Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Radio 3 etc

I almost always work with the radio on. The normal fare is Radio 3 and the sports commentaries in Radio 5.
For some reason and on some days in the afternoon Radio 3 goes religious with choral evensong. The staple diet seems to be the tuneless dirges that are exemplary of the English choral tradition. Today's effort came from Worksop College, which I see from the internet is a private school. It is celebrating its centenary. The service included some of the worst music immaginable on radio 3. The choir, imported from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, sung Bach's Komm Jesu in an incredibly flaccid manner, when it should be a fervent anticipation of Christ's arrival on earth and release from earthly toil. The organ playing was soupy throughout, climaxing in an unspeakably meandering and purposeless prelude and fugue. I could not believe that it was by a professional composer. It tuned out to be by Vaughan Williams, which explained all.
Then Sean Rafferty and "In Tune". I find him highly informative and intermittently annoying (well, more than intermittently). He seems to be a prime example of how people with Irish accents are allowed to get away with gratingly contrived charm on the radio. Somebody (I missed the announcement because my central heating interferes with the signal when it is switching) played the first movement of a Brandenburg at a breathlessly fast pace as if the Women's Guild were taking part in a speed knitting contest. The slow movement then struggled slowly from one seizure to the next.
The redeeming features of this afternoon were the saxophonist and composer Andy Shepherd and Chapelle du Roi. Andy Shepherd played solo with wonderful speaking intensity, including a quite magical duet with a recorded blackbird. Hello rather than bye-bye blackbird.

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