While I’m happy to trek up spiral staircases in gothic towns while on holiday, it’ll usually take a wedding (or worse) to get me into a place of worship.
In fact, the only place I’m less likely to end up is a classical music event. Oddly enough, the two things coincided the other night. A string ensemble were billed as playing music inspired by the Caribbean. There we were in a church with a string quintet due on. The supposedly West Indies-inspired ‘tunes’ kicked off with something more akin to Brahms or Bach.
Things picked up with their second piece, that was where things got really interesting. A guest soprano arrived, and the strings shifted into full ‘experimental’ mode. Of course, the lines between all musical genres can be pretty blurred. Prog has always had a relationship with classical music, with Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin et al employing orchestras, and The Who writing arguably the first rock opera.
And there’s one of my favourite singers, Peter Hammill, who wrote an opera with Erasure’s Andy Bell. But for the listener, maybe classical music is something that happens once the guitars are packed away – replaced with comfy slippers and The Proms. All that said, you never saw David Bowie doing an orchestral album...