Sunday, October 18, 2009

Music of the sexes


Riveting concert this evening of Bach, Golijov, Piazzolla arr. Desyatnikov and Vivaldi from the Britten Sinfonia. Gratifying to see a good-sized audience for their Norwich gig (and pre-concert talk) despite competition from ECM's Tord Gustavsen Trio and the amazing Kit Downes (a name to watch) just across the road.

It is interesting to speculate why the Britten Sinfonia are making such a name for themselves in such difficult times. Is it because they do not have a jet set music director? Is it because they do not have an expensive conductor? Is it because they are one of the few environmentally responsible bands in classical music? Perhaps it is something to do with the Alexander Technique and that they play standing up - apart from the lower strings and harpsichordist!

Or is the secret of the Britten Sinfonia's success that 80% of the 25 musicians on the platform last night were women? I have already suggested that publicly funded ensembles should reveal the fees they are paying to performers. Yes, I know it is the music that matters. But how about publicly funded groups also being required to report their ratio of female performers, and, an area where the Britten Sinfonia and virtually every other ensemble still has much work to do, ratio of ethnic and other minority players?

I'm leaving on a green train. Back soon.
Header photo shows Britten Sinfonia in action at the Latitude Festival. I received two free tickets for the Britten Sinfonia concert in return for chairing the pre-concert talk. 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 errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

4 comments:

Pliable said...

It would also be interesting if concert promoters published an estimate of the carbon footprint for their concert in the programme, including audience travel.

Which highlights the problem of the big audiences are beautiful argument, which I use in the second sentence of my post and which predicates much of the BBC Proms activity.

Climate change is a real problem, and large music events attracting audiences from a wide catchment area generate a large carbon footprint. That is something we are going to have to get to grips with.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8313672.stm

Anonymous Soprano said...

My first thought upon reading this: "They play standing up? Man, that must suck in long pieces."

Then I realized. I'm a singer. I've never had a concert OR an opera where I actually ever really sat down. So, uh, yeah. Not too bright here in Soprano Land sometimes.

Pliable said...

'Man, that must suck in long pieces' - it should be noted that the first half of that Britten Sinfonia concert lasted for precisely 24 minutes!

Dates for the Britten Sinfonia's Ring cycle are not yet confirmed.

Anonymous Soprano said...

24 minutes? That's a light stroll, musically. 24 minutes would just cover, I think, the Overture and first scene of the first act of Cosi...