Gareth Davies, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, has been reflecting on the constant demands for change in classical concerts. In a typically thoughtful blog, he dismisses most change initiatives as tinsel.
There seems very little invention and much more repackaging. I remember when I was a student in the 90’s, the fashion was to ditch the concert attire and for men to wear… ground breaking (drum roll please) brightly coloured waistcoats. I don’t think a waistcoat has ever knowingly encouraged anyone to go anywhere. Similarly, standing up instead of sitting down made a brief game changing appearance. That’s the players not the audience unless you count the proms. Don’t get me started on fancy lighting. Why on earth anyone thinks that the holy grail of audiences for classical music – young people – who have been brought up on YouTube, video games, 3D films, iPhones and on demand content, are going to be impressed by subtly changing mood lighting during a symphony which never asked for it in the first place, is beyond me.
As I watched the BBC news this week where Katie Derham talked about the new Proms season, the montage they used was exclusively clips of the headline grabbing acts involving DJs, jazz, urban and the like. Let me make this clear, I think it’s a good thing that the Proms embraces other forms of music, but as a percentage of the goodies on offer, it’s tiny. It’s frustrating then that these are the only bits a viewer that morning would have seen on TV.
Read the full blog here.