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Last Night Of The Proms 2000 DVD

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Numerous compilations of The Last Night of the Proms have been available in the past. Yet it makes sense to see and hear the event whole, and the 2000 Last Night was among the best of recent years. The range of music is excellent: Bach bizarrely orchestrated by Elgar, Mozart's Fourth Violin Concerto given with classical poise by Hilary Hahn, and Jane Eaglen thrilling in the closing scene from Richard Strauss' opera Salome. In the second half, a scintillating and newly discovered jazz suite by Shostakovich, Percy Grainger's affectionate Tribute to Stephen Foster, and Delius' heartfelt Walk to the Paradise Garden. That it all works so well is a tribute to Sir Andrew Davis, who conducts with conviction and is clearly enjoying himself in the standard items by Elgar, Wood, Arne and Parry. As his last concert at the helm of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, it's fitting that he received a special presentation--following on from his typically enthusiastic Last Night speech.On the DVD: Presentation is excellent, with profiles of the main works and interviews with the artists performing them. Picture quality reproduces the colourful array of flags and festivities with admirable definition and naturalness. Sound quality is good, though recorded levels vary between music and interviews, and may need some volume adjustment during playback. There are 23 access points, and an introduction to the Last Night that sets the scene without pre-empting the occasion. Whether or not you've attended the event in person, you won't get a better sense of the fun, frivolity, and also the musical quality of the Last Night than here. --Richard Whitehouse

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