BBC Proms Worth Clicking
By Bob Small
Normally, my articles tend toward the Political, in one or another ways. However we will be discussing a yearly musical phenomenon (first heard in 1895) and how you can now hear it for free.
The BBC Proms aka Henry Wood Promenade Concert presented by the BBC began in 1895 as both Classical and Popular Music Concerts designed, via low ticket prices and an informal atmosphere, to bring music to the masses.
Over the years, the eight-week festival morphed into jazz, world music and many etceteras. Because Britain is no longer an empire but now a Commonwealth, they use this, as BBC itself, as what they themselves call “soft power,” as opposed to the massive military force they once had.
To find the BBC Proms on your search engine of choice (I use Duck Duck Go, so as not to be searched myself.) to get to BBC Radio 3. Click on BBC Sounds or any other link but I Player. (I Player requires you to live in England,) Then you can choose your Concerts. As of this writing , most are still available for a month, the earliest ones expiring first. I listen sequentially, but that’s also how I read a book or watch a movie, whereas others choose by Composer or Conductor, whether Classical or Jazz. I now use my Smartphone, which seems to work easier for me on BBC Radio 3 BBC Proms.
The Last Night of the Proms has traditionally featured the Anthem “Rule Brittania”and other highly Patriotic songs. Lately, though, what might be termed the ‘Woke’ crowd has been protesting that, seeing this as inconsistent with the aims of the British Commonwealth, especially as Britannia no longer ‘rules the waves’ or anything else. (Possibly not even Scotland if they get another referendum.) Rather, the Proms, like BBC itself, is a form of soft power, witness the many people, self included, who listen to at least one BBC program daily.