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CLASSICAL  February 2005

CLASSICAL February 2005

Subject:

Re: Crumbs From The NPR Table

From:

James Tobin <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 26 Feb 2005 19:46:36 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (41 lines)

Bernard Chasan:

>It also should be pointed out that when Terri Gross interviews a musician
>it is almost certainly not a classical musician.  And When Morning Edition
>or All Things Considered does a story on a musician, it is invariably a
>folk or pop musician...So classical music has no place at the table.

Usually, but not always.  I can recall interviews and reviews of several
classical musicians, including Mutter on Penderecki, the Hilliard
Ensemble's Lassus release, Previn's recording of Shapero (on Fresh Air)
and, I think, the Anonymous Four.

>Clearly the NPR powers that be consider classical music to be an arcane
>pursuit, of interest only to specialists rather than a part of the common
>culture.

I would say they consider it a niche interest rather than something for
specialists and, in terms such as these, they is no doubt right.  For
me, the process of accepting this was hard.  Two or three decades ago
I paid a visit to the station manager of WUWM in Milwaukee, when they
dropped their classical format (and gave all their records to the
University library there) in favor of "educational" broadcasting.  He
vigorously dismissed my suggestion that classical music broadcasts were
educational.  More or less at the same time there was an article in
Harpers or the Atlantic which shocked me by its (then new) multicultural
claims that classical music was simply one of several musical traditions,
none of which were better or more privileged than any other.  Not the
notion I was brought up on.  Again about thirty years ago, at an aesthetics
conference in Toronto I was called an elitist by the author of a paper
on commercialism in art--his position was basically just give the people
what they want--because I suggested that you could educate people to
appreciate music that they might not happen to like yet.  I had been
asked to comment on his paper because I had submitted one attempting to
distinguish between entertainment and art--an endeavor I have since
abandoned--at least in public.

I was quite happy recently to read an article about classical music in
Finland, though.  There it is a national pastime and extremely well
supported.

Jim Tobin

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