I have been scouring the schedule of the BBC Proms for any sign of the classical guitar. I'm afraid to say that over the entire season there isn't one classical guitar performance.
This makes me both sad and angry.
Sad because it is such a beautiful instrument that seems to have an uphill battle to be heard.
Angry, well, there are many reasons.
There are so many fantastic guitar concerti to choose from, surely there was something that could have been fitted in the schedule.
If fear of the unknown is the cause, then how about one of the most popular concerti ever written?...the truly beautiful, 'Concierto de Aranjuez' or the 'Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre' by Rodrigo. Or, maybe, some Vivaldi or perhaps a little Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Malcolm Arnold, William Walton or Leo Brouwer?
For the really adventurous programmer perhaps an old favourite allied with a new composition. We have a number of concerti from which to choose, and what a coup that would be, the composer performing his own piece. Oh, and he's British....maybe that's the problem. But this isn't about sour grapes.
Whilst it would be fantastic for Robin to perform there, just to see any classical guitarist, would be great. When have Pepe or Angel Romero, the Assad Brothers or Xuefei Yang ever been heard at the Proms?
I recently read a report proclaiming the guitar had taken over from the recorder as the instrument of choice for school children. We should be capitalising on this. As there is currently concern about the future of classical music in general, and the need to introduce the younger generation to the whole area, surely we have missed a golden opportunity to present one of the most popular and versatile instruments in the world.
Any child in the early stages of learning an instrument needs to see and hear what can be achieved.
How many more families would have 'tuned' in for a guitar concert to encourage their offspring with their chosen instrument?
BBC Radio 3 used to feature the guitar on a weekly basis through its programmes, 'The Classical Guitar' and 'Guitar Encores', now we are lucky if we hear it from one month to the next.
Whatever the reason for this...it is a great tragedy that the guitar is again ignored and neglected by the BBC.
'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman