Monday, May 30, 2011

BRITs out!

We watched this year's Classical BRIT Awards - oops, sorry, the Classic BRIT Awards - last night, which is always good for a bout of head scratching. It is, of course, an industry shindig, so it makes for a fascinating clash of quantity and quality. We turned on during a performance from Les Misérables, and no, I don't mean Arthur Honegger's score for the 1934 film version. How much value you get out of the Classic BRIT Awards really depends on your definition of "classical" (or "classic"). For instance, how many self-respecting readers of Gramophone would be able to identify the four highly patriotic (or is it disrespectful?) women in the picture here? (Answers on a postcard please to "Nereffid's Identify A Photo Of The Group All Angels Competition".) Alternatively, how many self-respecting listeners to Classic FM would have been able to identify Manfred Eicher among the assembled guests? (It was pretty easy actually - the ECM table was placed in the far distance, sillhouetted against a cloudy dusk sky.)
Yes, a splendid event, capped by the Duchess of Cornwall and Virginia McKenna OBE accepting the posthumous award for John Barry OBE, before Dame Shirley Bassey sang one of his songs. We unlettered commoners looked on in awe. What else? Arvo Pärt won Composer of the Year, but he was trumped by Il Divo, who won Artist of the Decade. Katherine Jenkins showed that she's a little too nice to sing the Chanson bohème from Carmen. Ann-Sophie Mutter played the least Baroque-sounding Vivaldi ever. John Suchet called Eric Whitacre a cunt. André Rieu won something. I made up one of those. You know what, the most interesting portion of the night was when I turned the sound off and spent a few minutes telling Mrs Nereffid what happened in last week's The Shadow Line.
"Now. Call him now."
Jesus Christ.

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