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    BAL Topics

    I have been looking at recent and forthcoming works discussed in BAL. Am I the only person disappointed by the choice of composers; all those discussed this season have been "standard repertory" composers, even if some of the works are not the most frequently performed by the composers (eg Stravinsky's Soldiers Tale, which requires an unusual combination of instruments plus actor(s)). I note that the next 3 works for discussion are: Haydn Symphony 100, Schubert Symphony 9 and Handel op6 Concerti Grossi. If the purpose of BAL is to encourage listeners to extend their collection, might not a more adventurous selection of works be made? An earlier symphony by Haydn perhaps (how about the Philosopher?), a Handel oratorio other than Messiah (I know that Saul was discussed a few years ago, but there are several others) or Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, to cover versions played on the arpeggione (Presto lists a few) as well as the more familiar viola or cello, to look no further than these three composers. In addition, I don't think that Weber has ever been covered in BAL, nor Schoenberg (sesquicentenary this autumn!), Bax, Bridge or many others.

    I have no idea how works for discussion are decided - would R3 management be open to suggestions from listeners? Also, I am not keen on the idea that reviewers have to be either performers or academics, but that is another topic!

    #2
    We did have Israel in Egypt in 2019, but it's true that the list is seemingly rather limited, though we still have the occasional surprise.


    www.for3.org/forums/forum/classical-forum/record-review/building-a-library/19703-bal-22-06-19-handel-israel-in-egypt

    Comment


      #3
      This from 2006:

      Martin Kettle: The elitism of Radio 3's Building a Library makes it easy to understand Classic FM's success.
      It isn't given us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them any more in this world.

      Comment


        #4
        [QUOTE=

        I have no idea how works for discussion are decided - would R3 management be open to suggestions from listeners? Also, I am not keen on the idea that reviewers have to be either performers or academics, but that is another topic![/QUOTE]

        To be fair to BaL CDMcG has invited suggestions from listeners several times...I've made a couple, but heard nothing since, the last time for Delius's Mass of Life. The problem is, as with the Bax and Bridge you mention there aren't enough versions of their works to make a program. Take Bax, I love the symphonies dearly but there just are not many recordings of each. That leaves the tone poems, and there may be enough Tintagels...but only just, same with my Delius above probably, although with the new one there are now five I think. What they have done occasionally is a general survey of a particular composer, but I find this unsatisfactory, I don't know about you.

        By the way does anyone like the 'cosy chat' format rather than the studio made variety of old? Oh, and does anyone like the 10.30 slot?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by french frank View Post
          As we have discussed on a thread elsewhere, this is nonsense. In what sense is this 'elitist'? I can listen to R5Live and hear a panel of former professional footballers have in depth discussion of the various team formations available to Guardiola at Manchester City, or who may have been the best left back in history, and on R4 on Money Box there will be an expert talking listeners through the latest labyrinthine changes to the benefits system. Detailed, complex, specialised. I'm sure we can all recall the sometimes insanely complicated programmes dealing with the Brexit negotiations. The devil is most certainly in the detail... as we now know. Classical music CDs are not expensive and nearly all recommendations can be streamed at minimum cost or found for free on youtube. On a long car journey last year I heard an hour-long show on 6Music talking about a seminal hip-hop album from the early 90s. Lots of musical examples and details about its historical and cultural importance. A whole hour devoted to one album from an authority in the field. Marvellous. I enjoy smart, knowledgable people talking about things in an interesting way. Call me crazy.

          Comment


            #6
            Anyone who thinks that K271 is not an essential part of a classical collection is not worth listening to .Eighteen years on with endlessly recycled popular classics in BAL it could not seem more out of date.

            Comment


              #7
              “On Saturday, in case you are wondering, Building a Library turns to the operas of Francis Poulenc. I rest my case.”

              Well there’s a knock-down argument if ever I heard one…

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by french frank View Post
                And the reponse of Mark Lowther, producer of Record Review::

                Response: Programmes that challenge and inspire listeners should not be dismissed as musical elitism, says Mark Lowther .

