Music for the masses 為大眾上演的音樂會


Vocabulary: Music 詞匯: 音樂

Image caption Classical music for all at a great price

Are you one of those people who find the world of Western classical music a bit snobbish and inaccessible? The Proms – or the BBC Promenade Concerts to give the world's largest music festival its full name - might help you change your mind.

For eight weeks every summer, the Royal Albert Hall in London opens its doors to all-comers and puts on a music show that is varied and wide-ranging. Some music lovers want to get as close as possible to the conductor. They are happy to stand up to listen to orchestras and soloists playing symphonies, overtures and concertos by the world's top composers – all for just £5.

The festival has been going since 1895 and has always tried to be informal and relatively cheap. The Prommers - the classical music groupies who like to stand - typify this relaxed ethos. Before performances, they shout out jokes and every time the lid of the piano is lifted they shout "heave" in unison.

One of the highlights of the Proms is the Last Night, which has a worldwide screening. Popular classics are played while the Prommers wave flags and sing along to the catchy tunes. The Last Night is so popular with audiences that a ballot has to be held - several months in advance - so that everyone who wants a ticket has a chance of getting one. But it has been criticised by some for being too British and jingoistic.

In recent years the Proms have grown so that they now include simultaneous screenings in other British cities, lunchtime concerts, talks, children's Proms, film and rock music, musicals, Indian classical music, and even tunes from the BBC series "Dr Who". The expanding offer is proving popular with audiences old and new. Perhaps classical music isn't quite so elitist, after all.