Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Roll over Benjamin Britten
London doesn't have a monopoly on Promenade concerts. My photograph shows the young audience bouncing to Konono No. 1 at last night's Snape Prom on the very floor where Benjamin Britten stood to record Bach's St John Passion. Every year the front rows of seats are taken out of Snape Maltings for Aldeburgh's own Proms season. It runs for the whole of August, and ranges from Paul Lewis playing Beethoven Sonatas to World Music.
Last night it was the vibrant Konono No. 1 from the Congolese capital Kinasha playing Congolese/Angolan trance music which really had the audience dancing - watch them live here on YouTube. The warm-up was the first ever DJ to play Snape Maltings although she clearly didn't know the spirit of the place. Introducing Konono No. 1, she said if so moved we should feel free to get on our feet and start shaking our things. Clearly she was unaware that Ben had already established such behaviour as an Aldeburgh tradition decades ago.
Aldeburgh Music's chief executive Jonathan Reekie has gone on record as saying the pigeon holes of old are dissolving. He is there somewhere to the right of my picture, bouncing in the mosh pit with the youngsters. Which is not something you see BBC Proms supremo Nicholas Kenyon doing in the Albert Hall.
If you can make it to Suffolk the Snape Proms run until August 31. Several of the concerts, including Jacques Loussier, are sold out, check the Aldeburgh Music website for availability. It's just the thing to bring new audiences to Snape, and as Britten said, music doesn't exist in a vacuum. A great time was had by all last night. But please don't give up the day job Aldeburgh.
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