The Best PROMS Album in the World
BBC/VIRGIN 8 49731 2
A potted introduction to classical music courtesy of the BBC proms. Some
very famous, instantly recognisable pieces are included, although several
are only sections taken from the originals. There's everything from Handel's
'Hallelujah Chorus' to Mozart's 'Non più andrai' (from 'The Marriage
of Figaro'), Gilbert & Sullivan's 'When Britain Really Ruled the Waves'
to Wagner's 'The Ride of the Valkyries.
In some ways these pieces, often due to the dreaded television commercial,
have been tarnished and almost become (ironically) passé. Even so,
the truly outstanding among them still stand as classical works in its truest
sense, music that is a part of our history and our heritage, music that stirs
the spirit. Not everything here is of the same calibre however, but of course
much depends on your own particular taste.
For myself, the highlights would certainly include all of Elgar's contributions,
'Morning' from 'Peer Gynt' by Grieg, Holst's dynamic 'Jupiter' from his
magnificent 'The Planets', the striking 'Montagues and Capulets' by Prokofiev
and Carl Orff's spectacular, influential 'O Fortuna'.
Of course classical pieces have also often been utilised by filmmakers, as
is the case with many of the works showcased here, such as Rachmaninov's
'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini' (Somewhere in Time), 'Cello Concerto
in E minor' by Elgar (Hilary and Jackie), Mahler's 'Symphony no.5
in C sharp minor' (Death in Venice) and of course 'O Fortuna'
Unquestionably a fine introduction to the world of classical music.