Battle Proms Concert at Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 10:58 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 20 February 2013
Thousands of concert-goers will pack up a picnic, stock up on fizz and join the party at the historic Hatfield House for the Battle Proms Concert on Saturday July 24.
Picture a balmy summer evening amongst friends, sublime music, bold horsemen, breathtaking Spitfire display, and explosive cannon fire and fireworks; its an exceptional event that you will never forget!
Did you know? The first Prom concert was held in 1895 with the aim of heightening the popularity of classical music by staging concerts with an informal atmosphere where the audience could walk around (hence the promenade), and eat and drink. This relaxed way of enjoying live orchestral music has remained to this day a truly unique experience.
The Battle Proms, now in its 13th year, is the most distinctive event of this kind. The Battle in the concert name refers to an entirely unique performance of Beethovens Battle Symphony a powerful piece of music which was composed to include 193 live firing cannons as part of the score. This is the only concert series in the world to perform Beethovens most ambitious piece with its full complement of thunderous percussion, and its not hard to see why: the meticulous preparations for this spectacle include three and a half miles of wire laid out between the firing desk on the stage and the actual guns, which alone is enough work to keep four skilled professionals busy for two whole days!
In the afternoon, to warm up the crowd there is a lively jazz band and you can also watch the Napoleonic re-enactors performing skill-at-arms displays on horseback. Then, as the orchestral programme begins, the music is accompanied by the historic roar of the Spitfire engine as a carefully choreographed air display is performed in the skies above the concert. The ancient Queen Elizabeth Oak Field at Hatfield House is the perfect backdrop for this celebration of British history, as it was under one of the ancient oaks in this very field that Elizabeth I is reputed to have learned of her destiny to be queen.
The music at the Battle Proms has a bit of something for everyone, and is chosen with the audience as a priority, delivering beautiful, soul-stirring classics fitting to the incredible concert setting. The programme includes such favourites as Tchaikovskys 1812 Overture, Dvoraks New World Symphony, and a virtuoso performance from young flautist Annie Lydford who reached the category semi-finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Your host is popular BBC broadcaster and presenter Tommy Pearson who, as well as being an expert on the music being performed, skilfully directs the chemistry between the audience and the orchestra that is so unique to this style of event.
Of course, to round off a perfect evenings entertainment, the finale contains all of the proms favourites, lead by Channel 4s winning soprano: the superb Denise Leigh. She brings the crowd to their feet with Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and more. The party atmosphere is electric; Every year I cant wait for the next one a fabulous evening every time!, an excited fan commented at the 2009 event. As you sing along with the thousands of other promenaders and wave your flag to the spectacular firework finale lighting up the sky, you know this is a night you will never forget!
As well as being a fabulous concert, the Battle Proms is proud to support the charity Combat Stress: the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, which specialises in helping veterans of the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy with psychological injuries caused through service to their country. Over the past five years a tremendous 57,000 has been raised for Combat Stress at the Battle Proms Concerts, both through audience donation and a contribution of the concerts profits.
For more information, or to book tickets for this spectacular event, visit www.battleproms.com or call on 01432 355 416.