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  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on May 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    The Road to Digital – Are You On It? 

    The Road to Digital – Are You On It?

    I have not written here since March 2010. This blog has always been issue oriented. Since the advent of WQXR and the re-birth of WNYC’s 24/7 New Music stream as Q2 there have not been for me any real issues.

    I started a new blog, “MusicSprings” because there were and are subjects of a singular nature about which to write, artists and composers, musical events, albums, and the like.

    But, now I have an issue: Going all digital, for music an video.

    This started about two years ago. I ripped all of my CD’s to .mp3 at 320k. I ripped all of my DVD’s to .mp4. I found new and loving homes for the physical media. I also found new homes for most of my sound equipment. The rest of this has taken some time.

    I think that this started when WNYC tossed out day time music on FM.

    I used Public Radio Fan and Shoutcast to find new sources for music “on the radio”. I gravitated to three stations: KUSC, Los Angeles; WCNY, Syracuse; and WCPE, Winston Salem, NC. KUSC got most of my attention. I also took subscriptions at home and at work for streams in especially New Music at Live365 I use Winamp for streaming audio, with the stations listed, and also WPRB and WBGO.


    Finally, one of my favorite of all time music sources, Music from the Hearts of Space was kicked out at WNYC. So, I took subscriptions at the web site.

    Today, I have 396 gigs of music and video. I keep everything on three 1 TB Western Digital Passport external hard drives. Three drives for three computers. And for redundancy. Hard drives break.

    For video, I don’t want to watch on the computer. So I have a Western Digital WD-TV HD Media Player, to which is attached a fourth WD Passport, with all of the .mp4 videos.

    I also have four 120 gig Zune .mp3 and .mp4 players: Classical music and Spoken Word, Jazz, Rock, and video.

    Last and probably least used, but very useful in a pinch, is my Roku HD-XR Player for streaming movies (wirelessly) from Netflix.

    So, what do you think? Did I jump off a bridge? Too early? I gave away thousands of dollars worth of physical media and equipment. There is no going back. But I welcome all opinions.

  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on March 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Freeze Frame – Start a New Music Library 

    Freeze Frame – Start a New Music Library

    Interesting title?

    I am sitting here this morning listening to Caleb Burhans and Alarm Will Sound on The Q. I first saw Caleb’s name in connection with an Innova disc, Fast Jump with performer Danny Holt.

    So, O.K., lots of ties here. And, the music to which I am listening is bright, inventive, I mean, I have no real academic basis for commenting. I just hear a lovely newness here.

    So, should I buy the work? If I do, will I even remember that I have it?

    What’s the problem? I have for a long time been fulfilling my stated modus of supporting living composers by purchasing their work, these days in .mp3. The problem is that anything I buy now disappears into 189 gigs of music files, 400 composers, 3056 albums, 34415 tracks.

    I look over at the wall of books in my Digiteria: Theology. Jewish and Christian Theology; Islamic, Jewish and Christian Mysticism, Dead Sea material; religious philosophy and Philosophy of Religion. The wall evinces a past activity, the material evidence of a 25 year study and search for meaning. It is not really stopped, I am into those books all of the time. But, that is what I did actively before Music. Hours and hours and thousands of dollars for my own library to be able to pick up any footnote and go to the shelf and get the book. Now it is a more passive interest. I found a theology that I could live with, the Grund theology of Meister Eckhart.

    So, what about the music library. Freeze it. Start a new one. There is a new computer coming, an i5-520M. Start a new library. What is the basis to be? How will it differ? It will be based on the offerings of Q2, where I am enamored of the brilliance of Nadia Sirota; and music put forward by Marvin Rosen in his Classical Discoveries and Classical Discoveries Goes Avantgarde programs on WPRB, Public Radio in Princeton, NJ. Also, John Schaefer is constantly bringing forward new people at WNYC on Soundcheck and New Sounds . I don’t want to leave out noting the great contributions for Jazz that I have received from Dan Buskirk and Will Constantine Jr at WPRB. Among so many artists they have presented, Dan gave me Rhoda Scott, and a greater appreciation of Keith Jarrett. Will knows Latin Jazz better than anyone in radio. But, Jazz will stay with the current library. The new library will be limited to New Music, Bang On a Can composers, groups like the Bang On a Can All-Stars, Ethel, itsnotyouitsme (did I get that right?), eighth blackbird, new music from Innova, and the like.

    So, what happens to the old library? Nothing changes. I still love Miles, ‘Trane, Part, Glass & Reich, Bruce, The Allmans, Beethoven, Dvorak, Robbie Robertson, Streisand, Bebo and Chucho Valdez, The Traveling Wilburys, Paquito D’Rivera, Jerry and Andy Gonzalez, Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, Ken Field from Boston, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, the Adderleys, Charlie Mingus, Chick Corea, Al DiMeola, egad, stop already.

