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Lounge Ligeti

Ariane Todes probes some new rules for listening to classical music

Thursday, 03 November 2011

Is there any better way to listen to Ligeti, Berio, Webern and Reich than in an East London bar lounge with a glass (or two) of wine? I've just spent an enjoyable evening at the Nonclassical club held in Hoxton's Troy Bar and can heartily recommend the experience.

Tough choices though. To watch the clarinettist's face when you're three feet away, in his sightline, or stare blandly into space so as not to distract him? To glare at the guys at the next table who are chatting through the Ligeti Quartet no.1 when the whole point is for people to feel comfortable and at home? Is it acceptable to boogie subtly under the table through Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint? When is the best time to take a sip of wine - when you feel like it or when the music is loud enough for no one to notice? Is it ok to observe other members of the audience or is that rude?

As far as I can tell the etiquette is unchartered. And none of these issues would come up in the context of a concert hall. And that's exactly why the concept of playing contemporary classical music in a bar works. It's a breath of fresh air.
Give it a go: www.nonclassical.co.uk.

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