Prom 30: Smooth operation: the Frank Sinatra Prom

Indelibly associated with the glamourous world of 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, this music feels comfortable, wonderfully easy to listen to. But behind each swelling chord, there’s a great deal of structural detail; behind each sparkling cymbal, a controlled touch of finesse. John Wilson’s discipline and passion for this music shone out in a crystal-clear rendition…

Prom 27: A very long Late Night with BBC 6 Music

An interminable evening of self-regarding narcissism doesn’t bode well for the supposed future of classical music as promulgated by BBC 6 Music: chuck in a few waterfall sounds, or add a dash of Native American Indian chanting, and we could have been in a corporate relaxation centre instead of the Royal Albert Hall. Luckily, other…

Prom 25: Monteverdi’s Orfeo forever fresh in Gardiner’s hands

For over 20 years the Gonzagas paid him late, ignored his personal tragedies, and treated him in all practical terms with cruel contempt. Monteverdi, nevertheless, created extraordinary music in the Gonzaga court (before moving, at last, to Venice in 1613, where he would soon be properly appreciated): and top of the list of his Mantuan…

A right royal rave: Radio 1’s Ibiza Prom

Dance music has certainly come of age culturally when the superstar DJs have MBEs (Pete Tong was awarded his in 2014), and it moves from the dark nightclub floor to filling the gilded dome of the Royal Albert Hall. With superb live vocals provided by Sam White, Brendan Reilly, Vula Malinga, and Olivia Safe, and live performances from Ella…

Prom 8: Amateur Hour: the BBC Asian Network Prom

The BBC Asian Network Prom was the first such adventure for the radio station. In a night of many firsts, it seems Watford-born producer Naughty Boy is also the first British Asian artist to headline a Prom; if true, his appearance on the Royal Albert Hall stage is shockingly overdue. But however overdue, I’m afraid,…