Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia! to be stripped of lyrics in BBC Proms

The row continues over the Last Night at the Proms, with traditional songs, including Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia!, to be performed without lyrics after it was confirmed they would not be axed from the event.

Earlier in the week it was reported the aforementioned songs may be dropped altogether from the runsheet over concerns of associations with colonialism and slavery.

The broadcaster has since revealed details of the event and confirmed the songs will still be performed by an orchestra, after Downing Street waded into the controversy.

The BBC issued a statement saying Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia! will be performed at the iconic Last Night Of The Proms on September 12 – but without vocals. However they are expected to be back in full when the coronavirus pandemic is over.

There will also be no live audience to sing along because of coronavirus restrictions, with singing deemed a risk of transmission.

Still, the lack of vocals has now created a fresh row online.

Father Marcus Walker, rector at Great St Bartholomew’s in London, wrote on Twitter: ‘Hilarious that people are dressing the BBC promising ‘orchestral versions’ of Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia as a retreat.

‘It’s nothing of the sort, it’s gutting the songs of their words – of their meaning. You may think that’s a good thing or not, but it’s no retreat.’

‘But the PM previously has set out his position on like issues and has been clear that, while he understands the strong emotions involved in these discussions, we need to tackle the substance of problems, not the symbols.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that ‘confident, forward-looking nations don’t erase their history’.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘Rule Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory are highlights of the Last Night of the Proms.

‘(I) Share concerns of many about their potential removal and have raised this with (the) BBC.

‘Confident forward-looking nations don’t erase their history, they add to it.’

Over the weekend it was reported by The Times Rule Britannia! faced the chop, claiming that Dalia Stasevska, who will be conducting the classical music event, believed ‘a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change’.

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