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Scratching surfaces and knocking pedestals

January 30th, 2010

It really doesn’t seem that long ago when apples were fruits, tablets were taken for headaches, Jordan was a Hashemite Kingdom, and classical music was something you had to really look for, pay a lot for, and not really get as it wasn’t really for you. In fact it wasn’t really for anyone. Most people at classical concerts couldn’t hear the music for the sound of the self congratulatory conversations going on in their own head, imagining the chat at the work place the next day – “Oh the Elgar was divine, but the champagne was warm” and so forth. You might start to think that we’re beginning to sound like a stuck record, but the internet really is changing this. Continue Reading

In our latest episode, Alasdair prematurely celebrated GetJazzical’s first birthday (our first episode was actually in March ‘09) but it was around this time last year that we began to explore the net for other means of finding classical music in our bid to make it accessible, and understood by the masses, not just those with taffeta, once again. And this last year we’ve been astounded to find that we’re not alone. While there are some who throw up a little in their mouths if they thought about sitting next to someone in a t shirt while enjoying an evening of Mahler, the ones playing the music are thinking very differently.

Take James Rhodes for example. Classic FM described him as a “classical pianist with a rock star attitude”. Rhodes is a remarkable talent, and he’s also someone who doesn’t see that there is necessarily a link between bowties and piano playing. Rhodes is someone who would sit as comfortably in a bar in Shoreditch as he would on the stage at the Albert Hall. This incredible video of a performance at the Camden Roundhouse, gives an impression of the kind of performer Classic FM were talking about, and the kind of place he performs in:

As guys who are still in the cloakroom looking into the cocktail party of classical music we are able to observe that if ¬†”a programme that features Bach alongside Beethoven, Chopin and Moszkowski” is currently considered sticking their fingers up at the classical music establishment, we have a bit of a way to go. However, when thinking about bringing the music and the genre to the people, Rhodes is a leader. He’s Beethoven with an iPhone, he’s Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber* 2.0. In tweeting, myspacing and youtubing, we are not only invited into the music halls of the concerts when we can’t get a ticket, we’re also invited into the lives of the musicians and realise that actually, they’re just like us. Sometimes they are even more boring. While their use of social networking is no doubt a form of self promotion (hey, it’s why we do it – that and so we can interact with our lovely fans….please follow us…) they are, perhaps on some occasions unknowingly, tackling the bigger issue of knocking classical music of that imaginary pedestal that ¬†some people at some point put it on.

We know we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to this grassroots movement of jazz and classical musicians. We’re only a year old, and are still in the dribbling, crying, and wetting ourselves stage of this project. So please help us – get in touch, whether you are directing our eyes to the musician who deserves the spotlight, or are that musician, trying to plug themselves here, there, and everywhere, because you know you have something important to add to the conversation.

*No, I’ve never heard of him either. But it was clever. AND funny.

Classical, Clips, Music, Videos