Friday, November 27, 2009

Radio (& Internet Streaming?) Changes

     Interesting (to me, anyway) stuff is happening in the Boston classical music broadcast scene. WCRB, the commercial, all classical station was put up for sale. WGBH was the only bidder that wanted to keep it all classical. Fortunately they were successful.

     But running a 24-hour classical music station and broadcasting 7 hours of music to compete with it, didn't make much sense, I guess. Anyway, they decided to put their hosts and programs on the WCRB frequency. The change happens on December 1. After that classical music on WGBH will be no more, and we'll have to rely on the all classical station for it.

     I'm not sure what will happen to the webstreams. They now have a new url , which you are directed to via Meanwhile, the WCRB website has a link for ownership change which takes you to the same page at WGBH.  So it looks as if all the streaming will be accessed through the WGBH website. But at the moment I'm not entirely sure.

     I had a bit of a scare earlier this week. I noticed that in all the information they had given out about the change of broadcast frequency, they had mentioned the Saturday evening symphony broadcasts, but never a word about the Friday afternoon concerts. So it began to seem that those were being dropped. I wrote a member feedback note to WGBH on Monday, making the case for the importance of the Friday broadcasts for those who were busy on Saturday evenings. And I got back a very noncommittal reply on Wednesday saying, in part, "We will be broadcasting Saturday evening BSO, we will no longer be broadcasting Fridays unless we gain the rights to broadcast that as well. … We'll certainly send your requests to our production team. Thanks again for writing."

     WTDickens! Why don't they already have the rights? They've had the rights as WGBH for 58 years, for heaven's sake! What difference does the broadcast frequency make? Is the BSO holding things up? Or have they decided not to ask for the rights and just using this as a cover?

     Finally, this afternoon, at the end of the concert, the radio announcer, Ron Della Chiesa, said that next week's concert would be broadcast, with the usual pre-concert half hour show, but it would be on the new frequency. So I'm greatly relieved. I still wonder why, as of Wednesday, they couldn't tell me that the Friday afternoon concerts were still on. Did my intervention, and possibly some from other people, have an effect on the station management's mind, or was this in the works all along? I guess I'll never know the story behind the story, but all's well that ends well, and the important thing is that the broadcasts continue.

     So I expect that it will continue to be possible for you to hear either or both of the performances each week over the web.

     BTW, this week's program, which I neglected to tell you about, is the Debussy "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun," Stravinsky's 1945 suite of music from "The Firebird," and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Joshua Bell as soloist. For more info, see the bso website's page. I expect the stream to be over the WCRB website at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday.


     As mentioned on my other blog, in honor of Thanksgiving Day, here are videos of a performance of the ancient hymn of thanksgiving, "Te Deum." But rather than the traditional Gregorian chant, this is a setting by the French baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

     Here's the first video.

     And here's the second.

     They take it faster than I'm used to hearing it, but at least the proportions seem right. (I'd give you William David Christie's version with Les Arts Florissants if I could find the whole thing on video.) You'll also note that they pronounce the Latin as if it were French. Presumably that is how scholars believe it was done in 17th Century France.

      If you want to hear it in the "original" Gregorian chant setting, try this, which I also posted on my other blog. There is further info and a good translation in the wiki article on Te Deum.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BSO — 2009/11/20-21

     Even as I write the BSO is performing Debeussy's "Nocturnes" for Orchestra, under the baton of Bernard Haitink. This is to be followed by the Ibert Flute Concerto with James Galway and the Brahms First Symphony. WGBH is streaming it.

     WCRB says they're back to streaming, so you should also be able to hear it Saturday evening at 8:00 Eastern Time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

BSO — 2009/11/06

     Sorry for the short notice. Today, in just under 2 1/2 hours from when I'm posting this, they're doing the Beethoven 8th and 9th symphonies. I was at last night's performance and enjoyed it, although the Globe's reviewer didn't, largely because he doesn't like Lorin Maazel as a conductor. I'll post a link later.

     Also, a friendly B.C. grad student chatted with me during the intermission. Nice guy. Hope I'll see him again.

     I expect today's concert to be streamed on

     And here's the review from today's Boston Globe.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Litanei: Franz Schubert

     On my other blog I posted a performance of this song by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I thought it would be good to share Dame Janet Baker's performance as well.

     I hadn't known what the images would be about, and I find them overwhelmingly moving in this context. As I write this, the tears blur my view of the keyboard and run down my face.

     Enjoy the beautiful music, beautifully sung, and say a prayer for all victims of violence.