Proms at the Minack

2 Oct 2021 - 5 Oct 2021

A professional 16 piece orchestra and 4 singers under the baton of well-known conductor Patrick Bailey will present a lively and varied programme including popular orchestral items from both the classical and modern repertoire, and songs ranging from opera and Gilbert & Sullivan to folk song and musical theatre. And, of course, the evening will conclude with the traditional Last Night of the Proms favourites. 

The evening performances will also include a firework display.

Patrick Bailey biography

Patrick Bailey has conducted concerts with the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, New Music Players, ViVA, Cambridge University Music Society and many others. He has given concerts across Europe and in Dubai, India, Oman, China and the USA. In this country he has appeared at festivals in Aldeburgh, Brighton, Bath, Buxton and Cheltenham, broadcast concerts and opera for BBC Radio 3 and recorded for NMC and Tartan Film.  He was appointed a Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Associate in 2015 leading their participation work in Cornwall where he now lives. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Kevos, a group of Cornwall-based musicians dedicated to performing contemporary music.  He was Musical Director for the Minack production of Orfeo in 2019.

Review by Jenni Balow

Oggy, Oggy, Oggy, Opus 2 -  how's that for a combined celebration of Cornish pride, a programme of Proms classics and an eclectic mix of centuries of music, plus our own Duchy anthems for good measure.

Musical director and conductor Patrick Bailey coined the phrase for the Proms at the Minack, which delivered despite frequent autumn downpours, when the musicians played on, at times sheltering under canvas on the stage.

A month's worth of rain on a single night completely washed-out one performance, but otherwise, pomp and circumstance prevailed.

Repercussions from the Covid pandemic also prevented the traditional appearance of the St Austell based Mount Charles Brass Band this year, so the conductor who has toured internationally, and now lives in Cornwall, assembled musicians and singers from all over the county, and beyond, to put together an inspired concert.

His choice of a trio of home-composed songs, some sung in part in Cornish, went down a treat, notably his own arrangement of the haunting lament for Nine Brave Boys, soldiers, tinners and seamen, who were lost too young, "leaving a widow all forlorn", first recorded in 1881 in a pub in St Mawgan.

The stirring Trelawny gave everyone a chance to wave the flag of St Piran, and to sing hearty choruses along with the soloists Charlotte Coe, Nesah Gonzales, Cameron Walker-Pow and Carl Gamage, each performing in excitingly contrasting styles.

The legendary Harry Glasson's Cornwall My Home, summoned up our deep affection for the county, even when the lines "I've stood on a clifftop in a westerly blow, and heard the waves thunder on the rocks below" were all too close to home for the Proms performers and their audience.

But thanks to Bernstein, Berlin, Borodin and Blake, we were immune to the weather, loving Gershwin's Walking the Dog, the Hudson's Hornpipe and Parson's Farewell by Sam Sweeney, Coldplay's Viva La Vida, a Gilbert and Sullivan medley, and Morricone's ever- memorable melody from the film The Mission.

The musicians were heroes  -  playing damp instruments outdoors in October is no easy feat, but they made it look simple and they sounded great, giving many solos along the way, with sound control by Simon Hutchings and lights, Ben Blaber.

They were: Samantha Rowe, flute and piccolo, Sarah McDonagh, flute and alto sax, Tamsin Robinson, oboe, David White, clarinet and tenor sax, Sally Bartholomew, bassoon, Will Palmer and Stephanie Barry, trumpet, Jacqueline Kershaw, French horn, Matt Harrison, trombone, Nat Jones and Lucy Stephens, violin, Philip Montgomery-Smith, viola, Seb Poznansky and Barbara Degener, cello, the Minack's own Zoe Curnow, double bass and James Robinson, percussion.

And so we moved inexorably to Henry Wood's traditional party pieces, Fantasia of British Sea Songs, the Elgar and Jerusalem, with fireworks fit to wake all around Mounts Bay, thanks to Thomas Bricknell and Celebration Pyrotechnics - what a finale.