Why can’t Classic FM handle Jimi Hendrix? | Letters

The radio station’s rigid view of classical music is out of date, argues Meirion Bowen, while Frank Paice applauds Radio 3’s approach and Will Scott finds a link between the rock star and a musician from an earlier era

I don’t think I’m alone in being dismayed by the decision of Classic FM to prevent Nigel Kennedy from performing a tribute to Jimi Hendrix (Violinist Nigel Kennedy cancels concert after Classic FM stops Hendrix tribute, 20 September).

Their division of audiences for music into those who listen only to so-called classical and others only to jazz, rock and pop, is about 75 years out of date. In my own experience, I once conducted a performance of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, with the great jazz musician Henry Lowther as soloist.

Also, the former Beatles musician Sir Paul McCartney was so fascinated by the use of rap and reggae in Sir Michael Tippett’s last opera, New Year, that he asked to meet him. They got on like a house on fire. Artists and audiences who cross between styles are abundant these days. Classic FM’s herding of its listeners into different categories is insufferable. Not to mention its instruction for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons to be performed with a conductor, which just shows how remote they are from widespread international practice.
Meirion Bowen
London

• Let’s applaud Nigel Kennedy’s withdrawal from the Royal Albert Hall concert and his description of Classic FM as “jurassic”. By contrast, BBC Radio 3 is a creative medium, encouraging artists, commissioning new work and broadcasting good music of all genres. Its coverage of jazz, rock, pop and folk is very welcome.
Frank Paice
Norwich

• Re the row between Classic FM and Nigel Kennedy about Jimi Hendrix, do Classic FM not know that Jimi shared a street with Handel?
Will Scott
Worcester

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