So, Vaughan Williams ‘The Lark Ascending’ has entered the Classic FM Hall of Fame in the number one spot for the second year running. Call me cynical, but is it not possibly the most played/talked about piece on the radio, having won last year?? Not that it isn’t a very beautiful piece of music, but the British public has also in the past, been proven highly suggestible. (I’m thinking shell suits, Bros, moon boots..?)
It seems to me that part of the reason for the decline in popularity which becomes an ever growing issue for classical music is the stagnation of the ‘top favourites’ list. We hear them at concerts, on the radio, in TV adverts. Perhaps most annoyingly the same few pieces are churned out ad nauseamduring those frustrating periods of time we spend ‘on hold’. Linking a piece of music to the memory of these particular phone calls is not likely to endear it to anyone.
The pace of life is increasing at an alarming rate. Things like gadgets and pop music have barely made it to today before they become yesterday’s news. Hardly anyone had an Mp3 player before we were onto Mp4. And what the hell is ‘Blu-Ray’ anyway? The classical industry is making a serious error by not recognising that we need to reach people in more imaginative ways and try to break down the wall of elitism (real or imaginary) which surrounds it.
Sadly, classical music is often conveyed in a very conservative and old fashioned way. This definitely does not mean the music itself is boring. It is colourful, diverse and can convey any emotion just as well as the most moving of pop songs. The truth is that a very wide repertoire of beautiful music has been and is still being written, so let’s start hearing some more of it!!