The BBC has confirmed that Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory will be sung at the Last Night Of The Proms next year amid concerns of the songs’ connotations of colonialism and slavery.
Earlier this week it was reported that both anthems may be dropped from this year’s programme.
After revealing the full schedule for the Last Night Of The Proms, the BBC confirmed that both songs will be included but performed by an orchestra with no lyrics.
The Proms – more formally known as the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts – will ‘reinvent’ the Last Night so that it ‘respects the traditions and spirit of the event.’
Due to coronavirus pandemic, there will be no live audience present but the event will be revamp to include ‘patriotic elements’.
Amid speculation that the anthems will be stripped of their lyrics at the BBC Proms going forward, the broadcaster released a statement to clear things up.
It said: ‘For the avoidance of any doubt, these songs will be sung next year.
‘We obviously share the disappointment of everyone that the Proms will have to be different but believe this is the best solution in the circumstances and look forward to their traditional return next year.’
The row has seen the likes of Piers Morgan, Laurence Fox and Prime Minister Boris Johnson wade in.
Weighing in, he said: ‘I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture, and we stopped this general fight of self-recrimination and wetness, I wanted to get that off my chest.’
Rule Britannia! – strongly associated with the Royal Navy – is deemed problematic by some because of Britain’s role in the slave trade. It has lyrics such as Britons ‘never shall be slaves’ and that ‘while thou shalt flourish great and free, the dread and envy of them all’.
Land Of Hope And Glory features the music of Edward Elgar and the lyrics of Arthur Benson and has lyrics such as ‘Thine Empire shall be strong’ and ‘God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet’.
The Last Night of the Proms airs on Saturday September 12 on BBC Radio 3 and BBC One at 8.00pm.
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