Andrej Babic, the composer of the Slovenian entry in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest has approached the EBU requesting that Quartissimo are allowed to perform live. The request was turned down as it is against the rules of the contest.
Ever since 1999, the year which saw the full application of a pre-recorded backing track, no instruments have been played live on Eurovision stage. Andrej Babic, composer of Love symphony, the mostly instrumental song which represents Slovenia in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, requested that an exception is made due the nature of the song.
Mr Babic bases his reasoning on the fact that more than two minutes out of the three of the duration of Love symphony are purely instrumental performed by Quartissimo, a string quartet comprising 2 violins, one viola and one cello. He, therefore, believes that since the instrumentalists play such a huge role in the song, they should be treated as vocalists and be allowed to perform live with amplified sound so that their performance becomes meaningful and their presence on stage justified.
Svante Stockselius, Eurovision Executive Supervisor replied that according to the EBU rule (Section Four: The Entries) which states that "Artists shall perform live on stage, accompanied by a recorded backing-track which contains no vocals of any kind or any vocal imitations." the Slovenian request cannot be accepted.
We asked Mr Babic whether he felt that a live performance of the quartet might help or harm Quartissimo's chances for a better show had the request been granted: "It would justify their appearance on the stage, they are not actors to pretend they play music, they are all academic string players who have never performed playback in their lives!" says Mr Babic. "I would like the orchestra to come back", he continued, "like Sanremo, they never quit having it, and still have modern songs!"
"We kind of expected our request to be turned down, because then all countries would want that, even if there would be only few seconds of instrumental solo (guitar for example)" states Andrej Babic, "but I thought it's reasonable to ask for it since we have more than a 2 minute purely instrumental part. I would like the profession to be brought back to the level they deserve because, the way it is you have only actors (in the sense that they only pretend to produce music) and dancers on the stage and…. it's song contest…where is the music? It's all recorded on the CD, and practically people who really play instruments are sitting at home, and the stage is only reserved for the show…" he concludes.