Joshua Bell in the Subway

I watched Joshua Bell play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto last night on PBS Live at Lincoln Center.  It’s the Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC.

This is one of my favorite pieces of classical music.  The melodious theme comes right out in the opening bars, not needing any intro from the orchestra as in conventional concertos.  I like it that way, swift, cut to the chase.  And here’s the sign of greatness:  the audacity to break new grounds.  Last night I saw the violinist’s audacity matching that of Mendelssohn’s: Bell re-wrote the cadenza for himself.  He has not only given an engaging performance, but has left his watermark in the piece as well.

If you want to see what a born winner is like, just briefly look at his bio.  At 10, he was a tennis champion.  Four years later, he made his professional debut as a violinist and became the youngest person to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  And the rest is history.

Bell has recorded more than 30 CD’s, won 4 Grammys, indirectly an Oscar as he performed the winning soundtrack for Best Original Score in ‘The Red Violin’, and garnered accolades too numerous to mention.  His achievements culminated in the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in 2007, the highest honor for a musician in America.  That puts him in rank with previous prize winners Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and Andre Watts.  But beyond his musical career, he continues with sports and pursues other pastimes.  How about a video games world championship for versatility? Yup, he got that too, in 1996.

Well ok, so far so good… until he was asked by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten to busk in a Washington DC subway station during morning rush hour.  At 7:51 am on January 12, 2007, a few months before he won the Avery Fisher Prize, Joshua Bell stood in a DC subway station in jeans and a long-sleeve T.  He opened up his case, and started playing his 1713 Stradivarius.

That was probably the first time he had been ignored or even given the cold shoulder:

He got $32.17 for his 43 minutes playing, not counting the woman who recognized him and gave him a twenty.  And yes, there were a few pennies in his case.  More than a thousand people passed by.  In the hustle and bustle of morning rush, few had even stopped to look at him, despite hearing the music.

The commuters were oblivious to the treat that would have cost them a hefty $100 in a concert hall, if they could find a ticket that is.  And for Weingarten,  he got a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his Washington Post cover story ‘Pearls Before Breakfast’.  To read this fascinating article, CLICK HERE.

Meant to be a philosophical musing on ‘Art and Contexts’, the experiment aims at exploring the epistemology of beauty.  Will we know what beauty is once it’s taken out of context?  Are there preconditions for us to appreciate the arts?  Do we have to recognize a musician before we can admire the music he plays?  If art is taken out of its frame, is it still art?

But… maybe it’s more a sociological study of urban life, or one of economics.  Even if people recognize beauty, is it worthwhile to stop and sacrifice a few precious minutes?   Weighing the economic cost of being late for work, and the enjoyment of music, the bottom line is quite obvious.  What place does beauty have in the pragmatics of our daily routines?  Where do music and the arts rank in life’s competing priorities?

Pearls before breakfast… What breakfast?  Gotta run…

***

The Soloist (2009): The Issue of Authenticity

The True Story

Nathaniel Anthony Ayers was born 1951 in Cleveland, Ohio.  He started his music education in the public schools.  He would be lucky to get a violin, be it one or two strings.  Music was his love and he showed his talent at a young age.  Ayers later went to Ohio University and Ohio State University. He had also played many times at the Aspen Music Festival.  His musical achievement culminated in a scholarship that sent him to Juilliard in New York City in 1970 when he was 19.

Ayers started with the double bass, later changed to the cello.  He was one of the few African-American students at the prestigious music school at that time.  Unfortunately, he only stayed there for two years.  Stricken with paranoid schizophrenia, Ayers had to drop out and return home to Cleveland.  With his talent and the training he was getting, if he had stayed on, he would have no problem getting a spot in any major orchestra in the country.  But his mother could find no solution for his worsening condition.  He was in and out of hospitals, receiving shock treatment as a last resort.

Ayers later drifted off to California and ended up living on the streets of L.A.  When L.A. Times reporter Steve Lopez found him, it was at Pershing Square, where a statue of Beethoven found a permanent home.  Passing by, Lopez heard classical music, and later discovered that it was played on a 2-string violin by a homeless man whose possessions were all that a shopping cart could hold.  That was the beginning of their friendship and the re-discovery of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers.

Lopez not only got his story, he had introduced back into society from the fringe of homelessness, the talented Mr. Ayers.  Based on this story, he went on to write the book The Soloist.  The members of the L.A. Philharmonic also offer help, letting Ayers in to listen to their rehearsals at the Disney Concert Hall, giving him lessons and playing with him the music he has loved.  As Lopez describes, music is Ayers’ medicine, these musician friends his doctors, the Disney Concert Hall his hospital.

Ayers’ real life story has been succinctly captured in a short 12 minutes documentary on CBS 60 Minutes.  From the short clip, Ayers’ gentleness, grace, articulation and musical talent readily shine through.  These few minutes’ glimpses into the person and talent of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers just show us that any story on him would be most authentically done by Mr. Ayers himself, and any feature film deservedly be a documentary.

The Movie

The authentic transposing of Ayers’ unique personality, his musical talent and techniques onto screen proves to be a challenge.  With all due respect to the excellent actors Jamie Foxx as Ayers, and Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez, the real life story just doesn’t transpose that effectively.  Ironically, the problem might well be that they are actors.  I was watching a life acted out.  Director Joe Wright has imbued the characters and scenes with colors and dramatic effects that at times, masking the poignancy with contrived overtones.

Depicting classical music talents on screen is difficult unless the actor is proficient in the same instrument.  I remember how I cringed seeing Meryl Streep ‘play’ the violin in Music of the Heart (1999).  I know Foxx is an achieved musician himself, trained in the piano but not a stringed instrument.  And I’ve heard how he had worked hard at placing his fingers on the cello to be in sync with the melody for his part in The Soloist.  Naturally, such preparation is insufficient to portray a string player of Ayers’ calibre.  The musical authenticity comes when the L.A. Philharmonic performs, but it only brings a sense of incongruence by comparison.

Director Joe Wright’s works include the passionate Atonement (2007) and the adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (2005).  Ironically, in The Soloist, a movie where compassion and the healing power of music should be in the forefront, he falls short in depicting the heart and soul of Ayers’ story.  Wright has brought forth a hip flick, surprisingly dispassionate and two-dimensional.  The music of Beethoven could have been used more poignantly overall.  (I can’t help but think of Wright’s other work Atonement, where the rhythm and sound of just a typewriter can be so riveting.)   Also, maybe it’s a sign of our time, but I was disappointed that in a crucial scene, Beethoven’s affective power is being reduced to simply digital, visual effects.

With all its best intentions, the movie tries to touch on too many issues: homelessness, mental illness, the cure for mental illness, religious street ministry, journalism, career and marriage, … just to name a few.  I once heard a nurse say after feeling someone’s pulse: “Irregular heartbeat, all over the place.”  Now why do I have that memory while watching this movie?

I’ve been trying to pinpoint what is lacking.  One of the better film versions of classical musicians plagued with mental illness is Hilary and Jackie (1998).  Director Anand Tucker sensitively crafted an engrossing story.  Emily Watson gave a superb performance in not only depicting the inner struggles but the outward musicality of the renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré.  Now, come to think of it, maybe what The Soloist lacks is such sensitive, articulate and refined artistry, in which light Mr. Ayers truly deserves to be portrayed.

~ ~ ½ Ripples


Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey (2002, TV)

 For two months, I had to stay away from home while my house underwent a major renovation.  After sequestered from TV watching for the whole summer, that was one of the first things I delved into as soon as I moved back last week.  A couple of days ago, in between re-runs of Olympics events, I was most gratified to watch this CBC/National Film Board documentary.  What a breath of fresh air and what an invigorating luxury I have been deprived of all summer!  Only on CBC.

The legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932 – 1982) visited the Soviet Union in 1957, at the age of 24, the first concert pianist from North America to be extended and accepted an invitation to play behind the Iron Curtain.  Stalin died just four years ago.  The Cold War was at its climax.  Very few had heard of a Canadian pianist named Glenn Gould, what more, very few had heard Bach since the composer was banned by the totalitarian regime for the religiosity of his work. 

This 56 minutes documentary, which won the Grand Prize of the 2003 Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, is packed with valuable archival footage of the actual Gould concerts, meditative shots of the lone pianist against the grand Russian architectural backdrop, as well as some of Gould’s own reminiscence of the historic journey. Interspersed are interviews with significant personalities within the Soviet arts and music circles, sharing their life-changing Gould experiences.  Among them are prominent musicians such as the renowned pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, and dissident cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who sheltered the writer Solzhenitsyn and resulted in the Soviet government banning his performances.

Tatiana Selikman, a pianist and teacher at the Russian Academy of Music, recalls the day of Gould’s first concert in May, 1957.  She saw the poster and was curious about a pianist from Canada, playing The Art of the Fugue, which nobody ever played in Communist Soviet Union.  The Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory was sparsely seated.  Then the pale faced pianist came on stage, sat on a low chair, and unleashed a magical performance that mesmerized his small audience.  During the intermission, those in the concert hall dashed out to phone their friends, urging them to come right away.  As the concert resumed for the second half, the hall was packed to overflow.

And the rest is history…

What Gould brought to the Russian audience was not just Bach, or the intricacies of the Fugue, or the beguiling Goldberg Variations, but a new perspective.  Gould’s performance embodied the liberating effect of music, the freedom of artistic expression and the bold exhibition of individualism.  The audience was emancipated to a new found freedom that was not sanctioned under totalitarian rule.  Using the words of some of the musicians interviewed in the film, the Berlin Wall of music came down, warming the Cold War by a few degrees. For the first time, they were applauding something that was not Soviet.  And they were exhilarated.

The recent passing of the Russian dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and the events taking place in Georgia, or even the Olympics, have whirled up sentiments in me that I thought was long gone… the pathos of hearing the muffled cries of the oppressed, be it political, social, or artistic. 

There are those who are indignant about the Canadian government subsidizing the Glenn Gould trip, arguing it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.  If a lone pianist can inspire the masses, and if music can soften the hearts of man, enhance international goodwill, and reiterate the ideals of humanity, I am all for it.  Would it not cost more to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the front line?

 ~ ~ ~ ½ Ripples

The documentary has been posted on YouTube in six parts.  Here is the beginning.  However, nothing compares to the big screen especially with Glenn Gould playing Bach:

                                     

                                                                              *****

The Savior: Book Review

The Savior is the debut novel written by Eugene Drucker, the founding member of the renowned Emerson String Quartet.   It is a fictional Holocaust story, but what it depicts is not far-fetched.  Based on his father Ernst Drucker’s experience as a violinist in Germany during the 1930’s, and mingled with his own performing episodes in hospital wards and infirmaries, Drucker has created a riveting and believable narrative. Most importantly, he has packed into the short 204 pages some questions that humanity has long found impossible to solve, the problem of human depravity and personal redemption.

In the book, the protagonist Gottfried Keller is a young German violinist during WWII. Due to a weak heart, he cannot serve his country in the front line, but he is drafted into the Nazi war machine by the SS for an experiment in a Holocaust death camp. Under the cultured yet ruthless Kommandant, Keller is to play four solo violin concerts to selective Jewish prisoners. The expressed purpose is to test whether music has the power to revive languishing souls.

As I read the summary on the book cover, the image of the movie Shawshank Redemption (1994) came to mind. When the character Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) sneaks into the prison control room and broadcasts Mozart’s Sull Aria from The Marriage of Figaro over loud speakers out to the prison grounds, the inmates are instantly mesmerized by the beauty of the duet, the music transporting them from their confinement to lofty realms.

But what readers are confronted with here in The Savior is a drastic contrast. When Keller plays the Bach sonata in G minor for the inmates, he witnesses the horror of despair. The melodies act like whips on their flesh, cruel reminders of the hopelessness they are in. The intricacies of the fugue evoke searing pain rather than the expected comfort and relief, driving them to eerie moans and groans, exasperated in unrestrained sobs and anguish.

The irony is apparent. The redemptive power of music is but a myth. The violinist, acting as a life-giver or at least a boost to waning souls, is but a pawn in a game of cruelty. As the story unfolds, the violinist, the savior himself, finds desperate need for self redemption. Memories of his past, the choice of security over love, come back as torrents pounding on his conscience.

