Wednesday, 11 March 2020

COVID 19 and music - the implications ? Gürzenich Orchester Köln

When the world seems headed for lockdown - at least in places where COVID 19 is being taken seriously,  what are the implcations for classical music ?  Overall the economic impact will be huge and long term too.  This is not the time for inciting race hate nor for scoring politicsal points.  Viruses happen, and mutate all the time - we're all on a learning curve. So respect science, not ill-informed media hysteria. Unfortunately COVID 19  has come at a time when anti-science barbarism seems to be taking over from basic common sense, and not just in medicine, politics and environmental change.

To a great extent  lockdown, limiting exposure and self-quarantine does work, as has been proved. As long as the basic infrastructure  operates, such as health services, transport networks, supply chains, etc, the world will not collapse into chaotic violence. .And that means people co-operating and working together to achieve the best pssible balance.  In classical music circles, venues are being closed, concerts cancelled, musicians laid off, with all the knock-on effects that brings. Many orchestras and opera houses work to very slim profit margins and freelancers don't get a safety net. In China, where millions are staying home, there's been a boost in streaming and broadcast. This keeps musicians paid, and keeps organizations afloat for when things get better. Plus, millions sitting at home, bored witless, have something different to listen to. In a country like China, where music is valued, that has the potential to grow audiences better than the dumbed-down marketing practices we see elsewhere.

As ever the Gürzenich Orchester Köln is way ahead with innovation. They're livestreaming too. Sure it's expensive, but it keeps things going. Last night I listened to them live  , with Sylvain Cambreling conducting and Antoine Tamestit as soloist in Berlioz: Les franc-juges, Charles Ives Three Places in New England and the highlight, Berlioz Harold en Italie, which Tamestit has done numerous times -  its basic core violist repertoire, and a speciality of the Gürzenich Orchester Köln.  Cambreling's been around forever too, very much a known quality. Top star attractions and free of charge too !  Listen again on the orchestra's YT channel for the repeat. So we're stuck with COVID 19 but thanks to technology we're no longer trapped in small-town isolation. Everyone can listen in and show support!

No comments: