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Sunday, 4 September 2011

"Ode to Boycott" at the Proms

For those of you unable to make out the words amid the rumpus at the Proms earlier this week here is the piece recorded earlier.

A new vocal ensemble, Beethovians for Boycotting Israel (BBI), gave its debut  performance at a Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening. 
 Their first piece was intricately interwoven with Webern's Passacaglia, played by guest artists the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO).

"We thought we'd liven up the Webern a bit" said Deborah Fink (soprano)."The  performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the previous night's Prom was so exciting that we decided to treat the audience to our own version of the Ode to Joy".

The lyrics of the BBI's "Ode to Boycott" have an unmistakeably Beethovian ring:

Israel, end your occupation:

There's no peace on stolen land.

We'll sing out for liberation

'till you hear and understand.

Ethnic cleansing and apartheid

Should belong to history.

Human rights cannot be silenced:

Palestine will soon be free.

Sue Blackwell (alto), who penned the alternative lyrics, said: "We think Ludwig would have approved.He was known to be a bit of a subversive who had no time for conventions, and he admired the French Revolution with its themes of 'Liberty,  Equality, Fraternity'.Sadly, Israel represents the exact opposite of those ideals."

During the second piece, Bruch's Violin Concerto, and in Alb─Śniz's "Iberia"  after the interval, BBI duos and trios took part in the Proms charitable  tradition of synchronised slogan-shouting, including "THE SIEGE OF GAZA - IS OUT  OF TUNE - WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW" and "THE IPO - AREINSTRUMENTAL - IN AN ILLEGAL OCCUPATION".

The BBI recital was somewhat curtailed on this occasion due to its members being removed by the Albert Hall security staff, so that they had to continue outside. However, they are intending to build on their Proms success and are now looking for a suitable venue for their next performance.

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