Music Blog: Classical Music – Why So Serious?
With news just in that composer Steve Reich will be transforming two Radiohead tracks into a new work, not to mention the addition of Classical Music Editor Georgie Ward to the Inter:Mission team, it feels like now is the time to tackle what’s probably the single most irritating misnomer around: that classical music is boring.
To those of us who were lucky enough to stumble into the world of classical music by default, it seems criminal that such a vast and dynamic genre is going virtually unnoticed by every generation that’s too young to remember the death of prolific composer Shostakovich (in 1975, in case you were wondering).
Pay a visit to one of the many classical concerts at Colston Hall, and you’ll likely find yourself feeling very young indeed amongst a sea of white hair and Kleenex tissues. That’s certainly how I felt last time I went to watch young violinist Nicola Benedetti perform, in a recital so faultless I was left blubbering into my sleeve.
So why the stigma? Put bluntly, the assumption seems to be that classical music revolves around dead composers for nearly dead people, but this barely tells half the story. Reich isn’t the only classical composer still breathing; Bristol University alone is home to some of the most exciting composers around, albeit hidden in the guise of conductor-stroke-lecturers.
And on that note, here’s the opening of Pickard’s 1995 piano work, ‘A Starlit Dome':