Anorak News | Bobbing Up & Down Like This

Bobbing Up & Down Like This

by | 14th, July 2006

“CAN I bob up and down yet?” asks the little lad.

It’s the first night of the Proms and the patriotic cove has used his best blue felt tip to turn his Cross of St George car flag into a Union Jack.

“Can I bob up and down yet,” he asks again. Not yet, son. That’s on the Last Night of the Proms, when it all really kicks off.

The boy is disappointed. But at least he has until September 9 to get another flag and stick it to his plastic bowler hat, and practice his bobbing up and down.

As you may have picked up, tonight is the first night of the Proms, and the Times has spotted a “gaffe”. No, make that a “remarkable gaffe”. The Proms feature not one piece of music composed or conducted by a woman.

That’s 270 pieces of music all written and conducted by men. Women will form part of the orchestra – notably in the triangle and kazoo sections – but they will play music made by men for men.

And this has caused “consternation”. “I am hoping this is a statistical accident to be handsomely corrected next year,” says Judith Weir, billed as a “leading British composer”.

Next year there may well be an all–female schedule, including, perhaps, even some of Weir’s works. With the right campaign, a woman may even get to conduct. Another could be allowed to have a go on the orchestra’s big drum.

It’s all a matter of balance. As Nicholas Kenyon, the controller of the BBC Proms, tells the Times: “We achieve balance over several seasons, not every season.”

So there is no guarantee women will feature in next year’s show. This is an outrage, at least to the mind of Jude Kelly, the artistic director of the South Bank Centre, London.

“There are women writing brilliant and highly individual music,” says she. “Perhaps they won’t need the Proms, but the Proms might need them.”

Do we detect a veiled threat? Are woman considering withdrawing from the Proms? If so, this would be a tragedy, not at least for the young lad who dreams of bobbing up and down and, inadvertently, rubbing up alongside some other fans, perhaps even a female one…

Posted: 14th, July 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink