Inviting newbies to sample classical music in London

Posted on: November 4, 2015

“Much of the most beautiful music I know swoops, tumbles and toots out of classical instruments,” writes Mark Beaumont in Monday’s (11/2) Guardian (London). “But classical music? Not so much. I feel I was programmed to be bored by it.… Age refines, though.… The time was right for Sound Unbound, an entry-level classical festival of short, gig-like concerts [at London’s Barbican Centre]…. The programme is welcoming—each 40-minute show is colour-coded: green for the ‘adventurer,’ yellow for the ‘thrillseeker,’ blue for the ‘trendsetter’ and so on, like a Crystal Maze for repentant philistines. I dive in at the deep end: a concert by the Academy of Ancient Music called Elemental: Storms, Chaos and Fireworks…. Jean-Féry Rebel’s La Cahos (Chaos) … is a bit quiet for a Big Bang…. Yet the elements collide with a pleasing symmetry—the violins are fire, the bass earth, a baroque piccolo air and the woodwind water—and the set continues in a tumultuous tone…. These are stirring and evocative pieces…. James Rhodes sits alone on a spotlit stool playing staggering Greek tragedies of music from Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninov; elegies, mood swings and mournful fits that sweeps me away as thoroughly as any Rufus Wainwright cover of ‘Hallelujah.’ A classical convert? Possibly.”

Posted November 4, 2015