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Very interesting Sunday piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer by David Patrick Stearns about a new phenomenon in classical music -- "pseudo-classical" singers and musicians seeking to be listed on the classical charts to get visibility. This is parallel to what's been going on in ballet now for some time (a modern dance choreographer on the way up, or wanting to be, gets a commission from a ballet company where his/her work has greater visibility and, in the dance instance, there's more money).

Pseudo-classical syrup for the soul

Classical crossover isn't a new category, but it's one that morphs more ceaselessly than any other, and appears to be going further afield from core classical than ever. Originally, the crossover chart was created for artists who fell through the cracks, like harpist-composer Andreas Vollenweider. Now, any disc is fair game if issued on a classical label, if featuring a classical artist (even in nonclassical repertoire), or if featuring a nonclassical artist taking a crack at the classics. Or, in the case of Groban, including a song or two by film composer Ennio Morricone, whose scores could appear on future crossover ch
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I personally think that any classical artist or group that pairs up with Celine Dion automatically loses his/her/its classical cred.

In my opinion, the step into the abyss happened when opera houses started to use amplification. Not only does this practice fabricate a number of "opera singers," who cannot produce the sound naturally, but it also habituates the audiences' ear to an amplified and limited sound. I think this is different than the somewhat airbrushed quality of modern-day recordings.

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I'm not familiar with Il Divo, but I thought the comments on musical styles in the 1950's were very interesting. The carefully callibrated work of people like Pat Boone would eventually be swept away by the onslaught of rock and roll -- I wonder if there's a "bad boy branch" of opera singers that could do the same thing here?

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