04. August 2007 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I believe that it is perfectly okay and even preferable to combine classical and popular music ON THE SAME PROGRAM.

-Jeffrey Reed

RTWT … and discuss?

It’s not so much that I’m opposed to mixing classical and popular. I’m opposed to mixing well written music with poorly written music.

But not only that. I just think programs have to make sense. Maybe what Maestro Green is talking about isn’t what immediately comes to my mind when I read his quote above. (My mind immediately worries that the programs will be titled with some witty titles. Perhaps like “Bach to the Future” or something, where we’ll hear a Bach work followed by music from the movie “Back to the Future”. I hope I’m wrong!)

I don’t do pops concerts any longer. Contrary to what some might think, they weren’t money makers. At least not for the groups I was in that tried to pull them off. But when I did pops concerts it was a rare piece of music that was quality. Well, aside from the Bernstein, Copland … you know … popular classical stuff.

Please know, though, that I like some popular music. I also like some hymns. I like Johnny Cash. Suzanne Vega. Beach Boys. (I could go on and on.) Do I want to go to hear, say, San Francisco Symphony play a symphony, Walk the Line, and For all the Saints on the same concert. Naw.

So I dunno. I don’t think I’d want to play a Prokofiev with one of the top 100 tunes out right now. But maybe I’m just clueless. I’ve been clueless many a time!

Wait! Yes, they are actually doing a Bach to the Future concert. Heh. How ’bout that?


  1. I agree with you, although in Arthur Fiedler’s day the pop music was a bit more conducive to the orchestral treatment (I think). I find musicians tend to think they are competent at almost all musical types, in spite of the evidence. Perhaps, delusional thinking, “pop music is simple ergo I can play it”, or “I am the world’s greatest (rock) guitarist, I can play anything”? One ends up with “neither fish nor fowl” or “the worst of two worlds”.

  2. Fiedler did do a lot of actual “classical” music, it’s true. His pops were, from what I understand, primarily about playing the popular classical music (while the audience sat at tables and ate and drank).

    I’m always quite embarrassed when we have to play pop tunes. I’ve actually never found anything difficult (it HAS been “simple”) … just horribly awful arrangements.