When Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska asked the BBC to withdraw the patriotic songs like Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the program of the Last Night of the Proms because of their perceived association with colonialism and slavery, she earned a shitstorm and gross personal attacks on social media and elsewhere. Right-wing politician Nigel Farage asked the conductor to be removed from the concert.

Now the BBC timidly decided to leave the music on the program but to play only orchestral versions. The press release says: « The Proms will reinvent the Last Night in this extraordinary year so that it respects the traditions and spirit of the event whilst adapting to very different circumstances at this moment in time. With much reduced musical forces and no live audience, the Proms will curate a concert that includes familiar, patriotic elements such as Jerusalem and the National Anthem, and bring in new moments capturing the mood of this unique time, including You’ll Never Walk Alone, presenting a poignant and inclusive event for 2020.

The programme will include a new arrangement by Errollyn Wallen of Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem alongside new orchestral versions of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, Land of Hope and Glory, (arr. Anne Dudley) and Rule, Britannia! as part of the Sea Songs, as Henry Wood did in 1905. »

It is impossible not to expect the reaction: those who want the music to be removed will not like that the tunes will be played in orchestral versions, and those who want to keep the original works on the program will fume over the orchestra-only versions. The BBC clearly has fallen between two stools


  • Pizzicato

  • Archives