Classical and pop audiences can mix

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make classical music more accessible to younger audiences

Share

When Sir John Tavener died recently, the obituaries recounted how he was signed up in the 1960s by The Beatles’ record label, Apple. It did make me wonder whether such an easy collaboration between pop and classical would happen now.

The possibility of closer liaisons between the two genres formed part of a conversation I had with fellow members of a group set up by the Universal Music chief Max Hole to find ways to encourage younger music consumers to try classical recordings and concerts. One member of the group was the brilliant and prolific violinist Nicola Benedetti. She mentioned that she was a good friend of fellow Scottish music star Emeli Sande, the latter of course from the pop end of the spectrum.

Why, I wondered, could they not perform on the same bill? Ok, there might need to be a bit of negotiation over who gets top billing, but what an opportunity for Sande fans to witness a charismatic, virtuoso violinist - and for Benedetti fans to see one of today’s leading pop stars. Moving on from these two megastars, why must the support act for any rock star always be another pop act? Why not a classical act? Record companies and gig promoters could make this happen so easily. It just takes a little imagination.

The thinking among those trying to make classical music more accessible to younger audiences is to have screens and light shows at concerts, and present the performances in a more relaxed environment. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Looking at the way concerts are presented is a vital part of attracting new audiences to the art form. But how much simpler it would be in terms of accessibility to put pop and classical on the same bill. Yet it virtually never seems to happen. Pop culture and so-called high culture are not meant to mix. But mix they must.

Come to that, why must pop shows on TV be exclusively pop shows? Jools Holland’s ‘Later’, which whizzes from interesting act to interesting act, all doing a couple of numbers each, would be ideal to mix pop and classical. With Holland himself a jazz pianist, and executive producer Marc Cooper a man of eclectic musical taste, it’s a wonder that this fairly mild venture into music TV experimentation isn’t already happening. It’s such an opportunity to bring the best of contemporary classical artists to an audience of largely pop and indie music viewers. There is no law of broadcasting that classical music on TV has to begin and end with the Proms, and no law of music that classical should always be compartmentalised and kept apart from pop.

From where I stand, it’s all music.

An awful lot of priggish gig-goers

I felt a little uncomfortable, indeed priggish, when I mentioned here last week that it can be annoying when people talk throughout rock gigs, usually stopping the chat only to push past you to the bar. Well, to judge from your emails there are an awful lot of uncomfortable, priggish gig-goers out there. Many of you seem to share my bafflement that people can buy expensive tickets for a gig and actually stand with their backs to the stage chatting through all of it. I leave the last word to reader Patrick Elliott, who says: “There ought to be a sign up outside every gig saying, ‘If you’re going to talk to mates all night long stay in the bar’.’”

What does the original Jane Banks have to say?

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks have done a lot of talking about the late Walt Disney for their film Saving Mr Banks, about the making of Mary Poppins. But I’m rather more interested in a short interview in the current issue of Variety with the former English child actress Karen Dotrice, now 58, who at the age of eight played Jane Banks in the original film, and actually knew the movie mogul.

She recalls: “Uncle Walt... was very enthusiastic and generous. He flew me, my two sisters and my mum over from England. He got us a home up in the canyons with an indoor heated swimming pool and gave me the use of the private plane on the weekends so we could fly to his Santa Barbara ranch.” Generous old Uncle Walt. Sounds like a character from one of his own films.

d.lister@independent.co.uk

twitter.com/davidlister1

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Application Developer / Software Developer

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Anna Woodward: Reporting Analyst

£35,000: Anna Woodward: Are you excited about making an impact on a FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Jihadi John went to my university – so what?

James Tennent
 

Japan's torture of my father was horrific — so why are they considering watering down the apology for their wartime past?

Liz Bestic
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower