danse macabre , The swanlake , The Four Seasons : they are classicalmelodies that almost everyone can whistle along. Legendary music that has notbeen forgotten after centuries. But will classical music still be made in2022? And can these composers compete with names such as Beethoven, Mozart andBach?
By Danja Koeleman
“Mozart was actually one of the first freelancers in music,” says CarineLacor. The NPO Radio 4 DJ presented the Classical Top 400 last week, and sothe symphonies of famous composers such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky and AndrewLloyd Webber blared the air all day long.
“He organized concerts where non-aristocrats were also welcome and was one ofthe first not to be permanently employed by a court or king. His popularityfluctuated and it was not a big deal in terms of money – just like it is nowthe case for musicians and composers. But that he made something really goodhas proven itself: we still listen to it centuries later.”
Dominic Seldis knows why. “Classical music is the basis of all music,” saysthe British double bassist who works with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestraand is a jury member of the conducting competition Maestro. “Elton John,Lady Gaga: name any great artist and chances are they’ve studied classicalmusic. A good pop song can’t be written without going back to basics.”
The pop and classical worlds copy and inspire each other, says Lacor. “Theinfluence of classical music in the ‘contemporary world’ is noticeableeverywhere. Violinists performing at the modern electronic dance party ADE, anorchestra that plays at Lowlands: it happens regularly. That can really be away to discover the genre. “
Carine Lacor presents De Muziekfabriek on NPO Radio 4, in which youngclassical talent can be heard.
‘Classical music can feel like the hand of God’
And although we still like to go back to old classical music, there is stillplenty of new classical music being made. Just think of film music, such asthe Lord of the Rings -soundtrack. Or the popular study playlists onSpotify. The piano music of the Italian Ludovico Einaudi (66) has a prominentplace in it. “This neoclassical music is relaxing, moves quite quickly andcertain melodies are recognizable and therefore addictive,” says Lacor.
People discover other classical music through such a playlist, explains theradio DJ. “From Enaudi they then go to Chopin and Beethoven: an unbelievablerichness that reveals itself to you.”
Seldis also believes that classical music can bring a lot. “Classical musictransports you to another place and manages to change your mood like no other.That can really be a religious experience. It can feel like the hand of God -without having to believe in a higher power. “
Classical music is often associated with a somewhat older target group. Nocoincidence, says Seldis. “When you are a bit older, you have your life inorder, you can think: what now? Then classical music comes into play, becauseit can provide answers to such questions. The music provides an inner peace toput things in a place. to give.”
Dominic Seldis at the shooting of Maestro.
‘A lot of classical music today is bad’
“People often think: classical music, pooh. I don’t know anything about that,so I don’t start there,” notes Lacor. “But the genre is very broad. So thereis a good chance that you will come across something that you find beautiful.There are very catchy melodies, cheerful baroque, sultry romanticism, but alsoalmost elusive music that you really have to sit down for. And also songs ofgreat rest and relaxation, such as the one Enaudi makes.”
Lacor also mentions 29-year-old Mathilde Wantenaar. “A young woman whoreceives assignment after assignment, writes for ensembles and orchestras andstormed into the Classical Top 400 this year with her night music. Mostpeople don’t have that in mind when they think of classical music.”
Seldis is not very enthusiastic about these artists. “I play a lot ofcontemporary classical music in the orchestra, also by contemporary artists,but most of it is pretty bad. I think Stravinsky (1882-1971) was the lastcomposer to make really good music. But also not everything Mozart made wasgreat. In fact, the majority were pretty bad or boring.”
Even though Seldis is not very enthusiastic about contemporary classicalmusic, he still thinks it is important to keep playing that work. “They arepeople who have devoted their lives to writing classical music. They will notbe discovered if their music is not played. Mozart was not equallyappreciated. And who knows, maybe one day we will find the new Mahler.”