The Proms and Natural Justice: A Plan for Renewal
In this important and provocative book Dr Robert Simpson, one of Britain’s finest composers and for nearly thirty years a BBC music producer, scrutinises the methods by which the BBC plans the annual Promenade Concerts. Currently, the Controller of the Proms has the absolute right of control over Proms programmes. Basing his argument on long experience inside the BBC, Dr Simpson argues that whoever the Controller might be, the effects of his individuality are bound to colour the programmes over time, excluding important composers and performers whom he happens to dislike. The only logical way to give the Proms the flair that a single imagination can provide – without those otherwise inevitable long-term imbalances – is to limit the tenure of the Controller to four or five years.
Dr Simpson further examines the artistic gains and financial savings to be made from more extensive use of the BBC’s own orchestra. Not only would this measure produce a saving of a staggering 62% of costs; it would also give the Controller almost total control of the repertoire. This would enable the Proms to become more adventurous than ever before: a true realisation of Sir Henry Wood’s original vision.