London’s place in European musical landscape

Posted on: April 17, 2009

In Friday’s (4/17) La Scene Musicale, Norman Labrecht ponders London’s status as one of Europe’s musical cities. “No city on earth has more nightly performance than London and none can approach its depth and diversity. Yet, in the premier league of music capitals, London struggles for recognition beside Vienna, Paris and Milan. It is regarded as a bit of a parvenu, a place of skimpy traditions, capital of what Germans used to call the Land Without Music. None of the three Bs—Bach, Beethoven, Brahms—ever set foot on British soil and no symphonic genius was born within city limits. London lacks the history, the opus numbers and well-trod tourist trail to match the legends of European heritage.” But many great foreign composers spent considerable time, Labrecht notes, and the city “is forever in a state of renewal, adding new venues and refurbishing the old. … London as a musical capital is unique in its casual assumption of past glories, its absence of fake nostalgia, its eye on the next genius to come. Music in London is not about yesterday. It’s about tomorrow.”

Posted April 17, 2009