CHARLES GRAHAM - Short-changed on classics

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IT looks like next month’s Olympic opening ceremony is going to be very different from anything we have seen at previous Games.

Nothing wrong with that. Endless flag-waving parades and surreal dances do wear thin after several decades.

No doubt the festivities will require equal amounts of military precision as their predecessors for this pastoral fantasy dreamt up by Danny Boyle (although I’ve already had one letter from an animal rights organisation complaining about his use of lifestock and the involvement of animals does add an extra dimension of unpredictability).

One hopes though that it will do our country justice by showing our mutlicultural side, laid-back nature, self-deprecation and all sorts of cultural stereotypes that make us British.

The other day was revealed a shortlist of some 80-plus pieces of music from which the event’s backing score will be drawn.

It was good to see Wigan’s own band The Verve represented with its chart-topping Bittersweet Symphony and it was inevitable that pop music was going to dominate.

But I do think it a bit sad that out of all those dozens of pieces up for selection only one - the ubiquitous Land of Hope and Glory by Elgar - can remotely be categorised as classical.

I know classical doesn’t have the mass appeal of chart hits, but if we are trying to encapsulate what Britishness is then history and serious art must have a place alongside recent popular culture.