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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why do you listen to radio at all?

Just subscribe to IDAGIO, won’t make a dent in your pocket, yet it has expertly curated playlists (if that’s what you want), live streamed events, and of course a huge library of almost any classical record. Since you all post in this forums, you apparently have Internet which is the only requirement.

I’m amazed at how often streaming services are being dismissed in this forum (due to people often admitting being too old (fashioned) for it), yet they keep listening to classical radios and complaining about the programming. Really doesn’t make sense. I listen to classical music streaming even in my car, newest cars would connect to your phone. Even if you have an old car you can connect the audio out from your phone to the car audio if you’re so much after good music while driving.
Actually, I have IDAGIO Free and Spotify free. They're fine if I'm just looking for specific things to listen to. BTW, I don't have a mobile phone, so I can only listen to digital radio (Radio 3 of course, switching to Classic FM when jazz programs are on Radio 3) or music I've loaded on my iPods when driving - and I'm in my car about an hour a day.

But you're missing the whole point of listening to a radio station like BBC Radio 3 - the commentary by presenters who know their subject, 'educational' programs like "Music Matters", "The Listening Service", "Composer of the Week" etc, the interviews with musicians who provide insight into what they perform (e.g. Simon Rattle talking about Leoš Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen before performing it, and I discovered how many great musicians coped with the lockdown in their respective countries)......and not least, the discovery of unfamiliar music by obscure composers. Radio 3 was how I discovered Pancho Vladigerov, Dimitar Nenov, Dobrinka Tabakova et al. smirk Names who have no recordings on mainstream record labels, and often the only way one gets to hear of them and to hear their music are from concerts in their native country (which are broadcast here on Radio 3). Occasionally, enterprising performers here in the UK also program obscure composers. For instance, there's a guitar recital at lunchtime today featuring music by Barrios, Bach, Tansman and Bogdanović. (And last night, there was music by Dinu Lipatti (composer), Rosenmüller, Groneman, Sumera, Murcia, Bongani Ndodana-Breen and Braunfels - heard of any of them? - alongside Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. Are you interested in discovery?)

Of course, if you only want to hear stuff that you've already know and have heard countless times and been performed and recorded a zillion times, the usual streaming services give you all that......


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Bennevis, if there’s a radio that broadcasted Vladigerov and Nenov, wow! 😯 Then that’s a great radio, no two opinions about it. If BBC 3 is streamed on the Internet, I’ll try to find it, thanks 🍺


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Originally Posted by Vikendios
I hope you are right. I do not mind being in a minority, but the issue is money. Classical music is expensive. Who will fund the conservatories, the concert halls, the instruments for the young ?

The politicians can decide that subsidizing the pleasures of the elite is not a profitable electoral strategy. Better use taxpayer money to build soccer stadiums than opera houses.
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I can understand the concern. What is interesting is that in a way, classical music developed because there were employers ready to pay (in a form or another) musicians to write and play it. That be the Church, Cities or rich aristocrats. But for the audience of the 19th century, that music was contemporary. People were not interested to listen to music composed 200 years ago, not even 50 .... why would it be any different today ? The biggest issue with classical music is that it not renewed with new creations that can attract enough listeners and audience. Because very few people are willing to pay to listen to Boulez, Xenakis, .....(not me !). So we keep recycling the same compositions again and again.

I dont know how the audience of classical music will drop, but it is certainly subject to the law of demand. If there is less people interested then there will be less musicians, less concerts, less teachers, conservatories, .... it is the inevitable consequence.

Soccer stadium are uggly but already centuries ago, the Coliseum was built to untertain the mob with slaughtering shows of animals and men. And now it is attracting millions of visitors every year. Maybe people will pay to visit our soccer stadiums 2000 years from now !

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My local classical station is more like an easy-listening station with a lot of the classical "hits". For more contemporary stuff it can be very good. I don't really understand the need to dumb down classical, especially when they are good with more recent music.

I can get BBC Radio and TV here, but their video player blocks most things outside the UK. That means I have to watch live, which isn't bad in itself, but it's really annoying when they broadcast something good and I only hear about it later on. It's a shame I can't get the major continental stations.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Since I bought my internet radio a few months ago, I've been able to listen to various classical radio stations from around the world, including WQXR, Lowell, WGBH (Boston) and WCRB (Boston).

I still return to good ol' BBC Radio 3 for its knowledgeable presenters (who have music degrees or are musicians themselves) and the intelligent programming with no dumbing-down. Even the breakfast and late afternoon drive-time programs (the only ones that play mainly short pieces or single movements of bigger works in between chat and interviews) are interesting to listen to because of the huge diversity - from Gregorian plainchant to ultra-contemporary, with a small smattering of jazz and folk.

BTW, if you tune in now, you can hear a concert from Bucharest of music for violin and harp (including arrangements, of course): next up is the Méditation from Thaïs.....

Thanks for this post. I'll try these other stations, especially BBC 3. Spotify is fine if I want to hear several interpretations of a single piece, which I tend to do when first learning a piece. I listen to streaming radio because I enjoy the curated programming and knowledgeable commentary. I've learned so much from good classical radio.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Bennevis, if there’s a radio that broadcasted Vladigerov and Nenov, wow! 😯 Then that’s a great radio, no two opinions about it. If BBC 3 is streamed on the Internet, I’ll try to find it, thanks 🍺

CyberGene, try here.

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Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Bennevis, if there’s a radio that broadcasted Vladigerov and Nenov, wow! 😯 Then that’s a great radio, no two opinions about it. If BBC 3 is streamed on the Internet, I’ll try to find it, thanks 🍺

CyberGene, try here.
Thanks!


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I can understand the concern. What is interesting is that in a way, classical music developed because there were employers ready to pay (in a form or another) musicians to write and play it. That be the Church, Cities or rich aristocrats. But for the audience of the 19th century, that music was contemporary. People were not interested to listen to music composed 200 years ago, not even 50 .... why would it be any different today ? The biggest issue with classical music is that it not renewed with new creations that can attract enough listeners and audience. Because very few people are willing to pay to listen to Boulez, Xenakis, .....(not me !). So we keep recycling the same compositions again and again.
It's interesting to think about. If we had another Rachmaninoff right now, I bet the situation would be different. People flocked to watch many of the great older pianists such as Horowitz and Cziffra because of their uniqueness as well as their incredible compositional/improvisational abilities. If there was a current pianist-composer who could compose at the level of Rachmaninoff, I bet they would have a really good following. Some current-day pianists (cue Lang Lang) do compose, but none at a high enough level to become famous for composition/improvisation alone. In general, they tend to sound amateurish in terms of their compositional abilities. I'm always reminded of Cziffra studying with Liszt pupil Istvan Thoman at the Liszt academy. One can only guess that classical improvisation and personal interpretation must have been very important things which they would try to develop. It seems like the current way of teaching is so distanced from the actual music of the time, and so overly predicated on historical interpretation, that it has become more of a "museum" than an actual living art form!

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There are some guys doing it though, I notice John Mortenssen, for example, seems involved on classical improvisation tuition and suchlike, composition, etc. - and some players like Hamelin come pretty high up not only in terms of performance, but also composition. There's also guys like "Piano Hooligan" with his preludes and improvisations etc.

The scene is alive, it seems, but very much on the underground currently. Perhaps it's better that way? Once scenes become commercial they tend to get warped in to grotesque versions of themselves.

So there are some guys, but whether the traction is strong enough to bring it back at all remains to be seen.

We do live in a bit of a musical dark age currently, it seems to me. But it's not all that way if you look around.

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Do you need to add Gabriela Montero and Robert Levin to the list?


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Definitely Hamelin, Gabriela Montero et al do compose/improvise and are good at it, but I don't think their compositions are notable enough for them to become famous for them alone like Rachmaninoff. Note that I'm not disparaging any of them here, as it's a very high bar to compose well enough to become part of mainstream narrative. Maybe they have a couple of compositions which have become mainstream (Hamelin's HR2 cadenza, Volodos Turkish March), but none of them are at the level of skill and productivity in terms of composition required to actually get into the mainstream narrative (either of the general public, or classical listeners).

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Technology is our blessing but when it comes to music it is also a curse. In the 19th century, there was no recording and access to past music was difficult (no edition, mainly autographs, ....). It was reserved to a very small number of expert musicians and scholars. And we should not think that everything that was played was at the level of Beethoven or Mozart. There was a lot of mediocre staff as well, i would even say the majority. Some composers that we completely forgot by now, were extrememy famous. But that environment was alive and contemporary and fostered new compositions. People did not have the cult of past music as the necessary elements of elite society. I guess somewhere along the way, with the progress of technonolgy and accumulation of knowledge, we got frozen into the past.

Today, we have access to an incredible amount of past music, scores, recordings. And we immediately start to compare a new composition with Bach, or someone else. Then to be different, many talented composers went atonal to be different from past music so that they would not get compared with the old figures, trying to find new musical territories. But that led to a dead end, where there is no audience.

In a sense, we should wipe out all that we already know and start afresh, open ourselves to listen to a music that does not compare with Bach or someone else. Thats what many young are doing when they are unaware or oblivious of classical music and therefore naturally listen to contemporary compositions made for video games, movies and other modern music. To renew the musical world, in fact we should stop programming the 9th symphony of Beethoven and order new symphonic compositions, ... but obviously it is not going to happend. As long as we continue to use the past as a reference, there will not be any renewal of the classical world and it will sink into the dust.

So thats why real new creations, that they be good or bad are outside classical music. Is it better to worship the past or keep moving forward ?

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BTW, i went the other day to a museum to look at an exhibition of paintings late 19th and early 20th century. What really striked me is that probably some of these paintings were revolutionary at the time. But frankly speaking, from a pure compositional perspective, any good amateur not speaking of pros is actually capable of producing this type of paintings. And they do, every year, thousands if not millions of paintings are produced, and many of them are comparable in quality to what we admire in these museums. Of course, not everyone can do a Joconda, and the historical components is irreplaceable, but technically there are pros that can be pretty close.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
So thats why real new creations, that they be good or bad are outside classical music.

Of course, taken as a generic statement, and talking about those that have a significant audience, not just a minority of lovers. There are a few exceptions as usual.

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