Sunday, March 01, 2020

Mirga at the Fairfield Halls?


A prime example of classical musicians hunting in packs is provided by the baying pack led by Norman Lebrecht who are hunting the management at Croydon's beleaguered Fairfield Halls. First a dodgy citizen journalist passes judgement on the Halls. Now Stormin' Norman castigates the management for presenting wrestling. Which conveniently overlooks that the Royal Albert Hall, the home of the world's largest classical festival, has hosted wrestling for more than 100 years and recently hosted the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament.

In his latest snipe Norman declares 'Not a peep of music'. So instead of sniping let's hear what he would do to kick start classical music at a suburban venue where the adjacent car park is currently closed and there is no budget to attract the celebrity ensembles that pull audiences. As classical's big hitter surely Norman could persuade Mirga and the CBSO to relaunch the Halls, and for the boilerplate four star CBSO review to appear on Slipped Disc.

There are quite enough histrionic photos of you know who online. So instead I have essayed a graphic of a piece of Fairfield Halls history. Jascha Horenstein recorded that stunning Tod und Verklärung with the LSO at the Fairfield Halls in 1972 for Unicorn. Bob Auger engineered the sessions and the sound shows just what an acoustically stunning venue it is; even if, as Slipped Disc points out, the pizza is crap. (The Hindemith coupling was recorded at Walthamstow Town Hall.) Oh, and sorry about the click bait headline. New Overgrown Path posts are available via RSS/email by entering your email address in the right-hand sidebar. Any copyrighted material is included for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

2 comments:

Philip Amos said...

And Norman either didn't do his research with due diligence -- not exactly unusual -- or that post is deliberate deception -- not exactly unusual. He writes of only one of the halls, a new and multi-purpose one. The Phoenix part of the Fairfield site does show classical music between now and the end of the season.No musicians from the firmament, true, but I see a piano recital, a violin recital, Mozart's Requiem, Mahler 3, a concert of Elgar, VW, Butterworth, and Rachmaninov, the RPO, London Mozart Players...by Jove, I even see a performance of the Glanuzov saxophone concerto! But all that would really bugger up one of Norm's agendae, of which he has many, some hidden, some not so much. He could have encouraged Fairfield, but instead tries to deep-six it. Why.

By the by, Lebrecht is a very real menace to classical music, and so do I pay close attention to his doings. This has had me wondering recently about the rather astonishing versatility, chameleon-like, of his writing style, plus, such phenomena as e.g., his sudden transformation -- in the service of Idagio (he does nothing for free) -- in his assessments of the Beethoven piano sonatas, as a sort of inferior Donald Tovey. And the same with other works that seem to have turned him into a musicologist, though such as they he professes to hold in contempt. Whence comes this sudden onslaught of ersatz Tovey, Girdlestone, Rosen..? I think he's secretly been getting a D.Mus. from Cambridge while writing books, his blog, running his photo library visiting movie sets, interviewing instant new "pals".... Best explanation I can think of.

Pliable said...

You make, as usual, very good points Philip. It is just sad that I am absolutely certain the classical music industry will not take any notice of them at all.