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  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on August 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Public Television, , streaming audio,   

    Q2 in the Next WQXR Pledge Drive 

    Q2 in the Next WQXR Pledge Drive

    The question being raised here is what will WQXR do in its next pledge drive, on its FM broadcast and the 105.9 web stream, to raise the visibility and bring to its listeners Q2, its web based New Music service? I am posting this here at “Whither…” because it is a large topic. But because this blog has been rather dormant, I will be posting it also at the more active MusicSprings. That’s a lot of work, folks, I hope someone reads it somewhere.

    Before that, a bit of a preamble about another PubRadio service in the New York Metropolitan area which has absolutely failed to do anything with its web assets.

    WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, New Jersey, has tremendous web assets which are never pitched during pledge drives. I have called them incessantly during pledge drives and excoriated them for this failure. They have a 96k web stream for the broadcast. They produce wonderful concerts from the Village Vanguard and J&R Music which are then made available for listening and the occasional download by National Public Radio. Many of the concerts are available as videocasts. There is a huge treasure trove of video archives. WBGO originates broadcasts from jazz concerts around the country and Canada. None of this has been pitched in their pledge drives. WBGO seems to aim their pitches to downtown Newark.

    Public Radio, so much of it now available on the internet, needs to take advantage of its newly emerged global presence. Recently, the The Daily Trojan, from the University of Southern California, let us know that KUSC, Classical Public Radio in Los Angeles, has members in 38 states and 11 countires. That’s not exactly chopped liver.

    Now to the subject at hand.

    So, Q2 from WQXR has been with us now for what? Nine or ten months. Q2 is the on line 24/7/365 service devoted essentially to New Music, Classical and Avantgarde music of the late 20th century, and, as the mottos say, “500 years of new music”, and the “fearless music we crave”. It is the successor to wnyc2, a similar service of WNYC prior to the takeover of WQXR from the New York Times.

    It is safe to say that the people running Q2 have done an outstanding job of bringing us not only great music; but also a wonderful and ongoing series of special projects devoted to composers, musical styles, and the New York New Music scene. We have had “Eight Days of Steve”, devoted to the music of Steve Reich; the choral premier of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion for which there is an accompanying video ; Homophony, a celebration of the music of Gay and Lesbian Composers, with special guests Nico Muhly and Pauline Oliveros; the Look and Listen 2010 project from the Festival of the same name; Hammered, devoted to music for keyboards – of all kinds; Hope Springs Atonal a special segment “devoted to the high octane world of post-tonal music; Contact!, a series curated by Alan Gilbert and Composer- in Residence Magnus Lindberg with the New York Philharmonic “featuring world premiers from seven composers on the international contemporary music scene. Did I get them all? Whoops, no, I missed Cued Up on Q2, a Summer festival of New Music concerts recorded live in New york City, a whole series of audios of great performances. Boy, that’s like when George Harrison almost forgot to introduce Billy Preston at the Concert for Bangladesh.

    A super important component of all of this Q2 activity has been Nadia Sirota on Q2, a four hour segmented and quite modular production which has included a great deal of the above mentioned special programming. Nadia’s gig runs for four hours every weekday and night at noon and midnight.

    In fact, Nadia is, in my estimation, the Joe Namath/Derek Jeter/David Wright of Q2. She is Juilliard trained and a great teacher, along with being a rising force in her own right on the New Music scene as a violist. If I remember correctly, she was the rock of the John Cage project that ran some time ago on WNYC. Nadia is a founding member of ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. She has performed with The Meredith Monk Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Continuum., and the Icelandic based Bedroom Community. You can read the rest of her accomplishments at her MySpace page, see About Nadia.

    I am a Q2 addict and fanboy. Q2 is saved as a bookmark on all of my computers in my own player Winamp.

    So, WQXR, what are you going to do on the radio to raise the visibility of this incredible resource in your future pledge drives. Are you going to fail, like WBGO, to spread the word? Does anyone at WQXR think I am off base or out of bounds? I hope that some person or people at WQXR will respond with comments.

  • richardmitnick 8:56 pm on January 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Public Television, , ,   

    Leonard Cohen anyone? You bet. 

    Leonard Cohen anyone? You bet.

    This post has taken some time to develop. I have been immersing myself in Cohen’s music for about three weeks. Of course, I do not miss Nadia Sirota’s new gig at WQXR’s Q2; Dan Buskirk and Will Constantine spinning Jazz at WPRB; or Marvin Rosen’s “Classical Discoveries” and “Classical Discoveries Goes Avantgarde”, also at WPRB. But, beyond these, it has been pretty much Leonard Cohen steadily.

