Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

Looking beyond classical music September 26, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Impact — concerttuning @ 6:57 pm
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I have come to the realisation that before I started my Gold Arts Award, my listening habits were very restrictive. I have since  started to listen to a broader range of music.

I grew up choosing to listen to classical music because it was the type of music that I was playing and I also wanted to learn about it. However, this was to the detriment of listening to pop, folk, world, jazz, rock etc.

Attending some alternative concerts, has showed me that not only do I enjoy listening to non-classical music but it is a vital way to invigorate concerts and classical music. See my reviews about jazz and folk at the BBC Proms.

Subsequently, I have started to expand my CD collection.

  • It all started when I went to Exhibition Music Day. There was a large selection of music from all styles and nationalities to sample for free. As well as buying Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal’s CD after hearing them in concert (which I reviewed here), I also very unusually for myself, bought an album by a singer who I heard do an acoustic set at the French Institute. I liked her innocence and simplicity. It reminded me that music does not have to be complex to have an impact. The album is called ‘Inside Over Here’ by Rozi Plain.

  • I went to Budapest this Summer and heard some Gypsy music at the Chain Bridge Festival. Coming back to England, I bought some Hungarian Gypsy music by Ferenc Santa and his Gypsy Band as well as a CD by Andras Farkas. I found it a little difficult to listen to at first as the the busy texture sounded chaotic to my ears. However, they have become favourite albums to accompany a morning jog and I’m slowing becoming accustom to the numerous musical lines in the accompaniment.


  • I went into my local charity shops and browsed the CD rack. I tried to pick something I would not usual listen to so I bought an album called, ‘Classic Canadian Songs from Smithsonian Folkways‘. It is certainly different! I never knew that Canada had a particular style of music, so at least I am still learning. Admittedly, I also came away with one classical CD, ‘Angelina Ballerina presents Classic Ballet Favourites‘. It has a simple explanation before each piece introducing the story of the ballet or encouraging the listener to dance along to the music.


  • My latest purchase was found in a second hand CD shop down the back of Waterloo Station. I avoided the classical music section, but instead headed to the jazz section downstairs. Again, I randomly picked something I had not heard of before, this time, ‘El Condor Pasa: Los Kenacos & Los Indios‘. It’s traditional music from South America and one my first listening latched onto the repeated musical motifs.

One Response to “Looking beyond classical music”

  1. Adam Says:

    Hi, long time no speak!

    I came across your blog the other day, and I just wanted to say that I really support what you’re doing. Many times have I gone excitedly to a classical concert, only to discover that I was the only person there under the age of 50. I would look around at the audience, in all their grey-haired splendour, and suddenly feel very out of place. I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. The classical concert format has long been outdated, so I’m glad there are people out there working on ways to bring it to life again, and it seems like a fun & interesting thing to be doing too.

    I’m pleased to hear you’re expanding your musical horizons to include jazz, world etc. and I like the idea of buying random records from second-hand stores, you never know when you might unearth an absolute gem that no-one else has heard of. Enjoy those little shops while they last though, they won’t be around for much longer. It’s all about mp3’s these days, but even they’re being superceded by things like we7 and spotify – noone actually owns music anymore, it just floats around in the digital ether. Speaking of which, check out my website!

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