Tuesday, October 14, 2014


"Without Art and Culture, a state loses the ability of self-criticism, starts to encourage fallacious tendencies, breeds hypocrites, develops consumerism and complacency in its citizens, and eventually, becomes victim of a smarter neighbor."

The Strugatsky brothers, 1963 "Hard to be God" 

News from the trenches...

Svetlana's new CD had naturally been sent, just as all our CDs, to the CBC Music Library in Toronto. We also mailed a copy to the local CBC Radio Vancouver, addressed to Paolo Pietropaolo, host of program "In Concert" produced by Denise Ball. We have yet to hear back from them.

Recently during a broadcast, Paolo Pietropaolo posited that it would be fun to have a seeding system for classical musicians in Canada just like in tennis...
Being very familiar with both, we figured why not after all? Because at least it would open the field to unseeded players and the real possibility of serious upsets, like in tennis tournaments... unlike what's happening year after year in the CBC Radio 2 programming!
So Paolo, the ball is in your court!
Talking about programming, I recently got puzzled by some choices and wrote the following on the CBC Music "Classical" blog:
Due to budget cuts, "In Tune" has been morphed into a minimalist, paired down version called "Centre Stage" during which a CD or two are played after being introduced by the former host, Katherine Duncan. Let's notice that today's edition of Centre Stage is broadcasting a 2009 re-issued, old Decca CD of Dvorak 9th symphony: Istvan Kertesz and the London Symphony recorded all the Dvorak Symphonies for Decca Records between 1963 and 1966! So my question to the CBC producer is: how is this choice serving present day independent classical musicians in Canada? How do they get a chance to have their production played on their tax paid Radio 2 waves? If the hour program consists in playing a CD, why not chose from the recent additions to the CBC Music Library? Why not chose NEW names so audiences discover them at no risk?We feel particularly targeted: in the past 6 years, out of our 7 CDs, only after an official complaint, 2 minute 54 seconds of music have been played three years ago and none of our recent output has been acknowledged. How many other classical artists are in our situation?
Still waiting for a reply... On the same CBC Music blog, after Robert Rowat posted about Wagnerian boxing kangaroos, I remarked:
And imagine how empty our cultural life would have been if the CBC Music Classical blog had missed this one... What's next? Delousing chimpanzees on Eine Kleine Nacht Musik? Really Robert Rowat, how do you think independent classical artists in Canada feel when the "community producer for classical music at CBC Music" finds a pair of fighting kangaroos more relevant than their work?
To which he kindly replied:
Sorry you didn't find it amusing, M. Villeger. It was brought to my attention by a Canadian independent classical artist, it made me smile, so I thought I'd share it. Do check out our recording of the National Youth Orchestra, just released earlier today.
Clearly Mr. Rowat was hoping this brushing off would do and I had to get pointed: 
A Google search brought about 17,700,000 results in 0.45 seconds, so we all had a chance to be amused, one way or another. It was, of course, not my point. That someone in your position would take such a tenuous link to classical music to find it fitting your job description to create a special post, while musicians’ work would elicit years of indifference from this blog, was at the heart of the matter.
I’d imagined that “community producer for classical music at CBC Music” would have enticed a very different approach to engaging the resources of our public broadcaster. I’d imagined a curiosity driven individual, avid to discover Canadian classical artists of all walks of life, keeping abreast of their projects and achievements, and dedicated to bringing their production to Canadian audience.
If indeed, you feel the above description accurately reflected your own vision –something that your previous reply could not confirm in my opinion- I invite you to check our production at the CBC Music Library and come back here to tell us how these recordings can finally reach an audience, here in Canada, through the waves of our CBC radio 2 classical programs.
Then, after the Thanksgiving long week-end, came the conclusion to the exchange that inspired the title for this post: 
As indicated at the start, we have not YET heard from anyone at the CBC. No doubt these producers are very busy and about to contact us... and the many other classical musicians that are never heard on the public airwaves and then explore how they can help bring a more vibrant cultural life to Canadians. So let's give ourselves belated Thanks since after all, we all support them to do just that! 

M. Villéger

P.S.: Talking about reflecting the diversity of talents, take a look at that one...

P.S. 2: Since this exchange CBC has designed a competition reserved to amateur pianists: Piano Hero: Canada's favorite classical pianist! Mr. Rowat explains 
"The contest is open to all Canadian residents who are amateur pianists (i.e. do not play piano professionally and not for remuneration). If you qualify, you must enter."
Considering how CBC Radio 2 treats Svetlana, an independent classical musician and her production, virtually black listing her recordings from their broadcast, ignoring her career and refusing to engage in any dialogue, one can only smile at their social engineering theatrics. [Notwithstanding that the "competition" winner's concert schedule and endorsement look nothing amateurish...]

P.S. 3: Talking about dialogue on CBC Music, check this link and appreciate how coincidental is the appearance of one poster on Dec. 16 who seems only interested in shoving one single ad hominem issue... Only to disappear on Dec. 17 when I describe his intervention as a "job" and never sign in again as of today May 1, 2015: Khrennikov's ghost perhaps?

P.S. 4: On Sunday February 15th, 2015 the CBC program In Concert produced by Denise Ball and hosted by Paolo Pietropaolo broadcast a summer 2014 concert featuring three of Prokofiev's piano concerti. While a copy of our Prokofiev Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 CD was sent to the host of this program in August 2014, no mention of our recording was made during the broadcast. Even an email politely acknowledging reception of the CD has proven too much to handle for these public broadcaster's employees...

P.S. 5: In true form, on March 1st 2015, In Concert broadcast the Scherzo of the faster-than-light-who-knows-what-it-means Yuja Wang take on the concerto and a CD will be offered by the CBC program for whom could send a letter about what music means to them. We'd better not apply I suppose...;-)

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