|Roxanna Panufnik takes a bow. Photo: Chris Christodoulou/BBC|
It was a big night. Roxanna Panufnik's beautiful and very atmospheric new Proms commission, Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light, had its world premiere; saxophonist Jess Gillam must surely have shot to superstardom, music poring from every cell; Finley held the stage as only he can; and Davis looked as if he was back in situ after one day, not 18 years.
I've written a full review for The Arts Desk, so here it is (£). https://theartsdesk.com/classical-music/last-night-proms-finley-gillam-bbcso-davis-review-fine-send-without-send
Outside the Royal Albert Hall blue-bereted devotees were handing out free EU flags. A great many people accepted them, while die-hards with the Union Jack looked on askance and muttered. But inside, all differences were firmly put aside: every flag under the sun was out for the Last Night party, along with the glitter poppers, an inflatable parrot and a model kangaroo. On the podium, a familiar figure: Sir Andrew Davis, long-ago emeritus conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, owning the night again after some 18 years away, but as much at ease as if he’d tackled the job only yesterday. And his cavalcade of music celebrated the old, the new and, if not quite the borrowed, then certainly the blue – Stanford’s The Blue Bird, enjoying rare, richly deserved prominence. ..