After the lockdown ends(3), the music will changemain
The traditional orchestra season amounts to a compromise between the music director, the general director and the calendar.
The last of the three dictates the anniversaries.
The first proposes attention-seeking works. The second modifies those plans with box-office bankables.
All that will have to change when the music resumes.
There will be no big set-pieces in the next couple of years while Covid is still around. Health and safety won’t permit them, and all orchestras the world over will need to save money.
So what to play?
This is an immense opportunity.
Given that the public will come rushing back in search of the live concert experience, orchestras can rewrite the repertoire to perform works and composers they never dared to programme before, for fear the audience would not come.
Right now, there are people out there who would play premium prices to hear William Schuman symphonies played backwards.
Instead of the usual 3Bs and 2Ms, orchestras can choose to play Wallingford Rieger or Havergal Brian without denting the finances.
Myself, I want to hear symphonic cycles of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Bohuslav Martinu and Malcolm Arnold.
Replace Dvorak with Donatoni, Mozart with Milhaud, Strauss with Szymanowski.
Orchestras of the world, you have nothing to lose but your fears.