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  • richardmitnick 4:51 pm on March 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , internet radio, , , , ,   

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space 

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space

    I think that it is time for a new look at Hearts of Space. Hearts of Space, Music From the Hearts of Space, HOS, whatever one calls it, is the creation of Stephen Hill. HOS has been one of the singularities in performing what I see as the mission of Public Radio in music: to motivate the listener to spend money to support the artists and composers whose work we cherish. I thought about that last word, “cherish”, and I think it is the correct word to express how I feel about the music I love.

    Stephen started with Program 001, “First Flight” one January 1, 1983. There are now 903 programs in the Archive. I can listen to any program I want any time I am near one of my computers. I have subscriptions to HOS both at home and at work.

    But, it was not always so. I am going to quote directly from the web site. No one tells the story better than Stephen. I have done some editing to help readability. I hope that Stephen will not mind:

    “HEARTS of SPACE began as a San Francisco late night radio show in 1973, went national on Public Radio in 1983 and to our eternal amazement, grew to almost 300 stations. We started an independent record label in 1984, ultimately releasing almost 150 albums…

    “HEARTS of SPACE grew out of [Stephen’s] fascination with space-creating [Stephen is actually an architect], ambient and contemplative music. Beginning in the early 1970s, [he] hosted a weekly late-night radio program on KPFA-FM in the San Francisco Bay area. What began purely as a labor of love eventually became the most popular contemporary music program on Public Radio. Over the intervening quarter century, Hearts of Space evolved into a multifaceted music and broadcast producer encompassing radio syndication, a record company, and an Internet music service…

    “In January 1983, after ten years evolution as a local program, Hearts of Space began national syndication to 35 non-commercial public radio stations via the NPR satellite system. Hosted by Stephen and original co-producer Anna Turner, within three years the program signed its 200th station and became the most successful new music program in Public Radio history, as well as the most widely syndicated program of ‘spacemusic’ — a tastemaker for the genre…

    “Now in its 26th year of national syndication, a one hour program airs weekly on over 200 NPR affiliate stations, including three of the top five U.S. radio markets and a majority of the top fifty. The program is also heard nationally seven nights a week at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s ‘Spa’ Channel 72…

    “Internet streaming began in 1999 on pioneer webcasters NetRadio and WiredPlanet as well as Public Radio sites, and evolved in 2001 into a full blown subscription service offering on-demand access to the entire Archive, now over [900] programs created since 1983…

    “From the beginning, the program’s success has come from consistently high production quality and sensitive, knowledgeable music programming. The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, new age, classical and experimental music. Artists and record companies around the world recognize Hearts of Space as the original, most widely heard, premiere showcase for ‘contemplative music, broadly defined’…

    “Quality crafting is the keystone of the HOS experience. After a brief intro, each one hour show is an uninterrupted musical journey, designed to create a relaxed but concentrated ambiance. Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery…

    “Old as they are, contemplative sounds continue to evolve. [Stephen] says “What’s now being called Ambient music is the latest chapter in the contemplative music experience. Electronic instruments have created new expressive possibilities, but the coordinates of that expression remain the same. Space-creating sound is the medium. Moving, significant music is the goal…

    “The ancient resonances of drums, bells, and flutes, the exotic tones of gongs and gamelans, the digital sounds of the Ambient frontier; in its third decade, Hearts of Space continues to deliver the best of the contemplative sound experience, with spacemusic from near and far out….”

    O.K., that is the voice of Stephen.

    What has HOS meant for me? First, as indicated by this weblog, music is my passion. Classical music was my father’s gift to me. He thought that he gave me a business, and, yes the business made me more than comfortable. But, the business is now history and my passion for music has not only never ceased, but it has grown. I have ventured farther out than my father ever did or imagined was possible. My particular tastes include a great many late 20th century Classical composers and Jazz. And, what I heard on HOS.

    HOS took me to the cutting edge. I learned about not only “space music”, but also a great many composers in genres with which I was not familiar. Celtic, Asian, Middle Eastern, just to name a few. There are programs designed to fit the seasons of the year. I must interject to be totally accurate that I have also learned a great deal from John Schaefer at WNYC . But John, equally deserving of efforts here, is not the subject of this post.

    If you would like to see the material presented, visit the HOS web site. Along with the archive of programs, there is also a library of complete albums which Stephen has arranged to be available for your listening enjoyment. Check out the play lists for the programs and take a look at the albums.

    So, what is it like to listen to HOS from the web site these days? Well, it is a far cry from days gone by, when on the FM broadcast one might also hear the interference of a jet plane flying overhead. The olden days of the streaming audio were not too shabby. The music was streamed in a Windows Media format, 64kbit for broadband and 32kbit for dial up. I was fortunate that by the time WNYC forced me to the greater pleasures of HOS streaming audio I had broadband. The 64kbit stream was pretty darned good. I always measured the quality of the broadcast on FM by the incredible presence of the short silences between pieces. There was nothing like it anywhere in broadcast radio. The broadband stream was just as clean and bright.

    But, there was no resting on laurels. There is now an incredible flash player. The new web site is beautiful, a work of art filled with works of art. Newly added is an image gallery where one finds images that are appropriate to some of the programs.

    The weekly program is available for free on Sundays. So, if you are interested, give HOS your ear on a Sunday, actually, several Sundays, to try and measure for yourself if this programming and music can be of value to you. If you like what you hear and you want to subscribe, there are several plans at varying prices.

    One warning: if you are ever hooked, you will never go back.

    I hope that you will listen, and then subscribe, and, finally, complete the mission of Hearts of Space – as I define it – by buying the work of the artists and composers you like in whatever format you choose from what ever vendor you choose.

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    • Eric 3:18 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear you really enjoy Hearts of Space! Have you ever enjoyed any of the music from Hearts of Space Records? We released some of the great programs from the show as well in the “Best of Hearts of Space” Series (http://www.valley-entertainment.com/artists/best-of-hearts-of-space-series.html).

    • richardmitnick 3:50 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to make your acquaintance. I have listened to albums from the HOS web site. I have been a “fan” of HOS so long, I go back to probably PGM 15. If you know the folks at HOS, you can ask about me.

    • Leena Rogres 10:53 am on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program from #1 to #936. It is pure joy to cycle to the top of the bluff and with my Bose unit (fully charged) watch the mad world below.

    • Septer McNamaste 3:36 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program braodcast.

  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , internet radio, , WCRB,   

    Classical Boston’s Little Secret 

    Classical Boston’s Little Secret

    On December 19, 2009, I posted about the differences and similarities of the WQXR takeover by WNYC and the WGBH takeover of WCRB.

    The subject of the events in Boston has been covered in a variety of places: Scanning the Dial, boston.com, and Doc Searle to mention the most salient.

    The debate about the events in Boston have been characterized by some of the negativity which we have experienced in New York. But one place where there has been no discussion is on the web site of WGBH. At WQXR’s web site, we have the advantage of “blogs” in which we can vent our spleens and insult each other. Instead, the Boston thing is being thrashed out at the sites listed above, and on some forums like The Good Sound Club and Hub Arts.

    In both Boston and New York, there have been many complaints about the diminished range of the transmitters. This is a serious problem. Listeners, and probably members, are being lost. Suggestions about listening on the computer have been dismissed by many.

    But, here is the topic that is most important to me and no one seems to be even aware of it.

    Of the ten on air hosts that one finds on the weekly schedule, fully seven of the hosts are actually Minnesota Public Radio people. You can find them listed at Classical24’s web site, just click on Host biographies.

    So, what this means is that the Classical music listenership and membership in Boston, one of the great cultural meccas of the world, is being fed the pabulum of Classical 24, a subscription service (read “rental”) offered by Minnesota Public Radio. One noted Classical music critic described services such as Classical 24 as “musical wallpaper” designed not to intrude.

    At Scanning the Dial, Marty Ronish posted about a meeting to discuss the whole situation. Checkout Marty’s post. I really like the line about “a Minneapolis syndicate”. Sounds sort of like The Mob.

    I am very thankful that things have not come to this in New York at WQXR. I hope that we can stay afloat without recourse to such happenings. I think that the listeners and members in Boston deserve better.

     
    • Larry Genola 10:01 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just found out about these changes! So WCRB is mostly just playing canned music? Taped music disguised as a live deejay? Did any Boston deejays loose their job when they started playing taped music from Minnesota?

      A quality community radio station would play music handpicked by local experts from that community. Someone familiar with the tastes of local listeners should be playing the music. How can a taped program from Minnesota understand what works in the Boston arts groups and venues? Force feeding the public generic music from Minnesota is below the standards Boston deserves. Why would this radio station, with it’s access to all the cultural resources of Boston, start acting like a podunk small station that doesn’t know how to program it’s own music and needs help from Minnesota doing it?

      We don’t need WCRB to hear that taped Minnesota show, that is already syndicated on other stations and can be streamed over the internet via computer at home or iPhone in your car. Why donate to WCRB for taped music that is already easily available to us elsewhere? WCRB needs to be providing the community something unique. Cut the canned music!

