Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Tide is Low

‘Classical music, trying to seem cool and less stuffy, reeks of some sort of fossilised art form undergoing a midlife crisis.’

Said by the man attempting to crowd surf an audience during a classical music concert. If you happened to miss it, the complete article is here. The man, Dr David R Glowacki, attended a concert at the Bristol Proms, a concert series begun in order to challenge the “elitist, unwelcoming atmosphere surrounding classical." Bristol Proms uses a variety of techniques in attempts to bring new audiences to classical music and break down barriers between artist and performer. What happened during this particular performance was that a "mosh pit" was created near the orchestra, drinks were allowed in, and audience members were encouraged to make noise when they felt like it. Dr. Glowacki became a bit excited about the alleluia chorus culminating with his own personal finale attempt at crowd surfing.

For me, the story is amusing and I love when audience members are scandalized, we definitely need more of this is the classical music world. The story also highlights an issue that concerns me when people start talking about difficulties and stuffiness in regards to classical music concerts. I applaud the brave performers and music directors being creative and trying new methods of bringing music we love to a greater audience and trying to break down barriers. I also agree that the standard symphony orchestra situation of overture, concerto, symphony with three concerts a week can be a creativity killer. However, when the addition of various multi-media or special effects are utilized, we need to be careful to not drown out the actual reason for the concert, which is the music itself. It is our job to bring new life to old pieces. If we are lucky, we can do this on a daily basis. Maybe with or without high tech gadgets or multi media. What we should focus on are the fundamentals of expression, and finding ways to enhance this. I feel that all the brave souls who try something new, first ask yourself this, am I doing this because it is cool, or because it enhances the expression that is implicit already in the music.

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