How not to trivialise

Surfing through the television channels recently – as one does – I caught a few minutes of the Classic Brit awards . Violinist Tasmin Little, having received the Critics’ Award, was delivering a rather passionate speech about the importance of what we commonly call “classical music”, and of the dangers of sidelining it, or of trivialising it. 

The very next “Classical Brit” award was something called “Artist of the Decade”. It went to boy band Il Divo.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by alan on June 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I once met an amateur classical musician, a Cellist, who played in an orchestra, who hadn’t heard of Elgar’s Cello concerto.
    I thought that this was a really poppy classic, especially if I had heard of it.
    Of course, she could have been mocking me (likely), but I did briefly entertain the notion that there could be a whole class of amateur classical musicians who were encouraged to do it as children, still keep their hand in, attend an orchestra for social reasons, but never actually listen to the stuff outside of the pieces they have to learn.
    Perhaps I was right after all, maybe classical musical has, for a lot of people, become a cultural survival, like doing latin at school, a signifier of social class, but not in any way alive or understood, even by some of its practitioners or ‘expert’ critics.

    Reply

    • I think the traditions of classical music are certainly being sidelined away from the mainstream. The pace of marginalisation in the last few decades has been alarming, and the levels of inverted snobbery I find virtually whenever the subject is raised on any public forum I find quite extraordinary. Other elements of what is generally termed “high culture” are also, I think, being marginalised, though perhaps not to the same extent as classical music. (As you pointed out to me recently, this is one of the abiding themes of this blog – inevitably so, given I feel so strongly about it all.) To rob society of the source of such immense richness, to limit access through lack of proper education (and often in the name of egalitarianism!), cannot be a good thing.

      Reply

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