Critic: orchestras shouldn’t be expected to change overnight

Posted on: January 25, 2013

In Friday’s (1/25) Telegraph (London), Ivan Hewett writes, “Every few years, a mover and shaker in the classical music world makes a speech declaring that orchestral concerts are deadly dull and need livening up. … This year it’s the turn of Max Hole, head of Universal Music’s classical music division. In a speech to the annual conference of the Association of British Orchestras in Leeds, he declared that the classical tradition is in grave danger of dying, unless it sheds its stuffy image. ‘Musicians need to think about the way they dress, and need to appear more excited and engaged with the audience,’ he said. … Well, of course Mr. Hole has a point. In fact he has several points, which is always the problem with this topic. Different aspects of the problem get muddled up, under the pressure of an agitated sense that Something Must Be Done. Sometimes something can be done, but sometimes it can’t be. And sometimes things have been done already, with lamentable results. … All the people urging drastic reform need to remember that an orchestral concert is a social event as much as a musical one, and social relations can’t be reinvented overnight.”

Posted January 25, 2013