Saturday, September 11, 2004


It's probably churlish, but today is my least favourite day in the annual musical calendar: the occasion when one of the world's greatest music festivals is marred by jingoism and irony-free sentimentality. The Last Night of the Proms. In today's Guardian newspaper critic Andrew Clements gives a pretty fair assessment of the season. Apart from the Boulez and Birtwistle premieres, 2004 has not been a great year for new music. Under Nicholas Kenyon the programming has become more cautious and more predictable.

Next year marks the centenary of the birth of Michael Tippett, one of the great British composers of the twentieth century, and someone who showed how you can honour tradition and blaze a trail for innovation at the same time. Disgracefully, not one of his compositions was on show this year. Hopefully 2005 will see a brighter Proms.

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