All 4 of us went to this concert recently, at Birmingham's great Symphony Hall. It included such classical 'pops' as Grieg Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King, Strauss Radetzky March, Delibes Prelude and Mazurka from Coppélia, Elgar Nimrod, Tchaikovsky The Sleeping Beauty Waltz.In the second half it moved to emulate the 'Last Night of the Proms' with the likes of The Dam Busters March, Jerusalem, Nessun Dorma, Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory. This was all accompanied by hundreds of flags - mostly Union Jacks, but some English and Welsh ones too. Plus some form of red ensign I couldn't quite identify. I felt slightly uncomfortable seeing all this. Partly because it's so rare to see lots of national flags in the UK (except at sports matches I never attend), and partly because the movement was almost enough to make me feel sea-sick! I also feel I ought to know what's right and wrong with nationalism, but I can't claim to. All I know is that the US flavour of it - with their flag everywhere -- feels crass and slightly xenophobic because you can't get away from it.But back to the music. The tenor and baritone soloists weren't that audible, but appeared to do reasonable justice to Bizet The Pearl Fisher's Duet, Nessun Dorma, and leading the singing at the end.The highlight for me was hearing Delius' On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, which I hadn't reallyappreciated before - a beautiful piece. Oh, and the seats up on level 5A opposite the stage, have headrests. Worth remembering in future.

AuthorJonathan Clark