Every year the BBC extravagantly boasts that its Promenade Concerts are “the world’s greatest series of concerts of classical music.” Well, let’s see… This is how they bill tonight’s offering:
“The BBC Proms takes over the newly refurbished Battersea Arts Centre for a showcase of provocative, witty and boundary-crossing composer-performers, who have been driving new music in previously unimagined directions.”
It’s nothing but a pushy blurb for so-called “progressive” pop music – wow! Look at us – in the argot of St Trendy and All Change.
Well, everyone can have an off day. I bet this first week of the 2019 season has been a lot better than that. Well, again, let’s see…
Last night they gave us: “Woodstock, music from the Apollo moon mission and The Beatles.”
OK – so you’re allowed two off days. The BBC needs a lot more than two…
Thursday it was, “Trip to the moon with favourites from CBeebies.”
Wednesday: “Hans Zimmer, film music’s living legend.”
Tuesday: “The wild and colourful…” But how do you listen to wild colours? “…beauty of Arizona mingles birdsong with desert winds.”
Never mind, things can only get better. Don’t bet on it. Next week they will give us: “Angelique Kidjo, the undisputed queen of African music.”
And after that delectation; “A late-night tribute to the celebrated salsa songstress Celia Cruz.”
I’m all for freedom of speech… and for freedom of singing and playing. But to call these items examples of “the greatest in classical music” is false pretences, a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act and a downright lie.
It’s all in the BBC’s agenda of anti-elitism, yoof and getting down and dirty. It’s the living – by which I mean dead – example of what Gertrud Himmelfarb meant when she said: “The counter-culture is the culture now.”
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