    • richardmitnick 10:27 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Well, Larry, I don’t know who you are or where you live. I don’t recognize your name from any of the forums where this has been discussed. But, you seem to be sincere. And, frankly, with the little reaction I have seen from ‘proper” Bostonians, I have no reason to doubt your sincerity.

      I suspect that WGBH is not oriented toward music. They seem to be oriented to squabbling over bragging rights with WBUR. So, not only does WGBH want all of its air time for talk, it also wants all of its money for talk. Taking Classical 24 from Minnesota Public Radio, described in Boston as ” a Minneapolis syndicate…” is saving them a lot of money.

      The only hint of Classical 24 on the 99.5 web page is that the shows in yellow on the weekly schedule are all MPR people. Local hosts are in blue.

      I looked around http://www.publicradiofan.com at other stations using Classical 24. Mostly what I found the stations using the service were not hiding it. So that is why I called this post “Boston’s Little Secret”.

      If you live in the Boston area, get angry and do something about it. Search on WCRB, find the forums, blogs, whatever, participate in the debate, try to get some sort of movement going to financially punish this offensive behavior.

    • richardmitnick 5:22 pm on January 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Larry Genola

      I just saw your post on the Boston Musical Intelligencer!! Great!!

    • Richard Buell 1:57 am on January 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      RM — “The Air This Week” (http://theairthisweek.blogspot.com/) deserves to be on your Blogroll. I say this shamelessly, as an interested party.

      • richardmitnick 7:47 am on January 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Nothing like shameless self-promotion. I did it in about three minutes. You provide a really valuable service.

  • richardmitnick 1:36 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , internet radio, ,   

    Boston and New York 

    Boston and New York

    Recently in Boston, WGBH took over the operations of WCRB, a commercial Classical Music station and shipped off to this outlet all of its musical programming.

    At first blush, this looks like a repeat of what has recently happened in New York City. WNYC purchased the operations of WQXR. To recap events in New York City, while certain music related programming like Soundcheck and New Sounds have remained at WNYC 93.9 FM and the 93.9 web stream, music qua music is aired at WQXR FM 105.9 and the 105.9 128kbit web stream. WNYC2, the 24/7 music web stream, has become Q2, streaming at 128kbit stereo, and has remained as eclectic as was WNYC2.

    Back to Boston. First, I cannot even find a link for WCRB, everything I try, including a search, brings me back to WGBH. Maybe someone can correct me on this, and give me a link to WCRB.

    Second, while we at WNYC/WQXR are able to express our opinions in comment pages provided by parent WNYC, I found no such facilitiy at the WBGH web site. Searching for comments on the changes in Boston, I wound up at boston.com, a service of the Boston Globe newspaper. I found nothing at WGBH. Maybe someone can point out the error in my search.

    At another weblog, someone wrote that the citizenry in Boston appeared to be less irritated than the citizenry of New York City. But that is not how the comments at the Boston.com article seemed to me. They were in the main negative, but, I must admit, without the vitriol of the comments I have read at WQXR.

    What needs to be understood is that these two situations are but the tip of the iceberg, examples in cities big enough to draw a crowd. This shipping off of Classical music programming to HD radio (for cars?) and the internet (generally the same stream as HD radio) is going on all over the country because of reduced listenership at commercial stations, reduced membership at PubRadio outlets, just an overall diminution of availability for a variety of reasons. A great place to read about this is in the archives at a great weblog, Scanning the Dial. There is nothing new in the Boston or New York situations.

    I am a Public Radio zealot, WNYC fanatic, and now a WQXR cheerleader. I think that we in New York City, and I have to say also, the Classical music listeners in Boston, are fortunate that our local institutions, WNYC and WBGH, have found ways to keep Classical music on FM. This is the hard choice, the choice which may or may not pay for itself. The easy choice, taken by so many of the outlets discussed over the passed year at Scanning the Dial, is the internet, with its obvious limitations of tethering to the house or office.

    I think that WQXR will be okay, and I certainly hope the same is true for WCRB.

     
    • Clarence 4:55 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Richard: Jeremy Eichler, the Boston Globe’s classical critic, wrote about WCRB on Dec. 18 and there are 73 comments, many of them echoing the signal complaints and music-playlist issues that greeted the WQXR changeover.

    • richardmitnick 5:11 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Clarence-

      Yes, this is the article to which I referred above. But go to http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/2009/07/26/why-wqxr-is-better-off-as-a-public-radio-station/comment-page-2/#comment-230863, and you will see a guy named Tom defending the whoole Boston thing as if it is far better than what has happened in New York wirh WQXR.

      I am a staunch WNYC fanatic, and I am a Q2 listener at WQXR. Q2 is the eclectic music web stream which was wnyc2. But I am a WQXR cheerleader because ZI want to see this adventure succeed. I canot accept the criticisms of WNYC leveled by Tom as being unjaundiced.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • richardmitnick 1:39 pm on December 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet radio, ,   

    Search for Internet Radio Streaming Music 

    Search for Internet Radio Streaming Music

    Public Radio Program Directors Association presents a web site by which you can search for music being streamed on line in a variety of ways: Composer, genre, stations. Check it out.

    http://radiotuna.com/

     
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  • richardmitnick 11:54 am on December 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet radio, , ,   

    Two Great Radio Projects on New York Public Radio 

    Two Great Radio Projects on New York Public Radio

    Today is the first day of Eight Days of Steve, a celebration of the life and work of Steve Reich at Q2 on WQXR.
    Visit http://www.wqxr.org/blogs/q2-blog/2009/dec/10/maximum-reich-eight-days-steve/#z and also
    http://www.wqxr.org/articles/q2-music/2009/dec/10/maximum-reich-interviews/.
    You can listen on line at http://www.wqxr.org/q2/#z .

    I thought that Sequenza 21 might have picked up on this, but I have not seen anything. Maybe someone from that weblog can correct me.

    On parent station WNYC is the Jazz Loft Radio Project, which grows out of the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies Jazz Loft Project. In the radio project are a series of ten documentary episodes. At The Jazz Loft Project site is a great deal of text material.

    Learn and enjoy.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:51 pm on October 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , internet radio, , , ,   

    What’s the deal with Gustav Mahler? 

    What’s the deal with Gustav Mahler?

    I don’t get it. Mahler is one of the most popular composers with the WQXR audience and with the New York Philharmonic audience. I do not understand it.

    10.17.09 This post will be a running journal of my time spent with the Mahler symphonies.

    I note at the outset, I have zero musical training, not even music appreciation courses. I had my father’s introduction to Classical music; back in the 1960’s, I had Sid Mark and Joel Dorn at WHAT Jazz in Philadelphia.

    Today, I have John Schaefer, David Garland, Terrance McKnight and Nadia Sirota for classical teachers at the new WQXR, and for Jazz I have Dan Buskirk and Will Constantine at WPRB, Princeton, NJ. For Jazz I also have everyone at WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, NJ. And, especially these days for New Music, Marvin Rosen, also at WPRB.

    When I want to immerse myself in some composer’s music, I put it in some order in my Zune software, and then sync it to one of my four 120 gig Zune .mp3 players. I take the player with me on my exercise walks, on planes, to the dentist, wherever. And I listen down through a cycle. If it is Jazz or Rock, Keith Jarrett or Bob Dylan; if it is Philip Glass, or Steve Reich, then I have them in chronological order by year. I just put the year in front of the album name in the ID-3 tagging in Zune or Windows Media Player. If it is one of the older classical greats, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or, in this case, Gustav Mahler, then I just put the symphonies and concerti in number order. I also have the album art in Zune, icons do help the memory.

    So, I am starting in with the Mahler Symphonies.

    cover

    So, up to date I am through just the 1st and 2nd symphonies, and one movement of the 3rd. I repeat, I just do not get it. First, for me, too much brash brass carrying the main theme. The strings seem secondary. Too almost militaristic. And, no “hooks”, no melodic themes that just grab at you.

    Back in 1993, Stephen Hill at Hearts of Space presented Program No. 332, “Deep Forest: Music of the Rainforest Pygmies”. About this music, he said,

    From sweet child-like solo pieces to angelic group choruses, the Pygmies’ music is intensely melodic and filled with natural hooks….”

    Deep Forest

    Colin Turnbull

    Beethoven is full of hooks. So is Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, Philip Glass, Arvo Part. Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Howard Shore’s music for Lord of the Ring – all hooks. From Mahler I remember nothing. When my friend and I are in the car on the way to go cycling or hiking, we listen – in his car – to Classical music. Very often I can say at least who the composer is, because they seem to have a “footprint” in terms of voicing, rhythm, harmony. All I can think of about Mahler – so far – is LOUD. BRASS. THE WEST POINT PARADE GROUND.

    So, what I would like is for someone, anyone out there who can type and who knows Mahler and enjoys his work, tell me for what I should be listening, help me navigate my way into Mahler.

    I will be continuing this post as I go through the Mahler.

