Bach and the Art of bee-Keeping
The Sunday Feature (R3 7.45pm) was one of the whackiest programmes I've heard. Whilst R3 can be well dumbed-down in the mornings, it is still off-the-wall when it needs to be. This programme was really about Arvo Part and his journey, both spiritual and technical, as a composer. It was part (no pun) drama, part poesy, part pedagogy, and part a little boy talking to an Irish bee-keeping official (inspector of bees for Herts?). There was some quite down-to-earth discussion of Part's transition from enfant terrible of communist Estonia to minimalist darling of The West...though they didn't put it quite like that. The programme had its fair share of cod numerology (you always get that when Bach and maths are thrown together) and of cod psychology; but it was a fascinating and original listen......
I found it mostly incomprehensible. If there was anything of substance it was well hidden within a lot of mumbo-jumbo.
Posts #1 and #2 both have it right: the programme was both fascinating and incomprehensible. I half-listened while preparing a meal, and half-listening was, I think, an appropriate course - though at times it was hard to discern which sounds emanated from the radio and which from the microwave. The story of Part's technique-building was genuinely informative, with excellent examples; my hackles started to rise at the suggestion that Bach had too many numbers, but luckily the theme was not developed to spoil my appetite; the child's question ("Why do bees make honey?") required a poetically profound response from the bee-keeper, and his "Because they need food, just like you" was a tad disappointing. I would recommend this programme, with its collage of voices and music, to anyone wanting a backdrop to a lonely session in the kitchen - and I intend no irony.
Decantor. A very perceptive response if I may say so. I heard it (and The Choir) on a car journey back from London to The West Country and my listening was similarly punctuated by noises off. Mrs Ardcarp chipped in now and then to ask what drivel I was listening to; but I must say I was entertained. Sadly we arrived home halfway through the following play, and the necessity of unpacking and feeding the cat...not unpacking the cat, you understand....rather spoiled it.