Bach trumps Telemann at the "New" WQXR
Thu Oct 1 16:11:04 EDT 2009
>----- Original Message -----
>Subject: Bach trumps Telemann at the "New" WQXR
>Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:51:24 -0400
>Those who believe that classical music programmers at public radio
>stations such as WQXR (starting October 8) and WCRB (only a little
>later) should be more adventurous, apparently don't have much support
>from WQXR management. According to the CEO of public radio station
>WNYC, WQXR's new owner, "Bach trumps Telemann."
>Read all about it here (don't forget to repair the split link, if
>If WGBH adopts a similar policy when it takes over WCRB, we all know
>of one poster on this list who will weep buckets for the "commercial
>interests" at public stations that clearly should heed his warnings,
>because he knows what the listeners would want if only they were as
>smart as he is--that is, smart enough to know what is good for them.
Just to be clear: Telemann is NOT some avant-garde composer of recent vintage, but a
contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach (late 1600s to mid-18th Century); Telemann was a
more famous composer when both were alive, but the T-man's reputation declined as
JSB's star rose (unfortunately for him, long after he could profit from the
adulation). So the point the NYT was making is similar to what I've said right along:
playing obscure-and-forgotten-18th-Century-dreck by deservedly-obscure-and-forgotten-
composers is NOT good programming policy. The article goes on to quote statements
from Christopher Bannon, listed as program director of the sister stations. I wonder
if his expertise is in news/talk programming as opposed to classical-music, because some of
the statements don't make sense. Number one...Beethoven's music from opus 90 on up is
extremely popular (this is comprised of mainly of the 9th Symphony, late piano sonatas
(fun fact: Beethoven's piano music is so highly regarded that when Steinway Musical
Instruments went public, they chose the NYSE Stock Symbol 'LVB'), and late string quartets.
The Boston area hosts Beethoven cycles nearly every year; this season it's the Muir
Nice timing...Cathy Fuller has programmed several LvB string quartets on WGBH-FM 89.7 during
her 9:00 am till noon stint.
Number two: it's ridiculous to consider Sibelius' tone poems (a term I don't like, but
it's the term-of-art in popular use) as outside the mainstream. The Boston Symphony Orchestra
and two community orchestras with I'm familiar have performed them several times in the
past two years. There's NO DIFFERENCE in the quality and appeal of the Sibelius symphonies
as opposed to the tone poems!
Since this artice appeared on a Thursday, there may not be any reaction in the Sunday Times
on the 4th...but wait a week; I predict that there will be several Letters in Section 2, the
Arts pages of the Sunday Times on the 11th that may well mirror my position (except that they
won't be printed from right-to-left).
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