Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Discrimination of NPR

I’m curious to know if anyone else out there has come to this same realization:

I like classical music and I spend a fair amount of time listening to NPR throughout the work week. I even scan their playlist online regularly just to see what’s coming up – whether it be something already familiar and prized or something unfamiliar that might be worth discovering. Or often I just listen rather casually and something nice that I hadn’t heard before gets played. And so I look it up, making a note of the composer and the composition’s name for further exploration later.

But after several months of this sort of routine it has begun to dawn on me that, with relatively few exceptions, whatever rules are out there governing what gets played on NPR are apparently not all that different from the rules which govern pop-oriented FM radio. Their playlist really does become quite predictable and tired after a while. The heritage which is “classical” music is so rich and so deep and so glorious – but you won’t really gain a healthy appreciation of this fact if all you’re ever exposed to is the rather stingy menu that NPR serves up during their regular air time. I mean, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is a beautiful piece of music, but didn’t we just hear it sometime during the afternoon last week – and the week before that too? Didn’t ‘ole Sergei write some other stuff that might be worth playing?! Sheesh!

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