Classical crossover dream collaborations

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Classical crossover dream collaborations

I was at a Silverplatters earlier (it replaced Tower Records :( )looking at cd's.  While selecting my purchases, I got to thinking about some musical  collaborations as a music fan that I would love to purchase.  Here's my first choice:  Jimmy Page and some violinist virtuoso like Hilary Hahn or Nigel Kennedy.  The music I would love to hear them collaborate on would be something along the lines of  Paganini's guitar/violin duos, Giuliani, or some newly composed work.  This idea sprang from reading an old  interview with Jimmy Page where he mentioned how he liked classical artists like Segovia and Julian Bream and the music they played.  Musicians may play in one genre like Rock, but that doesn't mean they are locked into that box.  I'm learning classical guitar, but sometimes play Irish folk music or the blues. 

In reading about a composer who died last year it was mentioned that Jimmy Page had requested him to write a concerto for electric guitar and orchestra. Too bad that concerto never was written, it would have been quite interesting to see and hear Jimmy Page on stage with the London Philarmonic or my home symphony orchestra.  Anyway, does anyone else have a collaboration in mind?

 

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

While nobody today - I would hope - would deny the guitar's serious classical credentials, this happy position is only the result of the dedicated advocacy of the likes of Segovia and Bream in the past century. A number of leading conservatoires only introduced guitar faculties relatively recently in their histories (though the same could of course be said of university faculties of English). A few years ago the superb young guitarist Xuefei Yang, talking to Gramophone about her disc '40 degrees north', indicated that in China the guitar is still struggling to be regarded as a serious instrument - hopefully something her advocacy of Chinese music for the guitar, not to mention her own profile, will help change. There was probably misplaced snobbery behind much of this - the instrument's use in folk and popular music perhaps - and doubtless the problems of projection it faced when performing in orchestral music didn't help before subtle amplification techniques were developed. But the flipside of all this is that the guitar's use in so many other genres of music - often built and played differently, but rarely more distant than a close cousin of the Spanish variety - means classical guitar repertoire and performers inform, and are admired by, more musicians from many other types of music than, probably, any other classical instrument. To Jimmy Page, you could add many others from the rock world, such as ex-Genesis player Steve Hackett who talked about this in Gramophone's pages a few years ago.

Which is all perhaps a little off-topic, or certainly a digression of sorts (though I'll happily take any opportunity to discuss the guitar here!). So to return to crossover - or, given the often negative connotations of that phrase these days, cross-genre collaborations perhaps - Nigel Kennedy, no stranger to defying pigeonholing, recorded an imaginative and enjoyable album with Stephen Duffy back in the '90s called 'Music in Colours'. And while I'm not sure what form it will take - ie, whether they're performing together or separately - cellist Natalie Clein and the Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield are working on a project later this Spring called Resonances, based around historic houses. I'll be reporting on it, so shall let you know.

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

RE: Home

I rather more believe in integration than Cross-over. Cross-over for me is when the sum of the parts give something that is worse than the parts itself. The Sprot-whipped cream-pickle syndrome... Last week's concert of the Northern Netherlands orchestra playing music from DJ Armin van Buuren fell in that category. The complete concert is still on-line so judge for yourself:

http://www.radio4.nl/page/programma/93

When there is more an integration, results are often better; think of Ades "Asyla", or Peter Schat's "To You". Also in popmusic there can be a subtle influence of classical music. What I like very much is how the ghost of Brahms is integrated in this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oz0Y28aW3g&fmt=18

And Vampire Weekend has been a regular guest on my mp3 player last weeks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XC2mqcMMGQ&fmt=18

Did he had Corelli on his I-pod?

Anyway, I love the result... Rather more than the umpth time Universal let's a classical star sing pop songs...

Greetings,

 

Rolf

Wouldn't Katherine Jenkins

Wouldn't Katherine Jenkins and Mariah Carey be exciting!!

