Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Proms in the Park review: This swan song no night to remember

By Terry Blain

The setting was dramatic. Ahead was the stage area, symmetrically aligned with the jutting prows of the Titanic Museum, and flanked by giant video screens.

Behind, you could see the path taken by the mighty liner down the slipway over a century ago.

On Saturday night, however, we were there for music, as curtain-fall upon the 2014 Proms season was marked by a string of special outdoor concerts round the country.

The programme, perhaps inevitably, was dominated by short, bite-sized pieces, and opened with a fizzy account of the Overture to Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story from the Ulster Orchestra.

Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue should have been the perfect follow-up, but it was given in a brutally shortened version, and played by BBC Young Musician of the Year Martin James Bartlett in notably self-indulgent fashion.

A brace of numbers by Lisburn-based jazz singer Dana Masters was slick if anonymous, while saxophonist Amy Dickson was less than ideally fluent in Briccialdi's Carnival of Venice.

It fell to bill-topping tenor Alfie Boe to add a dash of quality, his version of Bring Him Home from Les Misérables proving genuinely touching.

At the conclusion fireworks were ignited, and Land Of Hope And Glory blared out over a live feed from London.

But in truth this was a curiously unsatisfying concert, too full of sweetmeats and mere trifles to be of more than passing interest.

Three stars

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