Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Everywhere music takes you ... or should we say, Music Lives Here?

It is day two for the remodeled national FM station, CBC Radio 2, which Canadians have come to rely upon for steadfast classical music programming and I’m wondering what to think and where to stand on these changes. I will never hear again the radio's slogan, "Everywhere music takes you." What a shame. Somehow the new slogan "Music Lives Here" is a little lame for my liking. I mean, when they stated "everywhere music takes you" it was all encompassing, suggesting that something more than just music was going to happen here on the national station.

Several months back the entire country was in an uproar over the CBC’s heavy-handed change orders. I remember reading a National Post article where even the “young” listeners were in complete disapproving mode over the prospect of losing the Nation’s classical culture dose. There was even a Facebook Group called “Save Classical Music at the CBC.” Pathetically there were only 16,000 people to join.

Now according to CBC Executive Director of Programming, Chris Boyce, the new Radio 2 “will be more relevant to more Canadians.” When I first read this statement I thought – great, now CBC can be as mainstream, dull, boring, unintelligent, monotonous and characterless as the rest of radio programming in the Country – just what Canada needs.

As I drove down Taylor Way and approached the Lions Gate bridge this morning, I crinkled my brow and listened to dear old Tom Allen almost struggle to introduce discs and albums of alternative groups like Broken Social Scene, (a band I dearly love by the way), and I thought what a shame it was to mute all of his amazing knowledge for classical music and its composers. Now we’ll get nothing out of our dear Tom Allen, because this genre of music is simply not his thing.

I for one will long for the mornings where I can relax and listen to Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Chopin – and true disc-jockeys like Tom Allen and Peter Togni, as they would enlighten and account for the lost golden age of music. Thanks to the bind-folded executives at the CBC, the shovels are heaving the last piles of soil over the crypt of symphony, chamber and choral music in Canada.

Well, at least I still have my iTunes Radio where Public Radio reigns supreme on a Sunday morning.

Classical Facts:
Since we won't be hearing from our beloved CBC Radio 2 for this relevancy

Classical Music describes the specific period from 1750 – 1820 and the music of major composers such as Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn when music was modeled after the ideals of the philosophy and art of Ancient Greece and Rome – balance, proportion and disciplined expression.
There are many styles of music within classical music, including symphony, opera, choral works, chamber music, Gregorian chant, the madrigal, and the Mass.

Classical music is broken down into historical periods: Medieval (including Gregorian chant and all monophonic music before 1400); Renaissance (1400 – 1600, music that was related to the church and expression of piety); Baroque (1600 – 1750, including the music of Bach and Handel. This was the period during which opera began and music became more ornate and textured); Classical (1750 – 1820, including the music of Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn during which music became an expression of balance, and discipline and the structure of its harmonies were transformed. Public concerts became very popular.); Romantic (1820 – 1915, including the music of Johannes Brahms, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. Music became more centered on ideas of fantasy, spontaneity and sensuality); Modern (1915 – present day, including Copland, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Barber. During this period older forms have been revisited and reinvented and technology has played an increasingly important role).

The term classical music was not used until the early 19th century in order to canonize the period from Bach to Beethoven as an impressive, "golden" era of music.
Many studies have proven that early experience with music provides the basis for more serious study later, so many parents expose their children to classical music at an early age and introduce them to instrumental lessons. The 1990s showed an interest in research papers and popular books on the so-called Mozart effect: a temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart. Other similar studies of different composers have produced positive effects on academic studies and child development.

Classical music is often associated with communication of transcendent emotion and universal ideas about the human condition. Many times composers will express inspiration from folklore, poems, paintings or other pieces of fine art and culture.

The Symphony is revered as one of the largest and most impressive fixtures in classical music. The following symphonies are some of the most perfectly representative of the structure: Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D Major; Haydn Symphony No. 34 in d minor; Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in c minor; Mozart Syphony No. 25 in g minor; Barber Symphony No. 1 in G Major; Haydn Symphony No. 94 in G Major; Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in e minor; Ives Symphony No. 1 in d minor; Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in d minor.

The contemporary classical American composer Samuel Barber and his brilliantly moving Adagio For Strings...


John Hartwick said...

Adagio kills me everytime. I was actually in the audience when the VSO recorded it for the soundtrack of Platoon. My eyes well on the first notes.

Dan W Johnson said...

That's the saddest music ever... except for maybe George Jones "He Stopped Loving Her Today"...

Dan W Johnson said...

Great post Hun. In times of change I've often relied on CBC for my classical music fix. When I was on the road servicing mobile homes in lonely, icy, cold parts of the province it was often my only source of comfort..a real shame.