RULE BRITANNIA! Last night of the proms

Discussion in 'Music' started by Dennis Nicholls, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I've been looking around for a good performance of "Rule Britannia". I think I've found it. The title of the recording is "The Ultimate Last Night Of The Proms". And it's only $5.98. [​IMG] I'm not sure what that is in limey pounds.

    At Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...=UTF8&v=glance

    1. Pomp & Circumstances 1 6:26
    2. Jupiter (from the Planets) 7:59
    3. Enigma Variations - Nimrod 4:09
    4. Fantasy on Greensleeves 4:54
    5. Pomp & Circumstances 4 5:05
    6: First Cookoo in Spring 6:28
    7: Fantasia on British Sea Songs 18:37
    8: Rule, Britannia! 4:50
    9: Jerusalem 2:26
    10. God Save the Queen 3:29

    This is a very good recording of the last night of the proms, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Richard Cooke. A 20 bit digital recording, edited and mastered via 32 bit DSP sound recording by "Sound Master Recording" in 1995, is good enough for redbook audio.

    They sing 4 of the 6 verses of Rule Britannia as follows:


    The next time you are rounding up an order at Amazon, keep this title in mind.
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Dennis: Color me ignorant, but what is "the proms"? And why was it their last night?

    Myself, I can always go for a nice rendition of the Elgar ditty.
     
  3. andrew markworthy

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    'The Proms' is short for 'promenade concerts'. Seating is removed from the central part of the concert hall and the audience in theory are free to walk around whilst listening to the music. The reality is that everyone just stands and there's precious little space to move around. In the traditional venue (The Royal Albert Hall in London) in fact only the central section is for standing - around the standing area are seats and boxes. However, the hardcore 'promenaders' stand.

    The Proms were started in Victorian times by Sir Henry Wood, and a bronze bust of him is in the Royal Albert Hall as a permanent fixture. The aim of the concerts, held over the summer months, was (and is) to introduce the public to traditional favourites of the repertoire plus new and more challenging works.

    Eventually The Proms were in effect taken over by the BBC, and *every* concert is broadcast on the radio and a smaller proportion on the television (this is one of the last vestiges of the BBC doing something cultural). Nearly all the performances are orchestral in size (e.g. purely orchestral works/concertos/oratorios) - there is very little small group work (e.g. quartets and similar) and to be best of my knowledge there has only been one solo recital (Evgeny Kissin - I had a ticket to that but through illness couldn't go [​IMG] ).

    Most of The Proms season is as 'serious' as any other classical concert. However, the final concert - The Last Night of the Proms - has traditionally been a time to let the hair down. The first half of the concert is generally a normal sort of concert. The second half includes several staple favourites, including 'Rule Britannia' with the audience invited to sing along. There is also a placing of a wreath on the bust of Sir Henry Wood.

    The majority of The Proms is uncontentious (though there are occasional mutterings about too much modern stuff - concerto for lawnmower and orchestra, that sort of thing). However, what non-Brits may not be aware of is that the Last Night is not universally liked. There is a tendency amongst my fellow Brits to be at times what we would call rather too 'precious' - the sort of fey whimsy that Americans think we engage in far more than we do. Putting a wreath on an old statue and singing along to outdated pieces of jingoism ain't everyone's idea of fun. A lot of Brits are also put off by the 'hooray for us' patriotism of singing Rule Britannia [Americans may find that point hard to comprehend - Brits are patriotic, but we have a deep suspicion of showing off about it - e.g. the idea of schools or indeed most government buildings flying the Union Jack would be considered bizarre and rather 'bad form']. Indeed, during the Gulf War, one conductor due to conduct the Last Night withdrew as he felt that it was inappropriately jingoistic.

    Sorry, Dennis, not trying to thread crap or anything like that, just giving a bit of the cultural background for Mike. The recording you've selected should be a decent rendition.
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Andrew,

    In the US there is a cultural division between "red states" and "blue states" although it's not as divisive as you may be led to think. www.tripias.com/state/ Does such a division exist anymore in the UK? From reading histories of WWI and WWII one would believe that people in the more rural districts are more demonstrative of patriotic feelings than their urban brethern.