In the discussion of St. Matthew Passion with the young prison guard Rudi, Keller struck the chord of betrayal and remorse. As pathetic as attempting to pull one’s weight off the ground, both Keller and Rudi find It impossible to redeem themselves. The part a person plays in the overall scheme of atrocity needs to be dealt with. Being a pawn in the game does not excuse one from responsibility, even though the issue is a complex one.

As an expert in musicology and a professional musician, the author is able to effectively weave the music of Paganini, Ysaÿe, Hindemith, and Bach into literary form, an expertise only a violinist like himself can provide. The book excels in these detailed renderings of musical and literary tapestry.

However, the mere 204 pages of succinct narrative could be expanded to better handle the complexity of the issues and characterization the book is dealing with. The unfolding of Keller’s love affair with his Jewish girlfriend Marietta could be told in more details to allow the poignancy to linger.

Overall, a captivating story and a springboard to further pondering.

~ ~ ~ Ripples

The Savior by Eugene Drucker, Simon and Schuster, 2007, 204 Pages.

 CLICK HERE TO VIEW A VIDEO of Eugene Drucker playing Bach’s “Chacone” from Partita No. 2 and his explanation of its role in the book The Savior.

 

                                                            *****

Music in my iPod

My son left me his old iPod when he visited me over the weekend. No, he doesn’t get the privilege to enjoy country living because he has to stay in the city for his summer job.  So, technically it’s not my iPod. But just the same. I’ve declared what’s in there my music. He has categorized all music into genres, easy for me to sort out what I like. And, what a pleasant surprise to find so many gems in there, wonderful embellishment for my pristine living out here in the log home.

There are 1,696 selections for me, grouped  into genres. I admit there are ones that I won’t venture into, like metal and rap, but there are enough categories for me to choose from.  Imagine my feeling listening to the music and looking out towards the open, green fields, distant snow-capped mountains underneath a canopy of dramatic clouds, against a big, blue sky…it’s not out-of-this-world, for I’m right in it! Magnificent!

So…what’s in my 18-year-old’s iPod?  Lots I can indulge in.  Here are some samples…

Classical:

  • Bach’s Partita played by Nigel Kennedy
  • The Complete Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould
  • The Art of the Fugue, The Well-Tempered Clavier all by Gould
  • Beethoven’s Symphony #6 Pastoral (For real!)
  • Chopin’s Sonatas, Etudes and Nocturnes
  • Holst’s The Planets  (How cool is that!?)
  • Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos
  • Tchaikovsky’s Cello Concertos

Classics:

  • ABBA
  • Andy Williams
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Bette Midler (She’d be happy to be categorized as ‘Classics’)
  • Bob Dylan
  • Don McLean
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Gordon Lightfoot (Yes, Alberta Bound)
  • Joan Baez
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Van Morrison

Jazz:

  • Art Tatum
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • Duke Ellington
  • Eva Cassidy (Yes, he put her under Jazz)
  • George Gershwin
  • Glenn Miller,
  • John Coltrane
  • Miles Davis
  • Norah Jones
  • Ray Charles

Rock, Pop and Soundtracks:

  • Elton John
  • Jason Mraz
  • Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Amy Adams
  • Broadway Musicals Cats, Les Miserables,
  • The Phantom of the Opera

With this techno luxury of sound bytes, who needs to go to the city!  And…I’m relieved to know there isn’t much of a generation gap here after all…

                                                               ******

Motherhood and Music

This just happened over the weekend…

It was your typical wedding banquet. The elegant ballroom, the thirty some round tables tastefully decorated, the introduction of the wedding party, the welcoming of out-of-town guests, the buffet, the clinking of glasses…

All the usual stuff at your usual wedding celebration…until…the mother of the groom played Tchaikovsky at the piano.

As a promising, award-winning pianist in the then North Vietnam years back, her talent and future were stifled under the harsh political climate. Thanks to the sponsorship of a Canadian church, the family immigrated to Canada, starting a new life in freedom.

Not long after that, a tragic work-related accident claimed the life of the father. The mother continued to run the family business and raised her young children all by herself, instilling in them the love of music, while laying aside her own musical career…

Until, as a most moving gift of love, she practiced again for her son. On his wedding day, as the lights dimmed, she walked over to the grand piano in the banquet hall, and played with such depth of expression and poignancy, two selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, May: White Night, and June: Barcarolle. The 300 guests were silent, mesmerized, deeply moved…then the standing ovation.

