And now - a classical music night club
Between the DJ's attempts to adjust the sound system to wildly different demands, eight promising young professionals played a dozen pieces from Bach to Kurtag, Purcell to Webern, Britten to Steve Reich. Led by the gifted violinist Alina Ibragimova, they sizzled through Bach's E major violin concerto unruffled by applause between the first and second movements. It was that kind of evening.
If young would-be concertgoers are put off by the po-faced, shushing audience members as much as the performers' white ties and tails, this could well be the beginning of an answer. At £15 a head for two-and-a-half-hours of music, most enthusiasts seemed to feel they'd had good value for money. Reich's Clapping Music and Music for Pieces of Wood, performed with the requisite expertise, were inspired pieces of programming, eliciting wild applause, whoops and whistles as they showed that even contemporary music can be fun when it chooses.
Cellist Bartholomew LaFollette manfully braved the Prelude from Bach's first suite and the fiendish Ciaccona from Britten's second, suitably blending the familiar with the less so. Then soprano Gweneth-Ann Jeffers emerged from the crowd to shake the rafters with 'When I Am Laid' from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, letting musical novices in on the thrill of a powerful voice in a small space, if at the price of some poignancy. But few cared. They could even chat to the musicians. The evening was something of a triumph for its promoter, Matt Fretton, whose future such gigs are posted online here.
From today's Observer - is this the way to win new audiences for classical music? - discuss.
Headlines are everything in this game. I was going to headline this article Salieri Night Fever, but sadly had to conclude that it would terminally confuse the search engines.
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