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The Rambler :: blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Warp records/London Sinfonietta reviews 

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[See an earlier post for details of the event itself]

Tom Service in the Guardian didn't think much of it. Richard Morrison in the Times got more out of it. However, it should be noted that Morrison seems to be coming at the concert from the point of view of a wide-eyed newcomer who doesn't know much Warp ["Warp Records, a pop-music label that promotes mavericks operating at the cutting edge of electronic music"], or indeed been to many Sinfonietta concerts ["London Sinfonietta concerts are worthy but austere occasions: dutiful parades of cerebral contemporary music performed to a smattering of cognoscenti"], or even seen much Steve Reich performed before ["It was as thrilling to watch the percussionists making their entries into Reich's Six Marimbas, for instance, as it was to hear the whirling metrical patterns diverging."]. At least, this is the impression he's happy giving - and this is the audience he's targetting his review at, one that is not at all familiar with any of the music performed. Whilst I share his delight that ensembles like the Sinfonietta are working hard to de-stultify the concert hall, as someone who wasn't at the gig itself, I'm more inclined to listen to what Service has to say about it. I know anyway that Tom has a pretty intelligent pair of ears on him anyway, but on top of this, his review is at least engaging with the events on stage (his description of Lidell's performance, for example, is much more revealing), and he's not tempted into the slightly patronising tone of Morrison's piece. In the end, Morrison, I think, undoes himself and falls into the all-too common trap of talking about contemporary music as some exotic oddity, rather than a pretty common component of cultural life, that thus contributes, in a small way, to its continued ghettoisation.


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