Stop us if you’ve heard this one before but if Mozart were alive today, there’s little doubt he’d be composing for mass media. Yet, for reasons one suspects of little more than arch snobbery, you’ll never get a composer for film or TV to appear as a legitimate composer at the Proms – they’ll only ever be a curiosity or special events beyond the normal programme. Though his extraordinary output was significantly north of 400 film and television scores, Ennio Morricone also composed more than 100 purely classical works, all of which he was immensely proud of. You will never hear anyone calling Morricone a composer in the same breath as Debussy or Beethoven. Why?
Rael Jones has recently released his latest classical work, Mother Echo, ten tracks for piano and string quartet dedicated to the life of his mother who passed away five years ago. It’s delicate, exquisitely played and profoundly moving but there’s a problem – Rael is also a composer for film and TV.
Rael was one of the few breakout stars of the pandemic, somewhat vicariously, composing the music to Netflix smash, Harlots. He also has titles such as Salisbury Poisonings and My Cousin Rachel as well as having worked on documentaries for the likes of Oasis and Coldplay all of which seems to have spooked the classical horses. Though Rael’s previous solely classical release, Mandrake, received excellent reviews, it appears not to have sent worthy classical publications and websites scurrying to hail him as the UK’s next great talent. What is wrong with people?
In so many ways, music has come a long way in recent years – blues opened its doors first to artists beyond the expected; country went a step further by allowing itself to be rebranded Americana; even folk…FOLK, the most staid, immovable genre of them all allowed its tents to be adapted and explored. But classical continues to dig in its heels, refusing entry to any but the black bow-tie brigade. Ultimately, their loss is everyone’s loss.
If you’re open-minded (ie normal) check out Rael Jones below.