Classical Music needs to get off it's high horse

There is an article in The Australian by Susan Chenery about Andrea Bocelli. Much of the first part of the article speaks of Mr Bocelli's struggle without sight, but midway through the article turns into an examination of the musical world Mr Bocelli lives in - a world of Classical Music which, in many respects doesn't respect him.

There is quote after quote of musical snobs who critique Mr Bocelli (IMHO) mercilessly. They attack his ability, they attack his styles and they attack the idea that millions of people are listening to classical music because him. It sounds as if they resent him - as if they are jealous of his fame, his success.

Many of the comments made about his performance quality are to some extent correct. But if you go to one of the (many) minor professional orchestra concerts, or semi-professional opera companies (let alone the amateur ones), you'll find many of the same "problems", lack of precision, intonation and style. These are still good concerts, maybe not as good as the concerts of the New York Philharmonic or at the Met - but they are still enjoyable. And there are just not enough professional concerts (or they're too pricey) for everyone to enjoy.

Exposing classical music, even less than perfect classical music, to the masses is a good thing. It can only mean more people will want to listen to this kind of music, which means more demand, meaning more opportunities, more income and more jobs. How is any of this bad news for classical music?

Rather than lambasting an artist who becomes successful, I suggest we try throwing our support for those artists who have yet to achieve, or who are not yet the Itzhak Perlmans but are willing to perform for less money and as a result reach a much broader audience. Classical music is classic because it has stood the test of time, proven to be something more than just a trend. Let's continue to share this wonderful music with the world (now more than 6 billion people). Not all of us can be perfect, but classical music is still amazing music even when performed slightly off.


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