Conducting Classical Music by an ageing bass player


Picking up the baton: (from left) Goldie, Katie Derham, Clive Anderson, Sue Perkins, Alex James,Jane Asher, Peter Snow, Bradley Walsh and David Soul

The BBC has a new reality TV show were a bunch of Celeb's are getting a chance to conduct a symphony orchestra at the BBC Proms in the Park. While I am somewhat envious of these "stars" getting a shot at a conducting a major concert, the article by James Elmes in The Independent makes some interesting points.

Alex James, the ageing bass player from Blur is one of the contestants. He is quoted in the article as saying, "Classical music is quite irksome, it emanates a sort of pomposity..." and "...the classical-music fraternity are worse than Christians or Alcoholics Anonymous for wanting you to join, there's a kind of desperation about it sometimes..." While these are not the whole quotes, these excerpts provide an interesting insight into the perception of Classical Music by those outside (yet in the music industry).

Alex does say he loves Classical Music, and thinks this contest is the best thing he's ever done - but that doesn't really soften the blow of his previous comments. If Classical Music is seen as pompous then (as Alex suggests) we need some re-branding.

Comments

I think you would probably love this article at Mojo:

http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2008/01/why_classical_music_is_boring.html

talk about an "extreme makeover"!
Chip said…
For those of you who haven't gone to the above website, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's entertaining reading and it has some good points.

Why can't Symphony Concerts be more like rock concerts? Why can't there be light shows and special effects (and even amplified sound)?

When I was young I used to listen to The Planets by Holst and would crank the stereo when we did. The ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) did a number of "classical covers" that really showed how amazing classical music can be - and how not very far from other "rock" music it is. The only thing missing is the light show.

No, I don't think EVERY concert needs to do this - but occasionally - to gain a new audience - to let our hair down - to spread our classical wings... occasionally, it would be a good idea.

Thanks Flavia, for bring the post to our attention.

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