Courtesy of my booking an advertisement for the MU in the Proms programme (140,000 copies on sale throughout the eighth weeks of concerts and events), I was offered two complimentary tickets to the Last Night concert at the Royal Albert Hall this evening.

I met up with marketing consultant Mark Batchelor outside Door 3, next to the Artists’ Entrance, where I had also arranged to meet MU steward Daniel Meyer who was performing as a second violinist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the night. A pleasant conversation ensued and having wishing Daniel well for the concert, Mark and I entered the Hall and ordered a refreshing gin and tonic and interval drinks.

It was a pleasure to meet, unexpectedly, Guy Garvey of Elbow in the corridor and he expressed interest in being interviewed for a feature in The Musician.

Our seats were excellently positioned towards the back of the Hall, but at an excellent height to appreciate the sounds from the stage. Conductor Sir Andrew Davis led proceedings with a welcome enthusiasm, with pieces in the opening half including a memorable new commission by Roxanna Panufnik, which rounded off a series of over 40 world, UK or London premieres this season.

The highlights for me, interestingly, all featured the quieter moments of the concert.  These included the legendary tender cello solo in Tom Bowling (Fantasia on British Sea-Songs) and the marvellous BBC Singers as they beguiled throughout The Bluebird.

The full music itinerary was as follows:

Paul Hindemith: Overture ‘Neues vom Tage’
Hector Berlioz: Lelio – Fantasy on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
Roxanna Panufnik: Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light
Charles Villiers Stanford: Songs of the Sea, The Bluebird
Hubert Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens
(Interval)
Camille Saint‐Saëns: Suite algérienne, Op 60
Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche
Richard Rodgers: Carousel – ‘Soliloquy’
Henry Wood: Fantasia on British Sea-Songs
Thomas Arne: Rule, Britannia! (arr. Malcolm Sargent)
Edward Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D major, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’
Hubert Parry: Jerusalem (orch. Elgar)
The National Anthem (arr. Britten)
Auld Lang Syne

At the end of concert, Mark and I drove to High Street Kensington and a late night dinner before heading for home in the early hours.