To The Daily Telegraph
“The head of the Royal Philharmonic is making a serious error by believing that abolishing the term “classical music” will suddenly attract thousands of young people into our concert halls. The leadership of the RPO seem to be suffering from a crisis of confidence in their art form – brought on by our society’s obsession with making everything “accessible” or, rather, watered-down.
“Even during the years of Soviet communism, Russian musicians and orchestras – with the encouragement of the state – maintained the most elitist rituals, even when playing before industrial workers in factories, positively rejoicing in classical music and all of its white-tie-and-tails rituals.
“It is very sad that in modern Britain, serious art and culture of all kinds is being dissolved into a supposedly democratised mass of nothingness. That such ideas should come from the RPO – the orchestra of Sir Thomas Beecham – is beyond belief. (Stuart Millson, classical music editor, The Quarterly Review, East Malling, Kent)
Yes, watered down. Just as there is some truly dire popular music there out there, there is also dull and unimaginitive classical music. In my personal opinion serious orchestral music hit the buffers in the railway station when it went atonal and eschewed melody and the ability to tug at the heart. The audiences fled, understandably. But there is a huge amount of truly beautiful music, operatic, orchestral, chamber and solo instrumental music that carries you away to another place, stirs the imaginatination, calms you then excites you, spurs the imagination, leaves you happy that life isn’t forever ordinary and humdrum. Put aside the cellphones and Facebook and experience it! It will be an Epicurean moment.
P.S: I go to the gym and am assaulted on a Sunday by the spin cycling class next door. This class is accompanied by the most repetitive and unimaginitive music I have ever heard. The chord sequences are I-V-I- V-I-V for a solid hour. Talented writing it is not. I feel like handing out to the cycling exercisers free tickets to a Chopin recital or a Beethoven symphony – if only they could cycle to them.