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No matter how voters decide - Classical Music's first steps into the digital world have already been impressively rewarded by the nomination of the Philharmonia Orchestra's April-Concert into the list of nominees for the title of BT's "Best Event or Performance". Or so it might seem.

England has been a safe-heaven for traditional Classical Music fans for some time now, as well as pushing the limits for all those, who would like their Mozart and Beethoven presented in an up-to-date fashion. British Telecom is now acknowledging this fact by allowing the Philharmonia to run alongside Live 8, pop star Natasha Bedingfield, Welsh rock sensation Stereophonics and bizarre quartet Society 1. In April, Esa Pekka-Salonen conducted a varied program of Wagner, Beethoven and more, which was aired live on the internet. This success, as executives and everyone involved insisted, clearly demonstrated the interest of a respectable audience in listening and watching Classical Music on the Internet. The smoothness of the broadcast also made it clear that the popular notion of Classical Music being something of a relict was simply just another cliche.

To be honest, we have our doubts. First of all, according to the official numbers, about 1.000 viewers watched the event online at the time (we're not counting those who downloaded the complete show or excerpts at a later date). Considering the prestigious nature of both conductor and orchestra, the marketing which was involved and the varied program which clearly catered to a wide audience, this was a disappointingly low number. Be sure that even low-key pop stars attract the same number for lesser occasions. And then there is another disturbing fact: British Telecom is not exactly a neutral player in this game. As a matter of fact, they sponsored the event themselves, in a bid to establish their firm as one of the leading telecoms companies of the future.

One can not erase the feeling that this nomination was in a way a final throw at making the event a true success. Which is a bit of a shame, as the great quality of both technology and music for the event should have sufficed to make it noteworthy. Now, there's a bitter taste to a superb concert - and a little white lie that is casting a shadow over Classical Music's aspirations to enter the Digital world.

Homepage: The Philharmonia
Homepage: BT Digital Music Awards


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