    10.23.09 Well! Into and through the fourth symphony, and viva viva Mahler!! What a difference. Lyric, lilting, a veritable ditty after the first three. Much more do the strings come to the fore and carry the melodies, instead of being almost drowned out by the brass. In the second movement I even heard a short violin solo.

    This was such a surprise that I figured something wonderful must have happened in Mahler’s life. Composers have to have it all in them; but some thing or things must act as a stimulus to bring it out. Did he get married? Divorced? Maybe a new child? Did someone who oppressed him go on to the great beyond?

    So, I hotsied myself over to Wikipedia to compare the chronology of the symphonies with the Maestro’s life. Alas, nothing is apparent.
    I am just happy that I found something more to my liking, and now I can go on with a positive attitude.

    10.30.09 Well, not much outdoor exercise; but a fair amount of the Mahler. The last several days, I was stuck inside in rainy weather. So, Tuesday, I decided to redo the Digiteria.

    IMG_0983Digits galore

    While I did this, I listened to the Symphony No 5 and Symphony No6. The one movement I loved was the slow fourth movement of the No 5. I recognized it right away, from, I think, a Sarah Brightman concert. Today, I got out for a walk with Symphony No 7. It was not as bombastic as the first three; but, alas, nothing to grab me.

    11.4.09 This is just a sad quickie update. I have now been through the first nine Mahler symphonies. I quit. It turns out I do not have the complete tenth symphony. I must say – I am sure it is my loss – Mahler is wasted on me. I just do not get it. I said up above that nothing sticks. For me, there is nothing to stick. No hooks, no repetitions of melodious themes. So, on to to other things.

    I do believe that this is the way to immerse oneself in a composer or performer. Get a lot of the work, it could be Bach, Jimmy Smith, Emerson Lake and Palmer, John Coltrane, Philip Glass, EmmyLou Harris, Miles Davis, Steve Reich. Put them into some sort of date order (easily done for Zune or Windows Media Player by going into Edit in Zune, or Advanced Tag Editor in WMP11 and putting the year in front of the name of the album. Put symphonic works, concerti, etc., in number order.) Then listen on down. Look for the growth. Look for the dynamic. Look for the shifts in compositional style.

    Any comments, please, do not hesitate.

     
    • scenebythebrook 10:58 pm on October 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I got into classical music in 2003. In 2004 I started buying a lot of CDs and by the end of that year was familiar with a substantial amount of the first Viennese School and a lot of Rromantics. One of the CDs I bought at the time was Mahler’s 5th symphony conducted by Lorin Mazaal with the Vienna Philharmonic. I listened to piece at least 10 times in the span of several months. I simply did not get it. No catchy melodies stuck out to me, no memorable sequences or great moments. I moved on to other music.

      Around that time I also acquired his fourth symphony. The first three movements didn’t strike out at me, but I fell in love with the final movement — a song. Because of this movement, I continued to give Mahler a chance.

      I bought the first symphony and found it pleasant enough. Some years later, I bought the second and, after repeated hearings, came to love it. I confess that I feel Mahler could be somewhat of a gasbag at times, but I found many moments to admire in second symphony — that part in the fifth movement, for instance, when the orchestra takes up that one theme gloriously and when the chorus enters singing that same theme. I get goosebumps now because of those parts and how now come to appreciate the whole symphony.

      Right now I’m working on the 3rd symphony. The process of acclimation is taking a while but once again I’m warming up to the work. In this work, Mahler threw in everything he had. It’s the longest symphony ever written (about 90 minutes) and, if it’s the case that there’s really only 20 minutes of great ideas/good music here, it’s worth enduring the length to get at those good parts. Maybe the whole of it is great and I’m not perceptive enough to appreciate it yet. After all, that’s how I initially felt about the second symphony and now I find the whole work riveting.

      I expect that when I get around to listening to the Fifth symphony soon I’ll find it more accessible this time.

    • richardmitnick 11:18 pm on October 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for your comments. At least I do not feel like such a jerk. You are putting a lot of time and effort into Mahler.

      “…No catchy melodies stuck out to me, no memorable sequences or great moments….” This is what I meant when I wrote about no hooks, a term admittedly from the pop musical world.

      I will continue on my path and come back when I can to relate my experience.

    • Matt 1:28 am on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mahler is wonderful. He captures the emotion like no other composer can, and he is deeply ironic, which I love. His music ranges from the joyful to complete defeat. I think if you’re going in for a catchy tune, you wont find it. You need to be able to experience it without any other distractions–as if you were in a music hall. Military themes play a huge role since martial music was a huge part of his growing up, and actually, he tortured himself over the 4th–it didn’t come as easily to him as the others. If you’re in a dark, agressive mood, relisten to the 6th again. I think it’s his most successful. And check out Bernstein’s comments on the finale of the 9th on youtube–very enlightening. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a background, sing-song composer, Mahler is not him. He demands, he captures, your full attention.

      • richardmitnick 1:10 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Matt-

        Thanks for your comment.

        I am sure that my lack of attraction to Mahler is my own lacking and loss. Surely, he is one of the perennial favorites in the New York City area and at WQXR.

    • qwer0987 12:48 am on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      The problem with your approach is simply that Mahler is too long/big. Unless you are a really, really experienced music listener, 1 listen is not going to be enough. Why do you think the music is “on the shelf” sort of speak for 50 years, until LP’s came along? It also doesn’t help that his style is quite diverse, so you can’t simply listen to the cycle for growth like some other composers.

      As for how to listen to Mahler, play it loud. Real loud, and let yourself drown in emotion. The emotion is what makes him stand out compared to other composers. He does love brass a lot, but it isn’t a problem unless for some really you really hate brass.

    • richardmitnick 7:31 am on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      qwer0987

      Thanks for your reply. The last first, I do find the brass to be too much for me. As to the rest, you are correct. It is my failure, as I have admitted above. I have taken the Mahler with me on the Zune quite a few times and tried to re-listen. I just cannot get into it, or understand it.

      Thanks again.

    • Justin Lohman 4:14 pm on January 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      See, the beauty of Mahler’s music is that it is extremely subtle in composition at times. Highly complex, but the dynamics are very subtle and unnoticable to the common ear. I compare certain segments of his symphonies to ‘gusts of wind’, ‘birds chearping’, ‘flowers blooming’ or ‘breathing in and out.’ I can understand if people do not like his music. HE happens to be the benevolant god of music in my mind. The important pre-requisite to factor in is that his music is a direct reflection of his personality and his ever shifting moods. He was probably happiest when he was sad, content where most are scared, and hated people and things that he actually probably inherently loved. I do not know if many other composers wrote in that idiom. There are moments in Das Lied (The Song of the Earth) where I am almost certain both him and I have the same vision. [10 min into ‘Abschied’ –if that doesn’t sound like a supernatural experience of a ghost in a cemetery or some other ominous landscape, i don’t know what else does]. The bottom line is that I have been a musician for 12 years or so and I have always been searching for certain dynamics and chord progressions that I could never find in the previous inventory I was exposed until…….I heard the 4th movement of Symphony 5. AMAZING! At the end the song, it sounds like it engages in a noose dive after being airborn for 9 minutes.
      Every Symphony I have heard after Symphony 5- especially 1, 2, 4, 6, and the momumental 8th- have targeted inner emotions and shades, or degrees and levels of emotion that i did not even know was possible. Chances are, while listening to a Mahler piece, if it sounds overly joyous and happy or evil and ominous, the exact opposite emotion is looming right around the corner. He thrives on the irony of ‘binary opposition.’ GENIUS to the fullest degree possible.

    • Brandon 2:53 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Believe me when I say that I mean no offense when I say, and at the risk of sounding like an elitist, you are listening all wrong. You aren’t going to fully appreciate any classical piece listening to it with divided attention. Listening while hiking, doing dishes, driving in your car, etc. just isn’t going to work. You have to listen (not just hear the hooks) to the whole of the composition with undivided attention. Aaron Copland, in a book on listening to music, asks the listener a very revealing question: Are you really hearing EVERYTHING that is going on? I.E., if you listen to eight measures of music and can’t hum back exactly what the viola, oboe, horn, etc., are doing then you aren’t hearing everything, and are cheating yourself out of the listening experience. You also cannot fully appreciate any piece of classically composed music, especially one as contrapuntally complex as Mahler, by listening through only once. The thing about Mahler’s music is that there ARE hooks, many of them. They just don’t usually repeat within the same contrapuntal context. Sometimes they are in the foreground of the texture, sometimes they are in the middle or background of the texture. Sometimes they are recapitulated in diminution, sometimes in augmentation, sometimes in inversion, etc. They are mixed with other themes of comparable or incomparable importance. Each voice in the texture (sometimes as much as eight in the thrilling double fugue of the 8th) has a distinct contour and personality, making them completely melodically independent, but, stacked on top of each other they become harmonically interdependent. This is the genius of Mahler. He is arguably the greatest contrapuntalist in the history of classically composed music. Up at the top with Bach. It, of course, helps to have a firm understanding of music theory, orchestration, and fugal technique. The more you understand the better the appreciation. I do, however, know many musical laypersons who can appreciate Mahler, but none of them did within one, two, or even three listens. Mahler requires extra work, but stick with it, believe me, it is worth it!

