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SuperbWelsh Proms deserves to thrive; REVIEW: Classical Extravaganza Prom, St David's Hall, Cardiff ?????HHHHH.

BEFORE this superb opening concert in the 2014 Welsh Proms season began it seemed extraordinary to think the annual musical celebration in the nation's only purpose-built concert hall could be under threat.

After the concert that dreadful prospect was completely unthinkable. If the short-sighted penny pinchers at Cardiff council who have slashed funding for the Welsh Proms had cast a cloud over this year's event, the admirably determined and inspired conductor and Welsh Proms founder Owain Arwel Hughes soon banished it.

He led the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a memorable evening of music which lifted the spirits and produced a well-deserved standing ovation from a near-capacity audience. Hughes and the people of Wales will not let the Welsh Proms perish.

The concert encapsulated what the Welsh Proms, which are now in their 29th year, are all about. It was wide-ranging, beautifully performed and something of which the nation should be proud.

Alright, there was nothing here that was particularly challenging, but it was instead an easy-listening delight which was perfect for a summer's evening.

Hughes was at his enthusiastic best as he led the ever-reliable orchestra in an elegant, well-crafted performance of Jupiter, from Holst's The Planets.

Jupiter is, of course, The Bringer of Joy, and Hughes and the orchestra certainly brought joy to an audience which boasted an encouraging number of young people.

The sheer variety of the programme, which also included music by Rossini, Khachaturian, Tchaikovsky, Johann Strauss, Delibes and Bernstein, was almost overwhelming, but in a good way.

Next year marks the Welsh Proms' landmark 30th anniversary. Hughes told the audience at this delightful concert: "It's no secret that it has been a struggle to put the Proms on this year. But we have, and we will again next year."

That drew appreciative cheers from an audience which realised that without the Welsh Proms this nation would be culturally diminished. Peter Collins

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 21, 2014
Words:315
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