Two pretty unmissable events coming up in London:
THE RITE OF SPRING PROJECT, Frank’s Café, Peckham
On SATURDAY JULY 23RD, at a totally unique multi-storey car-park roof-top bar-venue in Peckham, there’s going to be a free, full-scale performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The project is being put on in association with Nonclassical and resident group Bold Tendencies, and promises to be absolutely amazing. I can’t think of a better piece to suit this kind of venture – a fantastic opportunity to reach out to a whole new audience, clearly abetted by a day of free educational workshops which will precede the event.
The Stravinsky will be followed by a DJ set by Gabriel Prokofiev, whose participation in this project is – I believe – a very positive thing. He does so much on a regular basis, but I do feel like a few irregular, larger projects like this could really draw more attention to his smaller-scale events, and start to pull in the uninitiated audiences who might really enjoy the Nonclassical experience. Hopefully, with a broad enough audience in attendance and a really creative use of the space, this event can prove that alternative performance approaches – even resolutely cool ones like this – go far further than mere gimmicks, but can help reinterpret a well-known work, whilst also demonstrating that effective classical performance needn’t rely on those values that are embodied within the concert hall culture.
GO SEE THE EVENT’S OWN PRIVATE TUMBLR HERE —— > *********
and keep up with nonclassical’s coverage of the event here ——-> **********
Saturday 23rd July, 8pm, Free Entry – but remember to book on the Bold Tendencies website nevertheless…
… AND …
YELLOW LOUNGE, London Bridge
Only three days earlier, London inherits a new classical clubnight, already firmly established as a regular fixture in Berlin and popping up sporadically all across Europe. Yellow Lounge is coming to London for its first night on WEDNESDAY JULY 20TH, and taking residence under an archway in the Bermondsey Street Tunnel, London Bridge. As well as boasting a relaxed atmosphere, bar, cool lighting and amplified live performances, Yellow Lounge should stand out from amongst London’s pre-existing classical nights by its DJs’ shared practice of playing straight extracts of well-known classical pieces as part of each set. An intriguing, if irritatingly skeptical, article introducing the night in the Evening Standard last week (which you can read —–> HERE <—– which you can read) described this as playing out ‘bleeding chunks’, and I’m particularly interested in how this potentially unsubtle approach to the idea of ‘classical clubbing’ might function. Also they have VJs, so… awesome!
The Evening Standard article itself (by Igor Toronyi-Lalic), while attempting to introduce as a novelty the concept of classical performance in an informal, trendy venue, carries some quite ugly traces of assumptions around how classical music ‘should’ be approached.
‘…A note of caution. In this desperate seeking of new audiences, classical music should not lose sight of its assets. Its exclusivity – the way extraordinary classical performers seem to hail from beyond the stars – is alluring. Its technical quality is breathtaking. Its ways are complex – no turn-off to the postmodern generation. It should hold its head up high and not sell itself short.’
This idea about classical music not ‘selling itself short’, or – as some might have it – ‘dumbing down’, continues to be a very misplaced and suspicious one. I genuinely don’t think that a venture of this sort could ever risk ‘under-representing’ classical music, to the extent that Classic FM has potentially been doing for years and years. Obviously, I don’t really have a problem with Classic FM either, but I think advice like this – which thinks that it’s focusing on ‘the music itself’ – tends to get confused about where ‘the music’ stops and where every other aspect of the performance experience begins. One of the greatest assets of the extant classical clubnights, and hopefully one that Yellow Lounge will share, is that it foregrounds the music, and the performance, at the expense of any extraneous cultural connotations or rituals. I would hope that ‘its exclusivity’ would be viewed by most as belonging to the latter category, and not constituting an essential quality of the music, for which it should ‘hold its head up high’.
Read that article HERE and…
View the Yellow Lounge website, with its weirdly exciting countdown clock and weirdly overlong trailer video HERE HERE HERE
Wednesday 20th July, doors 7pm, live acts: Danielle de Niese (soprano) and Miloš Karadaglić (guitar), £6 on the door (or ‘Like’ on Facebook for free entry, allegedly)
PS the Yellow Lounge slogan is: ‘Use Your Ears As Eyes’… … …