for some repertoire, well it is. But there is worse!
Coming back home in the car yesterday, I switched to to Cfm. I tend to swap about between the presets when I'm driving on my own., and whilst Cfm can be annoying, you do get the gems from time to time and I'm not against the station per se.
My mind registered a tonal choral work, then as I focused my wandering attention, I picked out "tormentum mortis" from amongst the vast washes of sound that were beginning to surround me. Concentrating even harder, I managed to isolate a few consecutive chords - quite difficult with an apparent decay of about half a minute - and realised that I knew the piece. But the realisation came with horror, rather than with pleasure, because I was hearing one of my all-time favourite works being smoothclassicked to death.
Yes, it was the genius of Mr Byrd with his masterful setting of Justorum Animae, which needs, perhaps above any of his works, a simple, natural performance to make the most of the 5ths, the vital bass and the glorious harmonies.
But it didn't get it. What it got was an utterly bizarre interpretation from Clare College. What the engineers had managed to do to the sound beats me; it was a cross between the soft, soothing, damped-down effect of lift muzac and the announcements from a particularly bad loudspeaker on an Italian railway station - where the only thing you make out, irrespective of your linguistic ability, are the words "binario due" echoing on and on under the canopy after a rapidly gabbled announcement.
The Sixteen have recorded this. There's also an old recording with DW and KCC. We didn't do it, more's the pity, but surely some other proper cathedral has made a good recording? So why on earth Cfm should choose the Clare version I don't know. But what is far more worrying is that anybody from Clare with any feeling for music should allow it to be released. Byrd as musicke is great; Byrd as muzak is a travesty.