Celebrating 60 - Gala
Friday Night is Music Night - Now We Are 60! Ken Bruce invites you to join the BBC Concert Orchestra in this their 60th birthday gala.
This year marks some very special 60th anniversaries - Her Majesty the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee; Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap celebrates 60 years on the London stage; Sooty made his first television appearance 60 years ago as did Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men. And 60 years ago the BBC decided to employ a bunch of musicians an "opera cum second symphony orchestra; an orchestra capable to putting over the finest light music to great effect" - the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Radio 2 kicked off the BBC Concert Orchestra's Diamond Jubilee with "Celebrating 60" - an archive series in which we heard the orchestra play Viennese, opera, musical theatre, jazz, classical and pop supporting the likes of Matt Monro, Elizabeth Harwood, Dudley Moore and Lionel Richie.
Tonight, the BBC Concert Orchestra invites you to their 60th birthday gala. Principal Conductor Keith Lockhart takes the stand to conduct the orchestra in a selection of musical fireworks including Capriccio Espagnol (Rimsky Korskov); Festive Overture (Shostakovitch) Belle Of The Ball (Leroy Anderson) and Orb and Sceptre (Walton).
Special guests include bass baritone Sir Willard White, whose song selection takes us from the Catfish Row of Porgy and Bess to the Jamaican sun of Solas Market, and the meandering Mississippi of Ol' Man River. The Swingle Singers -themselves celebrating 50 years in the music business - join forces with the BBC Concert Orchestra for a version of Mozart's Magic Flute Overture. And TV's Maestro winner - Sue Perkins makes a guest conducting appearance to guide us through Sidney Torch's London Transport Suite.
The concert was recorded at the Mermaid Theatre on 12th April, the day before transmission.