Alastair Scott wrote:
>I find the US notion of "subscription series" peculiar, even pernicious;
>to me it would encourage mechanically signing up year after year and
>expecting to receive the same "product" in return. (I wonder how many
>people continue to receive magazines they don't really want because they
>can't be bothered to cancel, for example).
>Here there is not the same routine, apart from the odd "two concerts for
>the price of one" offer and similar, so orchestras, for better or worse,
>have to fight for every performance, aided and abetted by considerable
>competition between them in London in particular; granted, this still
>leads to too many Beethoven/Brahms/Dvorak/Mozart symphonies being turned
>out like sausages, but they are usually seasoned by something a bit more
The Barbican, The South Bank Centre, The Wigmore Hall, ENO and Covent
Garden all do series, also CBSO and Opera North. Even individual
orchestras do them, too. That's all the big venues. So it's news that
it's "peculiar or pernicious" in the UK. In fact the contrary is true.
The kind of people who have the commitment and money to do subscription
series tend to be those who "do" know something about music. These are
the people who go to so much that they do seek out more unusual things.
They are the ones prepared to support the sponsorship of otherwise
uncommercial repertoire. Venues and musicians benefit tremendously
because they get a steady income, and t. And so do patrons, who will
go to something extra if it comes as part of a series.
As for American and new music, it's not unknown - the Proms under Slatkin
specialised in it for several years. Even the venerable 330 year old
Three Choirs Festival featured lots of Ives last year.
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