been suggestions that Norman Lebrecht is to dust off his annual Proms-bashing article template and has been seen examining the more obscure composer anniversaries listed in the Boosey and Hawkes music diary in search of outrage-worthy omissions in the season’s programming.

Aficionados are also anticipating an excuse to whine about the dearth of British composers programmed this year, with music by such unsung greats as William Alwyn, George Lloyd and Kaikhosru Sorabji unlikely to be performed. A post on the Bax Botherers forum summed up the mood among many anoraks, complaining “The BBC think they can throw us a performance of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony now and then and that we’ll stop going on about music no one else likes. In actual fact, every performance of a piece by a composer not born in Britain is another missed opportunity to play one of Brian’s 31 other symphonies.”

Meanwhile, Proms organisers are expected to continue their wearisome commitment to composers who aren’t dead by including new commissions in otherwise granny-friendly concerts. Jenny Squeekygate, head of new music at the Proms, commented “Believe me, none of us like this stuff anymore than you do, but we have noticed an inverse correlation between contemporary music and champagne-related accidents in the Albert Hall boxes.  And besides, it just wouldn’t be the Proms without a 7/8ths empty Oli Knussen concert, would it?”


David said...

And yet - for me it's the best Proms programme in years (last year's WAS disappointing, but as usual brought plenty of surprises in performance). My top pick is unquestionably Jakub Hrusa's variations on a Hussite chorale. It's going to take on a special poignancy in the light of his mentor Jiri Belohlavek's death - the Martinu Field Mass will be more moving than ever. On which note, so glad we shared the most astonishing encore ever (I think you agree)from Pekka Kuusisto on Wednesday evening.

David said...

Oh, and I should have made clear that this is very, very funny. As someone who was mauled by the Sacred Guardians of the Gothic Symphony for laughing my way through it.

David said...

Back again, just to say you should see - as I just have, on a necessarily rare visit to the exasperating Slipped Disc - what they're making of Tom Jones's appearance this year. So much fulminating over - what? A great singer in his genre, depriving them of absolutely nothing.

Andrew Morris said...

What a fuss about nothing. I concur. But then, fermenting micro-controversy is our little friend's chief pleasure in life. You're a brave man, though, to go for a swim near the bottom of that particular barrel - braver than me!