Friday, February 10, 2017

So long CBC!

Hedge and Post, M.V. 2017

On February 10, 2017 we happily decided to erase our artist page from the CBC Music website.

These artist pages are simply place holders providing the heart warming illusion of being considered by an indifferent public broadcaster, yet allowing the CBC to claim they fulfill their mandate by serving every artist in the country.

The reality is that unless one knows about the page, there is no way to quickly search by meaningful categories and find other artists. Worse, the administrator cannot even know how popular his page is, how many times sound extracts have been listened to and which ones are the most appreciated. Simply put, this digital factory serves them not us. 

When it counts, that is having one's work played on the dwindling Radio 2 classical programs, gate keeping rules: it has now been over 5 years that CBC Radio 2 has broadcast any track of Svetlana's CDs despite having all of her recordings in their library.

The CBC Music Blog is no better. Stories are edicts with strong ideological bias and since switching to the new format, do not allow for feedback from readers through commenting. How convenient. Hence hypocrisy prospers, as in this one sanctimonious piece using Prokofiev's face when it arranges them while, in reality, they blacklisted our 2014 release of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2...

So long CBC!


Post Scriptum 1: How to play Bach's clavier music in a festival?

After illuminating educational posts such as 8 classical works you'll recognize from watching TV or 10 awesome classical pieces under 2 minutes long the Community Producer for CBC Classical Music goes on the promotional path with helping no less than the daughter of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Music Director get some help peddling her cute new Analekta release of Bach Inventions & Sinfonias...

What's funny is that 10 y old Antoine just played one of the pieces, Sinfonia No. 11 in G minor BWV 797 for the North Shore Music Festival (compare with track #25 in the Analekta recording). The adjudicator was puzzled and called it a controversial performance because he did not play it... dancing; then he went on a tangent about modern instruments versus period instruments, Glenn Gould and how one does not want to be stuck in the past, or what if Bach had a modern piano at his disposal? Should we ignore Mahler when we play Bach? That is the usual panoply of arguments missing the key point: style.

If Gothic Cathedrals' architects had known concrete they would still have not built the Sydney Opera House back then. Performance is all about approaching the aesthetics and philosophy infusing Bach's time and its Lutheran orthodox tradition, during which music was being linked to mathematics not art, and to religion as a mean to address God.

Back to the Analekta release, the CBC producer quotes Tomita on how these pieces would help aspiring pianists "arrive at a singing manner in playing" but neglects to dig further into a critical quote by Georg Rhau: 
In the preface of his polyphony music Vesperarum precum officia (1540), Rhau states 'it had always been his desire particularly to assist schoolboys by providing them with materials through which they might praise God and learn the truths of the Scriptures, and through which they might also love and study the honourable discipline of music.'
Furthermore, Tomita concludes:
The concluding remark on 'cantabile' manner of performance may sometimes be confused with the legato phrasing technique of the 19th-century composers, and so one should be a little cautious in interpreting within the early 18th-century performance practice. As singers are required to pronounce clearly with a view to conveying the meaning of words, it should mean that keyboard players must also provide clear articulation according to the character and affection of individual motifs. This is the essence of contrapuntal music whereby the independence of each voice results in the harmony; this is indeed one of fundamental concepts of composition. 
A perusal of Miss Nagano's playing shows she'd have benefited highly from this advice...

Post Scriptum 2:  Add examiner to the memo distribution list...

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