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Against all odds

img  Tobias

It is true: Concert audiences are getting older, Symphonic Orchestras are having a hard time making ends meet and Classical CDs are not selling as much as Michael Jackson albums (and Michael Jackson isn't even close to selling as much as he used to). But then again, nothing's going to come from nothing - the notion of a crisis of Classical music can only be dispelled by giving a positive example. That's why a message from Germany caught our fullest attention: Out of the blue, the country now has a third independent Classical Music Magazine!

Up to only a few months ago, readers had the choice between "Fono Forum", the nation's competent and trustworthy, albeit slightly stuffy journalistic institution and a plethora of give-away booklets, published by the major record companies, which lacked impartiality (or to be more precise: they mainly served to sell their distributor's products). Then came "Partituren", which focussed less on expert listeners and more on "interested amateurs" and had three convincing arguments: Good stories, great layout and a fresh style, far away from the somewhat academic "Fono-Forum"-flow. The current issue, for example, portraits a couple of prodigies and examins the "wonder child" phenomenon as such - Hillary Hahn (who will have nothing but contempt for being included in this article at all), Jewgeni Kissin and "sexy superstar" David Garrett will serve as examples.

And now, there's one more: "Klassik am Sonntag" (Classical Music on Sunday) is a free Internet-only publication offered by one of Germany's biggest newspapers, "Die Welt". The paper is known to be one of the leading service providers in Classical Music already - its articles have covered the most interesting and urgent issues of the scene with a remarkable accuracy (if not always truly in depth) and the corporation had already tentaively dabbled in the recorded music sector (a surprisingly exacting Waltz-collection is available through amazon and select record stores). With the new Mag, it has, in our humble opinion, surpassed the honourable "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" as the country's number one daily arts-dossier. The first issue offers a very short interview with Helene Grimaud, a slightly longer and quite enjoyable one with Anne-Sophie Mutter ("I believe Mozart is a space, which we can use to make the world a better place") and a great dialogue of the generations between Maxim Vengerov and his "brother" Mstislav Rostropowitch. Articles are short, but make for a nice passtime and Gabriela Montero's observations on the issue of improvisation are actually more than just entertaining. Once this content is made available in html (and therefore for bable-fishing or google translations), it will even become interesting for non-native speakers.

To accompany this move, there is now also a Web Blog by Axel Br├╝ggemann. Still pretty young and equipped with an extensive knowledge of the classical scene, a "slightly different" style of writing as well as a natural affinity for modern media, he should be the right person to bring Classics and Coolness together. The Blog covers everything from current CDs to Concert reports, as well as debates about hot topics and its readers have proven to be as critical as its author.

The only downside to the story is the concentration on already well-known names - don't these artists already receive enough attention as it is? But that's about the only thing we could complain about. In our opinion, a lot of people should take this as an example how to hook up more people with Classical Music - by stopping to complain and actually doing something. Nothing's going to come from nothing, after all.

Homepage: Klassik am Sonntag
Homepage: Web Blog by Axel Br├╝ggemann
Homepage: Partituren

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