Monday, February 03, 2003
The ever uneasy marriage of classical and rock music. Primarily about Jon Lord from Deep Purple—or rather late of Deep Purple; I didn't realise he'd actually left the band until I read the article—who's visiting with his old Concerto for Group and Orchestra.
Whether flashing tastefully sequined capes or regurgitating chicken blood, it's a little surprising that celebrants of classical-rock marriages still meet with such prejudices from both sides of the family. "Who does he think he is?" was the implicit reaction to Elvis Costello's '90s collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet. David Byrne's The Forest was stickered with the industry equivalent of a Surgeon General's warning: "Warner's wants you to know this album contains orchestral music." It's almost as if the act of hauling an amplifier on to the same podium as a string section is some kind of offence against good taste.
Lord's weary tone suggests he's heard this tune before. "But you know," he sighs, "I cannot subscribe to that. I can only subscribe to the - how can I put this best? - if the hearts and minds of the people involved are genuine and if what they really want to do is to make music that can uplift and entertain, then there's no reason why cross-genre mixing shouldn't work.
"I think the intent has to be right. If you just want to do it to make a simple rock song sound bigger, then take four synthesiser players on stage with you. But if you've written a piece of music that you feel can show the dichotomy, the difference between us, which is what I tried to do with the Concerto, I think that's something worth pursuing."