Thomas Fortmann -
'Thomas Fortmann has achieved what repeatedly eludes others ...'
Performer/composers who cross the divide separating pop music from classical are a rare, and typically flawed breed.
In reality they should have little or nothing in common with those who dabble in 'crossover' which is typically neither fish nor fowl.
Among those who have aspired to create something 'classical' the better known include Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. In 1993 Costello (Declan MacManus, born 1954) teamed with the Brodsky Quartet in twenty art songs titled The Juliet Letters (Warner Records). He promptly returned to his rock roots.
Several 'classical' experiments followed and most recently Costello was commissioned to write a chamber opera (The Secret Songs) for the Danish Royal Opera, Copenhagen; its subject -- Hans Christian Andersen's infatuation with Swedish soprano Jenny Lind.
In the event Costello missed repeated deadlines and as a result excerpts from the projected opera were separated by songs from The Juliet Letters at a March 2007 performance in the Opera's studio theatre (Takelloftet). Sine Bundgaard was cast as Lind and Kasper Bech Holten directed.
McCartney's first wholehearted shot at classical music was the quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio (1991), a joint composition with Carl Davis. It premièred in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, with its US launch at Carnegie Hall ( November 1991).
Copyright © 24 January 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand