Sunday, July 13, 2008
BBC Proms - lost in promotion
'I love the Proms because it (sic) embodies classical music ... In classical music you are not supposed to say 'groove', but groove is the rhythmic propulsion which is our spirit and soul – if you ask me, classical performers need to find their groove all over again' says Kristjan Järvi in his article in today's Independent in which he tells us what is wrong with classical music en route to promoting his forthcoming Prom appearance.
Well-meaning the piece may be, but a lot gets lost in promotion. Järvi's Absolute Ensemble gets a mention, but the musical excitement generated by this funky chamber orchestra meets jazz enesemble meets world music group doesn't. Prom 30 on August 8 gets a mention as do Järvi's own ensembles, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra and Absolute Ensemble. But there is no mention that it is neither band that Järvi is conducting at the Prom, it is the equally excellent, but presumably not as groovy sounding, BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Bernstein's Three Meditations, which are in his Proms programme, are mentioned. But not that they come from the composer's Mass, A Theatre Piece for Singers, Player and Dancers, one of the grooviest pieces of twentieth-century music ever written. (Now a complete Mass would be a Prom to die for). John Adams' and Michael Torke's equally groovy contribution to Järvi's programme are also overlooked as is the fact that his invigorating concert of contemporary music is relegated to the BBC Radio 3 late-night groovy ghetto.
The problem is that Järvi's article, which is long on street-cred mentions of Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams and short on facts, comes across as a classical musician desperately trying to be groovy. And there is nothing less groovy than that.
No promotion needed for Järvi senior's music making which was so beautifully captured by BIS in vinyl gooves.
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