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I’ve just returned from a four-week singing tour of South America and Antarctica and was so inspired by the musical drive and passion they have over there which oozes from their very pores (I’m referring to South America obviously. The penguins haven’t yet discovered four-part harmony. That I know of…). Wherever you go, there’s music. Real ‘get up and dance’, ‘sit down and weep’, ‘ponder and reflect’ music that encompasses everything great about their culture whilst turning to the western traditions of classical music as well. Oh yes. Antonio Carlos Jobim (of Girl from Ipanema fame) was influenced by Debussy and Ravel; Astor Piazzolla (the tango man) was heavily inspired by Bach; and the ‘single most significant creative force in 20th century Brazilian art music’, Villa-Lobos, combined the classical tradition along with Brazilian folk culture. Open-minded, creative musicians who still have an enormous following transcending nationalities, cultures, and most importantly, age groups.
What’s this to do with a classical column you may wonder? Well it’s my mission to take down the elitist barriers surrounding classical music, make it much more accessible and, here’s the buzz word, ‘inclusive’. If we want to get a bigger audience we need to think along the lines of the South American composers – embrace all styles, be inspired by each other’s music and steer clear of exclusivity.
So how fab that on 18th March at 7.30pm in Snape Maltings, the Aldeburgh Music Club are doing just that with a feast of Carmina Burana along with Lambert’s The Rio Grande, a piece combining ‘jazzy syncopations, ragtime and Brazilian influences, harmonies and rhythms inspired by Duke Ellington, with a traditional English choral sound.’ (www.aldeburgh.club)
And if you’re continuing to search for musicians with a broadminded outlook, there’s another classical concert you simply have to go to this month – the highly acclaimed Aurora Orchestra are coming to The Apex on March 15th. Described in The Times as ‘the most bracing breath of fresh air to invigorate the British classical music scene in the past ten years’, they are a group of like-minded friends who want to share their love of music with new audiences. They believe ‘music has the power to change your life, whoever you are.’ Amen. Bravo. Can’t wait. It’s a great programme too. See you there! (www.auroraorchestra.com)