    • Brandon 3:17 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      As an afterthought may I suggest targeting one movement of one symphony, say the Rondo Finale from the Seventh, and listening to it over and over, each time trying to listen to a different part of the texture? The divide and conquer technique might work with Mahler!

    • richardmitnick 4:15 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Brandon-

      Thanks for your comments.

      My listening was the most focused it could be, when I am walking, all I concentrate on is the music. Whether it is Mahler, or Philip Glass, or Bob Dylan, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, whoever.

    • Dominic Case 6:57 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Please don’t expect to “understand” Mahler right away. His work is too big for that – there is so much happening. I suppose a few people manage to – conductors mostly! As for “hooks”, after a couple of listenings you will find some phrases that you carry away with you that you won’t be able to put down. Mahler never exactly repeats in his recapitulations – there is always a variation, so that makes it a little harder still to know where you are or how a movement is built.
      Stay with it, and as others have said, don’t try to work right through the oevre. That might work with lesser composers, and if you wnat to know about the person not the music. Pick on one symphony (or song cycle) and play it over and over. And remember that Mahler was, apart from everytrhing else, a collector of impressions. The first symphony is a scrapbook of sounds he grew up with – only later does the full force of his harmony, couterpoint and orchestration emerge.

    • richardmitnick 7:21 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Dominic-

      Thanks for the comments. I am still listening to Mahler, now one symphony at a time.

    • sh 8:29 pm on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Well, there’s always the possibility that you simply don’t care for his music. And whether you do or not, there’s also the possibility that you feel like you should (or that your listening community does, etc. etc.)

      I’ve been involved in music for a few decades now. I took up a more focused interest in symphonic forms in the late 90’s. A series of individual Mahler purchases and eventually the Kubelik box was a part of that. I wanted to hear what all the fuss and talk was about (and there was plenty) and I wanted to better understand what came after; Schoenberg, Berg, etc. So, no noob to challenging listens, I went through much of what you did, had dedicated, couch-borne listening sessions, did my reading and even rented related movies. It’s been over a decade now and ultimately, while I prefer the Zinman set and while there is occasionally a time and place (this October chill often puts me in the mood for No. 7), most of the time I just don’t care for Mahler very much. I don’t like a lot of his orchestration, his phrasing, his sense of drama… just not for me. In fact I found your blog just a week or so ago by one day finally googling “what is the big deal about mahler?” and was delighted and humored to have found this.

      To help you navigate your way through it – I would suggest stepping back and reading and listening to anything about or around your point of focus; history, musical contemporaries, predecessors and students, etc. Juxtapose with Wagner, Strauss and Schoenberg, or even Debussy; read about Jewish life in Europe at the turn of the century, etc. But, unless already driven to do so – why? These are all intellectual validations; if your heart’s not in it, your heart’s not in it, you gave it a go and I don’t think that makes you a ‘jerk’ in the least.

      If it’s scale or epic you’re after, try Bruckner for a change – certain influence but a completely different approach. Or if Mahler’s shrieking wears on you (sorry guys, it just happens), try going the other way and sinking into a deep Brahmsian bass line. But if everyone else is swearing by something and it doesn’t work for you after a few chances, let it go. It’s music, some part of you already knows if you respond to it or not. When something really catches you and takes you to a deeper place, you usually don’t have to try so hard, it’s more like you can’t help it (as I think some of the above replies make clear). And it’s about personal experience, not social judgement – do not confuse popularity or fame (or even prestige) with quality or talent. These are very, very different things that may or may not have anything to do with one another in a given instance. Go flip on the tv to see how that plays out.

      It gets down to this: How does listening to Mahler make you feel?

    • richardmitnick 8:40 pm on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, it is quite some time ago that I wrote the post. I had a bunch of helpful comments, I did some more listening. It all just came up short. I am sure it is not Mahler, I am sure it is me. But, for me, too much brass, too much bravado, not enough lyricism.

      Thanks again.

      This blog has become dormant because all of the issues with Classical music and PubRadio just died out. There is very little live beyond the rental of “Classical 24” from Minnesota Public Radio. WQXR, New York, is live hosted, so is WPRB, Princeton. Also WCNY, Syracuse and WCPE, Winston-Salem. Even WGBH’s purchase of WCRB did not remove the “Classical 24” from Boston Public Radio, a shocker in one of the great culture meccas.

      I have moved on the a new blog which looks at the “Downtown New York New Music scene”, and Jazz. Also, I follow some labels for new releases, ECM, Innova, Cuneiform, Blue Note, Cantaloupe, and New Amsterdam. The blog is at http://musicsprings.wordpress.com .

    • Tim Angell 8:46 pm on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      When you’re trying to hear something, or see something, leave your baggage at the door . And don’t try so damn hard.

  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , internet radio, , , , , , ,   

    Jazz Is Very Serious Music 

    Jazz Is Very Serious Music

    Jazz is hard work.

    Classical music is, at least for me, not so hard. I learned to love Classical music as a child. My father had a very large collection of LP’s, Beethoven through maybe Sibelius and some Aaron Copland. French Impressionists. The Russian Big Five. Some Opera. I recently rebuilt what was essentially the core of his collection, but in digital form. I go from, now, Bach, through the Romantics and into the 20th century, Nancarrow, Partch, Varese, and Antheil. Part and Messiaen. Glass, Reich, Riley, Young, and Adams. Mark O’Connor and Osvaldo Golijov. After my father, my best teachers have been John Schaefer and David Garland at WNYC. The element of Ambient music I learned from Stephen Hill and Hearts of Space.

    But, none of this has been really difficult. If I am buying the Beethoven symphonies, does it really matter among Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic, Von Karajan or Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic? Violin concerti, I want Hilary Hahn. Terry Riley’s “In C”, Bang On A Can. Reich’s Music for Eighteen musicians, The fabulous Grand Valley State University players (Innova).

    My knowledge in all music is five miles wide and a half of an inch thick. Anyone reading this that is really knowledgeable will see that immediately.

    If you like Bach, Bartok, Sibelius, and Stravinsky, you might just take well to Jazz.

    Jazz is really hard. Everyone has their own starting point. My father started in Classical at Beethoven, but I have some Bach, by Glenn Gould AND Keith Jarrett.

    My starting point in Jazz is Bop, MDD (Miles Dewey Davis), and John Coltrane. I use MDD really to honor Michael Tilson Thomas, known as “MTT”. If this great conductor can be MTT, then Miles is for me MDD. My first teacher was Steve Rowland. Steve has two radio projects, “The Miles Davis Radio Project”, and “Tell Me how Long ‘Trane’s Been Gone”. I bought these two series in .mp3, put them on my Zune .mp3 player and listened to them on walks, on planes, at the dentist. Wherever. Over and over. I started to acquire their music. Amazon’s Jazz library is just literally huge.But, what was it? Bop? Bebop? Post-Bop? West Coast? Who was it? Which quartet or quintet? Each had two great bands, known by various names. Miles had The First Quintet and the Second Quintet. Coltrane had the Classic Quartet and the Second Quartet. Who was in each band? It matters.

    Coltrane played with Miles. Twice. Everyone played with Thelonius Monk.

    You cannot study this music and these people without immersing yourself in the work of Eric Dolphy. You need to hear Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, himself a saxophone colossus.

    You need to pay attention to the producer Rudy Van Gelder. Why? Everyone wanted to work with him.

    You need also to read about these people. Wikipedia is a very good resource. Gary Giddins’ books, Visions of Jazz – The First Century (1998) and Weatherbird (2004), are very worthwhile. The first is basically portraits in word of artists. The second is a collection of the writer’s reviews of concerts and albums.

    Terry Teachout wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal that Jazz, taken out of the club and into the concert hall, is dying a slow death. . If Terry were to listen to Jazz on WPRB, WBGO, any of the countless outlets in the database of Public Radio Fan or the niche streams at AccuRadio and Live365; if Mr. Teachout were to give a listen to the Jazz Calendars presented by WPRB and WBGO, he might change his tune.

    Bill Evans and Gil Evans matter. Differently. Bill was the consummate piano virtuoso. Gil was Miles’ other half as an arranger. There is a short film, “The Sound of Miles Davis, with Miles’ quintet (which one?) playing with the Gil Evans Orchestra. In this video, Coltrane’s solo in “So What” (from Kind of Blue)blows the whole group away.

    To understand McCoy Tyner, you need to hear Paul Hindemith. Dave Brubeck studied with Darious Milhaud and wrote Jazz fugues for The Octet. It matters. Miles studied at Juilliard. John Coltrane studied Bela Bartok.
    “The Birth of the Cool” really matters. Miles and Gerry Mulligan tried to emulate the sound of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra in nine instruments, a nonet. This matters big time. Some consider this the most important album ever produced.

    MDD’s “Bitches Brew” matters because of Jazz Fusion. The work was one of the first projects in Jazz Fusion. Wayne Shorter played with Miles in the Second Great Quintet. But, he also played with Joe Zawinul in Weather Report which was a Jazz Fusion band. But Joe wrote Mercy, Mercy, Mercy for Cannonball Adderley’s quintet. This is not Fusion.

    I am just going through my collection as I write this. Chick Corea is an incredible pianist, as is Keith Jarrett. Both can write and both can improvise. Chick has had the Elektric Band and the Akoustic Band. And, the Fusion band, Return To Forever, with especially Al DiMeola. Keith has had the Standards Trio, The American Trio, The American Quartet, the European Quartet. He also has himself in all of the solo albums and solo concerts. The Koln Concert album is one of the best selling piano solo albums of all time. All of this matters. It matters also that Keith recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations on harpsichord. It matters that Keith and Chick concertized and recorded the Mozart Double Concerto. Master musicians. Who they are and what they do matters.

    Who is Percy Heath? Jimmy Heath? Albert Heath?

    I have some Thelonius Monk, some Charlie Parker and some Dizzy Gillespie. But I have not yet gotten well educated enough to appreciate them.

    But, I go further back with a very modern band. I go to Dixieland with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Ken Field’s very able crew from Boston, Mass. I love this band. They are so hip, so cool in the modern sense of the word.

    Since Steve Rowland, my best support has come from Will Constantine and Dan Buskirk at WPRB, Princeton; Josh Jackson and the concerts from WBGO, Newark, and NPR/music. At NPR, there are the Jazz Profiles, over seventy biographic accounts of great Jazz composers and players. These are available for download. Again, I put them on my Zune and took them with me everywhere. NPR also features concerts from WBGO at The Village Vanguard and J&R Music.

    Latin Jazz matters very much. The movie “Calle 54” is the best introduction one can have for this sub-genre. I got it from Netflix. Latin Jazz, Jerry and Andy Gonzalez, Paquito D’Rivera, Chano Dominguez, Michel Camilo, Gato Barbieri, Eliane Elias, Bebo Valdez and Chucho Valdez, all very important.
    The Modern jazz Quartet began, in a sense like David Byrne’s “Music for ‘The Knee Plays” at Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach”, as a sort of intermission entertainment. It was, first, The Milt Jackson Quartet, and they played as part of the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra. When the orchestra took a break, this quartet filled the time. Look what happened. It is important.

    Singers like Mose Allison and Nina Simone are very important.

    Pat Metheny and Al DiMeola are consummate Jazz guitarists.

    I just watched a video, “Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation”. The video goes way beyond improvisation. It is a valuable biographical story of Keith’s oerve. One piece, played by the European Quartet- they matter a lot – is called “The Windup”. I recognized it immediately. I searched my hard drive. I could not find it. I got the album, “Belonging” (1974), so I could listen a few times. Actually, it was not as good as I remembered. This arrangement (8’22”) is too fast. Then, I remembered that I had an album, “Fort Yawuh” about which I learned from Dan Buskirk. Maybe it was there under another name. These days, I have a large library of Keith Jarrett’s recordings. But, for some time, this album had been my only Keith Jarrett work beyond the well known “Koln Concert”. Sure enough, the first track of “Fort Yawuh”, ‘(If the) Misfits (Wear It)’ (1973) is the same melody, but the exposition is for me much better at 13’15”.

    I am done. I could go on forever here. Here are some things which are important. There are three other important Coltrane’s: Alice, Ravi, and Oran. Steve Gadd is all over the place as a drummer. Cyro Baptista who I first encountered with Paul Simon, is all over John Zorn’s work. John Zorn: he deserves a huge weblog post all for himself. Some players have been around for a long time and deserve respect. None more than Brian Blade. Cedar Walton is still making music.

    Whoops, I never mentioned Duke Ellington. There are no words. His big orchestra is not my style. But I did get his “Black, Brown & Beige”, “The Far East Suite”, “Latin America Suite”, and the absolutely fantastic “Such Sweet Thunder”. Somehow, for me, The Duke is a Classical composer.

    This is not anywhere near complete. No mention of Kenny Clark the drummer, Philly Joe Jones, Connie Kay, also drummers. Stanley Clark, Ron Carter, two bassists extraordinaire. Or Kurt Rosenwinkel, Stanley Turrentine. Sun Ra, off somewhere in a world of his own creation. There are just so many people, each unique in what they bring to the music.

    If you give Jazz a go, expect to be very serious about it and expect to work very hard.

     
    • Classical Music 8:27 am on September 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      It provides all tracks in the universally compatible MP3 format at prices as low as 27 cents ( 23c) a track. Classical Music

      • richardmitnick 11:47 am on September 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I looked at your site, it is very nice. But I could not find where one would buy music.

        >>RSM

    • Lori 11:13 am on October 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Just wanted to tell you that I read your comment on the WQXR/NYC deal, and was sufficiently intrigued to check out your blog. Very interesting, well-written (unlike this comment?). Keep up the good work.

    • richardmitnick 11:27 am on October 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Lori-

      Thanks. I try very hard to be relevant. I appreciate your comment. Comments, good or bad, are hard to come by.

      >>RSM

  • richardmitnick 7:28 pm on September 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet radio, , , ,   

    WNYC becomes WQXR(?) October 8, 2009 

    WNYC becomes WQXR(?) October 8, 2009

    Sorry, I just cannot figure out what to call the newly formed Classical music entity at 105.9, http://www.wnyc.org. Or, will it be http://www.wqxr. what? org? com? It is all too confusing. We will still have wnyc2. What will be its name? Is there a wqxr2?

    Anyway, it is all happening at the zoo – oops, sorry that is from Paul Simon who is very much on my mind. It is happening at the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall at 8:00PM on October 8, 2009. Aha!! The NY Daily News says that the broadcast will be at 93.9FM and streamed at http://www.wqxr.whatever. I mean, their link says .org, but, click on it and you got to .com. The New York Times says that the broadcast will be on 105.9. I mean, that’s okay, a simulcast.

    Hey, if 93.9 keeps Jonathan Schwartz, I am all for this thing.

    But, seriously folks, it is well nigh time that we were told just what listeners can expect. I have been a commenter in weblogs and newspaper on-line sites all over the place. I can tell you that WQXR has its adherents. They are also all over the weblogs. So, one thing is we know that they have computers. So they can stop complaining about the reduced power at 105.9. One question is, will they become members?

    But, what will the new station be like? I want no change from the current music programming at WNYC. I want Terrance, David, Nadia, Helga. I want Reich, Glass, Adams, Golijov, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, and of course, John Zorn.

    WQXR listeners have been very pronounced in responses to news articles. They want mostly their on-air folk.

    If the content changes, I am ready. We were put to it when the day time music was cut after 9/11. We all found our way with sites like http://www.publicradiofan.com, http://www.accuradio.com, http://www.live365.com. I will have no problem finding what I want on the internet. I expect no change at wnyc2. My only question is FM radio in the car. Again, no real problem with having listenable music. I have 160 gigs of music on three 120 gig Zune .mp3 players. That is more music than some stations’ libraries. I am not one for satellite radio’s offerings. I hear it in my friend’s car. To me it is pablum. Whitebread.

    And, mornings are fine, with WPRB . Also, there is WBGO for great Jazz, music I enjoy more and more.

    If all I have left is wnyc2, some of my member dollars will go elsewhere. I will cut back to the basic membership from my current US$100.00. My money will go to streamers at Live365, especially Innova.mu, the voice of the American Composers’ Forum, St Paul, MN for their excellent streams, and to PostClassic, if it still up, the stream of Kyle Gann.

    I will of course, never cease to recognize the excellence of John Schaefer’s two offerings, Soundcheck and New Sounds. John’s work alone is worth my membership.

    I really do not expect this all happen. I expect to keep Terrance, David, Nadia, and Helga, and the music I now enjoy.

    So, tell us, what can we expect.

     
    • DennisVega 12:37 pm on September 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

    • Tnelson 6:12 pm on September 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

      • richardmitnick 11:27 pm on October 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I think I failed to thank you for your comment. I do appreciate it very much, and I regret my oversight.

        >>RSM

    • Ed Rosten 9:12 pm on October 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I think we’ve discussed some of the implications and ramifications and all that of the combination – in advance of its actually taking place.

      Now that the deed is done, I have to call you on a kind of logical error you made – hey, we all write things that we wish we hadn’t, although you MAY not feel that all this is really necessary.

      You go from seeing a number of blog posts from WQXR listeners to a conclusion that a weaker frequency matters little. Similarly, you refer to the gigabytes of good music you carry around with you in what sounds very much like a grossly insensitive “I’m all right, Jack” vein…. I don’t think – and this from having read some of your more thoughtful words – that you’re a bad (thinking ONLY of yourself) person, but your post makes me wonder.

