Thursday, August 31, 2006

TiVo Two and a Top 25

Subject 1 - TiVo revisited
While individual viewing patterns may vary, it seems the recent TiVo study was right on the nose. Ken and I checked out TiVo's site, and checked their listing of the most-recorded shows. It's right in line with the survey. Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, CSI, House — the top eight are network programs. In fact, there are 17 network programs in this list of 25; about 68%. I guess there's something on after all.

Subject 2 - Top 25 composers
Speaking of lists, Tim Page submitted his list of the top 25 composers of the 20th century we should be listening to. I have no gripes with most of the list — I don't think much of Stockhausen, but that's OK. Stockhausen's elevated opinion of his own genius more than makes up for it.

Part of Page's intent was to suggest composers and works currently underrepresented in the concert halls that orchestras should expose their audiences to. Hearing the same tunes over and over from a tightly controlled playlist is driving listeners away from radio, and I think its doing the same to concertgoers. But in place of Stockhausen, I'd suggest another composer who would better appeal both to newcomers and bluehairs.

Bohuslav Martinu's music can sound slightly exotic at times, but never strays far from a tonal vocabulary. This Czech composer's output is varied and vast, with symphonies, concertos and plenty of shorter orchestral works as well.
Some might argue that there's not a lot of variety from piece to piece, and that's certainly true. However, a single work inserted into an evening's program could seem like a breath of fresh air surrounded by the same-old same-old.

In keeping with the spirit of the article, I'd recommend the Supraphon recording of his fifth and sixth symphonies. Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic really "get" the music of their countryman and imbue the music with an added depth.

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