But when people talk about making classical music accessible what they often or mostly mean is making it acceptable to people who listen only to popular music and have no real interest in classical music. This is the kind of "accessible" that appeals to record companies looking to improve their bottom lines. If you can get a group of classical musicians to demean themselves, both musically and personally, in just the right way, you might be able to get big sales numbers while still paying them a pittance! It's a win/win! Yahoo!
As a case in point I offer this music video that is almost a caricature of the process. It begins with one of those boring classical music lessons where the teacher stifles the inherent creativity of the young artists:
Later on, dashing out into freedom, they end up in a rave, admired by zillions, strumming away, holding the bow in the teeth like a kind of really bad-tasting rose. The amusing bit is the last part of the video where we see the artists in their dotage, playing a "classical" version of the tune with counterpoint and everything. But the rock-n-roll soon returns and the whole old folk's home responds with gaiety and abandon. Rock Rules! At All Ages!
This isn't popularizing classical music, this is exploiting prejudice and misunderstanding about classical music to sell records of pop music. If it sounds like rock-n-roll (ok, folk-rock) it is rock-n-roll, even if played on cellos. What this is actually popularizing is anti-classical music; it is popularizing hatred of classical music as embodied in two elements. First is the condemning music teacher in the first section. The message is that disciplined music lessons and the wisdom of adults are both wrong and worthless. I hope that the guy who taught these brats files suit against them! The other element is the end where it is shown that the only people to appreciate classical-sounding music are people in an old folk's home.
And this is why I am, as a rule, against this kind of crap. It is worse than useless, it encourages grotesque prejudices.
Really making classical music accessible involves a rather different approach, don't you think? It would require making private music lessons available at subsidized rates for those interested and having the necessary aptitude. It involves creative programming for symphony and chamber music series. But "creative" does not mean trying to pass off popular music as classical, it means finding attractive classical music performed in a winning manner. You might also explore some new venues for performances other than the conventional concert hall. There are lots of people successfully attracting audiences doing these things.
As an antidote to 2CELLOS, how about some real classical music for cello? This is Mstislav Rostropovich playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española:
UPDATE: And if you want something funky and four minutes long, how about the second movement of the Symphony No. 10 by Shostakovich. Sorry, the first clip was bad for some reason. Here is a different clip of the same movement conducted by Dudamel: