Christian Lindberg: My initial reaction to Eminem was coloured by the things that were written about him, particularly in the American press � that he was a racist, a Nazi, that he was homophobic.
I have always been a little attracted to hip-hop, but I found it difficult to get past the attitude, and to understand the language. I remember when the Beatles started out � as a six-year-old, I was completely won over, but my parents couldn�t understand it at all. My generation finds it difficult to relate to hip-hop; it is a movement that belongs primarily to our children.
But Eminem�s single Cleaning Out My Closet finally made me understand. I was travelling a lot at the time, and it was always on MTV. The 15th time I heard it I began to listen �under� the music and I started to realise just how fantastic the lyrics were. The song relates closely to the video, which sees Eminem travelling back in time to relive his awful childhood experiences. As in many of his songs, there is a strong and well-constructed narrative; he really is a very clever writer.
He can be playful, too, and My Name Is reminds me of the Beatles� wonderful song Maxwell�s Silver Hammer. They both have a great, cartoony sense of humour and a strong satirical streak.
I thought Eminem�s movie 8 Mile was going to be little more than an exercise in self-promotion, but I went to see it with my two sons and we all loved it. He has a great sense of drama, he�s intelligent and provocative, but above all he is someone who communicates. It�s an irony that he is so frequently misunderstood. There are clearly people out there who want to silence him and I think that�s because his lyrics are so true and revealing of American society.
To those people who think that Eminem�s songs are not music, I would tell them to listen to Just Don�t Give a F***. John Cage showed people that music can be silence or the sound of the ocean. The sounds in the opening of this song demonstrate that principle perfectly � I�m sure John would love it! If this is not music, then neither is the output of Steve Reich or Terry Riley or any of those minimalist composers.
The rhythm makes rap a complex musical form. For example, in the chorus of Lose Yourself, the word �music� comes on the off-beat. This is incredibly beautiful. These are the details that make Eminem�s songs special.
I have premiered about 80 trombone concertos, and there are only four or five composers of whom I can say, �No one else could have written this�. But that�s what it�s like with Eminem. He puts a personal stamp on everything he does. So many people in the classical music world look down on Eminem and his peers, but let�s state it once and for all: hip-hop is an art form.
Christian Lindberg (professional trombone soloist) performs Solo by Luciano Berio at the Royal Festival Hall, London SE1, on April 20