‘In the pantheon of composers, I stand nowhere’

The quote is from the admirably grounded Karl Jenkins in his new autobiography, Still with the Music (p. 223).

This morning Karl, 71, became the first Welsh-born composer ever to receive a knighthood.

Arise, Sir Karl.


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    • I had never heard of this composer or heard his music. I listened to a couple of things on YouTube and they sound like pop-crossover music at about its worst. It’s not that I don’t like this music; it’s that I find it profoundly depressing.

      • Have to agree. It’s a bit like (inadvertently) hearing David Gray wailing away on BBC Radio : “Music to commit suicide to”, as someone once described it.

        Apropos Jenkins, his modesty is, however, commendable. It reminds me of Richard Strauss’s comment to the effect that “I may not be a first rank composer, but I am a first rate composer of the second rank”. (Not that I agree with the creator of Salome and Elektra and Rosenkavalier’s self-estimation, as in my view he was firmly of the first rank.)

      • Of course they are real, serious composers – but incomparably more talented that this Mr Jenkins, who rightly does not make any claims.

        • Gershwin and Prokofiev are just two examples of “pop” (Gershwin) or “movie” (both) or “crossover” (Gershwin again) composers in the pantheon.

          I have no opinion about Mr. Jenkins.

  • Sir Karl does not write ‘pop-, film- and cross-over-music.’
    He writes classical music that communicates powerfully and especially to people who maybe think that they ‘don’t like’ classical music.

    • Give it up, Will. Leave them to their Boulez and Xenakis. Jenkins is not ground-breaking in my (admittedly limited) experience. But I wouldn’t walk out of a hall.

    • What, precisely, does it “communicate” powerfully?

      What you really mean is some people like to have it playing in the background while they are doing something else.

    • He does not write ‘classical music’. Anybody, even only superficially experienced in listening to classical music, will spot that immediately. It is music for people who find Mozart ‘too difficult’. Nothing wrong with it, but if labelled ‘classical music’ it will hinder potential new audiences ever to come to serious concerts.

    • Amusing that there are people thinking that the only choice in new music is: either Boulezbian inquisition or lukewarm limonade music, something like eating either gravel or mud.

  • I don’t know whether Alun Hoddinott was ever knighted, but he was Welsh and a very interesting composer that deserves to be performed more often. I don’t know if he’s ever played in Britain, but he certainly isn’t on “the Continent” (sorry! I almost said Europe).

  • ==the first Welsh-born composer ever to receive a knighthood

    No – not true.

    The actor Sir Anthony Hopkins has written a couple of really good film scores.
    Because they are also released on CD so I think he counts as a composer.

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