Saturday, 15 July 2017

Est Europa nunc unita

The Guardian has a gleeful write-up of pianist Igor Levit's pro-EU encore after his performance of Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto at the First Night of the Proms last night

Mr Levit, sporting an EU pin throughout, returned to play part of Liszt's transcription of the 'Ode to Joy' from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - aka 'the EU anthem' - with added improvisations of his own. 

He was making a point.

According to the Guardian, Mr Levit "sneaked" it in:

The BBC News website's own account, however  - headlined 'EU anthem played at Proms' first night' - makes it clear that Igor Levit did not 'sneak' it in at all. He had the BBC's consent in advance to do so:

What next? Nigel Kennedy improvising variations on 'Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!' after a performance of Khrennikov's First Violin Concerto while sporting a 'Jez We Can' pin? 

That said, Igor Levit's performances of the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto and the big tune from the finale of the Ninth were so good that I'll let him off.


  1. Remember when the BBC bosses were criticizing the Proms for being too jingoistic, and promised to make sure it didn't continue? A good, times....good times.....

  2. I've had a brief look at the Proms calendar for this year. Haven't gone all the way through yet, but it seems like the cello features prominently this year.

    1. The 'special themes' are apparently the anniversaries of the Russian Revolution and the Reformation and composer 'strands' include Sibelius and John Adams.

    2. I can accept the Russian Revolution theme, as it certainly inspired significant contributions to or influences on music, good and bad. Depends on how the BBC frames it, though. Sibelius might be connected only because Russia ruled Finland until after that, so I guess it kind of mitigates any positive celebration of the Communists? They did a whole cycle in 2015 to celebrate his 150th anniversary (a favorite round number for programmers), so it's difficult to think of a different excuse to do it again so soon.
      It's a special sort of irony that the BBC bosses approved the political statement of that pianist honoring the EU, as Sibelius was on the 100 Finnish Mark note until Finland took the Euro. Any celebration of Sibelius as helping to inspire Finnish independence and Finnish nationalism should be viewed through the prism of the EU subsuming all of it. But I doubt the Beeboids will mention that.

      John Adams is 70 this year, and programmers gonna programme. Plus he holds all the best approved political thoughts.

      Me, I'm going to look for the cello stuff. Khrennikov violin concerto? ZZZZzzzzzzzz. Leftoid heart well over head there.

  3. Pretty sure every BBC 'shocked, I tell you, shocked' NaugthieMarr slip is discussed at senior level for hours before approval. No minutes.