The love of a mother, the power of music … what a wonderful way to bring up a child, what a remarkable beginning of a marriage.

***

JunoFest: Celebrating Classical at the Junos

Junos 2008 Venue Calgary Pengrowth Saddledome

What do Toronto classical composer Brian Current, Montreal cellist Matt Haimovitz, or violinist James Ehnes have in common with Anne Murray, Avril Lavigne, Feist, Jann Arden, Paul Brandt, or Michael Bublé?

They are all Canadian musicians sharing the limelight in this year’s Juno Awards coming up April 6.

The Canadian Music Awards extravaganza is to be held this Sunday April 6 in Calgary’s Pengrowth Saddledome.  Click here for the official website of the 2008 Juno Awards.

Before the grand event, there is going to be a celebration of classical music.  A first ever JunoFest will be held in Calgary’s Grand Theatre this Saturday.  The event celebrating classical music is organized by CBC Radio 2, the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region, the 2008 Juno Awards Host Committee, and the Honens International Piano Competition.  It will feature works and performance by nominees in the classical music categories of this year’s Juno Awards.

Click here to read the April 2 Calgary Herald article on JunoFest.

Items on the JunoFest program include work by Toronto composer Brian Current (nominee for Classical Composition of the Year), performance by Montreal cellist Matt Haimovitz (nominee for Classical Album of the Year), and the renowned violinist James Ehnes (nominee for two Album of the Year).

Cellist and McGill faculty member Matt Haimovitz’s work may be most effective in dispelling the myth of Classical music being elitist and passé.  His work embraces both the classical and modern day popular genres, as well as the multicultural roots of folk music.  From his own repertoire, he has an eight-cello rendition of Jimi Hendrix’ war protest song Machine Gun, and from his multicultural, fusion CD “Goulash”, Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir in a four-cellos arrangement.

As we go further into this so-called postmodern era, we’re going to see the increasing blurring of the line between “classical” and “contemporary”.  And why not, we’re already enjoying a proliferation of fusion food.

This is another reason CBC Radio 2 should all the more venture into this brave new world.  Instead of cutting classical music programs, instill fresh and creative ideas to present the exciting development of “classical music” in the 21st century, and act as a bridge to draw closer the cultural and musical chasm.  Just look into the myriad of modern day film scores, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Kite Runner, Atonement, just to name a few, you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy ‘fusion’ music.  You may not recognize the classical music theory on which the compositions are based, but you’ll be enthralled just the same.

Calgary’s Pengrowth Saddledome Photo Source: aol travel

CBC Disbands Radio Orchestra

Update April 1:  Reader Tom has alerted me to the site for online petition to save the CBC Radio Orchestra.  http://www.savecbcorchestra.com  Please sign the petition and spread the word. 

Another shocking news:  The CBC Radio executives have just decreed that The CBC Radio Orchestra is to be dismantled as of November, 2008, on the heels of Cutting Classical Music Programs on Radio 2. 

What a swift one-two punch!

Formed in 1938, mandated “to make engaging musical radio programs, commission and perform works by Canadian composers, showcase Canadian performers and conductors, and discover and expose Canadian excellence”, the orchestra has been a Canadian cultural and musical tradition for 70 years.

 Click here for the news coverage in the Globe and Mail of March 27, 2008.

Click here for the Vancouver Sun article on Canada.com: CBC Kills Radio Orchestra

Click here for the article:  The Day The Music Died in The McGill Daily.

Does the CBC management even have the right to do that?  I thought this is a publicly-owned national radio station.  A cultural and arts institution with 70 years of history can be chopped off the Canadian landscape by a few executives like a branch off an old tree in the backyard? 

With this executive order, the CBC has finished off a piece of North American history, disbanding the last radio orchestra in the continent.

Again, I was alerted to this piece of appalling news by my teenaged son…talking about axing classical music to attract younger audiences.  CBC has gravely miscalculated the musicality of our youth and done an utter disservice to them, depriving them of knowing and appreciating a heritage dating back to hundreds of years of human civilization.

To save Classical Music from being axed off the cultural tree, Click here for the Online Petition.

