Author Topic: When classical music radio's biggest fetishes and biggest fears collide!  (Read 297 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Not going to mention the station--I listen to them frequently and am glad they are around. Sometimes --especially at night--they play interesting and enjoyable pieces.

However, during the day it's clearly aimed at Mercedes Benz and Lexus dealerships and/or the Sunday brunch crowd, with typical programming:

- Five minutes of Telemann
- Five minutes of witty, gay banter
- A three minute piece of Spanish Guitar music
- Three minutes of witty, gay banter.
- A piece by St. John Williams (who was every bit as great as Wagner or Beethoven!!!--We're not snobs here!!!!!!!) Da DA! da-da-da-DA-da! da-da-da-DA-da! DA-DA-DA-DA!
- A few minutes of witty, gay banter on how great St. John Williams is
- Ten minutes of the second greatest composer ever--Otto Rhino Resphigi!!!
- Just a couple minutes of witty, gay banter, then back to the music!
- More Spanish guitar music!!
- Several minutes of witty, gay banter
- A piece (but only one!!!!!!!) from the WTC, and on piano NEVER on harpsichord!

[Rinse and repeat]

However, day or night, a few themes are evident: 1.) An absolute fetish with the music of  Otto Rhino Resphigi far out of proportion to his importance as a composer; 2.) An obsession with transcriptions--anything for piano or organ must be orchestrated; anything for anything would also be great for guitar!!!!!; 3.) A deathly fear of the pipe organ or harpsichord--My god! We're trying to make classical music accessible here!!! We cannot at all costs be playing organ or harpsichord music--people will wonder what that is and they won't like it!! It will remind them of funeral parlors, boring church music, or B horror films! And very likely they'll think we're snobs who don't worship at the church of St. John Williams (and more importantly, STAR WARS!!!)!!!!! !!! 111

So anyway [clears throat], what is the ultimate expression of all of these fetishes and fears?

It is what I heard last night--an orchestration of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor (for organ), but here orchestrated by Otto Rhino Resphigi, complete with kettle drums, tympani, and the like. When they announced the piece, I told my wife, I would bet a thousand dollars they wouldn't play the piece as written--for organ! I have nothing against transcriptions per se---some of them are great, and of course Bach himself was a master at transcriptions. But does the station always have to play the transcription and not the original!? This is also rampant with much music for solo piano. OK, sometimes, fine, but always? Do we always have to have Macbeth or Othello (or Lohengrin) set among the Aztecs, or ancient Egyptians, or in the 24th and a half century???

I think the ultimate thing here would be to transcribe Resphigi's transcription for guitar!!! Then you'd have the perfect piece!!

I guess what I'm saying is "sheesh, enough already"!


« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 11:53:44 AM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Baron Scarpia

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It's Respighi, and the transcription is, to my ears, a very worthy effort.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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I KNOW the spelling, and I think the transcription is god-awful.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Baron Scarpia

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I have it here, I don't know if there are other recordings. I found it interesting, though no substitute for the original, clearly.




Offline 71 dB

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I think the ultimate thing here would be to transcribe Resphigi's transcription for guitar!!! Then you'd have the perfect piece!!

Played by the guitarist John Williams.  ;D
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Offline 71 dB

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I have it here, I don't know if there are other recordings. I found it interesting, though no substitute for the original, clearly.



Or this?

Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page

Baron Scarpia

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Or this?



Yes, same Respighi transcription. That disc looks interesting. Not sufficient to breach my CD buying austerity program, though.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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I have it here, I don't know if there are other recordings. I found it interesting, though no substitute for the original, clearly.



And I do like some transcriptions of Bach's (and other composers') music, especially some of the chorales for piano (Hess, Kempff, et al.) and some pieces by Samuil Feinberg. I even like some of Stokowski's, although it is something I rarely reach for in my collection. But for me, that Respighi was over the top.

I also think classical music radio should stop bending over backwards to be accessible. Less talk, fewer transcriptions, and more pieces as originally written (the whole thing, not one movement) would be great. At some point, the music must be allowed to speak for itself, and if people don't like it, then let them go somewhere else on the dial. ("Dial" I guess I'm showing my age here)  :P
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:19:45 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Baron Scarpia

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Radio for serious listening of any kind has been obliterated by streaming. If you want to hear deep catalog classical get Apple Music and wallow, or Spotify, or....

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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There are still some great radio stations--KCSM (San Francisco/San Mateo) for jazz is one example. KMZT in the Monterey Peninsula and (not sure if it's the same outfit) streaming online also plays a great variety with very minimal talk--but these are the exceptions. The push to make classical music more accessible on radio preceded the rise of streaming by many years from what I remember.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Daverz

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Well, at least they don't play organ music.  :-\

There are no classical stations left in San Diego: 

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/classical-music/sd-me-music-classical-20180301-story.html

Sad.

There is still a Jazz station here, 88.3.  I don't have a tuner in my home system, so I only listen to this in the car. 

https://www.jazz88.org/

With a decent antenna and FM tuner, I could probably pick up KUSC.  Having neither, there's only 128 kbit online feed, so I rarely listen to it. 

For rock, I really like Radio Paradise, which offers lossless playback.

https://www.radioparadise.com
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 01:08:59 PM by Daverz »

Offline Sammy

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I agree with everything XB-70 said, but the sad fact is that economic realities dictate that radio stations will not change their ways except that they might eliminate classical entirely.  Personally, I never listen to classical music on the radio given that there are multiple alternatives where I call the shots.

Baron Scarpia

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I also find the light classical format typically found on the radio to be utterly unattractive. But complaining that they don't play heavy classical is like complaining that a hammer is a bad screwdriver. That's not what it's for.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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I very much enjoy listening to classical radio stations and haven't found any to be a real problem at all. What I listen to most often are broadcasts of concerts, whatever is playing after midnight and radio shows about contemporary classical music. We have two classical stations in Melbourne and sometimes I tune in to radio stations around the world to hear what's playing.

Offline Cato

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Played by the guitarist John Williams.  ;D

Agreed: the local classical station here in central Ohio is obsessed with guitar music and transcriptions, and nothing is allowed to be longer than 10 minutes or so.

Once in a while you might get something lasting 20-30 minutes, but those are increasingly rare.  To be sure, there are broadcast concerts in the evening where longer works become possible.
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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I'm not willing to give up on radio just yet. For one thing, there are good stations out there, as well as stations that are mediocre but still worth listening to (at times). For another thing, I like the stand-alone, non-internet-connected aspect of my various radios (same for my Fiio DAP). When things are streaming online (like KCSM right now), I am always tempted to check just one more web page, e-mail account, forum, blog, item on AmazonBay etc., etc. It is a constant struggle to stop wasting so much time online.

I guess i need an internet radio--but that is just another expensive gadget to spend money on--another thing I'm trying to minimize.

That station in the Monterey peninsula--KMZT is actually on AM and I like it. It sounds quaint. There is something positively post-apocalpytic about classical music on AM radio--as in, all has been wiped out except for one transmitter and one old fart with a music collection he still wants to share with the bedraggled survivors of whatever human stupidity.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 05:29:28 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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I try to catch Tuesday evening programmes on 3MBS as they tend to have things I am less familiar with. One programme that was on recently played the following:

Hindemith: String Quartet No 5. Amar Qt.
Riley: Three Movements. Tom Lessels cl, Kate Halsall pno, Genevieve Wilkins perc.
Tahourdin: Symphony No 5. David Stanhope and his orchestra.
Fine. Michael: Skipping Stones. Alice K Dade fte, Scott Yoo vln, Erik Arvinder vln, Maurycy Banaszek vla, Jonah Kim vlc, Susan Cahill db.
Nono: Offerte onde serene... Maurizio Pollini pno, magnetic tape.
Bolcom: Prelude Book 1 No 2. Christopher Taylor pno.
Widmann, Jorg: Hunt Quartet (Qt No 3). Signum Quartett.


A couple of programmes I'm looking forward to later on will be playing:

Salieri: Catalina, Overture. Mannheim Mozart Orch/Thomas Fey.
Mozart: Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor, K478. Benjamin Kopp, pno., James Wannan, vla., Martin Penicka, vlc., Rachel Homburg, vln.
Rosetti: Horn Concerto in D minor. Michael Thompson, horn, Philharmonia Orch/Christopher Warren-Green.
Pichel: Symphony in D, - Diana (Zakin 16). Toronto CO/Kevin Mallon.
Gluck: Concerto in G. Emmanuel Pahud, fte., Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini.
Beethoven: Choral Fantasy in C minor, Op.80. Vladimir Ashkenazy, pno., Jon Garrison, ten., D'Anna Fortunato, m-sop., Mary Shearer, sop., Teresa Cash, sop., Terry Cooke, bar., Martin Horning, bar., Cleveland Orch, Cleveland Orch Chorus/Vladimir Ashkenazy.

And at anothe time:

Ligeti: Piano concerto. Pierre-Laurent Aimard, pno., Ensemble Intercontemporain/Pierre Boulez.
Molter: Clarinet Concerto in D. Thomas Friedli, cl., South-West German CO/Paul Angerer.
Waxman: Tristan and Isolde Fantasia. Charles Owen, pno., Chloe Hanslip, vln., Royal PO/Leonard Slatkin


The other radio station I listen to often has some fantastic opera broadcasts on Sunday nights from recent opera seasons around the world. Some of the other live broadcasts are great as well. Whenever my choir performs, it's on there 8)

Coming up on the other station I look forward to:

Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Tobias Breider (viola), Umberto Clerici (cello), David Robertson (conductor)

Haydn: Symphony No. 40 in C 'Il Distratto'
Carter: Variations for Orchestra
Strauss: Don Quixote - Fantastic Variations on a Knightly Theme, Op. 35

Recorded live at the Sydney Opera House on 17/06/2017

And:

MET Opera Season 2018: The Exterminating Angel
Audrey Luna (Leticia Maynar), Amanda Echalaz (Lucia de Nobile), Sally Matthews (Silvia de Ávila), Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra, Thomas Adès (conductor)

Adès: The Exterminating Angel, opera in two acts

Live recording courtesy of the European Broadcasting Union



I'm not aware of what is so unattractive about the programming on classical radio stations. I think the two I switch between are fine anyway. Sometimes I even listen to BBC Radio 3 and BR-Klassik via the Internet and haven't found them that unattractive either.