                Comment


                  #9
                  BaL is targeted at a different audience than the one that makes up this Forum, many of whom could do a BaL slot themselves!

                  Doing the standard rep makes good sense if the intention is to lead interested listeners on to further exploration for themselves of less standard fare.

                  Schoenberg has been done in the past and I hope that his own anniversary doesn't get forgotten amongst the Bruckner bicentenary ballyhoo.
                  "The sound is the handwriting of the conductor" - Bernard Haitink

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Oo how about the Schoenberg first chamber symphony? I hereby volunteer.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by oliver sudden View Post
                      Oo how about the Schoenberg first chamber symphony? I hereby volunteer.
                      Launch it as a Summer BaL or indeed in the Recordings in discussion thread if you can't wait!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by oliver sudden View Post
                        “On Saturday, in case you are wondering, Building a Library turns to the operas of Francis Poulenc. I rest my case.”

                        Well there’s a knock-down argument if ever I heard one…
                        In fairness to Mr K it was written 12 years ago. He may have appreciated the education BaL has given him since then. May even write another disapproving piece - from the 'elitist' point of view.
                        It isn't given us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them any more in this world.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by kindofblue View Post

                          As we have discussed on a thread elsewhere, this is nonsense. In what sense is this 'elitist'? I can listen to R5Live and hear a panel of former professional footballers have in depth discussion of the various team formations available to Guardiola at Manchester City, or who may have been the best left back in history, and on R4 on Money Box there will be an expert talking listeners through the latest labyrinthine changes to the benefits system. Detailed, complex, specialised. I'm sure we can all recall the sometimes insanely complicated programmes dealing with the Brexit negotiations. The devil is most certainly in the detail... as we now know. Classical music CDs are not expensive and nearly all recommendations can be streamed at minimum cost or found for free on youtube. On a long car journey last year I heard an hour-long show on 6Music talking about a seminal hip-hop album from the early 90s. Lots of musical examples and details about its historical and cultural importance. A whole hour devoted to one album from an authority in the field. Marvellous. I enjoy smart, knowledgable people talking about things in an interesting way. Call me crazy.
                          Indeed. You are not crazy. Why is the very complicated analysis we get of Wales’s rugby attacking style (on Six Nations yesterday) not to mention Rugby’s impenetrable ref decisions and all the expert commentary following it not considered elitist ? Whereas R3 producers run in horror from the simplest form of musical analysis. There’s more theorising and expert criticism from Alan Shearer on MOTD than there is on Radio Three.I wonder how many of its producers watch what’s happened to TV sports coverage ? The flow of stats and comm points in an American football game shows that people can cope with vast amounts of information .

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by kindofblue View Post

                            As we have discussed on a thread elsewhere, this is nonsense. In what sense is this 'elitist'? I can listen to R5Live and hear a panel of former professional footballers have in depth discussion of the various team formations available to Guardiola at Manchester City, or who may have been the best left back in history, and on R4 on Money Box there will be an expert talking listeners through the latest labyrinthine changes to the benefits system. Detailed, complex, specialised. I'm sure we can all recall the sometimes insanely complicated programmes dealing with the Brexit negotiations. The devil is most certainly in the detail... as we now know. Classical music CDs are not expensive and nearly all recommendations can be streamed at minimum cost or found for free on youtube. On a long car journey last year I heard an hour-long show on 6Music talking about a seminal hip-hop album from the early 90s. Lots of musical examples and details about its historical and cultural importance. A whole hour devoted to one album from an authority in the field. Marvellous. I enjoy smart, knowledgable people talking about things in an interesting way. Call me crazy.
                            Excellent points!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Serial_Apologist View Post

                              Excellent points!
                              Agreed - top posting from kindofblue there

                              Unanswerable imho
                              "...the isle is full of noises,
                              Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
                              Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
                              Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices..."

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