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Pop Go the Classics… Again

August 21, 2010

  Kevin Berger of the L.A.Times has a good article this morning about pop/classical crossover music.

Here’s the story – worth the read.  Coles notes: Mr. Berger looks at the trend of meshing classical music with pop/rock.   Does it actually draw more people in, or just offer them musical Wonder bread?  Should they remain at a polite distance from each other?  Or is it possible for them to co-exist?

I remain conflicted.  Like I said in one of my past postings, “if it takes some creative showmanship to get more people taking a second listen (and hopefully third, and fourth, and…), then bring it on.”

But even adding creative showmanship, there’s still a difference between keeping the integrity of the music intact and bringing it down to the lowest common denominator.  The low will keep sinking.  So at what point does classical music say “enough” and jump ship on the present trend?  Is that even an option anymore?

Maybe the ongoing tension around the subject can find a measure of resolution in this question: is the music serving the musician, or the musician the music?  Maybe it all comes down to motivation.  Somehow, the idea of Sting playing around with classical stylings on his current “Symphonicities” project doesn’t strike me as being as offensive or out of place given his past forrays and his unabashed curiosity in exploring the corners of all music (or the fact that he’s toying with his own music), as do some of the crossover acts out there today who appear to use glorified talent, blessed looks, and good marketing to feed their own purposes (all while repeating the same old mantra that they respect classical roots and just want to offer a fresh edge).  That was a long sentence.

Anyway, like I concluded in my other post, “ultimately, time will test the metal of true artistry, sifting the wheat from the chaff.”  Is it optimistic that I continue to believe that the real stuff will be recognized for what it is and will rise to the top, long outlasting the compromised?  I hope time proves me right.

The L.A.Times article highlights David Garrett: 

Here’s an interview with Sting talking about his “Symphonicities” collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra:

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