Star Search Gets Bloody

In today’s Guardian, conductor Hilary Davan Wetton joins the pack in slagging off the BBC’s Classical Star program. He doesn’t say much that hasn’t been pointed out elsewhere and the concert listing at the end makes even the most liberal dispenser of doubt-related benefits a wee bit suspicious.

The most notable bit of the whole article is this delicious missile launched from the comments section in the direction of Classical Star judge Matthew Barley.

Those that can, do – those that can’t, marry Russian violinists, extort money from well-intentioned but hopelessly deluded arts organizations and look like a sap on BBC2


The arguments against Classical Star are exactly the same as those against X-Factor et al except, conveniently for art music fundies, there is the added benefit of being on the moral high ground. This is something that is generally absent from the pop music scene, where the debate tends to centre on likes and dislikes rather than the genre’s more transcendent properties. At least, it has whenever Miss Mussel has been involved.

It is doubtful that anyone involved in this show actually thinks the winner will make a lasting impression on the classical music world. Realistically speaking, what teenager does? One thing is for certain, the concept and its execution has created a lot of hubbub. Perhaps we should just take one for the team here and say that no press is bad press.

After all, it’s not as if the RCM is going to shut down in favour of the Pop Idol format. Almost all musicians will continue to be trained in the traditional way and a great many of them will abandon full time playing for other employment and have happy and fulfilling lives.

Maybe the two aren’t so different.

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