thu 24/09/2020

Classic Brits 2011 | reviews, news & interviews

Classic Brits 2011

Classic Brits 2011

Arvo Pärt: A political classic

In case anybody had the bizarre notion that the Classical Brits was getting a trifle too classical, the 2011 version of the event was rebranded as the Classic Brit Awards. That would seem to open the door to almost anything - classic rock perhaps, or classic schmaltz (well, waltzmeister Andre Rieu did win Album of the Year). The night climaxed with Dame Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger", capping a tribute to the late John Barry, and sounding nowhere near as "classic" as she used to.

In case anybody had the bizarre notion that the Classical Brits was getting a trifle too classical, the 2011 version of the event was rebranded as the Classic Brit Awards. That would seem to open the door to almost anything - classic rock perhaps, or classic schmaltz (well, waltzmeister Andre Rieu did win Album of the Year). The night climaxed with Dame Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger", capping a tribute to the late John Barry, and sounding nowhere near as "classic" as she used to.

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You're a musical snob. Appreciating music is in the ear of the beholder.

It's got nothing to do with snobbery, Alice. What worries me is that people see these awards, hear the likes of Andre Rieu and Il Divo- (Artist of the Decade- really??)- and think that's all there is to Classical Music; undemanding, middle of the road wallpaper. Classic FM even brands itself "The Relaxation Station" as if Classical music is a kind of aural jacuzzi for stressed houswives. Sadly,even Radio3 is heading down this route now- the mornings, from Breakfast until the end of Classical Collection at Mid-Day are increasingly dominated by warhorses and light classical music. The dumbing down of this radio station in an attempt to compete with Classic FM is one of most depressing side effects of the current obsession with RAJAR figures. Classical music is not Il Divo, or Andre Rieu, or John Barry, great film composer though he was. It's Mahler, and Shostakovitch, Wagner, Bach and Stravinsky. Music that demands your attention, that engages your emotions, and that is sometimes challenging and difficult- and lasts longer than 5 minutes- but can affect the listener on a far deeper level than any other form of music. The "Classic Brits" encourage the notion that Classical Music is just another marketing exercise, and that all that matters is how many people buy or download the latest album. It was never, and should never, be about that.

I attended the venue with my partner and were led to believe that 'the voice' Russell Watson would appear. He was the only one also featured on the program who did not make an appearance. Although disappointed is there a story behind why no show?

Have to agree with Alice. Why the sniping....for instance, Il Divo may not be everyone cup of tea but they are recognised as having brought a whole new audience to the Classical ond Operatic style of music. I might add, having heard them in concert, they are one of the very few I have ever heard who actually sound better live.

The usual caveat: If Il Divo lead people to listen to the real things, great. But mushing up the text to mean nothing but part of a general wallow in a warm operatic bath is not the way in. To adapt Callas, 'are you after expression or are you after Smooth Classics'? To each his or her own, but it's not in the same league, so let's not hear Alice's disingenuous 'appreciating music is in the ear of the beholder'. By the same token, the beholder might tell us that La Jenkin is in the same league as Sarah Connolly, Christine Rice or Anne Sofie von Otter...Simply not true. Ask Alison Balsom, truly top of her league, who's been outspoken enough to say so...

Jane- Classical and Operatic? A quick google reveals some of their recent recordings:- Nights in White Satin Amazing Grace My Way Bridge over Troubled Water The Winner Takes it All Without you The impossible dream The list goes on. And it has about as much to do with opera as a Big Mac has to do with a Michelin Star. Just because they sing in a vaguely operatic manner- and translate some of the songs into Italian- does not make them opera singers. And they may well be better live- which I would have thought reflects pretty badly on their recording engineer- but I dare say they were miked up. Domingo, or any other opera singer worthy of the name, doesn't need amplification.

'Russia's number one political prisoner'? No doubt no.1 with a bullet, if Moscow gets its way.

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