    As Churchill points out in his memoirs, the words are "Britannia, rule the waves", NOT "Britannia rules the waves" - an admonition, not a boast. In fact I was led to seek a recording during my recent reading of "To Rule The Waves", a recent history of the Royal Navy from around 1500 through the Falklands War. I hadn't realized how big a crook Francis Drake was.

    [​IMG]

    I posted this as a public service to the extent that it's frustrating to order such titles from companies such as Amazon. You never really know what you are getting from the website's description. They typically just list the title (e.g. Rule Britiannia) and don't tell you how many verses are sung - if any - and don't even give you a timing. One may deduce from the timing approximately how many (or rather how few) verses of such a song are sung in a given performance. With this posting, everyone may know exactly which verses of the six possible ones are sung in the present recording.

    I myself have been trying unsuccessfully for several years to get a recording of The Star Spangled Banner with all four verses sung. http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...&threadid=7563 I've blindly ordered three such discs from Amazon but have been disappointed each time. It seems the third verse is too much for most performers.
     
  5. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    For the contents, sounds like a nice disk.

    Of course Clockwork Orange has a bit of Pomp & Circumstance thrown in [​IMG]

    BTW, I am trying to learn how to find classical music. The "scrambled eggs" that the crude search terms I use on Amazon come up with are not very enticing. [​IMG]
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    John,

    Amazon has a separate classical music search engine - did you find it yet?

    EDIT deleted junk link.
     
  7. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Thanks Dennis, is that the Classical Power Search? (When I click on your link I get a message about a browser bug.)

    If it is the search I'm thinking off, what it doesn't do, which I would like, is to enter Chorale Music, or String Quartets, and get inventory to appear in slices like that.

    My problem is I don't know disk name, number, piece, performer, label, etc., just have an inclination for a style or period.

    And as you say, there often is not much info about a disk anyway.
     
  8. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    And as a bit of background, I do feel a certain pride in having helped develop the striking power of the present Royal Navy.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    Please note that what follows is a cultural comment, not a political one.




    It's only in recent years that this has been widely acknowledged in popular histories. I was brought up in the 1960s with the belief that he was a crook, but that was okay because he did a lot of damage to the Spanish. [Sincere apologies to any Spanish people reading this! I hugely enjoy visiting the country and since Spanish doctors saved my dad's life after a severe heart attack I've an especial love of the country and its people]
     
  10. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    "Sincere apologies to any Spanish people reading this! I hugely enjoy visiting the country and since Spanish doctors saved my dad's life after a severe heart attack I've an especial love of the country and its people."

    Unlike Basil Fawlty? [​IMG]
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    Ah, dear Basil - so typical of Brits. [​IMG]

    When Fawlty Towers was dubbed into Spanish for Spanish TV, there was an interesting problem with what to do with Manuel. In the end it was decided to make the character come from a rural district of Spain with a very distinct dialect.
     
  12. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Mr Nichols -- I wonder if you have gotten any good from my suggestion, in your thread upon the U.S. National Anthem, that you seek out groups of people who do Historical Re-Enactment? Frequently they either have, or know of, musicians with an interest in the "popular" music of earlier eras, the kind which has not shown up as "classical" or "folk"; and given the number of small-scale recording releases today it is very likely that you could find someone that way who either has already recorded the Banner or would be willing to put it on his next album.
    I'd sing it for you, but you don't want to listen to that! [​IMG]

    As I recall my uncle Bob [then Commander I think, now Fr. Luke] Uhl worked on that project, but it would be an insane coincidence for you ever to have met him.
     
  13. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Christopher, I really don't have the time to "produce" my own recording. I have a decent baritone voice and have musician friends so it would be possible to 'self produce' a recording. I'm just looking to click on a title and purchase one.


    Hey this really would be an ultimate recording of Rule Britannia!

    [​IMG]

    A complete recording of Thomas Arne's opera "Alfred" (as in king Alfred the Great), of which the grand finale is the song later known to history as Rule Britannia.

    www.goldbergweb.com/en/discography/1999/4899.php

    It was recorded in 1999 so somebody has to have copies of it for sale.[​IMG]
     
  14. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    That's rather interesting!

    Actually, I was just thinking that, for instance, I know a music group which sings a wide variety of materials including old sea chanties, and they have at least two records out [and available for purchase] which might be very difficult to find unless you asked around a little bit in the right circles. There's a great deal of material of this kind, and I very much suspect some of it might fit your bill.
     

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