Right-on Lizzo plays Land of Hope and Glory with the New York Phil

Right-on Lizzo plays Land of Hope and Glory with the New York Phil


norman lebrecht

August 30, 2020

A wake-up call for the wimpish BBC:


  • A bassist says:

    I really liked being able to hear those lyrics… and great to hear Elgar’s orchestration…

  • Thomas Dawkins says:

    This is not “Land of Hope and Glory,” this is “Pomp and Circumstance” without any text. That’s what Americans have used for graduations since Elgar was given an honorary degree at Yale in 1905. And if I’m not mistaken, some very unkind things were said here about Lizzo when she didn’t do something that suited your agenda, Mr. Lebrecht.

  • V. Lind says:

    I don’t know what you are talking about. That tune has been used for aeons as the theme for graduations in the US (and parts of Canada). This is acknowledged by the artist as she finishes her solo, and is the only reference to the music that the vast majority of Americans would think of upon hearing it.

    I would be astonished if she has the vaguest knowledge of the recent controversy, and would NOT be surprised to learn that she has no idea of the source of the music.

    Molson’s Canadian, a major beer brand, produced a now-legendary commercial back around 2000 featuring a proud Canadian called Joe who spent the commercial outlining the differences between Canadians and Americans. I always found it odd that the background music was Land of Hope and Glory — I suppose the makers wanted the word association if anyone knew it and completely ignored that anybody musically literate would associate it first, last and always with England.

    • William Safford says:

      I agree that she probably is not aware of the Proms tempest in a teapot.

      As for the source of the music, she was a flute major at the University of Houston. It is presumptuous to assert without knowledge, that she would not be familiar with Elgar or his music.

    • Sisko24 says:

      That video was first posted in late spring which is commencement/graduation time for most schools and colleges in the U.S. Thus her performance here predates the ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ controversy by several months.

    • TubaMinimum says:

      Also worth mentioning this graduation video came out a good bit prior to the BBC debate. So that definitely didn’t inform this performance.

  • sam says:

    Take her, please.

    We keep Harry, you keep Lizzo.

  • Brian says:

    It looks like this was a tribute to the graduating class of 2020, posted in June. Perhaps confused with the Pomp and Circumstance march (the traditional commencement ceremony theme here in the U.S.)?

    Incidentally, the credits include the NY Phil. They have a drum machine on their roster?

  • Colleague says:

    Bravi, tutti!

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Despite our moderator’s back-handed compliment, Lizzo’s performance put a smile on my face. Brava!

  • Anon says:

    How far we have fallen as a civilization when that monstrosity of a woman is celebrated by society.

    • Tenor Clef says:

      Your comment reveals a helluva lot more about you than it says about civilization, Lizzo (who is a refreshing, needed talent), society, or monstrousness.

      • Anon says:

        lol google “Lizzo butt shirt” and write that comment again. If you still think she is a refreshing and needed talent after seeing that photo at the NBA game, then the only thing you need is electroconvulsive therapy.

    • William Safford says:

      How far we have fallen as a civilization, when a comment like yours is celebrated by certain people in society.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Vile comment. Your mother would be ashamed.

  • fflambeau says:

    It is Pomp and Circumstance, not Land of Hope and Glory.

    • Herbie G says:

      The theme first appeared as the trio section of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, written in 1901. It’s a purely orchestral work. In the following year, Elgar wrote a Coronation Ode for Edward VII and in the sixth movement, the finale, the melody appears again, but with the words added. It is sung by a contralto but there’s a sophisticated rubato-type delay on the words ‘Mother of the free’, where the solo line has a slightly different melody from the orchestra. The theme appears once again, this time with the chorus but different words.
      The traditional ‘Last Night of the Proms’ offering is a bastardised version; the whole of the purely orchestral Pomp and Circumstance march is played but when the ‘big theme’ appears for the second and third times, the conductor brings in the audience, who each time sing only the words of the first appearance in the Coronation Ode, and always ‘on the beat’ – the subtle rubato would be a huge challenge to them.
      All this gives the lie to Tony Hall’s pathetic excuse that a soloist on the last night could not sing it without a chorus. One does so in the Coronation Ode and could easily sing the second and different set of words that were given to the chorus in that work on the melody’s second appearance in the march.
      As far as Rule, Britannia goes, exactly the same applies; the choir could easily be dispensed with and a soloist could sing all the words.
      Both songs are outdated, the words are imperialist and have no place in the modern world. That’s why I love them so much and find them hugely uplifting. The same goes for Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’. Yes, they offend a few people but they don’t have to listen to the LNOP if they choose not to, and a great deal more people would be offended if they were dropped.
      It’s time we stopped being ruled by Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Snapchat – and all those noisy anti-social media and street mobs. It’s time too that we and especially the BBC, with its vicarious ‘conscience’ stopped appeasing them.
      Let’s celebrate the departure of Tony Hall today, who went with a whimper after that pathetic interview about RB the other day. Let’s hope that Ed Davey clears his desk and leaves with his tripewriter and bottle of Typpex. After I post this, I shall raise a glass of wine to celebrate Tony’s exit.
      We have applauded the NHS from our front doors, so I hope that we can all watch the Last Night and sing Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia from our front doorsteps when the time arrives.
      Finally, if anyone hates this country so much that they turn out in the streets to cause mayhem and violence and go as far as destroying our statues and redacting our history, then let them find a better place to live – and that goes for all colours, all religions and all political adherants. I salute everyone who sings Rule, Britannia and abhor those malevolent mobs whose ambition is to Rule Britannia.

  • Westfan says:

    Love this, it’s a crossover win/win!

  • conservatory grad says:

    To the haters on this forum: graduating seniors were delighted to watch Lizzo’s performance. She speaks to them, they enjoy her. How wonderful for young flutists of color to see someone who looks like them achieve this level of fame and recognition.
    So go on being cranky old snobs, be as condescending as you wish…she laughs all the way to her bank while you racists sit at home bemoaning the loss of the good ol’ (WHITE) days..

  • Will Duffay says:

    Another day, another bout of BBC-bashing from the Right. Norman: do you expect the new UK Fox News to support a 70-concert summer festival, several orchestras and a dedicated classical music radio station?