Claire Martin - BBC Proms 2015 - Live Review

14 August 2015
Jenna Adae

Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 this year and to mark Sinatra senior's centenary, Late Night Proms paid homage to his art and the incredible composers and arrangers he once worked with.

Led by John Wilson (who's been conducting the Proms since 2009), and his stunning Orchestra, they took the audience by the hand and invited them to glide and reminisce across the 1950-60's although its likely most of the contemporary crowd were probably not even alive at this point.

Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, opened proceedings with his velvety version of Irving Berlin's Let's Face the Music and Dance against the backdrop of horns, wind sections and the perpetual movement of strings which flowed effortlessly, allowing the music to exhale and breathe.

Other guest performances came from Jamie Parker, whose rich smooth tones on the mid tempi Heaven and If I Had You were beautifully saturated with colour and the audience were mesmerised.

Later, the authority of John Wilson's orchestral musicianship came to the fore during the instrumental soliloquies, and each was delivered with such elegance and charisma, it permeated the room especially when the first principal clarinet flute and harp- charged with electricity and emotion- began to play and the dance slowed down to a gentle sway.

Oscar Hammerstein II's The Folks who Live on the Hill performed by Claire Martin, was a wonderful example of the incredible talent we have here on our shores; her voice swooping like a bird from the most glorious moment of an occasional mezzo, down to a luxurious contralto, meant Martin brought this familiar song to intense new life, especially when the harp took up its position. The concert ended with Seth delivering the ballad Put Your Dreams Away which brought this Late Night dance to a graceful end, whilst the night faded into a new day.

And in the words of John Wilson "It's like entering the Kingdom of Heaven walking on stage to conduct at the Proms".

Couldn't have put it better myself.

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