Friday, February 5, 2010

Is classical music dead?

I’ll be exploring this theme on a regular basis in future blogs, meanwhile here’s something with which to whet your appetite.

Paul Driver in the Sunday Times has described his music as "impressive, thoughtful, entertaining and extremely varied".

Paul Griffiths, writing in the London Times, has said of Fox's work that "he takes simple ideas but he makes them sound quite wonderful".

Eager to hear what they're talking about? Wait, there's more:

Tom Service in his Guardian Classical Music blog writes "I'm missing my fix of new music in Huddersfield this year; but if, like me, you can't get up north, there are other options to stop you going cold turkey. Tomorrow at the Warehouse, the British Music Information Centre's consistently innovative Cutting Edge series closes this year's season with a mouth-watering concert: a programme from new new music ensemble Kürbis (it's German for pumpkin), and world premieres from James Weeks, Christopher Fox, and John Habron."

Now it's time to listen to that "mouth-watering", "impressive, thoughtful, entertaining", "quite wonderful" music. Here's a portion of Silver Jubilee March (from 'My First Century' 1997-99) by British composer Christopher Fox:

For comparison, here's another march also by a British composer, written only 96 years earlier, at the beginning of Christopher Fox's 'century':

Still think classical music isn't dead?

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Anonymous said...

A century certainly has passed between those two pieces!.

But I can't imagine that classical music will ever be dead -each generation asks the question!. What of your friend Lionel Sainsbury, Jack?. I think composers like him need more exposure, though (I only learnt of his work via your website).

The quality of the Elgar video (musically and technically)has survived the test of time!.

Jack Gibbons said...

Thanks for your comment Karen. I don't think any generation before this one has ever questioned the survival of classical music. As I'll explore in future blogs the situation we are in today is completely unique.

And one of the points I was hoping to make was that both pieces (chosen quite randomly) were written in the same century, i.e. not so far apart at all. I'll expand these ideas in subsequent blogs and it will be interesting to see your take on it.

I agree that Lionel Sainsbury has written some wonderful music that deserves wider exposure (unfortunately most of his music has been completely rejected by the music establishment for stylistic reasons, but that's a story for yet another blog!).

Thanks again for your comments!

juld1c said...

Point taken. I try to have an open mind but had to stop the Fox before it drove me mad, and of course I love the Elgar.
I do think there is hope in some quarters now though,and apart from the Lionel Sainsbury's music, which I do greatly appreciate,how can classical music be dead while Jack Gibbons is writing wonderful music!

Anonymous said...

I do get your meaning, Jack. It's strange that this situation should have come about at a time when classical music has never been so accesible to people of all classes via multiple mediums. Will look forward to your insiders' view on why this could be.

I'm surprised at the establishment rejection of Lionel Sainsburys' music - not enough post-modern irony, perhaps!.

As juld1c says, do keep doing your bit for new classical music and bring a CD (or 2)out soon!.