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Beethoven Remixed in St Ann’s Square

The RNCM stage a bizarre performance to celebrate their 40th anniversary

Written by . Published on June 20th 2013.

Beethoven Remixed in St Ann’s Square

SOMETHING particularly strange went down as twilight descended over St Ann’s Square last night.

Now putting these two forms together is abit like melting a nob of stilton onto an extra strong mint

At around 9.45pm an audacious and whimsical musical amalgamation took place beneath the frankly startled Richard Cobden statue by the Royal Exchange Theatre. It was a union of two genres of music that you wouldn’t exactly consider to be natural bedfellows – Classical and Drum'n'Bass.

St Ann's SquareSt Ann's Square

Now putting these two forms together is abit like melting a nob of stilton onto an extra strong mint, popping a spot of vinegar into your Horlicks, forcing the Duke of Edinburgh to council a room full of asylum seekers – they don’t go.

However, this is exactly what the Royal Northern College of Music did to celebrate their 40th anniversary and to promote the upcoming Ludwig van concert taking place at The Bridgewater Hall on the 28 June.

Timed to coincide with kick-out time at the Exchange Theatre, an audience of around 100 mostly befuddled onlookers gathered to watch this interactive guerrilla performance that included Beethoven’s ninth played by the RNCM’s own Leos Quartet, a projector screen, Microsoft Kinect technology, thumping speakers and a lone freestyle street dancer manipulating the music in that contemporary postmoderny dancey kind of way, you know…  in reaction to the compositional and presentational constraints of the archaic ideology of the traditional dance forms (see below)

Did it work? Well, I’m not entirely sure, the thumping drum’n’bass unfortunately drowned out most of the Quartet’s jovial playing of the ninth, while the lone dancer using the ‘revolutionary’ Kinect technology seemed a little solitary (and didn’t we get the Nintendo Wii nearly a decade ago?).

Having said that, the post-theatre crowd certainly enjoyed it (or was that complete puzzlement) and it was everything that a guerrilla PR stunt should be, different and ever so slightly ballsy. Juxtaposing the traditional classical against modern cut up bass samples and frequencies was certainly an effort to bring Beethoven into the C21.

But maybe Ludwig liked the late C18 and early C19, maybe he doesn’t want to be brought into the C21. I imagine he’d think (like the rest of us) that Dappy is quite the nob, although he’d probably have appreciated the modern hearing aid – Just saying.

Follow David Blake on Twitter here.

More information about what’s on at the RNCM here.

Tickets for the RNCM Bridgewater Hall performance of Beethoven on 28 June available here. £7-£17.

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