    The genesis of this post was the NPR presentation of the 2009 Leonard Cohen concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Unfortunately, NPR has not renewed the rights to keep the audio of this concert available in their archives.

    As an aside, I believe that NPR is not nearly proactive enough in keeping some archival material available. I wanted to begin listening to the NPR archives of the stellar Marian McPartland “Piano Jazz” series. I found that some of what I most wanted to hear was no longer available. I believe that this is short sighted on the part of NPR.

    But, the text article about Leonard Cohen is still available at NPR and it is worth reading. There is also a very good article about Leonard Cohen in Wikipedia. I am not going to repeat what is there. For anyone seriously interested, I recommend this well constructed biography.

    All I really knew of Leonard Cohen was his song “Suzanne”, on the 1968 album “The Songs of Leonard Cohen”. But listening to the concert on NPR stimulated my interest. Cohen was 74 years old at the time of this concert. His voice, deepened with age, is actually more interesting than what we hear on the early albums, from 1968 through 1979. The early voice is sweet, winsome, and somewhat fragile. There is greater depth beginning with the 1985 album “Various Positions”.

    Also, when one listens down through the early albums, the songs begin to take on a sameness that can get boring. Part of this might be Cohen’s parallel career as a writer of poetry and fiction. Sometimes, a wordsmith can fall in love with his own creations. Often, what works as a poem does not work in a song.

    Somewhere, I cannot any longer find it, Cohen was described as a reaction to the Beatles’ amped up musical productions. I see him as rather a sort of reaction to Bob Dylan. Both Cohen and Dylan are first and foremost lyricists. Where Dylan’s lyrics are topical, political and complex, Cohen’s are personal, deeply emotional and quite simple.

    Cohen is often placed in the genre of folk music. I do not think that this does him justice. I see him as a singer-songwriter, a troubadour. Cohen writes about the whole spectrum of human emotion, love, hate, sadness, loss, depression, the end of life.

    As Cohen recorded more material in his career, more instrumentation replaced the solo performances as I show below my present collection. I think that my collection is close to complete.

    After the NPR concert, my next experience was with the 2008 “Live in London” concert. The video was presented at some point on PBS. I caught a late night repeat by New Jersey Network. Of course, this presentation is not anywhere close to the complete concert. I now own the complete 2’36” concert. The PBS presentation was 1’30”, and some of that was taken up with pitching.

    A second aside: PBS stations are constantly hauling out musical concerts at pledge time. They tell us they are the place for us to come for this music, that they support this music, egad, they are insufferable. They practically never give us a complete concert. They want us to join and give them gobs of money and in return they will send us the CD’s, the DVD, a combo package, whatever. In this case, here is part of what NJN offered: The DVD of the concert for US$70.00. The two-disc CD set for US$90.00. Now, really, what would you want? They both contain the identical 26 songs. More to the point, you can buy the DVD for US$18.93, and the two-disc CD set for US$13.99. You can buy the .mp3 album of both CD’s for US$14.99, so NJN could have bought the materials at Amazon and used them for fulfillment and still turned a tidy profit.

    I do not mean to pick on little NJN. They are just this most recent case and involved in the music and the artist which and who are the subject here. WLIW, and its parent WNET, much larger than NJN, are just as guilty of this, sorry, just my opinion, this scam.

    I heartily recommend the music of Leonard Cohen. And, I recommend all of it. The way I do this is to get the music in .mp3 and put it on my Zune. I chronologize the music by placing the year of issue ahead of the title of the album. Then, I listen down through a cycle on my exercise walks, plane trips, visits to the dentist, wherever. Regarding the “Live in London” concert, I recommend both the DVD and the album in .mp3. The band, shown below, is really worth watching, especially Javier Mas on a series of twelve-string acoustic instruments.

    Here is my collection, complete with personnel:
    1968 The Songs of Leonard Cohen

    Solo performance

    1968 Songs From a Room

    Leonard Cohen, Ron Cornelius guitar, Bubba Fowler bass, banjo, violin, guitar, Charlie Daniels bass, violin, accoustic guitar, Bob Johnston keyboards

    1971 Songs of Love and Hate

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, acoustic guitar);Ron Cornelius (acoustic guitar, electric guitar);Bubba Fowler (acoustic guitar, banjo, bass instrument);Charlie Daniels (acoustic guitar, fiddle, bass instrument);Bob Johnston (piano);Carolyn Hanney, Susan Mussmano (background vocals).

