Simon Rattle expresses concerns about jingoistic aspects of Last Night of the Proms, jobs for musicians post-pandemic

Posted on: July 30, 2021

“Simon Rattle has said he avoided conducting at the Last Night of the Proms throughout his career because of his discomfort at its ‘jingoistic elements,’ ” writes Lanre Bakare in Monday’s (7/27) Guardian (U.K.). “In an interview with Radio Times, the conductor … said nationalistic aspects of the event left him ‘uneasy. I never conducted the Last Night, always avoided it a bit. I’ve been uneasy about some of the jingoistic elements, ever since the Falklands in 1982.’…. Rattle has previously spoken about being ‘uncomfortable’ with the imperial suite of songs that is played on the last night of the event, and his comments come a year on from a row over whether the lyrics of ‘Land of Hope and Glory,’ and ‘Rule, Britannia!’ should be sung. The conductor … also raised concerns about the number of classical musicians who had left the industry during lockdown. Rattle said many freelance musicians he had approached to perform in a concert planned for earlier this year turned the down opportunity because they had moved on to other forms of employment…. Rattle has consistently argued for support for classical musicians throughout the pandemic, and used his voice to criticize the lack of straightforward touring arrangements for musicians post-Brexit.”