Apr 032011

I am listening to the Classical stream of CBC radio, and the music selection is very good. It is also utterly soulless.

You see, radio without presenters is no radio at all. I miss the likes of Jurgen Gothe who’d tell me something about the music. Why it was composed. When it was composed and where. Something about the composer, and why this particular piece was chosen to be played tonight.

For instance, right now I am listening to the 1st movement of Bax-Arnold’s Concertante. Back in the good ole’ days, Jurgen Gothe would have told me who this Bax-Arnold was. Yes, I can use Wikipedia and find out that “Bax-Arnold” is really English composer Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, and that he wrote several pieces titled Concertante between 1918 and 1949, and thanks to Google and the disk number provided by the CBC, I can even figure out which of these is being played (it’s the Concertante for Piano Left Hand) but Internet searches are no substitute for the warm, friendly voice of a radio host who would tell me all this and more, anecdotes, back story, or completely irrelevant trivia about Ashley Wass on the piano, conductor James Judd, or perhaps the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and its relationship, if any, to the Bayview Retirement Home in Bournemouth in the British sitcom Waiting for God.

The music now changed. CBC now informs me that I am listening to the 3rd movement, Marche Funebre, by a composer named “Not Found”. Whatever happened to poor Chopin that a national radio station can no longer find his name?

Not to mention that unlike this sterile Classical stream (really just an endless playlist with an incomplete tombstone database), CBC Radio 2 wasn’t purely classical. Jurgen Gothe in particular had an eclectic selection of classical and modern, pop and jazz, Canadian folk music, and more. He was always full of surprises. The changes made to CBC Radio 2 just drastically narrowed the station’s scope for much of the broadcast day, because now, the richest musical genre of all (really, a collection of many genres) is simply excluded.

No wonder I nowadays listen to BBC 3 more than the CBC.

 Posted by at 4:37 am