    1973 Live Songs

    Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warren, Charlie Daniels and unnamed others

    1974 New Skin for the Old Ceremony

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, harp, Jew’s harp);Leonard Cohen (acoustic guitar);John Lissauer (vocals, woodwinds, keyboards, background vocals);Emily Bindiger, Janis Ian (vocals, background vocals);Erin Dickins, Gail Kantor, Gail Kantor (vocals);Jeff Layton (guitar, banjo, mandolin, trumpet);Ralph Gibson, Ralph Gibson (guitar);Gerald Chamberlain, Gerald Chamberlain (trombone);John Miller , Don Paune bass.

    1977 Death Of A Ladies’ Man

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Clydie King, Gerald Garrett, Oma Drake, Julia Tillman Waters, Billy Diez, Lorna Willard, Ronee Blakley, Venetta Fields, Bob Dylan, Brenda Bryant (vocals, background vocals); Sneaky Pete Kleinow (guitar, slide guitar); Dan Kessel (guitar, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals); Phil Spector (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); David Kessel (guitar, background vocals); Art Munson, Art Blaine, David Isaac, Jesse Ed Davis , Ray Pohlman (guitar); Al Perkins (slide guitar); Bobby Bruce (violin, fiddle); Don Menza, Steve Douglas (flute, saxophone, wind); Jay Migliori (saxophone); Conte Candoli (trumpet); Jack Redman, Charles Loper, Jack Redmond (trombone); Don Randi, Michael Lang , Mike Lang, Mike Long, Pete Jolly, Tom Hensley, Barry Goldberg , Bill Mays (keyboards); Devra Robitaille, Bob Robitaille (synthesizer); Terry Gibbs (vibraphone, percussion); Ray Neapolitan (upright bass, electric bass); Hal Blaine, Jim Keltner (drums); Emil Radocchia, Gene Estes, Robert Zimmitti (percussion); Sherlie Matthews, Gerry Garrett, Allen Ginsberg, Oren Waters, Bill Thedford, Julia Tillman (background vocals).

    1979 Recent Songs

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Julia Tillman Waters, Roger St Kennerly, Jennifer Warnes, Jim Gilstrap, Maxine Willard Waters, Stephanie Spruill (vocals); Ricardo Gonzalez, Everado Sandoval, John Bilezikjian, Mitch Watkins (guitar); Earl Dumler (oboe); Paul Ostermayer (saxophone); Jose Perez, Pablo Sandoval (trumpet); Garth Hudson, John Lissauer, Randy Waldman, Bill Ginn (keyboards); Steve Meador (drums).

    1985 Various Positions

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar); Jennifer Warnes (vocals); Sid McGinnis (guitar); Kenneth Kosek (fiddle); Ron Getman (harmonica, background vocals); John Lissauer (piano, keyboards, background vocals); John Crowder (bass, background vocals); Richard Crooks (drums); Lani Groves, Erin Dickins, Merle Miller, Yvonne Lewis, Anjani Thomas, Crissie Faith (background vocals).

    1988 I’m Your Man

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, arranger, various instruments); Anjani, Jennifer Warnes, Evelyine Hebey, Mayel Assouly, Elisabeth Valletti, Jude Johnstone (vocals); Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Jeff Fisher (arrangers, various instruments); Michel Robidoux (arranger, keyboards, drums); Roscoe Beck (arranger); Bob Stanley (guitar); Sneaky Pete Kleinow (steel guitar); John Bilezikjian (oud); Raffi Hakopian (violin); Richard Baudet (saxophone); Larry Cohen (keyboards); Peter Kisilenko (bass); Vinnie Colaiuta, Tom Brechtlein (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion).

    1992 The Future

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Dean Parks (guitar, mandolin); Bob Metzger (guitar, bass); Paul Jackson Jr., Dennis Herring (guitar); Bob Furgo (violin); Brandon Fields, Lon Price (tenor saxophone); Greg Smith (baritone saxophone); Lee R. Thronburg (trumpet, trombone); Steve Lindsey (piano, organ, Mellotron, keyboards); Jim Cox, Greg Phillinganes (piano); Randy Kerber (keyboards, synthesizer); Jeff Fisher (keyboards); Bob Glaub, Lee Sklar (bass); James Gadson, Ed Greene, Steve Meador, Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion); Bill Ginn, Steve Croes (programming); Anjani Thomas, Tony Warren, Valerie Pinkston-Mayo, LA Mass Choir, Peggy Blue, Edna Wright, Jean Johnson, Jacquelyn Gouche-Farris, David Morgan (background vocals).

    2001 Ten New Songs

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Sharon Robinson (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Bob Metzger (guitar).

