January 31, 2007

Gratuitous Musickal Observation

How sweet is this? WETA-FM, the Dee Cee NPR affiliate, has switched back to an all-classical format!

The move appears to have come about when the only other local classical station (the commercial WGMS) decided to drop the format. WETA moved in and is now working with WGMS to pipe the music out from the public station.

This is fantastic news. WETA used to be a classical station, but in the middle of the night a couple years back switched over to a round-the-clock gabfest format, where earnest, tweed-clad inullegkshuls told us what an awful country this is and how it's All Dubya's Fault. I was furious then and have been fuming about it ever since. And try as I might, I could never get into WGMS, which usually played only selections from pieces instead of the whole thing, confined itself to warhorses and kept interrupting with very annoying commercials.

Well, the music is back now. Not only will I start listening again, I'll also start donating, too. And maybe I'll even start reading their new blog.

Woo Hoo!

UPDATE: Speaking of musickal things, today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1797, of Franz Schubert. My quote-of-the-day email guy says at the end of a collection of adulatory quotes by Schumann and Beethoven:

N.B. I discovered in preparing today's QOTD that there are no entries for Schubert in Nicolas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, which suggests that very few listeners have found much in his music not to like.

Well, now. Far be it from me to say anything bad about Schubert, especially about his chamber music, over which many people fawn and about which I know very little. But I do know something about the structural unwieldiness and unimaginative repetitions of some of his orchestral music, especially his 9th Symphony in C. It is often refered to as "The Great," but as my mother points out, a better nickname might be "The Large."

Posted by Robert at January 31, 2007 01:26 PM | TrackBack

I notice that the afternoon DJ (John? Chester) moved over from the old station.

So far, I'm not liking the new WETA selection. Maybe I was just in a comfort groove with WGMS and this will force me to expand beyond the snippets I was hearing.

Posted by: Ted at February 1, 2007 11:50 AM

You're quite right about the "Great." It gives pause to the pleasantness of that old saying that, whatever you like about Schubert, stick around and you'll surely hear it again. And again. In this case, with thumps.

But the String Quintet is worth every ounce of effort you have to expend to appreciate it. As are--on the short end of the spectrum--many of his songs.

Posted by: Khaki at February 1, 2007 06:58 PM

I used to hate those snooty American Service Center ads on WGMS. Plus they always played screechy violin music at dinner time; thankfully we always shut it off. And I never liked L. Bernstein's Beethoven symphonies that they always played on Dec 16. Ponderous Pinko.

I recommend WCPE (89.7) here in central NC. Can be heard via satellite, some cable, and at WCPE dot ORG website. They're also rebroadcasting from other cities on other stations.
They're listener-supported (2 on-air fundraising drives annually) and have a few semi-ads, but everything else is good classical music, never discordant modern nasty stuff. Full opera recording on Thursday night and the Met on Saturday. Some listener-request shows play the same familiar tunes, but who doesn't like "Jupiter"? They sang it at P. Diana's funeral, so it's got to be good.

Posted by: Ralph L at February 4, 2007 07:30 AM