Elgar, Bliss and Walton from the 2006 BBC Proms


In the South (Alassio)


A Colour Symphony


Belshazzar’s Feast

Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
BBC National Chorus of Wales
London Symphony Chorus
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
London Brass
Richard Hickox (conductor)

Reviewed by:

Reviewed: 2 August, 2020

Ever the champion of British music, Richard Hickox conducts his final Prom at the helm of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, joined by Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and massed choirs from London and Cardiff in the Old Testament fire-and-brimstone tale of Belshazzar’s Feast. Walton’s mighty cantata was commissioned by the BBC in 1929, originally as a small-scale choral work. It soon outgrew its conception, morphing into a musical behemoth for orchestra, eight-part choir, organ and two brass bands.

Commissioned at the behest of Elgar – whose own In the South (Alassio) opens this concert – Bliss’s A Colour Symphony explores the heraldic associations of the colours purple, red, blue and green. Hickox and BBC NOW would go on to record the work in 2006, alongside Bliss’s Violin Concerto.

Read Past Reviews on the Classical Source

(From the BBC Proms 2006, 23 July)

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