      Some of what you write also (I guess it’s WHO you are) has an elitist tone that’s also sad. It reminds me of political purists of years gone by who eventually find themselves in splinters of splinters of viable groups; in many instances, their sanity declines as their influence does. WQXR’s listeners may be overwhelmingly different from you in their tastes, but the “new music” that you favor relies on the more traditional classical music and its adherents not all going the way of the dinosaurs.

      Of course, the way that WNYC handled the takeover pretty much guaranteed that fewer people in New York would listen to classical music and/or that they would do so for dramatically fewer hours per week, say.

      And that WILL translate into smaller live audiences and additional losses to whatever chance of viability classical music now has. I’m sure you could come up with 10 reasons why people would actually refuse to adopt or be unable to adopt internet streams in place of WQXR’s (96.3 vintage) good strong signal.

      Taken together, they amount to literally thousands of listeners who’ll basically alter their listening habits to eliminate classical music from their audio diet. Their children and grand-children (yes, the latter group especially) will also be affected.

      I’m really not overstating this – I suspect that you would “rally” if you heard that 50,000 people in New York were prevented from voting. Instead, with numbers of the same magnitude – and those people really DO share something obviously very important to you – you take an altogether callous and uncaring position.

      Having said all that, I have to admit that for people with HD radios and/or luck in where they live, the outcome appears to be less bad than I had feared. I join you in hoping that several thousand people who might prefer (perhaps, they’ve never tried the alternative) “conventional radio” to an internet stream will give the latter a try and quickly come to the conclusion that their choice has NOT been narrowed – really – they actually may be overwhelmed by the number of good listening choices available to them.

      Of course, WNYC had to think more about the future than the past (the PRESENT, of course, is a lot harder to “kiss off”), but if they had devoted 10% of the energy they shell out 4 times a year with fundraisers to diminish the shock of the October 8th dynamiting of 96.3, they’d have emerged a great deal stronger and healthier.

    • richardmitnick 11:16 pm on October 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Ed-

      Yes, the switch is complete.

      I live in Highland Park, Central New Jersey, about 35 miles from New York City. I have on my house roof the largest antenna available at Radio Shack some 20 years ago. [I got this to clearly receive “Music From The Hearts of Space” at 2:00AM-3:00AM, which I put on stereo video tape because stereo VCR’s had a clock, and I could go to sleep. The provider of the program, Hearts of Space, San Fransisco, CA. knew I was time shifting the program.] With this antenna, I am getting 105.9 just fine. Clear, good signal, on for stereo receivers of different makes. I also spent some time in my car for my company, in Piscataway, NJ, also about 40-45 miles from New York City. I had no problems in the car. My car has no stick antenna. Today, my friend and I went hiking, driving about 40-45 miles from NYC. We took his car. It has a wee stick antenna. With the antenna down, no go. But with it up, a good strong signal. I called all of these reports into Listener Services.

      Regarding my 320 gigs of music, what can I say? I am “alright Jack”. Beyond my own library, when WNYC stopped music in the daytime back on 2001, forced on our own, some of us got brave and went looking. On the internet. I do most of my listening at work, in both my office and my home. So, I have the following bookmarked in Winamp on three computers:; a subscription to live365.com where I enjoy five streams from Innova.mu (American Composers’ Forum, St. Paul, MN), Kyle Gann’s PostClassic, Counterstream (American Music Center, NYC), and Iridian; the Q2 stream [was wnyc2, and no change in the programming]; great Classical music and Jazz at WPRB, Princeton, NJ, WBGO, Jazz in Newark, NJ. I also have bookmarked, but not in Winamp, accuradio.com, a bunch of good niche streams for 20th century and current music , and also for Jazz from Bebop on to the present. So, my friend, I am quite alright.

      Public Radio and serious music, Classical and Jazz, are my passions. I work very hard at this.

      The elitism is probably accurate. As I said, for me this is not a passing fancy. I have “friends” in Music, both Classical and Jazz and in Public Radio, via the computer, all over the country, from New York City to Los Angeles. I participate in the process at a number of stations, strictly as a listener, but only and always as member. I believe that membership has some privileges, one of which is to be a crank.

      One thing is for sure, in the weblogs which I read and in which I commented, the WQXR people were there in droves. I was very lonely.

      I don’t believe it is time yet for a pessimistic view of the future of the new WQXR.

      I would in fact support the adoption of internet streams, WQXR-FM, Q2, other web streams. You cna see that I have already opted for this model. I have four component stereo systems in the house; but they are pretty much going unused.

      In other places where this is discussed, my thesis is that the future of music listening is headed to the internet. Public Radio, the current home of Classical music on the radio, is losing stations almost every week. I have a friend who says that people only listen to radio in their cars. I think he is wrong. I think that there is a huge internet listenership; but, alas, I have no numbers to back that up.

      Now, all that being said, this friend of mine and I are at complete opposites in our musical tastes and in our radio choices. He loves Bach and hates Jazz, I do not hate Bach, I have a nice collection; but I love Jazz. He dislikes intensely most late Classical music like Messiaen, Glass, Golijov, which I love. He likes chamber music, early music, and a lot of standard classical music. I have Beethoven, Brfahms, etc; but I really start at Sibelius and Copland. He has satellite radio in the car; I use an mp3 player.

      And, guess what? We are both happy with the “New Q”, the people, the programming. WNYC is making a serious effort to make it comfortable for the WQXR listeners who do tune in. In fact, my friend is going to send money to WNYC!!.

      It was great to hear from you. I appreciate it that you are interested and willing to go to great effort to make your views known. My experience is that the management at WNYC cares what you think and you should always tell them. That goes for anyone else reading this exchange. My experience with WNYC goes back to about 1980. I am an old experienced crank.

      Best regards,
      >>RSM

    • Ed Rosten 8:46 am on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Well, you’ve defused almost all anger and frustration I may have felt. As I said – but not clearly and succinctly enough – do NOT make the mistake of observing even 50 different posters from WQXR on blogs and concluding that the AVERAGE WQXR listener is/was comfortable with technology. Here, too, I’m being intuitive, and nobody would LET a statistic like this “go public,” but I’ll guess that their audience was even grayer than average for things like classical music, the theater, etc.

      But they DO “deserve” to be taken care of – for all sorts of reasons, and in the absence of a signal that reaches people who – unlike you – do NOT have good equipment, antennae, expertise, etc. – one can hardly say that they are being well taken care of.

      GLAD TO HEAR that at least a good swath of NJ is still “on the grid.” Alas, as you probably know, the same cannot be said about Long Island and nearby CT.

      And, sadly – not knowing which of us is right and to what extent – I disbelieve almost 100% your belief that the current WNYC top management gives a @%$# about the minority elements in their listenership. That goes for the so-called “minority groups,” and it even goes for the well-heeled and vocal classical music lovers – BY AND LARGE. To make them distinctly 2nd class citizens is obviously WAY BETTER than cutting them loose as we both know some other public radio stations have done…. But the bottom line is that WNYC made a series of decisions over the last few months that were – in radio terms – every bit as classical music-UNFRIENDLY as shuttering Carnegie Hall would be. Glad YOU have adjusted – I know that literally thousands of – no other way to put it – recently orphaned listeners of WQXR … COULD adjust, but they’re going to need help from people like you and me AND the management of WNYC. Right now, they’ve goosed all the on-air people to say once or twice per hour – “Tell your friends we’re still on the air.”

      What they need to do is to provide the most painstaking how-to’s on their website. They have to own up – as the facts firm up – that this or that area is now a dead zone and it isn’t worth futzing with antennae. Maybe, too, they can earmark some $ to reducing those dead zones via repeaters & translators and things I obviously only understand to a limited extent.

      Check out my WQXR.INFO page – BADLY in need of a how-to re internet radio!

    • richardmitnick 12:05 pm on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Ed-

      First of all, sure, frustration. We are all a bit frustrated. Terrance and David will not be able to bring the kinds of music – late 20th century and current- that they were presenting as part of Evening Music. Even Nadia and Helga on the Overnight will be presenting more traditional fare. WQXR listeners will need to adapt to the new stance as Public Radio listeners. Believe me, the support announcements at WNYC were as irritating as the commercials at WQXR.

      And, the antenna business could be problematic for some. My friend to whom I referred does not any longer have any kind of a roof antenna. But, he found a Bose radio that brings in 105.9 just fine in Highland Park, NJ, for US$350.00. Not everyone can do that.

      But, anger? This is not useful, relevant, whatever. Anger at me is totally misplaced. I state a philosophic position, which one may take or not take. I could feel totally frustrated and angry about the lack of support from WNYC listeners pro or con in the blogosphere. I don’t. I did my thing, basically I lost, and we go on from there.

      The thing about taking care of its WQXR listeners, WNYC has spent a fortune at 160 Varick Street all aimed at music presentation. There are new studios for in-house live music presentation; there is the Greenspace which cost ten million dollars. I think all of the new assets will be put to use and WQXR listeners – who I hope become members – will be the beneficiaries of those assets.

      Please give me a link to reach your WQXR.INFO page.

      >>RSM

    • ed rosten 7:25 pm on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Clarifying – never (really) angry at you. You’re 100% right – if even 1% of the listeners contributed as much as you do (apart from $), lots of things would be different and better.

      AND you’re right about some of that infrastructure investment, something I genuinely overlooked.

      I’m a little puzzled at your allusions to what you seem to believe is a noticeable change in the programming one can expect from Terrance & David – by now, I’m sure you can back it up, but I’ll still be surprised. Say what one will about WNYC, “muzzling” its on-air staff GENUINELY would surprise me.

      Last, http://www.wqxr.info is up and running – maybe, I didn’t make that as clear as I might have!

    • richardmitnick 8:22 pm on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ed-

      Regarding the music, you know, I have sources. I know for a fact that Terrance and David will be airing more traditional Classical music, this is a definite nod to the WQXR listeners.

      I was working very late and so also listening to Nadia. The same will be true in Overnight Music.

      Will this last? Who is to say. I did go to the “blog” page, one of them, Terrance’s, and provide a list of composers whose work is within the tradition that WQXR followed, yet whose music is far from boring: Alan Hovhaness, John Adams, Olivier Messiaen, Aaron Copland, the Appalachian works of Mark O’Connor-Edgar Meyer-Yoyo Ma, Mark O’Connor, Leonard Bernstein, NADIA SIROTA, Philip Glass (Glassworks, Glasspieces, Prokofiev, Sibelius, and Duke Ellington- the Suites, Black Brown and Beige, the Latin American Suite, the Far East Suite, and Such Sweet Thunder.

      Thanks for the link. I hope that others see it also, now that we have it here.

      I hope that my typing is getting better. I am feally trying.

      >>RSM

    • richardmitnick 9:00 pm on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ed-

      You need to see http://gregsandow.com/WNYC_cuts.htm, this is Greg Sandow’s (major New York critic) article in the WSJ when day time music died at WNYC.

      Let’s see if I can copy it in:

      Yes, but while the text is complete, it is better at Greg’s page, so look at the web page.

      >>RSM

      “…New York
      Last month, New York’s public-radio station, WNYC, stabbed classical music right in the heart. Or that’s what many people think.
      What happened, more precisely, was that WNYC cut out 25 hours each week of classical-music broadcasts — nearly its entire daytime classical-music schedule on weekdays — and replaced it with news and talk.
      Not that this took the station out of the classical business. It kept its nighttime classical-music broadcasts, and most importantly, still features contemporary classical music, which hardly anyone else in radio is willing to do. And even as it made the cuts, it started a new live classical show, which airs for an hour every weekday afternoon, and in fact costs more than all the broadcasts that were cut, because live music is more expensive than playing CDs.

      But people are upset, because classical music has been vanishing from radio all over the country. When news leaked of the impending cuts, David Finckel, the cellist of the very fine Emerson String Quartet, and his wife, the pianist Wu Han, circulated a petition that was signed by many top musicians — among them Itzhak Perlman and Wynton Marsalis — along with nonmusic celebrities and even a couple of Nobel Prize-winners. An angry Web site, http://www.savewnyc.org, sprang up, many pages deep and with a splash of fancy graphics: “No music? No money!” it roared, urging listeners not to contribute during WNYC’s recent fund-raising campaign, but instead to flood the phones with protests. And at an April 10 meeting of WNYC’s Community Advisory Board — a body with a voice, but no real power — I could taste the anger that lay behind all this. “This is our FM station!” a woman cried, as if it had been stolen from her. Who, others wondered, will listen to classical music in the future, if no one is exposed to it in the present?

      The problem WNYC faces, though, is precisely that not enough people are currently listening. “What we’ve learned over the past four or five years,” says Laura Walker, the station’s president, “is that WNYC serves two distinct audiences. Our news audience has increased significantly, but our music audience has been flat or decreased.” In any given week, she says, just over a million listeners tune into WNYC, but only 12% of them do so for its music. Worse yet, those people — vocal as they are — don’t even carry their financial weight; they give less money, in proportion to their numbers, than the news listeners do.
      These statistics aren’t controversial. They come in part from Arbitron, radio’s version of Nielsen’s ratings, and are supplemented by special studies and anecdotal sources, such as phone conversations with donors during fund drives. Two weeks ago, WNYC told me that it had surveyed 600 people, 400 of them listeners, 200 demographically similar to listeners. These people ranked classical music last, among 15 things WNYC might offer — and dramatically last, because they disliked classical-music broadcasts more strongly than they liked the news-related choices that they rated at the top.

      So really, now — whose station is it? Why don’t news listeners have the same rights as people who listen to WNYC for classical music? They’re not much more a mass-market audience than music listeners are. They turn to public stations because they can’t find the news programs they want on commercial radio. Why should they be given less than music listeners, whom they far outnumber?
      The protesters object that WNYC now plays classical music mainly in the evenings — and, even worse, in the middle of the night — when fewer people listen. But that’s because the larger daytime audience quite literally tuned away. Naively (or so it seems to me), the protesters say this shouldn’t matter, because public radio exists to offer things that aren’t popular. But what does that mean? Should it broadcast programs all day long about asparagus? Why should classical music have special privileges? Why don’t news shows qualify as noncommercial enough to fulfill the mission?

      But here, I think, we get to what makes the protesters so angry. They argue that too many of the talk programs, created to appeal to listeners, aren’t really good or serious, and that by trying to get more people listening, the station’s management reveals itself as greedy, or even power-mad. In one way, they have a point. Some of the newer shows are clearly lifestyle stuff, not as serious as Beethoven. They reflect a culture shift, the same one that years ago brought Tina Brown to the The New Yorker magazine, and made it shallower and trendier. But the culture really has been changing, and WNYC has hardly any choice unless it wants to downsize. To survive as any kind of even mildly large-scale operation, it has to play in the corporate arena, just as museums do, or orchestras or opera companies.
      Understandably, that’s hard for the protesters to accept. But their complaints about WNYC — which also include the style of the station’s management — are in a way unfair, and in the end irrelevant. They’re unfair because the station still devotes one-third of all its broadcast hours to classical music and says it will address one of the trickiest problems classical music faces, which is how to attract a new audience. Studies show, the station says, that its news listeners do like classical music. They just don’t like to hear it on the radio, and, like many people the classical-music world would like to reach, they also don’t seek out classical concerts or classical CDs. Can their interest be awakened? WNYC thinks it can help, by running news items — features, interviews, evocative vignettes — about classical music, and especially about classical events it plans to broadcast live.

      Will that drive these listeners to take a greater interest? Nobody knows. But one classical figure who signed the petition, the composer John Corigliano, told me that he’s now willing to give WNYC a chance. In part, he says, that’s because the problems classical music faces are much deeper than WNYC.
      And certainly he’s right. What’s happening at WNYC is just a symptom, and so the real question the protesters should address is how to make classical music more popular, so WNYC will have to broadcast more of it.
      To its credit, the Community Advisory Board held a discussion of just that subject at the meeting I attended. Two speakers — Bill McLaughlin, the host of a much-loved classical-music radio show, “St. Paul Sunday,” and Richard Bell, the national executive director of young audiences, which brings classical music to younger people — made a crucial point. Both warned protesters not to speak as if they somehow were entitled to hear classical music on the air. In Mr. Bell’s words, “We paint ourselves into a corner that way.”
      And we’re in trouble, I’d add, if we start, as even Mr. Finckel and Ms. Wu’s petition did, from the assumption that classical music deserves a special place, that it’s not just good to have around, but necessary. Not everyone agrees with us — and that’s the problem we’d better learn how to address.

      Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2002…”

    • Ed Townesend 2:28 pm on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      A kind of P.S. The Wikipedia article on QXR – recently updated, as one would expect – says that the 2 translators STAYED with WQXR – i.e., they extent its reach. I think I’d heard the North of NY one “confirmed” by observation on some other forum, but in that YOU are in NJ and are concerned where you might drive and essentially lose coverage, these may be worth posting:

      W244AS 96.7 FM Oakhurst, NJ 8 D FCC
      W279AJ 103.7 FM Highland, NY 2 D FCC

      Not sure how this will format, but the 8 & D on the first line and the 2 & D on the 2nd are said to represent “power” and “class,” respectively. I leave it to others to opine as to the effectiveness/reach/etc. of those 2 “frequencies.”

      I find it somewhere between interesting & amusing that QXR identifies itself as being located in NYC and Newark whenever it ID’s itself. I understand that BGO is moving its broadcast to the Empire State Building, vastly increasing its reach (I think simply because it’ll be much higher in altitude atop the ESB). Hard to believe that it would be all that financially difficult for WNYC to find a Long Island location – both physically and on the dial – to shoehorn itself into 10’s of thousands of homes out there. Too bad some of the fattest cats out there (the old Computer Associates biggies if memory serves) were either fined very big bux or imprisoned or both. If one of them were a classical music lover…. Actually, I think that the town of Great Neck (LI) is said to be (easily) among the top 10 non-metropolises in terms of classical music appreciation. They should yell and scream (I’m sure they could demonstrate enormous support for WNYC over the years) – and/or maybe put together a “special fund,” insisting, of course, that not one penny of it go for anything other than re-enfranchising them.

