September 2006 is the last night of the 'Proms' - the Promenade
Concerts, a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall which runs
through the summer every year. They were originally founded by
conductor Henry J. Wood in 1895, and so called because a section of the
audience would be standing (cheap tickets).
of the items in the second half is Wood's arrangement of British Sea
Songs, ending with 'Rule Britannia' and including the famous Sailor's
Hornpipe. This starts quietly and is supposed to accelerate towards the
end: but it's become traditional for the audience to clap and stamp
along with it - Wood only allowed this in the last chorus but nowadays
the stamping starts almost at once and the whole thing becomes a race
between the audience and the orchestra.
This is a pity, and it's
interesting to hear how Wood himself conducted it. The recording is of
course a studio one, not live: it's a masterly demonstration of
orchestral control with the accelerando reaching its climax only
in the last few bars.
The London Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Sir Henry Wood: part of Columbia DX 954, recorded in November 1939.
Book: Henry J. Wood, Maker of the Proms by Arthur Jacobs
Duration 1.57: 1.33MB