    But, especially Nadia and Marvin, I do not know if you read what I write; but you have a huge responsibility. You bring the Truth of the New. Not just to me, to everyone who hears your programs. Nadia, I hope that you stick around Q2. I can see the day when your career as a violist will mean the end at The Q. That will be sad for us, but terrific for you. Marvin, you never let us down, you are simply the best person in New Music anywhere.

    The new computer, really purchased to add to my capabilities to “crunch” for scientific projects running BOINC software including those from World Community Grid, will be equipped with a Western Digital 1 terrabyte Passport external hard drive on which to build the new library. So, let’s fill it up.

    And, hey, any of you out there who might be interested in helping yourselves, your family members, and the Family of Man, take a look at the above mentioned World Community Grid and visit some of the projects shown on the BOINC web site. We “crunchers” have saved laboratory scientists literally thousands of hours of lab time on incredibly worthwhile research projects at august institutions an universities around the globe. We could sure use your help.

  • richardmitnick 8:01 pm on February 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Rhoda Scott? You bet!! 

    Rhoda Scott? You bet!!

    So, who is Rhoda Scott?

    I learned of this great Jazz organist from Dan Buskirk, Jazz DJ at WPRB . Dan played one track, Also Spracht Zarathustra from the 2 LP set Live at the Club Saint-Germain (1974 Barclay 80.835/80.536- France). What a blast!

    I found the track on line and free in mp3. But I could not get the complete album. I did get a bunch of albums, all in mp3. But, I never stopped looking for the one that was so elusive.

    I recently found Live at the Club Saint-Germain and now it is in my collection.

    So, I am doing a Rhoda Scott cycle on the Zune; my practice is to alter the ID-3 tagging to put the release year in front of the album title. That way, they will go into any player software in chronological order. Then I can guide my listening. I must say, I am impressed with this wonderful musician. Here is some brief detail from Wikipedia:

    “…The daughter of an AME minister, Scott spent much of her childhood in New Jersey, where she learned to play organ in the churches where her father served. Soon she herself was serving frequently as organist for youth and gospel choirs at her father’s and other churches. Scott later studied classical piano, but she concentrated on the organ, eventually earning a Masters’ degree in music theory from the Manhattan School of Music. By this time she had been asked by a choir member to fill in with a small band as a jazz pianist. Enjoying the music, she agreed to stay on with the band on condition that she be allowed to play organ instead of piano. Choosing as her instrument the Hammond Organ, she soon became a preeminent jazz musician and is considered by many to be the top female jazz organist…”

    And, here is some of my collection:

    There is a lot of Rhoda Scott available at Amazon. Take a listen to some of the samples.

  • richardmitnick 8:56 pm on January 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    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 7:44 am on January 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Jazz is Dying? Not at WPRB, Princeton 

    So, there is all of this dire stuff about Jazz just shrinking away. Nonsense.

    at WPRB, Princeton, NJ, I just discovered another really great Jazz program. On Wednesdays from 1:00PM-3:00Pm, Lemmy Caution has Jazz Planets and I love what he is doing.

    Of course, WPRB has for a long time had great Jazz with Dan Buskirk Mondays, Emmanuel Ferritis Tuesdays and Will Constantine Thursdays all from 11:00AM-1:00PM, and Jeannie Becker on Sundays 10:00AM-12:00PM.

    Lemmy’s program started last September, and it is my loss that I just caught up with it.

  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on October 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Marvin Rosen will be having a very special mini-maration on October 14, 2009 (next week) on WPRB during the fund drive. The program will be on from 5:30AM (egad!!) until 1:00PM.There will be some very special music aired and streamed and some very special guests. Here is Marvin’s description right from the Classical Discoveries web site:

    “…Classical Discoveries will present a “Membership Mini Marathon” which will begin at 5:30am next Wednesday, October 14, and run till 1:00pm There will be many one-of-a-kind surprise CD premiums for Classical Discoveries/Avant Garde listeners personally donated by Marvin, available only during the Mini Marathon. Please check the listing of available CD’s below.

    If you like “Classical Discoveries” and the “Avant-Garde Edition” as well as WPRB’s unique and varied programming, please call at 609-258-1033 with your pledge anytime,
    however, if you donate during the “Classical Discoveries Mini Marathon” on Wednesday, October 14, you will show your appreciation and support of Marvin’s unique programming.
    No donation is too large or too small. Everything helps. Thank you all for your support.

    This year guests visiting the studio include; at 09:30 AM Derek Bermel, Composer and artist-in-residence at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study, at 10:00 am composer Paul Moravec, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Music and at 11:30 am Andrew Rudin, composer of the first large scale, original serious composition for the Moog synthesizer….”

    If you have heard Marvin before, you know how special all of this is. If you have not heard Marvin, please take this opportunity to tune in to FM 103.3 in the Princeton-Central New Jersey area, or stream the programming from WPRB.

  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    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.


    • 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


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


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

    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.


    • 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,

    • 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.


    • 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


      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.


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


      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.


      “…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.


    • 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:

      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


      “…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.


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