Prom 31: Gwilym Simcock’s Progressions

Why go to the Royal Albert Hall when it’s live on TV? I didn’t really see the point. So I devoted Saturday to relaxing, made a lightningly effecient trip to Sydenham Sainsburys and prepared a smashing meat balls in tomato sauce with some left-over pork mince and an old tin of chopped tomatoes. As you see, we’re paying close attention to Gordon Brown’s recent advice.

Sadly, such smug self-satisfaction at having reduced our freezer fodder came at a price. I failed spectacularly to get to the TV screen or a nearby radio in time for the beginning of the concert. Instead, we switched over thirty one minutes after the concert had begun.

No matter really. The high-point was undoubtedly Gwilym Simcock’s Progressions. Here was an orchestrated jazz odyssey in the form of what seemed to me to be a piano concerto with Simcock playing the lead.

Simcock’s contribution to this year’s season made me think of Benjamin Britten at the Proms and his entertaining Piano Concerto. I loved hearing that last year for the first time too. Britten had written something accessible and engaging yet still challenging at the same time.

It struck me that Simcock had done the very same with Progressions and having done all of that at such a relatively young age, to then sit on stage and play the solo line was deeply impressive.  It made Gershwin’s American in Paris which followed, pale into insignificance.

Catch Part One and Part Two (Simcock’s Progression) on iPlayer if you can. Audio only at the time of writing.

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