ARTS / Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
NEVER SHY of telling the world about his achievements, John Drummond has been doing the usual round of Prom-season interviews, claiming credit for all sorts of things, such as the introduction of late-night concerts, Sunday concerts and the mass importation of foreign orchestras. All very laudable, you might think - until you read a sharp letter in the trade mag Classical Music from Drummond's predecessor at the BBC, Robert Ponsonby. It points out that late- night Proms began in 1975, Sunday performances began in the early Eighties, and the mass transit of foreign orchestras likewise. Yet Drummond's tenure as Proms supremo didn't start until 1987. Ponsonby calls Drummond's misremembering 'exceptionally naughty'. Others might use stronger words.

FOR ONCE, a story about CD prices with a happy ending. As if it weren't enough for the melodiously named Tring International to rescue one of our great symphony orchestras from death by cuts and knock out new classical recordings at a ridiculously low price ( pounds 3.99) - now it aims to give new talent a leg up on the back of the same idea. When the Arts Council savaged the RPO's grant, the record company stepped in with a deal which will see the orchestra recording no less than 125 albums by October next year. With 17 already released, to a warm critical reception, Michael Infante, Tring's head of marketing, claims brisk sales - 250,000 so far - indicate the contract will be worth pounds 2.5m to the orchestra. How do they do it at the price? Infante points out that it costs less than pounds 1 to produce a CD. 'We're taking the long view,' he says. 'Unlike pop music, where you have to make your money within a year, before it goes out of fashion, great classical composers will always sell.' The company, which floated earlier this year, is keen to show just how serious its commitment is. Tring's producer for the RPO Collection series, Alan Peters, is looking for young soloists and conducting talent. 'If they've got the ability, we'll give them the chance,' says Infante.

SEVERAL WEEKS ago I asked readers for contributions to a new feature, The Arts Clerihew. The response has been phenomenal (and - thanks - but I do know the one about Anthony Blunt). For those unfamiliar with the idea: a clerihew is a four-line poem, rhyming AABB, scanning hardly at all, about a famous person, whose name is the first line. This week's winner is Miss S K Smith of Canterbury, who wins our pounds 5 first prize:

Ken Loach

Has a fairly unusual approach

Very painstakingand exacting

Filming non-actors acting real actors

acting real people non-acting.

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