Chief classical critic Richard Morrison in immediately’s Instances leaps to the defence of the BBC, which the Guardian accused in an editorial of dumbing down and poshing up the Proms.
…it’s exhausting to really feel something however dismay on the nameless editorial revealed final Thursday, and the butt of social-media scorn ever since. Headlined “The Guardian view on classical music”, it trashes virtually each present manifestation of the artform. The Proms are apparently “a magnet for conspicuous consumption” for wealthy individuals, offering “standing experiences that can convey bragging rights with fellow have-yachts”. Classical music is lambasted for “rejecting innovation”, its audiences unwilling to “expose themselves to the shock of the brand new”. Oh, and there’s the compulsory dismissal of “Beethoven and different useless white males”.
What lies behind the summer time tiff is extra than simply an rebellion of Guardian Corbynistas towards a Blairite BBC whose classical boss and his radio chief as soon as loyally served a Labour Authorities.
The background is a bit more attention-grabbing. Underneath its earlier editor Alan Rusbridger, a succesful pianist, the Guardian was the go-to paper for classical information and views. Since his retirement to an Oxford sinecure, the paper has relegated classical music to roughly the identical diploma of consideration it accords to classical archaeology. Though it nonetheless employs a classical music editor, it has been aeons because the Guardian final broke a music story or ran an eye catching characteristic or interview. The paper has no chief critic and a diminished classical profile.
Againist this backdrop of decline, it’s comprehensible that the paper ought to publish an uncomprehending editorial decrying the falling requirements for classical music on the BBC.
Which isn’t to say the editorial is completely unsuitable. The BBC has dumbed down horribly in a futile pursuit of younger listeners for Radio three, which has misplaced a fifth of its viewers in two years. It has franchised the Proms to all types of BBC-brand sights and it’s changing educated presenters with unimpartial performers. The BBC, just like the Guardian, has drifted approach astray. The Guardian, then again, has no ethical floor from which to assault it.
This can be a skirmish at sea between two sinking skiffs.
It has in all probability gained the Guardian extra classical readers than it has seen all 12 months.