Friday, September 16, 2011

Taking classical to the people

I did two things out of the ordinary this week. I attended not one, but two classical music concerts.

This is out of the ordinary because although I have what I would call a healthy appreciation for the arts, I certainly am not a classical music buff. Apart from those failed piano lessons from a Catholic nun when I was a kid, I’m no expert.

Watching both a solo pianist and symphony orchestra, as part of the 2011 Brisbane Festival, left me a little surprised. Not because they weren’t amazing - they were - but because they were so easy to watch. What also surprised me was the wide variety of people in the audience; teenagers, children and young couples, not just your stereotypical middle-aged classical connoisseurs (not that there’s any wrong with them, of course).

If you’ve never visited Brisbane, Australia, you probably best know the city, or state of Queensland, as the place devastated by widespread flooding in January this year.

That tragic event inspired one composer, who was already in the process of composing a symphony about the city of Brisbane, to create a symphony purely based on the flood and its aftermath, which was one of not just devastation, but community spirit and hope.

The only time I’d heard an orchestra before that night was at a ballet performance years ago. I have to say, it gave me goosebumps. I couldn’t decide where to look –  the amazing sopranos, two pianists or the tall man up the back playing the tuba. What struck me about Symphonia Eluvium (Symphony of the Floods) was not just the amazing skill and talent of the musicians, but also the fact that is was so likeable and enjoyable.

The other performance was a piano recital by Evgeny Kissin – who is apparently lauded as the world’s best pianist. Of course I was totally ignorant to this before I saw the performance. It was simply incredible. You don't have to be a fan of classical piano to know this guy is a freak of nature. He played for two hours and my eyes were glued to the stage - something I didn’t expect.

I don’t have any previous performances to compare this to but I suspect the classical arts is moving into areas that are more mainstream and appealing to the general public. Who needs Andre Rieu to bring classical to the people if it's enjoyable in its natural form? If what I saw recently was anything to go by, the classical music scene is something worth experiencing more than once in your lifetime.

Are you are closet classical buff? Or have you recently been surprised by a performance that changed your preconceived ideas of something?

No comments:

Post a Comment