A Two-Part Rant

The first rant is directed to no one in particular: why in the heck did my right ear get sunburnt and not my left? WHY?? The sunburn I received on my shoulders seems to be fairly evenly distributed between left and right. I guess my ears decided to mix it up a little.

Second, I have a problem with freakin' Bob Mooberry of WRKF public radio in Baton Rouge. (He is also referred to by Dr. Giger as Bob Moooooooooooooberry and by Jack as Bob Moo-Moo.) He does "Night Music," a nightly program that would seem at first glance to be an attempt at classical programming but which actually contains many unclassical works, more appropriately categorized as new-age crap. (I don't think all New Age music is crap, but the stuff he picks is.) Tonight, he started off the program by announcing Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, but when he started to play it, it was a Beethoven string quartet. After roughly two full minutes, he broke in and said, "Hey, that doesn't sound like the Eroica," and promptly went to commercial while he sorted out the CD tracks. Way to go, Bob. You can tell the difference after TWO minutes between a symphony (roughly forty musicians, including brass, strings, woodwinds, and percussion) and a string quartet (roughly four musicians, all of them playing string instruments).

As a one-time occurrence, this would not be so egregious, but I find his effort at classical programming to be quite lazy on the whole. He prefers to play entire CDs, presumably so he can have a cup of coffee and walk around the building a few times. I can say this, because on more than one occasion, he's come back after fifteen or twenty seconds of dead air and exclaimed, "Okay, that CD was shorter than I thought!" I can just see him booking it down the hall when he hears NO SOUND coming from his booth.

The heart of classical programming is, I think, in variety, which is a crucial point he's missing. A thoughtful classical music fan might play a Beethoven symphony, then a Mozart violin sonata, a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, a Haydn string quartet, some Chopin piano solos, etc. Variety. Our little friend Bob, on the other hand, will play an entire CD of piano music, or a Bach greatest hits album, for example, which often don't even contain entire pieces, just individual movements thrown into a large pot. The biggest beef I have with him, though, is the fact that it takes an act of Congress to get him to announce what he's just played. If he's just played a CD, he'll sometimes tell us the title, but he never goes through the individual tracks to tell us exactly what we heard. I find this particularly frustrating, because part of my personal education involves guessing time periods and composers of pieces when I hear them so that I can become a better listener. Bob leaves me hanging. To make it worse, he has a very LOW radio voice, so the bass is often the only discernible sound coming out of his mouth, and I sometimes have trouble figuring out what he's just said. Imagine making an educated guess about something, and when you hear the answer, it's poorly enunciated so you're not sure whether you were right or wrong. To make it EVEN worse, WRKF's website doesn't have a "now playing" feature common to so many classical stations, so I'm often left with a sick feeling of not quite knowing what it is I heard but feeling like I should have figured it out. Where is the learning, I ask you??? To be fair, Bob has admitted during pledge drives that the format for his night-time program has changed frequently over the years (jazz, etc.), so perhaps he was assigned this slot and was made to adapt when listeners preferences changed, even if he wasn't the most appropriate person for the new format. Incidentally, he is a lot of fun to listen to during the pledge drives, because he, unlike the other, more tentative people at the station, will deride listeners for not pledging and complain about the lack of accountability in our society until he's blue in the face. It's a nice change from the more whiny begging that goes on during the day.

In contrast, WRKF has a "Sunday Baroque" show hosted by Lew Carter that I find very fulfilling. Lew is some sort of offshoot of a musicologist, because he is obsessively particular about letting us know all the info for a particular piece, including the composer's birth and death year. This past Sunday, he forgot to tell us Telemann's dates, and he interrupted himself during the next break to tell them to us and apologize for having omitted them. He's no Bob; I'll tell you that. He also gives interesting factoids and anecdotes about the music, which is a nice touch even if all he did was to read the liner notes. Also to his credit, he knows Baroque instruments and something about the music in general, and as a budding music scholar, I appreciate and enjoy listening to him.

I now have comment capabilities, thanks to Blogger's new features. Yay! I have been covetous of Jeannette's comments, and Nicole just added them to her page too; now I have them as well! It has been a dream of mine to make my page interactive, so interact!!

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Haha, here I am, interacting! Yay for comments on E's site!! =)
Yay, you're cool now. I think I posted a comment anonymously earlier. It hasn't showed up yet, so who knows. I feel so special, being talked about and linked from your website. =)
I hate Bob Mooooooberry, too. What is up with his stupid CD thing? And most of the time the CD's are random "ambient" collections. Not even like real specimens of western art music. >:P
btw, I didn't roll my eyes when you posted the reading list. I thought is was fun. :) Hooray for fun snobbery!

AND congratulations on taking the qualifying exam! congratulations for getting comments! congratulations for almost having a new kitten! congratulations for making me Schenker handouts! congratulations for being the acclaimed student of a Swiss professor.
I just got an e-mail from WRKF saying Bob Mooberry is leaving the station at the end of this month (May 2010).

I am a fan of Bob, but -- I know what you mean, and this seems to be a recent development for Bob. He used to not play entire CDs, and he used to play less New Age stuff.

For the past few months I've found that he seems to play his personal favorites over and over again -- "Danny Boy" done classical style, the "Do You Know the Muffin Man" song done classical style, a very, very long faux-Asian New Age track that meanders all over the place and which I can't stand. He used to not do such things.
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