Thursday, October 19, 2006

Seasons of mist, mellow fruitfulness and melancholy…

This week sees the first English Music Festival, which is being held over four days in Oxfordshire. The creation of enthusiast Em Marshall, it promises to be a wonderful and much-needed event. But, as Rod Liddle writes in today’s Spectator, the problems encountered by Ms Marshall in getting funding from companies seem to have been horrendous; overall, it would appear that with their nailed-on PC sensibilities, corporations have been nervous of the festival appearing too elitist and/or reactionary.

Of course if it shows signs of becoming popular, there’s no doubt that these companies will eventually jump on the bandwagon. In the meantime, Ms Marshall should be congratulated for working so hard to achieve something obviously born of a labour of love.

In his article Liddle is however mistaken about one thing when he talks of English classical music’s reputation as being fogeyish, musty and distinctly Daily Telegraph. In fact it has enjoyed an enormous revival in recent years, and names such as Elgar and Vaughn Williams regularly feature on Classic FM’s lists of most popular composers. Classic FM is listened to by some six million people, many of whom are ordinary working people who wouldn’t necessarily know a pot of gentleman’s relish from a tin of shoe polish, but who are instinctively drawn by a kind of tribal memory to the qualities in this music.

by Peter Whittle



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