I'd agree that if the BBC did some serious music programmes then Maestro wouldn't matter. All this programme really is is what they call 'car crash' television. The potential for seeing 'celebs', completely out of their comfort zone, falling flat on their hooters constitutes the viewer attraction rather than any interest in classical music. Television has a longer history of doing this kind of thing than many would think.
Does anyone remember a BBC2 series many years ago when Zubin Mehta put some tyro conductors through the mill in a masterclass with the Israel PO? It made for good television and I learnt a good bit from it but the intent was serious and I'd like to see something like that again.
“Every piece of music is a rehearsal of one’s life,” - Sir Colin Davis
And Mehta (the absolute swine! ) stopped one of the students to demonstrate that the orchestra could carry on playing - The Rite of Spring! - without him!
The most serious musicians I ever meet are teenagers in bands !
What these types of shows do is present people acting, they are sometimes acting as musicians and singers (not sure about drummers ) but it's all a thespfest. One can trace a line in music education history where programme music becomes seen as a means of "introducing" music to people, hence the reliance on "story". There really is only ONE narrative nowadays ........ it's always a race against time, struggle against illness, struggle against oneself, heroic triumph etc etc
Without really engaging in what the real content of music IS (and it's not the mechanics of harmony or even "facts" about composers etc ) we will only ever get this version, and I guess most people in TV haven't read much Dahlhaus
Yes, I agree - the problem lies with the imposed "context", the requirement for some kind of "story"; and (as was pointed out previously), it's a problem which can affect presentation of all music, not just classical. Though I wonder whether this view of television as now story-based works less well when applied to other areas, such as sport? Football matches are shown in full, without adulteration - and the tv company is given a hard time when shoddy direction results in action being missed (e.g. through bad timing of a replay).Television has become ... a predominantly narrative medium, a series of "stories". "Unadulterated classical music" really doesn't work in this context , it does work in a live context.
I suppose the real problem is that television companies don't like gearing their (cultural, arts, even sports) programmes to aficionados, preferring to aim them at the more general viewer - because they are easier to make and more likely to generate larger audiences. The explosion of tv channels just intensifies the competition for the audience-seeking middle-ground and actually reduces the attractiveness (to the tv company) of high quality (aka "elitist" ) programming. That's why the retreat of our publicly funded broadcaster from such programming values is so deplorable and, ultimately, self-defeating.
The thing to remember about TV is that whenever there's anything about a subject that you know about you sit there going
"No , No , It's not like that , That's not the point at all"
I've heard scientists say that as well as musicians. It's even worse when it's you actually involved
The main issue is using a 'celebrity' presenter rather than someone who's an expert in the field - although, having said that, I've remembered that there have been some history series presented by historians.
I guess some of that is because you can't "look" at a symphony !
I would be delighted with a 52 week series on obscure instrument making
starting with the museum in Brussels and looking at Partch etc etc
but I just have to make my own up !
(or look up Bart Hopkins stuff )
Young Musician of the Year is now out on BBC4 - when I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s it was on BBC 1 for its heats and then the grand final was on BBC 1 on Sunday night with all these youngsters playing a concerto .
I remember the 1982 final vividly - Anna Markland a pianist won and then Margaret Thatcher came on the news shouting "rejoice " at the recovery of South Georgia !
Could you imagine that now - it would stop a repeat of Silent Witness and the Antiques Roadshow