Prom at the Palace

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: BBC Opus Arte
WORKS: Golden Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace
PERFORMER: Various soloists; BBC SO & Chorus/Andrew Davis
CATALOGUE NO: OA 0844 D

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This is a souvenir d’occasion of the first ever public concert held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Not for repeated viewing, but interesting to return to in, say, 20 years’ time. Bob Coles’s slick direction captures the spirit of the evening -a little over-excited, busily cutting between on-stage, pre-film and live stage screens, and rarely settling.

He swoops rather too often over the audience (most of whom wave at the camera and have to refer to the words of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’) but undoubtedly gives us – the uninvited millions – a better view and sound mix than that which those present experienced. With the sugar-coated musical snacks fronted by an avuncular Michael Parkinson, and Andrew Davis at his most jovial on the podium, the selection of who and what had been chosen was frequently curious, clearly the result of many committee meetings.

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The single unmissable turn was the astonishing 12-year-old clarinettist Julian Bliss in Messager’s Solo de concours. Her Majesty appeared to be seated about a quarter of a mile from the stage which must have impaired her enjoyment somewhat. She will certainly be interested to learn from the minimal details accompanying this disc that Thomas Arne composed ‘God Save the Queen’. First I’ve heard of it. Jeremy Nicholas