Classical review: BBC SSO: Proms in the Park, Glasgow

The BBC SSO’s annual Proms in the Park used to be about tying in, somewhat awkwardly, with the Royal Albert Hall’s highly stylised Last Night of the Proms.

Alexandra Burke. Picture: Hemedia
Alexandra Burke. Picture: Hemedia
Alexandra Burke. Picture: Hemedia

There was a very small amount of that on Saturday – a couple of nationwide singalongs, that brought the various UK audiences together in an attempted synchronised rendition of songs from The Sound of Music and Copland’s I bought me a cat. But by and large, Glasgow now does its own thing.

That gave regular presenter Jamie MacDougall more freedom to do what he does best, mix patter with song, and generally allow things to flow like an old-fashioned Saturday night TV variety show. So when featured artists such as X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, Young Traditional Musician of the Year Claire Hastings or saxophonist Amy Dickson did their spots with the ever-present SSO, there was a bit of banter to go with it.

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It was an eclectic programme. The SSO, under Stephen Bell, was in versatile form, with music ranging from Bernstein’s overture Candide and Sibelius’ Karelia Suite to a specially adapted Poldark Suite by composer Anne Dudley from her music for the popular television series, and a host of imaginatively crafted accompaniments to main acts that also included the locally recruited amateur enthusiasts of Glasgow’s Big Big Sing, whose smiling faces said it all.

Fireworks, Scots songs and dancing to the tune of traditional Eightsome Reels were all part of a fun night for the many who turned out on the Green.