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CLASSICAL  February 2005

CLASSICAL February 2005

Subject:

Re: Crumbs From The NPR Table

From:

Kevin Sutton <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 25 Feb 2005 16:02:50 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (78 lines)

"Steve Schwartz" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I've got nothing against Car Talk per se, but I do wonder why a
>publically-funded station carries it.

Perhaps for the same reason that they carry Garrison Keillor or Mountain
Stage or The Thistle and Shamrock or From the Top or Marian McPartland's
Piano Jazz or Broadway Revisited or Hearts of Space or Jazz Profiles or
Jazzsets with DeeDee Bridgewater or Lost and Found Sound or the Minnesota
Orchestra or Performance Today or Pipedreams or the St.  Paul Chamber
Orchestra or St.  Paul Sunday or Sunday Baroque or Symphonycast or World
Cafe or World of Opera to name a few.

>NPR news is probably the best this country broadcasts, but does anybody
>need more than four hours of it a day?  This American Life, Terry Gross,
>and the other chat are fine programs - Gross is one of the best
>interviewers around - but they don't contribute anything basic to the
>culture, as classical music, roots, and jazz do.

The list I wrote above contains twenty programs predominately devoted
to music.  Nine of those are classically focused.  For some reason all
you guys who continually whine about NPR have come to the conclusion
that "culture" and "cultural literacy" equals classical music.  This
simply isn't the case.  There is a great deal more to the culture of a
nation than just the music of dead white European guys.  Terry Gross'
interviews are with people who for good or ill have greatly influenced
our culture, our habits, our ways of thinking.  These people may work
in television or in theatre or they might write good books, but that is
all a part of our culture, and it is as valid to public broadcasting and
discourse as is any musical genre.

NPR has a duty to serve the entire public.  Not just the high brow members
of this and other mailing lists.  I don't mean to lecture (and since I
make my entire living as a professional musician, I think that I have
some authority to make this statement), but music simply doesn't interest
everyone.  There is a diversity of opinions, a diversity of talents and
interests, and several million paying customers to entertain (yes, that's
what I said, entertain) in the listenership of National Public Radio.

Those people who send in their pledge dollars have every right to have
their interests represented as do those of us who love classical music.
To say that This American Life and Fresh Air are not culturally valid
programs is snobbery at its worst.  Ira Glass shows an interesting and
unique slice of the way real people live.  And, after all, isn't that
what art is supposed to be about anyway?  It is a reflection of real
life.

There are thousands of outlets for classical music.  If I, for one
example, started with the first cd in my collection and played them
through to the last, it would take me nearly two years of 15 hour a day
listening to get through them all, ONCE!  That doesn't include the nearly
two years worth of vinyl in my collection.  There are dozens of streaming
radio programs on the internet to which everyone on this list has access.
I looked in the Dallas Morning news guide this weekend and found more
than 30 classical music events going on, more than half were free and
all within an hour of my house.  The Dallas Public Library has more than
3000 circulatable classical cds, absolutely free for the public to use
and enjoy.

>Resources are too scarce to cater to a one-sided indulgence.

One need look at the list I provided above to see that music is not
shorted on NPR.  Look, music is NOT dead.  It's alive and well and
thriving at your local Best Buy store.  Perhaps the methods of retrieving
it are different, but for a very small price if not completely free,
there are ways to experience endless hours of fine music of every stripe,
shape and color.  It seems that many of the fine folk on this list make
it a sport to sit around and mourn the good ole days when things were
like they liked them.  Well, I say, most respectfully: Get over it!  As
I once told an old lp buying customer of mine from my days in the record
business when he griped once too often about cds taking over the world:
Hey man, I love horses, but I don't want to have to ride one to work
every day.  Times have changed, people's tastes have changed.  It happens.

There's still plenty of music out there to enjoy.  Let's stop with this
requiem of a bygone era and enjoy the true wealth that we have.

Kevin Sutton

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