What Christopher Nupen didn’t capture


I learned earlier today that classical music documentary maker Christopher Nupen had died.

Nupen is a big deal. He captured classical music artists on film at a point in time when they were regarded as relative rock stars. Search the internet and you’ll find black and white footage of Jacqueline du Pre and Daniel Barenboim and marvel at the joy found in endless candid moments. You might even wonder what changed between then and now. We celebrated them then. Why not now?

Nupen’s impact was in part secured by his modest delivery. Images were given priority. He was the master capturing behind the scenes footage. His scriptwriting was old school too: writing to pictures; show don’t tell. Given the team he surrounded himself with he might even be talked about as a creative leader too.

I posted earlier on Twitter and Facebook about his death. Got his death age wrong (by 2 years) and the original broadcast of his profile has on iPlayer wrong by 40. Minutes later, a corrective tweet is issued by one of his ‘creative producers’ at Allegro Films advising me of my errors.

Like it really matters THAT much. The man was brilliant. I enjoyed his work A Great Deal. But he’s dead now. Who’s really that offended that I got his age wrong or mistyped the date of his profile broadcast?

The classical music world really can be the snarky mean-spirited community it’s often criticised being. I used to defend it when others said so. Why bother now? Why do we now choose to overlook intent?