Critic: Analyzing David Bowie’s music on classical concert stages

Posted on: August 18, 2016

In Monday’s (8/14) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes that at this summer’s BBC Proms in London, artists “gathered to form what was called the Stargaze ensemble to discover … ‘another side of David Bowie.’ … More than ever, there’s a place for the likes of Bowie in the classical music ecosystem. Borders are blurred as never before… The question is whether disassembled, reimagined, and reconstituted Bowie may offer hidden treasures. The one instance of that at the Proms was in the song ‘Always Crashing in the Same Car,’ achieved by … composer David Lang and operatic countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.… The beat is dissolved, the tempo is slowed, and the accompaniment is extremely spare…. [The song] becomes a lament that goes deeper into existential redundancy…. An elusive model for classical status might be found in Philip Glass’ 1992 Low Symphony. Bowie’s album Low, which is full of textures of orchestral magnitude, is credited as the inspiration.” U.S. orchestras that have performed concerts of Bowie’s music include the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, and the Atlanta, Houston, and Indianapolis symphonies; additional orchestras have announced plans for Bowie concerts in the 2016-17 season. 

Posted August 18, 2016