I watched the RCM Symphony Orchestra concert last night on Medici. There’s a Twitter thread. A bit of a retro experience for me.
There’s not such a sense of occasion with the release of the Aldeburgh Festival programme compared to something like the BBC Proms. That may well be part of Aldeburgh’s appeal. It remains one of a handful – possibly even the only – UK classical music festival that steadfastly and proudly clings on to its distinctive air.
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.
New classical music isn’t something which needs to be made more engaging. It, like the works from history, doesn’t insist on prior knowledge, or expertise. All music needs is for people to listen to it and listen to themselves whilst they do so.
A sensitively curated selection from Books 1 and 2 of The Well-Tempered Clavier were presented as a complete sequence without interruption. In the dimly-lit church interior, James McVinnie’s interpretation of Bach’s seminal work created a nourishing and reinvigorating experience.