Friday, 12 August 2011

And Action

Prom 38 Film Scores. How the years fly. I confess I thought it was going to be Roy Kinnear narrating but I discover he died in 1988. In fact it was his son Rory who recited the Shakespeare texts between the movements of Walton’s Henry V Suite. Tonight, the prommers really were the groundlings at the Globe, gazing up like foot soldiers, their hearts swelling with pride if their English was good enough, as Kinnear’s stirring delivery echoed round the Kensington O. Even the BBC Concert Orchestra seemed inspired. The strings’ mourning the Death of Falstaff rendered the hall as motionless as if a funeral cortege were passing. The cor anglais quotation of the traditional French folk tune Bailero rang out in the aftermath of the battle charge like smoke clearing after an orgiastic riot. We have awoken from a bacchanal these past few days.

Otherwise the playing was not so hot. The brass slid about dangerously in the Bernard Herrmann extracts and the stabbing violins of the shower-slashing scene in Psycho even garnered chuckles among the prommers for its notoriety. If this was not the most famous piece of film music in the programme, then the James Bond theme was and that too inspired nudges and murmurs among the crowd like the arrival of a familiar friend. This was not the intended effect of the music which never even attempts to develop themes or delve psychologically. The surfeit of gong-struck openings and cheap cymbal-topped climaxes did nothing to dispel the cynical detachment of the crowd from the music. It was enjoyable without ever being fully engrossing.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Memory Corner

On my first day at Whitgift School, Croydon, 43 years ago, I nervously turned to the tall chap next to me who had already been there a year, and asked him if he might show where the lockers were. His name was Reeves and there he was again on the lunchtime news on Wednesday standing in front of the smouldering ruins of the family business he was now in charge of.