BTW, the Facebook Group ‘Save Classical Music on the CBC’ now has over 8,000 members…I’m not trying to stereotype, but would these not be some of the ‘younger audiences’ CBC is trying to woo?

                                                            ******

CBC Cutting Classical Music Programs

What a shock it is for me to learn that our national radio station CBC Radio 2, is choosing to axe more classical music programs to appeal to a ‘wider audience’.  Why, aren’t we who have been enjoying the arts and music, who have cherished the long tradition of these CBC productions, who have raised our children on them, teaching and nurturing them to appreciate their content, not a part of the general public? 

Click here for Russell Smith’s article in The Globe and Mail on March 13, 2008, “No classical?  Then kill Radio 2 and get it over with.”  Just let me try to fathom the motives behind these further cuts:

1.  Diversity.  If it’s diversity they are aiming at,  they should all the more leave the classical edge in because CBC Radio 2 is the only nation-wide English radio station in Canada that offers classical music.  Which station can I tune in for such extensive and in-depth coverage of the arts and artists, classical music and musicians, live concerts, commentaries, CD reviews and even an audience requests program? What alternative do I have when the only classical music station in Canada decides to go with the flow and become just another dial for easy listening or contemporary pop?  I feel like I’m a CBC copywriter doing a promo for the station…but why would they need me to tell them this?   To CBC Radio: Respect your role in the Canadian cultural landscape.  What ‘diversity’ are you offering if there are no choices in genre? If ‘diversity’, and ‘choice’ are such powerful words nowadays, honor the real meaning of these terms and not just utter them for political correctness. 

2.  Multicultural. The term “Classical Music” has often been misconstrued as being monocultural.  Are CBC program researchers and management not aware that many so called “classical” composers, especially the more contemporary ones, are from a diverse cultural background including not only Western European, but Central and southern European, Scandinavian, Russian, North American, South American, and Asian?  And do they not know that for this last group here, Asian-Canadians, especially appreciate classical music and particularly in the teaching of their young, the next generation of music lovers?  I for one can speak out on this issue where I personally and know and have come into contact with countless parents of Asian descent who have involved their children in the learning of classical music, and have nurtured numerous talented young classical musicians here in Canada.  Jan Wong in her recent book Beijing Confidential notes that there are 30 million piano students and 10 million violin students in China today.  Two of the most popular music icons among the young are Lang Lang and Yundi Li, both world renowned classical pianists in their 20’s. Wouldn’t it be odd that one can enjoy classical music on radio in China but not be able to in Canada?

3.  Education. If it’s just for the sake of our young, we owe them a great heritage if we do not nurture them to appreciate the roots of modern music. Without going deep into music theory, isn’t it true that our contemporary music evolves from classical foundations?  Calling it ‘classical’ sounds so politically incorrect, as it wrongly conveys ‘elitism’ or simply connotations of being passé. But, would you avoid teaching our next generation Canadian history just because history is passé? 

4.  Business. If it’s for marketing reasons, why add one more ‘easy listening’, ‘pop’, ‘jazz’ or ‘contemporary’ station to the already competitive business, why fight for market share while you can distinctly offer something very different and unique, a real alternative to the radio audience in Canada.  If you wish to morph into a more hip mode to appeal to the young, look for younger DJ’s for your classical music programs. If George Stroumboulopoulos (previously of MuchMusic) can become a Canadian news icon on CBC Television, I’m sure you can find young blood equally well versed in the classical music sector.  

5.  Identity. And if it’s Canadian identity they are seeking, trying to appease the ‘general public’ (as if we are not), then CBC Radio 2 should all the more realize, as a publicly owned radio station and a national institution, the classical music they are eliminating is not just a part of Canadian identity, but human civilization…and I suppose western or eastern, old or young, we are a part of that.

Enough said here.  My teenaged son who alerted me to this piece of incredulous news has sent me a link to the on-line petition.  Click here to sign.

Other reactions to this announcement:

 http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/story/2008/03/04/radio-two.html

http://www.friends.ca/News/Friends_News/archives/articles03200802.asp

A Facebook group has already been formed:  “Save Classical Music on the CBC”, has gathered more than 8,000 members and counting.