Saturday, 1 August 2009

....anyone for a promenade?

This year is the 115th year of the Promenade Concerts from the Royal Albert Hall, London. The series of concerts run between mid July and mid September each year. It is rightly billed as 'the world's greatest classical musical festival' and comprises over 70 concerts. The whole series of concerts are referred to as 'the Proms', those who attend are 'promenaders' and most who attend indulge in a little 'promming'.

Part of the Proms audience has always stood in the arena, directly in front of the orchestra, and many consider this the best position in the hall. These people are said to be promming. However, you can also stand high up in the Gallery and just let the sound drift up to you.

Today there are still over 1,000 standing places available at each Prom. The traditionally low prices allows folks to enjoy world-class concerts for just £5!

Although the scope of the Proms has increased enormously since 1895, Henry Wood's original concept for the season remains largely unaltered: to present the widest possible range of music, performed to the highest standards, to large audiences. All concerts are broadcast live on radio and many live on TV.

Last evening I enjoyed the concert broadcast on TV: Classic MGM Film Musicals.
John Wilson and his hand-picked Orchestra celebrated 75 years of MGM musicals with songs from unforgettable movie classics, including The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis, The Harvey Girls, Brigadoon, High Society, The Band Wagon and Singin’ in the Rain. Amazingly, although all the original orchestral parts were lost when the studio destroyed its music library to make way for a car park, Wilson has succeeded in reconstructing the scores by painstakingly transcribing each soundtrack by ear. He was joined by starry singers from the classical and musical theatre worlds;

Kim Criswell vocalist
Sarah Fox soprano
Sir Thomas Allen baritone
Curtis Stigers vocalist
Seth Macfarlane singer

Maida Vale Singers
John Wilson Orchestra

John Wilson conductor


  1. Me! I'll go! What a great tradition. And loved the clip. I watched this movie last year, and I always love the early Judy Garland musicals.

  2. Another thing I miss not living in London anymore. I used to go but never went to the Last Night of the Proms. That I watched on television.

    I don't know why this player will not come up on here! It's installed. MGM Musicals - oh the classics - love them all. You know one that is rarely talked about is "The Desert Song".

  3. Hello Michael,

    I enjoyed this very much too. Wasn't too mad for Mr Stigers, I have to say, and I even thought Sir Thomas wasn't on top form but it was a good evening.

    BTW, Bee, they did sing a couple of numbers by Sigmund Romberg (can't remember which show!).

  4. This is one event I have always wanted to attend. Thank you for all the details posted here...
    singing....."Now I know how many PROMS it takes to fill the Albert Hall"
    ...(apologies to John & Paul)!

  5. I agree with you Derrick and Sir Thomas seemed ill at ease to me. I thought the other singers were right on the money, particularly Kim Criswell.
    Firelight, well lets arrange a Prom with fellow bloggers...and no counting when in the Albert Hall......laughing.