In Sunday’s (6/14) Toronto Star, John Terauds covers the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concerts at Roy Thomson Hall, led by Steven Reineke, with the Finnish group Rajaton, which will incorporate songs by ABBA. Terauds’s article, entitled “All-ABBA concert baffles classical and pop purists,” addresses the ongoing debate about crossover concerts by orchestra. “The TSO has been offering pops concerts for decades in an effort to get beyond the classical music-loving public and drag a fresh audience to its precincts. They’ve offered concerts featuring music from Star Trek films, video games, The Lord of the Rings. The original soundtracks were recorded by symphonic musicians, so why not try to bring the music to a live stage? It’s a crass, mercenary effort on the part of the symphony’s marketing department. Classical music lovers shake their heads as hard as pop purists at this crossover-ish sacrilege. But if it gets us singing together, where’s the harm? Maybe we can paraphrase some ABBA to make the point: ‘Gimme gimme gimme a song before midnight/ Won’t someone help me chase the shadows away.’”

Posted June 15, 2009