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A Grand, Grand Festival Overture: BBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor David Robertson - with vacuum cleaner soloists Jiri Belohlavek and Jennifer Pike.
credit: BBC/Chris Christodou.

A Grand, Grand Festival Overture: BBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor David Robertson - with Sir David Attenborough and Stephen Hough in their final moments as soloists on the floor polisher and vacuum cleaner respectively.
credit: BBC/Chris Christodoulou

A Grand, Grand Overture: Chi-Chi Nwanoku and Goldie holding rifles at the Last Night of the Proms 2009
credit: BBC/Chris Christodoulou


A Grand, Grand Overture: Rory Bremner and Martha Kearney holding rifles at the Last Night of the Proms 2009
credit: BBC/Chris Christodoulou


Last night of the Proms: “A Grand, Grand Festival Overture”  Reviews

The Sunday Telegraph, 13 September 2009

Classical music critic, Geoffrey Norris, reviews the last night of the Proms.
Vacuum cleaners and a floor-polisher were the bizarre stars of the evening. The 115th season of BBC Proms ended last night with the usual balloon-popping, flag-waving and lusty singing of "Land of Hope and Glory", but the novelty item, embellished with household appliances and rifle shots, came in the shape of Sir Malcolm Arnold's eight-minute "Grand, Grand Overture".
Consternation has often been expressed that Arnold, who died in 2006, has received little or no recognition at the Proms in recent years despite his major contributions to the film and concert repertoires, and, if the overture cannot be counted among his more serious works, it does at least show that he could cock a snook with the best of them. Read more


Composed in 1956 for one of the extravaganzas devised by the humorist Gerard Hoffnung, the overture is a preposterous skit on pompous, grandstanding music, and, like all good jokes, is craftily written, with one of Arnold's trademark "big" tunes at its centre. The performance was suitably spotless.
Sir David Attenborough made an impressive debut on floor-polisher – apparently Arnold's own - with vacuum cleaner virtuosos including pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Symphony Orchestra's chief conductor, Jiri Belohlávek, here yielding up the podium and his orchestra for the night to the American, David Robertson.
In a dramatic denouement, all the domestics were annihilated at the end by the artillery of rifles from a platoon led by comedian Rory Bremner and bass 'n' drum artist Goldie!

The Financial Times, 13 September – Richard Fairman

‘…Malcolm Arnold’s Grand, Grand Overture with its rifles and vacuum cleaners captured the Last Night spirit of high jinks. How about some “real” Arnold next year?’ Read More:


BBC News, 13 September 2009

Sir David Attenborough brought the 115th BBC Proms season to a close on Saturday night by playing a floor polisher as a musical instrument.
Sir David was joined on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London by pianist Stephen Hough on the vacuum cleaner. Comedian Rory Bremner also took part in the performance of Sir Malcolm Arnold's piece A Grand, Grand Overture.
The eight-minute work has parts for two other vacuum cleaners, four rifles, an organ a and full orchestra.
Hough was joined on vacuum cleaner in the comic piece by conductor Jiri Belohlavek and violinist Jennifer Pike, 19, a former winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Bremner "played" a rifle with journalist Martha Kearney, double bassist and Radio 3 presenter Chi-chi Nwanoku, and drum and bass DJ Goldie.


Goldie also contributed to the musical festival by composing a classical piece, Sine Tempore, on the theme of evolution.
For the first time, the Proms finale was screened via satellite to cinemas on every continent of the world.


Read More (Links to the BBC Website) or Here (links to the Chester Novello website)

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