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

Digressions are good!  The guitar takes a back seat in the classical world to the high marquee instruments such as the piano or violin, a reversal of it's role in popular culture.  While some major composers have written for the guitar-Bach with lute suites, Vivaldi guitar concertos, Boccherini guitar quintets, Schubert dances and guitar quartet, Mahler movement 4 of Symphony 7 with mandolins and guitar, most have ignored it.  However, the guitar is a great instrument to noodle on (my phrase for playing around).  That could be why many guitarists end up writing music.  The level of skill required to play classical music on the guitar is higher than simpler pop and folk music, but it's fun to learn. 

Oh, and returning to the topic at hand.  I heard on the radio today that Sting with the Royal Philharmonic concert orchestra is going to perform in my neck of the woods this Summer.  He follows in a long line of rock stars who played with Orchestras-Metallica and the San Francisco Orchestra, The Greatful Dead, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, etc.  Might have to catch that show, could be fun.

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

VivaGelato wrote:

Digressions are good!  The guitar takes a back seat in the classical world to the high marquee instruments such as the piano or violin, a reversal of it's role in popular culture.  While some major composers have written for the guitar-Bach with lute suites, Vivaldi guitar concertos, Boccherini guitar quintets, Schubert dances and guitar quartet, Mahler movement 4 of Symphony 7 with mandolins and guitar, most have ignored it.

And most guitar composers are, of course, in something of a niche area, which doesn't help matters. Though we could certainly add Britten to your list, with his Nocturnal after John Dowland. The irony of course is that one of the greatest of guitar composers - Fernando Sor - was very successful in his day for writing opera and ballet, almost all of which is entirely ignored today. If you like his music then do try to hear William Carter's new disc of Sor's early music on Linn. It's beautiful playing, but of added interest is that Carter plays without nails. Sor didn't play with nails either, but almost all players today do, due to changes in fashion and also due to the construction of the modern classical guitar, which has become a heavier-sounding, stronger and louder instrument - partly, to bring it full circle, because they can be so, now that everyone plays with nails.

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

The whole topic of fusion music is a fascinating one. First, there’s the challenge of linking the genres. Attempts from the ‘pop’ side tend to sound like Mantovani with a pulse (Days of Future Past, Moody Blues), from the classical side like your grandma trying to be cool (some of Tippett’s jazz/soul inflections). Then there’s the challenge faced by the performers, whether it’s Menuhin playing with Grappelli or Goodman tackling Neilsen, sometimes crossing over successfully, other times less so. Lastly, there’s the whole issue of audience acceptance. Do we want our _______ (insert your own favourite soloist or diva) slumming it, or our _________ (insert rock star) getting above his or her station? I await reaction to Renee Fleming’s forthcoming rock cd, which from the cuts I’ve heard, is pretty startling.

For my money, the most successful fusion attempts of the past forty years have come from Golijov on the classical side, Yes from the so-called rock school. A couple of years ago William Eddins, conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, called “Close to the Edge” one of the great tone poems of the last century. I tend to agree.

RE: Home

Another suggestion from me. One of the most fascinating and richly enjoyable collaboration projects of recent years is the Dowland Project on ECM. As they put it, it's "an attempt to re-discover the essence of renaissance song from the point of view of a modern performer", and draws together tenor John Potter with early musicians and jazz musicians. One could make a claim that it contains a strong truthfulness in terms of recreating the spirit of performing the music - as it meant to a performer then, so it means to one now. It certainly adds a new angle to any debate about authenticity, and it makes for beautiful listening. Their second disc explored English and Italian songs, the third Trouvère and Portuguese folksongs, among other things. If it intrigues you, there are more details at John Potter's website.

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

Hilary Hahn has already collaborated with folk-rock musician Josh Ritter: see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90185501 .

RE: Wouldn't Katherine Jenkins

NiklausVogel wrote:

BazzaRiley wrote:

Wouldn't Katherine Jenkins and Mariah Carey be exciting!!

I'd rather have Florence Foster Jenkins sings Wagner with the Portsmouth Sinfonia!

 

I do wish we could somehow 'recommend' posts on here :-)

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Classical crossover dream collaborations

Maybe you would prefer Liam Gallagher and Russell Watson!

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