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CLASSICAL  April 2007

CLASSICAL April 2007

Subject:

Re: Music, the Great Soporific

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 08:11:09 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Donald Clarke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Absolutely heartbreaking.  The only station I listened to in Austin
>for five years was the one Karl was on, and his own programs were best
>of all; and now it's been turned over to blue-rinsed matrons, with no
>evidence whatsoever that they would have objected to a string quartet
>by Benjamin Lees.

First off, thanks for the kind words.

Second, it really wasn't the blue rinsed matrons...it was actually more
the business types that sent the station down the tubes.  For me, the
main problem came with notions of expansion.  They added staff.  Hence,
they needed more income.

In addition to dumbing down content of the broadcasts, they started
to milk the local performing groups.  For a time, they would record and
broadcast local performing organizations.  They would give away free air
time for public service announcements for local arts organizations.  Then
they established a policy (I don't know if it still stands) that forced
arts organizations to pay the station for those public service annoucements.
They then began to charge to record the organizations.  Of course they
needed to raise more money, they had a bigger budget.

You mention Ben Lees.  He is on my mind as last night I had the pleasure
of editing an inhouse recording of his Third Piano Concerto.  It is a
winner. It has the energy one would expect in music written by someone
in their 20s.  As I listened I was reminded of the notions of substance
and content.  It has both and a personal style that is really all his
own.

And you also mentioned broadcasting his quartets, yes I did that as well.
I also broadcast all of the string quartets of Robert Simpson, Holmboe,
some of the Toch, the Bloch, one or two of Quincy Porter, all of the
Piston, some of the Diamond, some by Harris, the Carter, the Schuman,
Ginastera, Honegger, all of the Villa Lobos, all the Milhaud, Ligeti,
et al.  plus much of their orchestral music.  When was the last time
your local radio station played a symphony by Simpson?  Lachner anyone?
How about some Raff.  I even offered some Gesualdo. I wonder, has anyone
ever heard any of his last book of madrigals being broadcast on the
radio?  I also broadcast that surviving movement of the Beethoven 5th
Piano concerto played by d'Albert.  When was the last time you heard a
Koussevitzky performance on your classical radio station?  Mengelberg?
Furtwangler?  Galli Curci?  Tetrazzinni?

I am only mentioning this to point out how much things have changed.
We had a regularly scheduled vocal program which offered a wide range
of literature.  The follow who produced it was a singer with a DMA
in voice.  We had a delightfully quirky program devoted to historic
performances...transfers done by a local collector...how about a few
programs devoted to Stock conducting the Chicago Symphony...Coates
conducting...as well as many of the great singers of the past.

I remember a two month survey I did of electronic Music.  One night
a week, for two months...things like Berio's Visage, Stockhausen's
Kontakte, etc.  Another group of broadcasts devoted to the musical
avant garde, from Lassus to Rebel, to CPE Bach, to Xenakis.

Things are very different now.

Karl

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