Independent feature writer and fellow blogger Jessica Duchen gets a double-pages spread in today's Indie on the Sting Dowland and Paul McCartney Ecce Cor Meum discs, and writes - 'I'm willing to stick out my neck and say that whether or not you like the results, and whether or not it's fair, both Sting and McCartney have done something worthwhile. They've broken the mould; they've kept pushing the boundaries; and though the results may be patchy, in the main these albums work because they're fuelled by genuine creative drive. If Sting and McCartney can bring creativity, conviction and communication centre stage then, like it or loathe it, let them try. '
I have no problem at all with the classical ventures of these two rock idols, if you can get your record company to record your Dowland or new choral work good luck, whoever you are. But let's not kid ourselves that these two efforts reflect anything other than 100% commercial agendas. If Paul McCartney really wanted to put communication centre stage he could have underwritten a performance of a little known and deserving contemporary choral work (let's take Rudolf Mauersberger's sublime Dresden Requiem as an example) in London, he could have made sure the hall was full by promoting it in the media, and he could have persuaded his record company, EMI, to record and really market the results. That way new audiences would have experienced real creativity, conviction and communication. Meanwhile Sting could have put his efforts behind persuading (and funding) an online archive of the BBC's contemporary music riches similar to that hosted in Finland by YLE, and he could have persuaded some of his super-rich rock buddies to fund the first year's composer royalties to allow free downloading - now that would be breaking the mould.
Jessica also trots out the old canard that the McCartney piece "could prove to a large number of otherwise hesitant listeners that new works in a classical idiom can engage with them". I'm afraid it just doesn't work like that as the book industry found out with the Harry Potter fallacy. J.K. Rowling's books have sold millions, but if you analyse the sales for the industry over an extended period no more books are sold across the total market. It is a fallacy both that Harry Potter readers go on to Jane Austen, and that more books are sold because of the Harry Potter titles. McCartney and Sting fans will buy these two discs; good luck to them, and I am sure they will enjoy them. But let's not pretend this is breaking any moulds or pushing any boundaries.
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to New choral music's dream ticket