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  Proms Nightmare  ruska02 at 05:09 on 15 August 2009

Sorry to bother anyone alive and kicking in London but I need some help to understand. I recently went to two BBC Proms and I had the worst nightmares of my life

1) Unsuk Chin new cello concert (BBC Commission)

2) Johnny Greenwod string awarded work and
last but not least Sir Harrison Birtwistle The Mask of Orpheus (only The Arches luckly!!!)

I really have no time to write a poem about how I did not liked all this but is anyone here really interested in good Contemporary Music
with the same amount of money wasted for these gigantic days the could have commissioned works to at least 100 better composers (from Furrer to Francesconi, from Haas to Andrč, from Ambrosini to Kyburz not to mention the young blocks starving)

Your shot philoi!

Robert David Rusconi Composer

PS Please all neo tonal, neo romantic, neo something or post something avoid answering thanks.!

  Re: Proms Nightmare  Nicolas Tzortzis at 09:13 on 15 August 2009

Unsuk Chin is a decent composer.I have heard some of her earlier works that were very interesting.I don't know what she is doing right now,but you know,a commission is a can never know beforehand how it is going to turn out.
and all composers (even the great ones) have bad pieces.
for the other two that you mention,I don't know their work in order to have an opinion,but I guess that Greenwood is an attempt to bring people to the proms that wouldn't normally go there.people that liked his Radiohead days and will follow.And Birtwhistle is THE established English composer.
For a concert is the UK it makes sense.2/3 are British composers.why would the proms bother play italians or austrians or french composers?
Programming has more to do with politics that it has to do with music.

  Re: Proms Nightmare  ruska02 at 11:34 on 15 August 2009

Wise and politically correct. Let's hope somewhere there are also Artistic Directros that care about music more than politics.Unsuck has received so many commissions recently there is something wrong about it don't you think? It is not about "We need all these overseas asian students money at the concers and composition european masters ... no matter what? on the other hand don't you think to bring people to the concerts you should expose them to good music instead of established one.(pop or national). Don't you think it is time we, composers and musicians I think, really start asking ourselves if it is not time instead of being always politically correct to became openly "pro parte" or better "pro arte"?
Don't you think that standing openly against something most of us agree it is only junk music, let's day....Philip Glass or a thousand (s) Pounds Goldie Commission...would help us making skys clearer? BTW did you listen to the concerts I mentioned or you is just an live and let live make love not war attitude?

Ciao Robert Davud Rusconi

  Re: Proms Nightmare  MartinY at 11:52 on 15 August 2009

I also watched the 'cello concerto on TV, but I have had two weeks of continuous trouble and have rather poor concentration at the moment so I might not have had the best experience of it. I thought the soloist did a tremendous job of memorising and performing the piece. I do not really know whether I liked it or not, does that say something about me or the piece? But I was not as hostile as Robert, but then I was not trapped in a seat indoors.

Every year I try and watch some of the proms new music on TV and every year I am disappointed by it, though to different extents. I also watched the Birtwistle Minotaur on TV last year but on TV you do have to concentrate to the same extent as in a concert hall because you can fiddle with other things, go and make a cup of tea etc.. I know the Minotaur was supposed to be frightening but I could not help but think how absurd it was that a herbivore should become an underground carnivore, and kept thinking about the guts of giant pandas and the evolution of different animal digestive systems which was not what the Cretan myth was supposed to be about. Does this mean the music is not gripping enough to take you out of routine scientific thoughts, because the plot of many operas is absurd and it does not ruin it. The orchestration was as brilliant as Respighi! Perhaps we should await a verismo opera from Birtwistle.

So we are all disappointed by the proms but for very different reasons. I am hoping to hear one day music which is neither neo / post this or that but is also not just ordinary modernism, shall I call it OM so that everthing has an acronym. But Nicholas was right in that the people represented at the proms are the major British successful composers and the up and coming stars, so the BBC are doing something right according to their vision. I suppose it does not accord with my vision but I am not going to change my mind, and still have manuscript paper, working computer, working brain and rosined bow....

  Re: Proms Nightmare  Nicolas Tzortzis at 01:59 on 16 August 2009

I have not seen or heard the concert in question,I have no idea what the music was about.I was just trying to logically explain what the BBC probably thought and why they chose to programme the composers they did.
I never said if I agree or not with their choice,that was not my purpose,since I can not have an opinion on the music.
I am sure that, in the artistic director's head, his choices are wise and correct.
I have the right to agree or disagree with that.Keep also in mind that these choices have to do with the audience that he addresses.And he probably has done his research on "what the public wants".different countries,different audiences,different tastes and different principles.what is "good" in France is not necesserally "good" in Germany or Russia etc.but a choice must be made...
There is also an other thing:if a composer has an exclusive contract with a major record label,say EMI classics, great pressure will be put upon the artistic director so that he chooses this composer.The last four-five years,all the headliners of the "Presences" festival in Paris,did have an exclusive contract with that record label.coincidence?maybe...or not...
It has nothing to do with a "make love not war attitude".I have my opinions,I know what I consider to be good music,but that does not mean everybody shares my point of view and it does not mean that what I think is correct.
I believe that eventually good music always survives and that,in the long run, good music always finds its way out there.

PS.I don't know how many commissions Unsuk Chin has had lately.she probably has a good manager.I don't think that she gets them because she will "get the Asian students to buy tickets".Those commissioning the works do not care about that.
She has done some very nice works in the past.She was one of Ligeti's best students.These two reasons could explain her latest commissions...

  Re: Proms Nightmare  ruska02 at 02:08 on 16 August 2009

Thanks for answer N.Tzortis

You write

I don't think that she gets them because she will "get the Asian students to buy tickets".

Just to let you know I this year joined a project/commission at Queen Elizabeth Hall (sorry but it is better for me if I don not mention date and names but with a little research you may find out if interested) where the ONLY REAL PURPOSE WAS to "get the Indian students and audience to buy tickets" and to go to a Classical Hall. How deeply you trust Artistic Directors mate!, never talked with any High End Ensemble about it? I don't want to say you are naive, I know who you are and you are not, but telling how it really is may help us to change it or am I the naive one now?

Peace RDR

  Re: Proms Nightmare  Nicolas Tzortzis at 10:20 on 16 August 2009

many musical events have also a social purpose,a social goal,not only a purely musical one.
As you have events that want to "bring contemporary music to the ghetto",you also have events that want to draw audiences that practically never listen to contemporary music.
Unfortunately these things are usually done the wrong way,but for the right reasons.
I don't know if I can blame someone for wanting to attract new social groups to the concert hall.I think that this,as an intention,should be encouraged.
The problem is that,when they try do it,they usually make highly questionable choices that focus on everything else BUT the music,often treating people like idiots.
If, from what I have written so far, you understood that I trust artistic directors,then I should probably rewrite the whole thing.

  Re: Proms Nightmare  ruska02 at 00:58 on 17 August 2009

Thanks Nick Glad to see we are on the same line than

1) Attract new adienncies not only good but vital for us all
wrong way to do it : BBC Proms OR OTHERS
RIGHT WAY TO DO IT : , Intrasonus joins them :-) or the beginners concerts by Music der Jarhundreds


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