Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Language, and Music Marketing

And now even Alfredo Campoli is being billed as “Milestones of a Legend”. Classical music promotion goes resolutely dumbing-down; almost everyone from more than twenty years ago is now a “legend”. That is, those who are not “icons”. No matter that an icon is a graphic or pictorial representation (thus the Eiffel Tower for Paris, or the Statue of Liberty for New York). Suddenly Bronislaw Huberman or Glenn Gould become “icons”; representing what? We are all waiting for someone to be deemed an iconic legend. The time cannot now be far off. And no matter that the common definition of a legend is something like: “a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated”.

Sloppy language; sloppy marketing. Classical music (for want of a more accurate term) has always been a minority interest, and an interest that often intensifies with age. Comparatively few young people love classical music (even though most orchestras are full of excellent young players). Just as those who grow older tend to gravitate towards fine wines, so people who like music tend to gravitate towards the classics. From my distant youth, I recall very, very few of my contemporaries who took any interest in classical music. It is therefore difficult to comprehend why classical music marketing is increasingly targeting the young, with half-clad young women on CD covers vying with semi-shaven scowling young men. Popular music, and classical music, appeal to different sectors of the population, with popular music, quite logically, being far more popular than classical music. It always has been so, and always will be. Sell me a pianist, singer, violinist, or whatever because he or she is a superb musician. Not because she has pretty legs and a short skirt, or because he is a legendary icon.

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