    • richardmitnick 3:06 pm on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Ed-

      Thanks for the update. I am really pleased that WBGO, which bills itself out as “The World’s Greatest Jazz Station” has been really hindered of late in its service because of low power.

      >>RSM

    • Ed Townesend 11:59 am on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Boy, the final paragraph on your 10/8 post – the one atop this thread – sure sounds like what I imagine an oboe sounds like if the reed succumbs to old age – i.e., a kind of “clinker.”

      First, for you and others – a fine link:
      http://classicalwebcast.com/usa.htm

      because, among other things, it DOES list the streams (don’t know how current and/or accurate, of course) that play classical WITH their specs. Apparently, the post of yours on WQXR.org I saw referencing the 32K “speed” or sampling rate for the WQXR stream is … what it’s “supposed to be.”

      I use a very bare bones player, that doesn’t give me stats like your WinAmp does, but I switched from WMNR to KBAQ and the sound is more “robust.”

      But my real “issue” to rile you up with today has to do with your analysis that the merger is looking like the “acquired” dominates the “acquiror” … BECAUSE the WNYC people (listeners) weren’t noisy enough.

      I’m sure you know more about classical music than almost any non-professional listener, but I think you’re WAY off-base as to why things are looking as they do.

      Before advancing my theory, let me hope that you “can do better,” particularly in that you’ve not been bashful about pointing out that you HAVE been able to dialog with WNYC “seniors” (in terms of responsibility) in the past. (Have they ignored any recent attempts on your part to protest?!)

      It simply doesn’t strike me the way a “high power” station (WNYC) would do things in this day and age – i.e., count blog entries and program accordingly.

      There’s too much at stake, and if you’ve ever looked at Craigslist, you’ll know that one fast typist and/or a technologically adept user can fill up page after page of “posts” faster than you or I can do a single one.

      My guess is that WNYC realized that the changes they decided to make just about “tore the heart” out of people like you in terms of being likely to get your $ at this next (and subsequent) fundraisers.

      So, they turned the “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” saw on its head and decided to roll the dice that the new “thousands” (or even 10’s of thousands) of QXR immigrants would shell out whatever their goal is – $100,000, as a guess, during the upcoming fundraiser.

      In other words, the station is being – more or less – PROactive. I read – I guess it’s pretty common to “personalize” an organizational decision, however appropriate it may be – 2 things about Laura Walker in the last day or so – one in her favor, one less so.

      She’s grown the listenership and subscriber base by a huge number during her tenure – I guess that’s good, although most of her tenure coincided with a kind of economic “bubble” in/near NYC…. Then, there’s her $500K compensation – just this side of obscene, in my opinion.

      The only reason I mention all that is – and I’m inclined to think that she’s your proverbial “strong leader” – maybe she has good (commercial) instincts – i.e., making the station “stronger.” (And I doubt that there’s more than a handful of WNYC-ites who will tempt her to get a bodyguard.)

      Fortunately, in the spirit of my link above, there’s no shortage of sources of good classical music on the web – I dare say that we’re nearing the point where if you found that they all left something to be desired, it wouldn’t be beyond YOUR ability to launch stream #904 or whatever, so that “WRSM” played what YOU think is worth hearing.

    • richardmitnick 12:37 pm on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ed-

      “…Boy, the final paragraph on your 10/8 post – the one atop this thread – sure sounds like what I imagine an oboe sounds like if the reed succumbs to old age – i.e., a kind of “clinker.”….”, sorry, I am lost, can you put it in quotes like I just did here?

      “…Apparently, the post of yours on WQXR.org I saw referencing the 32K “speed” or sampling rate for the WQXR stream is … what it’s “supposed to be.”….”, yes accurate, but not acceptible. WNYC was streaming their FM broadcast at 128kbit stereo for Evening Music and Overnight Music. So, they can still do it with the 105.9 stream. The minimum acceptable is 96kbit stereo.

      “…your analysis that the merger is looking like the “acquired” dominates the “acquiror” … BECAUSE the WNYC people (listeners) weren’t noisy enough….” I never said that, I do not even think it. But, I do believe that the muckitymucks were reading the blogs. The WQXR people were out in droves. I was pretty much alone.

      “…I dare say that we’re nearing the point where if you found that they all left something to be desired, it wouldn’t be beyond YOUR ability to launch stream #904 or whatever, so that “WRSM” played what YOU think is worth hearing….” Egad!! No chance.

      Laura Walker has grown the membership, but on news and talk. She is a Peabody award winning journalist. A journalist, not really a radio person at all. She supports the continuance of music because she has to. But she clearly has delegated what goes on in music to someone beneath her. And, they did a good job. George Preston and Brad Cresswell, under someone’s leadership totally built out wnyc2 – now Q2 and unchanged. And this influence went into Evening Music even before Terrance, and into Overnight Music, especially with Nadia Sirota, a phenom violist and incredibly well trained if only de facto musicologist.

      Back to work…

    • Ed Townesend 1:18 pm on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Wait – and I really will give you the last word. What would you say to the fellow who wrote these words?

      “I expect to keep Terrance, David, Nadia, and Helga, and THE MUSIC I NOW ENJOY.” [my caps]

      … those being your words, of course, just over one month ago.

      Glad to hear that Q2 is what you want it to be, but I don’t think that others are wrong in thinking that David and Terrance are not the “happiest of campers” these days.

      There may be some who say/think, “A job’s a job,” but I’d be astounded if those 2 gentlemen were wired that way! (Seriously, wasn’t it the MUSIC that Terrance played that made you rise to his defense when he was attacked, early in his tenure?!)

      Are George Preston and Brad Cresswell part of WNYC or WQXR these days? How do you think they feel about the new “lineup?” – style and substance-wise.

    • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      …I really do not expect this all happen. I expect to keep Terrance, David, Nadia, and Helga, and the music I now enjoy…” I did write that, at the very outset, when I thought that there would be more support.

      I don’t know if you look at the “blogs” on the WQXR web site. There are basically three, Terrance, David, and Q2, which I believe is Nadia. There are tons of comments. Especially in Terrance’s group, some of my kindred are now coming around.

      Both George and Brad left. George is, I believe, Music Director or something like that at WFMT. Brad and his wife had a child, Brad went “home” so he could get some familial help. He is at another PubRadio station, I do not know which one. Thanks so much for that site with the web stream data. I bookmarked it.

      >>RSM

  • richardmitnick 3:35 pm on August 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet radio, , , , , ,   

    Jazz at Newport 2009 Comes to Highland Park 

    Jazz at Newport 2009 Comes to Highland Park

    Well, not really. However, since I am slightly agoraphobic, but mostly lazy and cheap, I just could not get myself to the Newport Jazz Festival. So, courtesy of NPR/music, and WBGO I was able to bring a touch of Newport to Highland Park.

    You could listen, download or record
    Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition

    You could listen or record
    Claudia Acuna

    The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis

    Steven Bernstein’s Millenial Territory Orchestra

    Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

    Dave Brubeck Quartet

    Michel Camilo Trio

    James Carter Organ Trio

    Joe Lovano UsFive

    Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition

    Cedar Walton All-Stars with Lew Tabackin & Curtis
    Fuller

    There are some others that you might enjoy. Take a look.

    And, by the way, did you happen to see Terry Teachout’s eulogy for Jazz in the Wall Street Journal? Well, read Howard Mandel’s answer at his weblog, Jazz Beyond Jazz.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:49 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , internet radio, , ,   

    Nadia;Terry Riley;Amazon 

    Nadia>Terry Riley>Amazon

    So, here is how (Public) Radio is supposed to work:

    Nadia Sirota pulls an air shift for the vacationing David Garland. I am in the car when Nadia plays a wee piece of Terry Riley from the Salome Dances For Peace. Hmmm. I have a bit of Terry Riley. Let’s see,
    I have

    A Rainbow in Curved Air
    A Rainbow in Curved Air

    In C by Bang On A Can
    In C Bang On a Can

    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets
    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets

    and

    Requiem For Adam
    Requiem For Adam

    So, what else can I find, in .mp3, at Amazon?

    Shri Camel

    Shri Camel

    Church of Anthrax
    Church of Anthrax

    The Harp of New Albion
    Harp of New Albion

    Reed Streams
    Reed Streams

    Persian Surgery Dervishes
    Persian Surgery Dervishes

    In C:The 25th Anniversary
    In C: 25th Anniversary

    The Salome Dances For Peace
    Salome Dances For Peace

    The Book of Abbeyozzud
    The Book of Abbeyozzud

    I guess that is enough for now. I really like Terry Riley. Maybe next month or so I will buy some more.

     
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