Roxanna Panufnik, the Bach Choir, and the Royal Albert Hall (along with a host of others – geddit?) feature in a promo on the Guardian website today brought to my attention by Petroc Trelawny referring to it on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House earlier today.
The story is essentially a puff-piece designed to flag the Christmas Classics concert later this week during which a new carol by Panufnik will be premiered.
There is we learn a resurgence in carol-writing and according to Roxanna, carols are a great way to engage a new audience demonstrating that new classical music can be ‘tuneful’.
“She [Roxanna Panufnik] recognises that many people consider new classical music to be esoteric and difficult, and believes carols are an ideal way to engage them.”
Esoteric and difficult? That might be what some people think about ‘new music’ but that view is based on an assumption held by those people shaped in no small part by lazy writers.
I’ve spent a week listening to excerpts from new works, and attending concerts featuring new music. I’ve found it an invigorating experience. I can’t tell you exactly how that music was written. And I don’t believe I need to be able to understand how its been created in order to appreciate the impact it had on me at an emotional level.
New classical music isn’t something which needs to be made more engaging. It, like more historical works, doesn’t insist on prior knowledge, or expertise. New music is the creation of someone who seeks to express themselves around any given subject. Why would we deny creatives that opportunity to express themselves in whatever way they want just because some of us think that an art form should be ‘easier’ to listen to.
All any music needs is for people to listen to it and listen to themselves whilst they do so.