The Choir: St Thomas, Leipzig
There are two programmes on this today, the first is The Early Music Show, focusing on Bach himself as cantor in Leipzig; the second is The Choir, which celebrates the 800th anniversary of the boys' choir. Looking at The Choir playlist, it isn't limited to recordings of the St Thomas choir.
(Both links are to the individual programmes)
And week by week, that is what a number feel is so frustrating about this programme's structure. There seems no intent to focus, and you have to listen to the whole programme to catch the bits you want to hear, while they set off into byways fiddling about with this and that. Actually, this week may be a bit better than usual.
For example, in this programme headlined about the St T Leipzig choir, only FOUR items out of a dozen are by them at all. And how did Bob Chilcott get into it? Estimable bloke and all that but.............??
Indeed. I'm not sure why they wouldn't choose to have a section of the programme devoted to the boys' choir and then proceed on to whatever they needed for the rest of the time. Though given that the programme is The Choir, 90 minutes could be easily filled by such a choir on such an occasion, surely?
But ... we shall see...
The St. Thomas Boys’ Choir of Leipzig is in the UK. Couldn’t Radio3 have recorded, if not live broadcast, at least one of the concerts?
OR, God save the mark, actually mentioned it ON AIR!!!
Grrrr!!! This whole programme has exasperated me. Bitty, no focus, no thread, AJ keeps repeating more or less the same intro for the St T Leipzig Choir, and then we flit away to a totally other end of the choral spectrum. It is exactly like Radio 2's programming style, only without the energy and engagement.
Get things into orderly chunks, like a proper magazine programme, having a new releases slot, a UK jazz/ gospel etc slot, choral soc slot, amateur slot, cathedral etc slot, and don't faff around losing the audience's attention and interest by meandering from one to the other.
And, sorry, but this more or less the same vague, random 'structure' every week. One of the reasons I don't regularly flag it up on The Forum usually is because it is usually similarly ungraspable and serendipitous that you never quite know if people are going to be very disappointed, or fundamentally how long or close-focus each of the segments are actually likely to be.
In future, I will flag it for members.
Last edited by DracoM; 11-03-12 at 19:55.
Totally agree with your remonstrances about the programming, Draco - it was a mish-mash (or a hotch-potch, whichever is worse). The Thomanerchor may have had top billing, but it didn't feature much, and some of its musical offerings (ahem) were interrupted or used as wallpaper. Strange, too, that 800 years of history were reduced to Bach's 28 years, all condensed into fifteen minutes on air. Perhaps it was revenge for our bombing the choir school.
I clearly fell asleep during The Choir: I thought I heard an interesting piece by Peteris Vasks sung by the Latvian Radio Choir, but, as it's not mentioned on the playlist, I assume I dreamt it. I dreamt too about a short item by the BBC Wireless Singers from the 1930s.
Edit PS: the Gabrielis sang Walton's Litany slower than I've ever heard it before. It was quite a feat to maintain the intensity at that tempo, but I did feel the piece lost some of its shape.
They did play the Wirelss Singers.
It's the lack of clear structure to the 90 minutes that leads you on from one set of ideas to the next that just defeats me. It always seems bred of terror that AJ will lose the thread or we will drop off and lose concentration and / or switch off. Well, the way they are going about it is already a real deterrent to stay listening. And my goodness, AJ is SUCH a truly terrible interviewer. He's not a winsome choir boy any more but a paid professional interviewer, and he just asks such lame and futile questions. It's in all but name a Radio 2 programme for those who know almost nothing about choral music, rather like 'Breakfast' and 'Essential Classics'. . FGS, this is RADIO 3.
We had nothing about the very idiosyncratic sound of the choir, how do the produce it, does it restrict the repertoire, how do they manage to keep so many boys singing through the change and on into adolescence? i.e. nothing at all of any note about the inner working of the choir as such.
I'm a bit confused which thread I'm contributing to at the moment, but Sunday's EMS about Leipzig was a most informative overview of Bach's time there. How did the man do all that stuff? And even if we didn't hear the present St Thomas Choir, that extract from Bach Cantata 192 (Tolz boys' choir/Harnoncourt) was pretty uplifting, wasn't it? Oh for the days of regular Sunday morning Cantatas of R3.....