PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY The 1812


Generally speaking, for a wonderful journey in a 3 minute pop song to be truly wonderful the track, or rather pop song polemic, requires soaring vocals, dreamy beats and melodic gear-shifts that come soaked with a wide range of instruments. The 'history' of things like Eurovision, the successful disco record of the 1970's or the house hit of the 1980's and trance monster of 90's will always depend on those key ingredients. Pop records must come with these essential elements as part of their DNA. But where did those come from?

What makes a good pop record recalls the history of music. Or what we now define as "classical" music. The scores of Czerny, Chopin, Schubert, Mozart, Vivaldi, Verdi, Purcel, Bach, Beethoven, Salieri, Bizet, Handel, Donizetti, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Offenbach, Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Litz, Cavalli, Gluck, Spotini, Auber, Meyerbeer, Rossini, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini, Debussy, Ravel, Huljic and Bartok formulate for me the groundbreaking patterns and textures that determine the modern pop songs.


A more traditional version of the 1812 Overture

These composers wrote material that simply form the template to the modern pop songs we love to listen, dance and download today. However it is the usual state of affairs to divide and catagorise genres and label "pop" like stationary. Even new classical pieces of music are confined to their genre. As are those housed in the pop field. To me this sillyness. When I hear schlager anthems by the likes of Linda Bengtzing and Carola I am immediately reminded of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Tchaikovsky's anthemic 1812 has sprouted into new and amazing flower buds of the likes of Kylie's Spinning Around and Your Disco Needs You, every Motown/ Eurovision/schlager pop hyperbolic record that ever existed and in its most tender parts it moderates the synth pop slicks of Robyn, Prince and Goldfrapp. In other words, the 1812 overture is akin to listening to the sound of yesterday today. It has splintered, reproduced and magically created thousands of amazing 3 minute pop wonders. Yet the split between the two genres persists.


Well not quite! The girlband Bond collapsed the two forms in wonderfully shocking ways. Part of the separation is because those who truly love classical music ring-fence the genre. It takes its tea at the Savoy while us normal folk drink lattes at Starbucks. This saddens me immensely. Ok, so I studied music at school but I think when you realise that classical music spirals into our current pop scene and its speakerphones the borders are blown apart and everyone can enjoy the medium. In fact, it makes the listening experience of modern music far more enjoyable.

Anyway, the blowing apart of those borderlines was manifested by the girlband Bond: a string quartet based in the UK with members drawn from Australia aswell as Britain. Indeed, the title of their recent greatest hits was wonderfully called "Explosive". Naturally when they released their Cds the traditionalists rejected their output and sent them packing into pop charts. However I celebrate them. How I do adore troublemakers! More, they realised the bonds that deeply connect our current music trends to those musicians of our long-forgotten history and brought them to the fore with amazing intensity and brilliance.


Bond's controversial yet amazing performance of Viva (a reworking of Vivaldi's Four Seasons) at the Classical Brits

In doing so they also brought classical music to the mainstream. Indeed the two forms of music had long shunned each other much in the same way two family members refuse to speak to one another despite being related. Bond brought the two to the same table and managed to get them talking. Perhaps even sharing a sherry. More importantly, it was a table that all were invited to pull up a seat. No more ring-fence!

So without further ado, I beseech you take a little listen to 1812 by Tchaikovsky or any of those composers deemed "classical" listed above. Its like listening to a hundred great pop songs, cluttered and layered in one piece of music. And dressed in all its finery and beautiful gems ready to perform for us mere mortals and influencing music eternally.....eternally.

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