BBC Proms - a multicultural society?

But there is one important front on which Kenyon is vulnerable to attack, and he knows it. Britain - and, above all, London - is now a multicultural society: how should the BBC Proms respond? Kenyon's reply is ultra-cautious: "Our first aim must be to achieve a more multicultural audience, and it is to that that all our audience-development work is geared." What about the programme itself? "One has to be open to the best work that is going on in any of those cultural areas." Like Indian and Pakistani music? "Yes. The programme needs to be something that a British audience would recognise as their music, however multicultural. But it also needs to be something that the present-day classical- music audience would recognise as part of their sound-world." Would he put Indian raga in that category? "It's absolutely one of the traditions that, from time to time, the Proms ought to reflect. But just as we don't do a jazz prom every year, or a Gilbert and Sullivan prom..." His voice trails off, then he concludes: "That's an interesting challenge for the future."

No, Mr Kenyon, it's a challenge very much for the present. And it's a colossal demotion of one of our constituent cultures to rank it alongside jazz, and Gilbert and Sullivan, and to think that an airing "from time to time" is adequate. It may be true that the classical repertoire has expanded exponentially over the past couple of decades - this year, even Beethoven only makes three appearances - and that, even with 90 concerts, the Proms programme can only scratch the surface. But I suggest that it's now time for a rethink every bit as radical as that with which Kenyon's illustrious predecessor, Sir William Glock, galvanised the Proms, after the inertia and predictability of the post-war Sargent years
- writes Michael Church in the Independent.
Now playing in my head - Adam Khan's (below) recent guitar recital at the King of Hearts in Norwich which was like eavesdropping on an intimate conversation. Here is the programme:
Luys de Narvaez (1500-1555)
Differencias Sobre “Guardame Las Vacas”, Cancion Del Emperador
Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Grand Solo Op. 14
Joaquin Turina (1882-1839)
Roland Dyens (b1956)
Saudades 2 (Theme from Helio)
Roland Dyens (b1956)
Saudades 3 (Homage to F. Kleynjans)
Carey Blyton - who was nephew of children's author Enid Blyton, do follow the composer link, there are a lot of interesting audio samples there (1940-2003)
For the Delight of Shiva
Leo Brouwer (b1939)
A Day in November, Zapateo, Guajirra De Cuna, Cancion De Cuna, Paisaje Cubano Con Campanas

Now playing on the stereo - Adam Khan's first CD 'A Day in November'. This is an extraordinarily beautiful disc featuring music by Maximo Diego Pujol, Roland Dyens, Leo Brouwer that deserves to reach a very wide audience. The liner artwork is to the left, above and below are MP3 files of more than thirteen minutes of Adam Khan's intimate conversations. If you don't know the work of contemporary Tunisian/French composer Roland Dyens do visit his website, and try more than 16 minutes of his music via the MP3 downloads below. It is also worth noting that another composer on the CD, Leo Brouwer (who was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein), described one section of his own Paisaje Cubano Con Campanas (Cuban Landscape With Bells) as a homage to the heavy metal guitarist Eddie Van Halen, and the sixth of his Etudes Simples was quoted by guitarist Randy Rhoads as the introduction to the song "Diary of a Madman". Now follow the path to Adam Khan's website.

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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Classic misunderstandings - Eastern tunings


Pliable said…
Email just received On An Overgrown Path

Hi Pliable. Thank you so much. I really appreciate what you have written.

I am in Argentina at the moment about to play some duo recitals and record a cd.

Thanks Adam Khan

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