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

English Teacher

£100 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Randstad Education are curren...

Web Developer (Infrastructure, JavaScript, jQuery, jQuery UI)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Web Developer (Infrastructure, JavaScript, jQuer...

DT Technician

£65 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: DT Technician required to start...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: One of SThree's most successfu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv  

Why do we stand by and watch Putin?

Ian Birrell
 

Daily catch-up: Underground, Overground, over the Irish Sea and clever pigs

John Rentoul
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor