Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blues on Bach

Bob: Sometimes New York City still gets it right and ceases to be a city for the privileged alone and resembles something close to the five boroughs I was born and raised in: WKCR 89.9 FM is broadcasting 24 hours of Bach each day for the next two weeks. You can listen on the net at: http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/wkcr/ The undergrads are far better than the pros at WQXR 105.9 FM by letting the music speak for itself. (Plus, they play mostly original vinyl!) Your blog helped me to discover and appreciate Bach; I will always be in its debt. Thanks. Merry Christmas, TMcC
Yes, I have written critically about BBC Radio 3's Mozart fest, but no apologies for sharing that email from an American reader. Back in 2005 I posted about the classical music orgies at Harvard's WHRB and Alex Ross added this comment:
The glories of WHRB's orgies are no secret at www.therestisnoise.com and vilainefille.blogs.com, both curated by former WHRB DJs. I wouldn't be a music critic if it weren't for WHRB. Other station veterans include the late Dale Harris, NY Times critic John Rockwell, and opera maven John Francis. I'll grant John D's criticism that some of the station's DJs aren't always up to snuff, but, hey, it's college kids, what do you expect. I once spent 25 minutes talking about Britten's "Paul Bunyan," and that was before an official recording existed. I'm sure some listeners wished I'd just read the names.
My headline comes, of course, from the Modern Jazz Quartets' 1974 album. Pianist John Lewis was a co-founder of the MJQ but his other work is less well known. His 1988 disc of Bach Preludes and Fugues recorded with Howard Collins on guitar and Marc Johnson on bass supplies my header image. That album was recorded at the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street in New York, which brings this path full circle. More jazz when Bach meets Coltrane here.

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1 comment:

Pliable said...

The chance that rules on this blog determined that as I wrote it BBC Radio 3 was presenting Bach as their composer of the week while over in New York WQXR was also showcasing Bach.

A/B comparisons between the two stations emphatically confirmed Tim's point that "the undergrads are far better than the pros at WQXR 105.9 FM by letting the music speak for itself".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wh6kp