Monday, November 23, 2009

"Ask 5 to give classical music a try"

That's the subject line of email I received today from Classical Music Broadcast, a web site that broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day, has short composer bios on its web site, and a page called "classical music history" that is, well, a little on the shallow side. The history page has a short list of recommended videos, and they're strictly middle of the road: a little Beethoven, a little Dvorak (with the well-known Ma and Perlman), Luciano Pavarotti, etc.

I tried out the station briefly, coming in someplace in the middle of a cello concerto I didn't recognize. That finished and the next piece was the last movement of one of the Saint-Saens piano concertos. That, I think is enough for me; not only do I have the gigantic EMI RVW and Britten boxes sitting here, I'd rather listen to Cesky Rohzlas.

But let's consider that business of asking five of my friends to give classical music a try. "Classical music" generally means concert music written between, say, 1100 and today. That's a lot of ground. A friend who can't bear Wagner might love Messiaen. A friend who can't bear Messiaen might love Bach. Just asking people to give it a try isn't enough; there's so much repertory and so much of it is good, and it's not all that predictable who will like what.

Not only that, if I'm asking friends to give a particular repertory a try, I buy them tickets to live performances. There's no substitute for being there, especially if you're taking someone to the opera or symphony. The impact of a voice or instrument or ensemble in the house is a big part of the experience.

So, no, I'm not asking five friends to give it a try by listening to Classical Music Broadcast.


Brian said...

Oh that RVW EMI box. I know the feeling.

Civic Center said...

Me neither. Between Bartok Radio and my Brilliant Classics set of Haydn, I'm set for the next year.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I feel like I'm set for life with the number of unheard CDs I have!