I was going to sit back and lurk through this discussion, but it's striking too close to home for a number of reasons: 1) I was a classical radio announcer, and 2) I still listen to classical radio where I live in southeast Florida, which is not, as many people think, such a cultural desert.
There used to be theme programs. Clark mentions the Mapleson cylinders. If I heard those on the air, I'd definitely explode with shock. I enjoy listening to historical recordings, yet they are never - NEVER! - programmed on classical music radio nowadays. I've heard an announcer actually apologize because the last-heard recording was made in the '60s!. You'd think he was discussing something done by Edison himself. Also, there is a preponderance of Italian Baroque music (I call it "Music of the -ellis"), as if anyone who is REALLY cultured only likes to listen to music from 1700; anything beyond that is just for philistines.
In general, pronunciation isn't bad - Americanized, to be sure, but the basic idea is there, but I do not take well to announcers telling repeated stories from their own past, simply revealing their own ignorance for all to hear. I like those announcers who give some background to the music without rattling on and on ad nauseum. There is one announcer on Classical South Florida who combines a beautiful sounding voice with an innate understanding of when to shut his own mouth and let the music speak for itself. At the risk of sounding chauvinistic (I do not think I am), there are more and more feminine announcers. There is certainly nothing wrong with this, but simply for variety's sake I'd like to hear voices of all registers.
All this just show the increasing marginalization of classical music in American life.
One man's opinion.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Clark Johnsen
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 1:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] classical announcers, was Future of CDs
> On May 18, 2014, at 7:44 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Who do you feel is/was an example of an intelligent announcer of
> classical music?
> joe salerno
Waaal... One would have been myself, back in the heyday of classical music radio in Boston, the late fifties and early/mid sixties, when there were five stations, three of them full-time! The Boston style was marked by straight-forwardness (no cute-isms, no announcer improv) and excellent pronunciation. (There was even a pronouncing tape in circulation and we studied it.)
WBCN (Boston Concert Network) headed a regional network: WNCN (New York), WHCN (Hartford) and two others that are lost to memory (mine) and not found on Wiki. One fine WBCN announcer from back then, Ron della Chiesa, is still on the air here! Another one, John Devine, became a close friend. And on WHRB (Harvard Radio) David Elliot has held the fort for fifty years, sounding as good as ever. His post-Met Opera show should have been picked up by other stations long ago (or the Met Network itself), as it features vintage singers from over the decades who recorded (arias and ensembles) from the opera of the day. And where else on the air do you hear the Mapleson cylinders?
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