The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (162): … out of the azure main

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (162): … out of the azure main


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2020

Where else can you hear Rule, Britannia nowadays?

Your favourite?


  • Player says:

    Thank you for this. While as we know the loony left and the terminally woke never waste a crisis, I suspect it will be back next near by popular demand., once the BBC is under new management (or at least, new Chairman, like Andrew Neil or Charles Moore).

    My favourite was Dame Gwyneth as Britannia herself… with the words printed out and stuck to the inside of her shield.

  • Player says:

    Incidentally, Sarah Connolly has become terribly woke of late, about almost everything. Which makes me ask: does she look back and regret her spirited participation, I wonder? I hope not. Did she think to impose her agenda on the repertoire? I think not. Would any singer or conductor still give their right arm to get this gig, knowing precisely that it is? Of course they would.

  • M McAlpine says:

    My vote for Sarah Connolly. Actually realises it is a FUN piece and shows a sense of humour. Unlike the present breed of woke artists who tripped over a joke 25 years ago and are determined never to make anyone smile again!

  • Stuart says:

    I like to listen to the piece in context – the McGegan recording of Alfred is very good.

  • Jasper says:

    Thomas Hampson’s rendition (1998?) was rousing, to say nothing of his vest – half Union Jack/half Stars and Stripes.


  • Stephen says:

    Congratulations, Mr Lebrecht, on being suckered into a philistine crusade against the main bastion of pride in classical music culture in the UK. I hope you are proud of your part on the ongoing destruction of respect for high quality music.

  • psq says:

    If the Prom audience wants to, they can take a page out of the choir tradition of the Liverpool Kop fans and just sing out whatever they like en masse at a certain point and ignore the goings-on in the orchestra and the conductor. If the Kop can do it for decades with “You’ll never walk alone”, surely the Prom whose tradition goes way further back can ….. ..!

    The Berlin Philharmonic summer concert in the Waldbühne always ends with the anthem “Berliner Luft”. The orchestra can play this in their sleep, so some conductors just stepped off the podium, faced the audience and let the orchestra get on with it without his/her stick waving. In this year’s Prom, how about when the conductor is back stage, the concertmaster starts the orchestra in this “undesirable” music without him/her?

  • fred says:

    musically definetely sarah connoly who turns this ordinary tune into Haendelian display of great merit but i could do without the carnavalesque aspect introduced a few years ago but the “public” seems to enjoy it….

  • Nijinsky says:

    I love Kiri’s singing here, her voice penetrates crystal clearly with a joyous brightness, and without being forced beyond it’s natural ability; really a joy to hear.

    I have to say that listening to this, and also the singing shared from the what’s missing in inaction post, and really enjoying the harmony that emerges there, it baffles me how knocking these songs out of commission is going to change the state of what that’s supposed to help. There’s no time machine available to go back and change PAST history, and the whole battalion of ghosts this would purport to exorcise I think have all long ago moved on and dissipated, if the attempt is to get rid of demons, which is almost purports to do, I’m glad no one is sacrificing a virgin or a goat. There are still deep issues involving slavery and human trafficking on the planet, but erasing this song that brings up the hope of a people to not be slaves, I don’t see addressing those issues. It more excuses not addressing them by token. And it rather paralyzes people from doing anything that might not have such image to it, rather than doing something beyond image that does make change. Like giving a token minority the right to become part of the mainstream economy exploiting the other minorities, while Westernizing the token minority’s culture to lose its true character.

    I really don’t even know what to say about this. The intention is no doubt for good, but what is it really doing?


  • Humphrey says:

    Who can top Sarah Walker’s unbridled Union Jack kitsch in 1989?