Saturday, 13 September 2014

BBC could do more for appreciation of music

The trouble with the initiatives outlined by Katie Derham is that all the excellent introductory programmes she mentions are themselves on minority channels or late at night. I am glad that she cites the classically-trained Laura Mvula as her main example of bridging the gap with new audiences rather than the more poppy other late-night Proms.

The answer is not to introduce more light music into the Proms (Mary Poppins on the last night??) or Radio 3 generally, but to restore the music of the concert hall as part of the mainstream as it used to be in my young days. Let there be more Soul Music!

Let us also have more (though judicious and sparing) use of classical music in radio and TV plays and documentaries. I was turned on to music less by formal lessons in school than by Childrens Hour (though not forgetting Antony Hopkins Talking about Music, broadcast during the hours of daylight!). Pieces that I first heard between 5 and 6 in the afternoon include:
A Carol Symphony, Hely-Hutchinson;
Allegro Spiritoso, Senaillé;
Popular Song (from Façade), Walton;
Slavonic Dances, Dvořak;
Vltava (from Ma Vlast), Smetana;
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Bartók.

I would be hard pressed to name all the plays and stories they introduced, though I do remember that the last accompanied a production from BBC Wales. Equally challenging were some of the works used by adult programmes. The first time I heard Vaughan Williams' Fourth Symphony (still a favourite) was on a forgotten thriller named "Dead Circuit" starring the great Shakespearian Robert Eddison in a rare radio foray.

Most importantly, let all incidental music, whether pre-existing or specially-written, be credited.

No comments: