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  • Finn: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Finn.

  • Neil: and I'm Neil. Hello.

  • Finn: Now, Neil, are you doing anything interesting tonight?

  • Neil: Well, I was thinking of popping down to ...

  • that means visiting my local pub to catch a band. What about you?

  • Finn: Well, my wife and I have got tickets for the Proms tonight.

  • Neil: The Proms? You mean that ceremony for high school leavers?

  • I thought you left school decades ago, Finn.

  • Finn: Ah yes, very funny, Neil.

  • Actually, yeah, it was almost two decades ago.

  • Anyway, the Proms I'm talking about have nothing to do with that.

  • These Proms, or as they're also known, the BBC Proms,

  • are the biggest classical music festival in the world,

  • and they're held in London every summer.

  • Neil: Ah, yes, of course I know the Proms.

  • And I've even watched the Last Night of the Proms with all those waving flags

  • and the patriotic singing by the audience.

  • Not really my thing.

  • Finn: I know what you mean,

  • but you shouldn't judge the Proms by the concert on the last night, Neil.

  • It's not really typical.

  • Although it is watched by millions of people around the world.

  • And you know, the Proms is also a very old festival... but, how old, Neil?

  • Is it: a) 57 years?

  • b) 84 years? or c) 120 years old?

  • Neil: Well, I don't know, so I'm going to guess and say 84 years.

  • Finn: OK. Well, we'll find out the answer to that question later.

  • Neil: OK. So, come on then Finn, sell the Proms to me.

  • What is it that I'm missing?

  • Finn: Well, rather a lot, actually. It's not stuck-up ... that means a bit superior.

  • In fact, I think there's something for everyone.

  • For example, you might hear something like this...

  • Music [Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony]

  • Neil: Wow! That was pretty dramatic.

  • It really grips you, doesn't it? What was it?

  • Finn: Well, that was from the first movement of Tchaikovsky's fourth symphony.

  • And at the end you would hear the Prommers showing their appreciation by cheering and clapping.

  • Neil: Right, so it's almost like Glastonbury, then!

  • So that's the point you're making, is it the Proms make classical music accessible to everyone.

  • But who are these Prommers?

  • Finn: Ah, well for an answer to that,

  • let's hear from the Director of the BBC Proms, Edward Blakeman.

  • Edward Blakeman: So the Prommers, are quite literally the people who stand to listen to the concerts.

  • And there is space for about 800 people, right in the middle of the hall.

  • And this is a long tradition, back, going through the Proms.

  • And it's wonderful because it costs very little,

  • and it means that almost anyone can afford to come to the Proms.

  • So it is a wonderful place for all sorts of people to meet together,

  • and by the way, it's the best place in the hall to hear the music.

  • Finn: Now, the hall that he's talking about is the Royal Albert Hall in London

  • ... and the Prommers are the people who come and stand as they listen to the music.

  • You know, Neil, it's only £5 a ticket.

  • Neil: Right, so you stand? That sounds like a proper gig.

  • I think I might just give it a go, Finn.

  • So, you've been trying to persuade me that it's quite informal.

  • But, at the same time you do get all those big, fancy classical music names, don't you?

  • Finn: You do, absolutely. The top soloists

  • whether that's on the piano, the violin or any other instrument, or singing ...

  • they all perform at the Proms. As do very big orchestras.

  • Neil: And I believe the BBC commissions new works from time to time.

  • I was even told about rock musicians playing there. Can that be right, Finn?

  • Finn: Well, yes Neil. That's actually true.

  • The whole range of music is becoming wider year by year.

  • They also screen concerts to other cities,

  • they hold lunchtime and children's concerts,

  • they even play Indian classical music, like this type of thing...

  • Music [Classical sitar music]

  • Neil: What, playing sitars (and tablas) at the Proms?

  • Finn: Yes. But the core of the eight-week festival is devoted to the heavyweight composers

  • of the last 400 years - Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and so on. Let me play you another

  • extract of that Tchaikovsky symphony now Neil. Tell me what you think of this.

  • Music [Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony]

  • Neil: Now, that was totally different. Much slower and quite sad.

  • Finn: Yes, every symphony, concerto, or sonata will have a slow movement

  • and it will often be deeply emotional.

  • Neil: Well, you can't beat live music. So, I must get going.

  • Finn: Oh yeah? Are you off to see that gig at the pub, Neil?

  • Neil: Actually, yes. Or, you know what? I might go and catch a Prom after all.

  • Finn: OK. Well, before you hurry off, I have to give you the answer to the quiz.

  • I asked how many years has the BBC Proms been going?

  • Neil: And I said 84.

  • Finn: And I'm sorry, Neil. That's the wrong answer.

  • Neil: Oh no.

  • Finn: The correct answer was actually 120 years.

  • Well, that brings us to the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • We hope you enjoyed the programme. Join us again soon. Bye.

  • Neil: Goodbye.

Finn: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Finn.

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B1 UK TOEIC finn music symphony tchaikovsky classical music

BBC 6 Minute English September 10, 2015 - The Proms

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    Adam Huang posted on 2015/12/14
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