ahh, the proms (the non-stressful and free kind)

proms460 Every year at this time of year, the BBC puts on what is formally known as the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, they are a series of concerts, mostly classical, and are lovely.  And, thanks to the BBC iPlayer, easy to catch up on when you want some world class music.

One of the parts of the Proms I like best is the chance I get to hear some new-to-me classical pieces that are scattered within the more famous ones that headline many of the concerts.  (Although my classical education is certainly spotty, and I’m sure many of the pieces that are new to me each year are famous the world over.) This year, so far, I have loved the music that was played in honour of the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII. Some of the music had been composed by Henry VIII and the rest had been written in his honour–and all of it was lovely to listen to.  One of the most interesting bits was the idea that the piece written by Henry, the King’s Ballad, was popular all over England during his reign.  On some level, I’m sure it was just generally a good idea to profess a taste for the music written by the King, but the fact remains that he wrote a popular song.

There are over 100 concerts on a variety of themes and presenting a host of different music.  I love that these concerts are directed at the public in general and that every effort is made to disseminate them as widely as possible. An added bonus: you don’t have to dress up, the royalty is kept to a minimum, and it has nothing, what so ever, to do with high school.

I feel I must add that the MGM “30th anniversary” concert was amazing.  Two hours of fantastic music from some of their most famous musicals, and great singing from all involved.  Apparently, the conductor had to create all of the scores from scratch because the originals had been destroyed.  Just a great, great show.  Seth McFarlane singing was an unexpected bonus as well.