We may have been a tad harsh on the BBC presenter interns yesterday who could not tell one orchestra from another, London Philharmonic from Royal Philharmonic, Royal College from Royal Academy.
On close inspection, neither could we. The London Philharmonic Orchestra that we saw below decks on a barge and intermittently heard bore scarce resemblance to the LPO that we know from the Royal Festival Hall.
The reason for that is that the LPO was playing yesterday in the pit at Glyndebourne for Cunning Little Vixen (as we forewarned some months ago). What we saw on the river was, just like the BBC, a bunch of deps dressed up as class presenters.
Without excusing the BBC’s parade of prattlers, what the LPO performed yesterday was, by any reasonable definition, an act of deception. An orchestra cannot play in two places at once. Either Glyndebourne was being ripped off with a fake LPO, or deceit was practised on HM the Queen and the entire nation.
This is bad practice by London orchestras. I thought it had stopped years ago when, Ian Maclay, manager of the RPO, declared ‘I decide who is the RPO’ or words to that effect before sending two different bands to play one night under the same name.
The RPO has never recovered from that stigma and its sister-bands were quick to sneer. To see the LPO go down that same shabby lane is a shame and a disgrace. This is an orchestra that is losing direction and moral compass. It may be time to drop the skipper.