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Less Snooty And More Hooty ?

  I read an interesting if rather annoying article the other day at the classical music website myauditions.com, which features articles from various newspapers and other publications on classical music, as well as news of openings in orchestras and positions teaching music etc.  The article comes from Australia's theage.com . 

   It concerns a young classically trained Australian musician who has founded an ensemble of fourteen musicians called the "Raga Dolls Salon Orchestrra ", which uses such instruments as violin, bass, accordion , harmonica and guitar to play arrangements of certain classical pieces .  This musician studied music in Canberra, the Australian capitol, but rebelled against conventioal training , dropped out, and started his own ensemble . Well and good so far .

   However, this young man states how much he hates the classical music establishement, despite his great love for the music itself. In the article, he trots out all the usual cliches and myths about classical music concerts , and how supposeldy staid and boring these events are . His group makes concerts fun, supposedly , and  avoids all the stuffiness .  He calls these standard concerts and recitals a "quasi-religious experience", and claims that these musical events "place the performer on a pedestal" , "playing down to the audience". 

   His ensembe's performances are more like "rock shows".  Really ?  He can easily get away with making such ridiculous statements. But suppose some one started a rock band and declared that he wanted to make rock concerts more like classical ones.  He would make this statement : Rock concerts should be more formal and serious than they are. They should be quiet,dignified affairs where the audience applauds only after songs, and every one dresses formally,including the musicians, and  behaves in a dignified manner . 

   If this happened, rock fans and critics would instantly  attack him furioulsy, and accuse him of betraying  rock music and making a travesty of it .  This just goes to show you that you cannot judge classical music by the standards of other musics .  All the premises of this musician's claims are patently false .  Audiences for classical music would not attend concerts and recitals if the performances were the kind of "dreary and "snooty" affairs he claims they are . 

   I have nothing against this young man . He certainly has the right to give performances with his ensemble, and if audiences enjoy them, fine . But to make such a blanket dismissal of  standard concerts is not only unfair, but ludicrous . Furthermore, what he is presenting are basically watered down  arrangements of  classical works and he is in fact, dumbing classical music down .  This is NOT what classical music needs to flourish . 

Posted: May 22 2012, 08:57 PM by the horn | with no comments
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