Tuesday, 4 August 2009

What's dumbing down in music?

Went to a concert at the Cadogan Hall featuring the Belcea Quartet. Very inspirational though I had to work at understanding some of the music.

The audience was what you might expect typically of a classical concert. Older, middle class and traditional. Behind me were a couple talking about the music now being performed at the Cadogan, which includes jazz and Rodgers and Hart. According to the woman speaking that meant that the Cadogan were 'dumbing down' to fill the place.

My instinct was to turn round and protest about Rodgers and Hart being less a work of art than the Britten quartet we listened to. Anyone who can encapsulate human emotion that captures the imagination and love of the listening public in the way Rodgers and Hart did in a 3 minute song can never be accused of 'dumbing down'.

No less than the match of the words and music in a Schubert song, a 'popular' song such as My Funny Valentine has wit, sophistication and real understanding of those quirky attributes that tie us to the ones we love.

'Dumbing down' Huh!

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