The Proms goes to the movies with John Wilson and his Orchestra in a celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood film musicals.
This was a pure joy, from the medley at the beginning to the ‘Hooray for Hollywood’ and ‘There’s no business like Show Business’ encore – there really could have been further encores for this one (I was hoping for ‘The Trolley Song’!)
In the room, there was a bit of a problem with the levels from the microphone for the singer on the early number – the singer was drowned out by the orchestra, but I hope that they’ll be able to boost that for the recording.
There are some nice moments with the choir, and for me, ‘Sit Down you’re rocking the Boat’ was a highlight – though it did jar that in ‘Top Hat’ (I’m… putting on my Top Hat… doing up my white tie… polishing my tails…) that the singer had black tie. Silly things sometimes.
The programme was live on BBC Radio 3 (and will be on iplayer for 7 days). It will be on TV, BBC2, on the 3rd September
Having been in London overnight, we finished off by seeing the Comedy Prom on Saturday. We were very excited to see Tim Minchin live, and were amazed that we could get tickets (we think this is as the end box is usually used by the BBC, but it was released). This was a very last minute affair for us, we only got our tickets on Thursday.
Susan Bullock puts in a good comedy turn for a soprano, and I was impressed by the musicality of the bit by Danny Driver and Andrew Litton. Sue Perkins conducts at several points, as well as sings. The high spot for me was ‘Beardyman’ – my jaw was hitting the floor when he got into his act. His act is a human beatbox with the aid of recording loops to multitrack himself ‘on the fly’ – it was incredible. Kit and the Widow were excellently snobby and Doc Brown getting the BBC Concert Orchestra to play a rap accompaniment…. ‘Mongrels’ were nice to see, though there were some issues with lip syncing there – I can forgive them that. Mongrels’ style on stage was reminiscent of ‘Stuffed and Unstrung‘, which really should transfer to London by the way. I do hope mongrels gets a second series – it is certainly worthy of one.
The Boy with Tape on his face was an inspired choice for radio, I wonder what the radio listeners made of it. I’m not complaining at all, it worked well in the room (baffled radio listeners should watch on BBC4 to find out why the audience were laughing). At one point, Tim Minchin and the Boy with tape on his face helped with the drumming, of course, the latter was miming the drums.
The piano piece with Sue Perkins, Danny Driver, Kit or the Widow (not sure which) and Tim Minchin at the end was a highlight.
We were amazed to come back after the interval to find Tim Minchin in the next box, we didn’t have a lot of time before the show restarted – so no ‘Hi, Tim!’ or photo I’m afraid. The man was perusing his script and one doesn’t like to be rude, so we left him to it. We did get a few blurry back of head photos, though. We think at least one of us will be on TV when the show is broadcast on BBC4 TV on the 27th August.
Musician, actor, comedian and rock ‘n’ roll superstar Tim Minchin hosts a Proms first – the Comedy Prom. Tim is joined by Sue Perkins, Susan Bullock (soprano), Danny Driver (piano), Kit and the Widow, Beardyman, The Boy with Tape on his Face, Doc Brown, the Mongrels, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Andrew Litton (Guest conductor) and Jules Buckley (Music Director).
The audio is available on BBC iplayer for the next week or so, but I recommend waiting to see it on TV on the 27th August (and then on iplayer)
The inventive Spaghetti Western Orchestra present their own unique take on Western soundtracks and the music of Ennio Morricone – look out for asthma inhalers, cereal packets and other unlikely instruments.
We didn’t really know what to expect. Would it be done for laughs? would it be in all seriousness? It could have gone either way. Well, it was both – the music was great, very well performed, and the laughs were thrown in as appropriate.
With all the turmoils of the week, we travelled to central London on friday. No problems at all – as expected.
Over at the Royal Albert Hall, we were attending our next Prom. This one was film music. The firs half was a little sow – for my money a ‘film’ prom should be bristling with familiarity, and I’m afraid that, at least for us, it wasn’t (apart from the odd bit of Hitchcockian music)
The second half started with a bigger bang – Star Wars – always a crowd pleaser, but then it went back into ‘pleasant, but what film was this again?’ before finishing with a great John Barry medley. During ‘Goldfinger’ the conductor was camping it up for the audience – and at one point in the Bond medley, all the Cellos got spun.
We got the ‘Harry Potter’ theme, despite never having seen the films (honestly) – this was instantly recognisable.
The whole thing was enjoyable, but for a ‘Film Prom’ there needs to be that instant ‘snap’ of familiarity in my view – and the lack of this let it down somewhat. Of course, this is purely subjective.
The programme for the prom was:
Herrmann: Music from The Man Who Knew Too Much, Citizen Kane, and Psycho (18 mins)
Ennio Morricone: Cinema Paradiso – theme (7 mins)
Walton: Henry V – suite (arr. Muir Mathieson) (21 mins)
John Williams: Music from Star Wars, Schindler’s List and Harry Potter (14 mins)
Norwegian Wood – suite (arr. Robert Ziegler) (10 mins) BBC Commission, World Premiere
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett: Murder on the Orient Express – suite (8 mins)
Barry: Out of Africa – Love Theme (7 mins)
Various: Music from the James Bond films (10 mins)
Chloë Hanslipviolin Rory Kinnearnarrator BBC Concert Orchestra Keith Lockhartconductor