I must say I enjoyed the Scott Walker Revisited concert on the BBC Proms. It's still on the BBC Iplayer if you are in the UK or almost in its entirety on You tube.
Basically a full orchestra played songs from the first 4 or 5 Scott Walker albums with 4 guest vocalists. Jarvis Cocker, John Grant, Susanne Sundfor and Richard Hawley. I'm sure all Scott fans saw it but if you didn't my review is that Jarvis Cocker really, really didn't have the voice for it - especially the tracks he was given. However, he is well meaning and a known Scott Walker fan and the only person who seems to regularly meet and work with him. I imagine the Jarvis Cocker association is what helped the event happen in the first place and sold a few extra tickets. His rendition of Little Thing though was great fun and the back up of a mostly male choir helped enormously.
John Grant on the other hand has a great voice and did brilliant versions of Rosemary and The World's Strongest Man among others. Another surprise was Susanne Sundfor, a Norwegian artist who has a fine voice, at first a little restrained, sounding a little like Nico but with better pronunciation but then she brought the house down with a simply stunning version of the Amorous Humphrey Plugg. For me, the best vocal performance of the year so far and you can see it here:
Actually sounds better in a female voice and adds to the female perspective of the song.
I have a soft spot for Richard Hawley and liked his contributions very much. Critics moaned about his use of guitar, but on telly it wasn't intrusive at all and the classic song Its Raining Today actually has a guitar strum throughout so someone has to play it.
The real star of the show was the shit hot Heritage Orchestra who stuck faithfully to the Scott original arrangements - they actually would show up all but the very best of singers who would be good enough to share a stage with them. I actually thought all of the artists were intimidated by their professionalism and the unforgiving test of the Walker material.
Is there a Bowie connection? Well one connection is that it made an interesting contrast to the Bowie Proms event last year. I enjoyed good chunks of the Bowie tribute but the orchestra lacked percussion and piano and tried to do all the arrangements based on strings alone, whereas the Heritage orchestra will use whatever it takes to get it right and aren't trying to re-invent the arrangements. I suppose they are playing a different game. I also thought the Bowie tribute was under rehearsed, particularly Marc Almond's bit although I loved the Phillipe Joroussky contribution. I also thought that the fact the Walker was still alive, and at the concert, cast a different mood to the evening. Some of the artists were in tears at the Bowie one but this concert was more celebratory than maudlin.
The other connection is that this concert was heavily trailed on Radio Six and you should listen to the Jarvis Cocker interview with Scott Walker on Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service. Jarvis asks him about Bowie and he says Bowie phoned him periodically but that seems to be the entirety of their relationship. He seemed grateful for the royalties from Nite Flights and said Bowie wanted to interview him (presumably for the 30th Century Man documentary?) but it didn't transpire. Well worth a listen to on the BBC radio player.