    2004 Dear Heather

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, Jew’s harp); Leonard Cohen (piano); Sharon Robinson (vocals, various instruments); John Crowder (vocals, bass guitar); Raffi Hakopian, Raffi Hakopian (violin); Paul Ostermayer, Paul Ostermayer (flute); Sarah Kramer, Sarah Kramer (trumpet); Roscoe Beck (bass instrument); Stan Sargeant (bass guitar); Johnny Friday, Johnny Friday (drums); Mitch Watkins (vocals, guitar, electric guitar); Ron Getman (vocals, steel guitar); Anjani Thomas (vocals, piano, background vocals); John Bilezikjian (oud); Garth Hudson (accordion); Bob Sheppard (tenor saxophone); Bill Ginn (piano); Richard Crooks (drums).

    2008 Live in London

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Bob Metzger (guitar, pedal steel guitar); Charley Webb, Charles Webb (guitar, background vocals); Javier Mas (12-string guitar, bandurria, lute, archlute); Javier Más (12-string guitar, bandurria, archlute); Hattie Webb, Hattie Webb (harp, background vocals); Dino Soldo (harmonica, keyboards, wind, background vocals); Neil Larsen (keyboards); Roscoe Beck (upright bass, electric bass, background vocals); Rafael Gayol (drums, percussion); Sharon Robinson (background vocals).

  • richardmitnick 3:53 pm on June 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Public Television   

    Long Live Public TV – Sometimes 

    Long Live Public TV – Sometimes

    Back on May 28, 2009, I excoriated (is that a word?) WNET which manages two PubTV outlets, the eponymous WNET, New York City (Channel 13), and WLIW, Garden City, NY (Channel 21). This was over a film about Miles Davis, when the newspaper reported that This Old House would air.

    My beef was that they do not always broadcast what the newspaper TV guides and my cable provider’s listing says will be broadcast. For this reason, and because I want to record certain music programming on my DVR and the programming is missing, I quit my memberships in both stations.

    I had spoken, more than once, to people representing both stations who just said it was not their fault, that they had no control over what went into the newspapers and cable guides.

    Well, a funny thing happened. WNET has alerts set to pick up any chatter about them on the internet. So, someone picked up my weblog (amazing, the spellchecker tells me weblog is not correct, even though that *is* the original word for what this thing is, a weblog) entry and got it to the right guy. This guy took the time and trouble to find me and my telephone number and call me. We had a nice chat. He said yes, there is a problem, which originates with the organization that gets the schedules and distributes them to apparently all of the news media. So, if there is an error, every news outlet has the same error.

    Although neither of us was sure about the Miles Davis thing, the person from WNET sited as an example two WLIW schedules, one for Channel 21, and one for a different WLIW channel which was in fact broadcasting the This Old House episode that I mentioned in my original post. If I interpreted it correctly, the disseminating organization had mixed up the two schedules completely, just flip-flopped them.

    So, I got my mea culpa. Is that what I wanted? No. I want the schedules to be correct. I do not want to have to go to the stations’ web sites to see the schedules. But the conversation was enought to assuage my pain and I will now re-join both WLIW and WNET. As said in my original post, both stations are “top shelf” and do a great job.

    I did not feel any guilt at using the stations without being a member. But I did miss being a member. I want to be a member of any Public outlet, Radio or TV, that I use. Membership is the only legitimate ticket to being a critic. I learned that at WNYC my real home as a member in Public Media.

    As soon as I put up this post, I will hotsie my browser over to the two stations and re-up, always at the minimum.

    Gee, I wonder if WNYC, WBGO, WPRB, and KUSC have alerts up and see everything I say about them.

  • richardmitnick 12:16 am on May 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Public Television   

    Clapton And Winwood – Very Serious Music 

    Clapton And Winwood – Very Serious Music

    I have spent the last two days with the music of Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. These are two very serious guys, two wonderful musicians. WNET, Public Television in New York City (O.K., not Radio, but it is public) aired the Great Performances February 2008 concert of Clapton and Winwood, their first full collaboration in forty years, since their work in the British blues band Blind Faith. Blind Faith apparently had only one album, eponymously named. They did a long series of concerts in Britain, various countries in Europe, and the U.S. Then, Clapton pulled out of the band, essentially ending its run. Clapton had come from the band Cream, Winwood from the band Traffic. Both players had already pulled out of these two bands.

    One gets the impression from their comments that they just could not get along with anyone for too long a time, even each other. Both players and their bands had fastened on to Blues from such American players as Buddy Guy and B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, Hubert Sumlin and primarily Robert Johnson as major influences of his guitar playing (so, Wikipedia).

