Pomp and Circumstance at the BBC Proms Launch

Friday 23rd April 2010

The end of this week was definitely rich in networking. With our director being at the IAMA conference in Paris (allegedly handing out more than 200 business cards) it devolved upon us two account managers to attend this year’s BBC Proms launch… and we were very much determined to make the most of this exciting “debut”.

It might be imputed to us being novices to the Proms launch, but we remained rather puzzled at the disclosure of the Proms 2010 programme on the BBC Proms’ website the same morning. Why would that be before the official launch? Was this the digital reoccurrence of last year’s early release of the Proms’ printed programmes? However, under the spell of what looked to us like one of the most exciting Proms programmes ever, we did not ponder the question for too long.

The first Proms weekend is all operatic ecstasy and grand names, with Bryn Terfel in Die Meistersinger and Plácido Domingo tackling the baritone role of Simone Boccanegra. Who is NOT going to be sitting in front of their computer on Tuesday 4 May at 8pm in the hope of grabbing one of the £12.50 Promming Passes for this weekend? This year’s birthday children, Mahler, Chopin and Schumann, are celebrated by some of the finest established and rising musicians, with six of Mahler’s eight symphonies conducted by Rattle, Gergiev, Metzmacher, Belohlavek and Runnicles, an extensive cycle of Schumann symphonies, songs and piano pieces, and Chopin’s Nocturnes and his piano concerto No 2 performed by Maria Joao Pires and Lionel Bringuler respectively. Another very noteworthy anniversary is the 400th anniversary of the creation of Monteverdi’s Vespers, which will be performed from the galleries of the Royal Albert Hall. A special mention also goes to Paul Lewis, who is going to perform all the Beethoven piano concertos, which is no mean feat! Last but not least amongst this year’s agreeable surprises is the introduction of a second, ‘retro’ last night: the revival of the 1910 last night on 5 September will give an insight into how the Proms were celebrated 100 years ago, showcasing a selection of popular compositions of that time, as well as works by Proms founder Sir Henry Woods. Certainly worth a try…and a welcome alternative for those who shun the ‘real’ last night.

With all these exciting concerts (and many more!) in mind, we set out for the Royal Academy of Music, where Mr Wright’s speech was not too much of a surprise for us anymore, although he did include a few groan-worthy jokes. That the programme was published online before its announcement at the rather expensive looking launch night, will probably not help the constant debate on the Prom’s pomp and circumstance (stirred again yesterday morning by the Telegraph’s revelation of Mr Wright’s expenses), but similar to the enduring debate on the last night of the Proms, that’s probably part of the game…

For us, the networking at last night’s launch was worth it and, Proms launch or not, we are looking forward to one of the most exciting musical summers…in the world!

This weekend we will be avidly reading our Proms brochures and will be bringing you our ‘Top Ten for 2010’ next week!