Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cock-up or conspiracy II

Those who know me well know that I am usually very circumspect in criticism of others, but in this case I am more and more convinced 'something must be done'.

I encourage everyone to write to the BBC, to the press, to Parliament, Ofcom -  to Tweet, FB, etc. etc. - this was a complete failure by the BBC and someone (probably a few) should be: (1) held accountable (2) made to publicly apologise and then (3) sacked. The BBC did not represent or acknowledge with any respect the vast majority of performers and composers on Sunday. And it also did a great disservice to the organisers of the pageant with its wilful mis-representation of the event. Perhaps a 45 minute programme featuring all the music Herald barges would go someway towards saying sorry?

In my previous post, I omitted to mention all the families of the members of the Commonwealth choir (from all around the globe) who were hoping to see a glimpse of their son/daughter/brother/sister singing in front of HMQ. I can only apologise for the lamentable 'show' you saw - I assure you, the choir, in fact the whole pageant was an absolute triumph.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Cock-up or conspiracy?

Yesterday (June 3rd 2012) saw the largest pageant ever on the Thames, in celebration of HMQ’s Diamond Jublilee. One thousand boats took part, including 10 ‘Music Herald Barges’. Thirteen composers were also specially commissioned to write music for some of these boats. It was a triumph of detailed planning and organisation, involving many agencies, and went off safely without major incident. It also succeeded magnificently in it's aim to do something truly grand, inclusive and ambitious to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Hats off to Adrian Evans, Pageant Master, who must now be heaving a huge sigh of relief.

The BBC had spent days recording interviews with some of the composers and musicians, and thousands of pounds clearing use of the live music on the day itself with the Musicians’ Union. Not to mention the countless meetings between the BBC, MU, orchestra representatives and the Thames Diamond Jubilee Trust, one of which I had the misfortune to attend.

The weather was, unfortunately, atrocious – on the boat I was on (the Georgian) the cellist was completely soaked by the end,  despite being under a canopy – yet all the musicians and singers performed brilliantly and thoroughly entered into the celebratory spirit of the event.

And what did we get on BBC? What appeared to be an extended version of the “One Show” with countless celebs talking about the event people had tuned in to see, rather than the actual event itself. Hardly any shots of the music boats, apart from a little from the LPO, and not even a single name-check for any of the composers, let alone some music. They even managed to cut away at the opening of Tower Bridge for the Queen to pass.

To say that I am disappointed with the BBC is a gross understatement. By any measure, the coverage was woeful. If you were one of the million people who were there in person it was a fabulous event – but anyone watching on TV in the UK (and around the world) saw and heard only a fraction of the sights and sounds of the day.

On behalf of all the composers, musicians and singers who were royally snubbed by the Beeb yesterday I would like to recognise your contributions towards the success of the event.

And, from me personally, I have two words for the morons at the BBC who (either through incompetence or conspiracy) chose not to feature us in any meaningful way:  screw you.

So here are the composers and lyricist who were commissioned to write music which was premiered at the event:

Anne Dudley

Carol Ann Duffy

Graham Fitkin

Orlando Gough

Gavin Greenaway

Christopher Gunning

Howard Goodall

Adrian Johnston

John Lunn

Julian Nott

Jocelyn Pook

Rachel Portman

Stephen Warbeck

Debbie Wiseman

If you are interested in hearing the music from the Georgian, there’s a link on my website.

Edit: 21.27 BST - My further thoughts on this here:  Cock-up or conspiracy II