    In spite of the acrimony, according to Steve, Eric had become his “big brother”, and, according to Eric, he (Clapton) really wanted to keep the relationship alive. Eric very much respected Steve’s musicianship. Clapton considered Winwood the single best blues performer in England. Over the years, they did appear, infrequently, together. I guess, not spending too much time together, they got along.

    So, now, forty years later, they organized a concert tour, and what WNET aired was the New York City stop on the tour. I have to say, it was a great concert. While each did a fair amount of his own compositions, they also very purposefully each sang lead on some of the other’s compositions. I recorded a DVD, and then with AVS Video Converter 6 I edited out all of the pitching. So, that was the start of quite a binge.

    I got Eric Clapton’s “Guitar Crossroads 2004” and “Guitar Crossroads 2007” in .mp4. Each is a 2 DVD set. These are celebrations of the Blues. They include many of the best guitarists, young and old, essentially from the Blues tradition, but, in 2004, there was even an Indian duo, probably the result of Eric’s relationship with George Harrison, in who’s memory Eric sings one of George’s compositions in 2007 (sorry about the run-on sentence, I tried to parse it differently and could not get it to work). In the 2007 concert I recognized a player who had been in the “Concert for George” that Eric organized. I did not then know who he was. That concert was comprised of musicians who had strong relationships with George. Well, I learned that it was Albert Lee, who Clapton considers the greatest guitar player he knows (hyperbole?) and to whom Sheryl Crow deeply bowed when she came on the stage.

    In what I call the “Theatrical Version” of the MSG concert, there are interviews interspersed. Eric talks about Steve’s bands The Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. I had none of their music, so I got a nice big bunch of CD’s in .mp3 for each band. I already had the Cream revival concert DVD, which I ripped to .mp4. I also got the DVD in .mp4 of the Blind Faith June 7, 1969 concert in Hyde Park, London. Let me tell you, this is quite a “get”. Last, I got an .mp4 of the “Concert Version” of the MSG 2008 concert, without all of the (invaluable) interruptions.

    Now, you know, this is not stuff about which I usually write. But the Blues is a very important part of the musical heritage of the United States. I was thinking about this, which is dangerous when one is essentially unschooled on a subject, and anyone who wishes can take me to task or correct me: The knowledge and wisdom of BCE Greece came to Europe via the Ancient Middle East. It seems to me that while the Blues rose up out of the African-American experience, and while it was and is prevalent in R&B, Jazz, and Rock, to the greatest extent we had sort of forgotten it was there, especially White Urban America which fastened on The Beatles, the Rolling Stones- not a bad Blues band when they wanted to be a Blues band- Crosby, Stills, Nash, ZZ Top and the like. It seems to me that it took bands like Cream, Traffic and Blind Faith, and players like Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood to bring the Blues back to its rightful presence in our consciousness, and I, for one, and grateful.

    As I said at the beginning, this is very serious music.

    This was a difficult post for me to write.This is not exactly my sandbox. For all errors and poor writing craftsmanship, I do apologize.

  • richardmitnick 1:40 pm on May 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Public Television,   

    Miles Davis on WLIW and No One Knew It 

    Miles Davis on WLIW and No One Knew It

    PubTV strikes again. We have on our cable system the luxury of both WNET, New York City, NY,and WLIW, Garden City,NY. They are both managed by WNET. What they present is top shelf. Especially WNET is the originator of great programs in the arts. WLIW specializes in celebrating ethnicity.

    But, both stations seem to be unable to let the public know via newspapers and television guides what they will be airing. I have quit both stations. I have had conversations with people at both stations. They both say that they are not responsible for what in in the media guides. Well, that stuff comes from somewhere.

    So, last night, my brother happens past WLIW airing a video of Miles Davis with music from the album “Kind of Blue”, a Jazz album as important as any. My cable guide listed “This Old House”. The video was “The Music of Miles Davis”, made in 1959. I believe that it was Miles’ First Quintet with a larger band of horns and reeds. The pledge pitchers said that the film had not been seen for 50 years.Had I known that this was on TV, I would have recorded it on my DVR, made a DVD on my DVD recorder, edited out the pledging with my video editing software, and put the .mp4 file on my hard drives. Alas, no chance, we missed a big chunk of the hour and a half program.

    But, all was not lost. I did a search on the film title and found it on You Tube. So much for 50 years. Here it was in three parts, adhering to You Tube rules for length of video. But it was sitting right there, Parts 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3. With my You Tube download bookmark, I saved the three files in .mp4 to my hard drive. Then with AVS Video Converter, I merged the three parts into a seamless 25 minute film.

    Success is a nice thing.

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