It was good that ticket-holders for Prom 5 were e-mailed to notify us that Martha Argerich would not be appearing on 18 July to perform in the Beethoven Triple Concerto. But I have to say I'm hugely unimpressed by news that she will be replaced by that evening's conductor, Myung-Whun Chung.
One of the four or five greatest pianists in the world cancels a concert - and you can bet that most of the people who bought tickets to the concert did so specifically to hear her - and the solution is simply to have the conductor take her place? I don't doubt Myung-Whun Chung's talent, but he's hardly a world-renowned pianist. Is there simply no other pianist with something approaching Argerich's reputation who's available at two or three weeks' notice? Or what about a young, up-and-coming pianist - maybe one of the BBC's own New Generation artists - who has the Triple Concerto in their repertoire and would leap at the opportunity to perform it at the Proms, before an audience that would be supportive, excited and interested to see what they would make of it. Having the conductor play suggests that the BBC is too lazy - or too cheap - to find a different substitute.
When seated tickets are as expensive as they are for the Proms, this leaves a sour taste.