Friday, December 26, 2008

Classic FM

When I'm at home and in my study (telling myself to write, damn it), I listen via streaming to Classic FM, a classical music station in Johannesburg. (Unoriginal name for a classical FM station, I know.)

I like the type of music they play. It's mostly Romantic, but with some more modern stuff thrown in, including some contemporary concert music from China and occasional interesting new concert music from South Africa that combines European and local musical themes. Nifty stuff. Oh, and very little of the Mozartolatory that infects American classical stations, including the one in Denver. I also like the traffic reports because I lived for some years in that area and I like hearing the local place names again, and especially I like hearing the names pronounced properly.

Recently, I discovered another benefit of listening to that station. The time difference (7 or 8 hours) means that Christmas is over that much sooner, in the virtual, radio-listening sense. The Joburg station doesn't seem to play as much Christmas music as American ones do to begin with, and when it does, the music tends to be listenable rather than tidal waves of treacle. And it's all over with when it's still Christmas morning here.

Hallelujah, one might even say.


TGirsch said...

I'd like to amend the constitution so as to prohibit the playing of any Christmas music between the Monday after Christmas and the Friday after Thanksgiving, and limiting "all Christmas music" formats to the period from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26. And even that's too long, I'm just a reasonable guy and willing to compromise. :)

David said...

I'd add that only operatically trained singers should be permitted to sing "Adeste Fidelis," and it must be sung in Latin.

And limit repetitions.

TGirsch said...

Does "operatically trained" rule out Bing Crosby?

David said...

Yes. Absolutely that does include der Bingle.

Putting "Adeste Fidelis" aside, I don't mind a lot of the Christmas music recorded by Crosby and many of the other old crooners. It's the more modern recordings, the urban wailing variety, that really set my teeth on edge. Not just at Christmas, either.

A Paperback Writer said...

How about the version of Adeste Fidelis by Nat King Cole? It's in Latin and English.

One radio station here in SLC last year started playing all Christmas music on Halloween. I think they got a lot of complaints.
Normally, I'm a channel-hopper with the car radio. But 2 of my regular stations play all Christmas stuff from Nov. 1 through New Year's now. I don't touch those buttons until December 1st or so.

Oh, and I can't write with any music playing usually. The only exception was when I was working on a YA ms involving a kid who was competing in a piano competition by playing lots of Joplin. I played a ton of Scott Joplin while I wrote his stage scenes.
But that was it. I concentrate too much on the music if I have it on.

David said...

I don't think I've heard the Nat King Cole version, but I'm biased against it anyway, just because he didn't have enough voice. I like his voice, but not for that kind of music.

A lot of people seem to have the same problem with music while writing as you do - that the music distracts them. I have the opposite problem - the writing distracts me. Often, I emerge from an absorbing few paragraphs to realize that the piece I was listening to and greatly enjoying has ended, and I missed the whole thing, at least consciously.

TGirsch said...

I actually don't mind some of the contemporary stuff, so long as they either completely avoid the old standards, or put a creative twist on it (see my latest "Christmas song of the day" post, for example).

But I don't think anyone can fully appreciate just how bad most contemporary Christmas music is without having worked at least one December in the retail industry. Imagine nine and ten hour shifts with bad Christmas music on a three-hour repeat cycle. That hell (some 20+ years ago now) was my inspiration for many of the songs on this list.

David said...

Wasn't it the case that at one time, any currently popular singer was under pressure to record a standard Christmas song? That may have been the cause of some of those atrocities.

That doesn't seem to be the case now, at any rate.

TGirsch said...

I don't know that they were under pressure, per se, but it was generally a great way to make a quick buck.

Anyway, more good Christmas music kvetching here. The money quote:

8. A Wonderful Christmas Time
Culprit: Paul McCartney

John Lennon wrote Merry Xmas (War is Over) and got shot. Paul McCartney wrote this abortion and lived. Make of that what you will.