Classic FM - justified?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Kerwintootle, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Justing latching on to the Classic FM argument in The Bandsman.

    There are a couple of readers demanding to know why there are so few brass band recordings played on Classic FM. The controller of Classic FM argued that they do play bands but as the movement uses so many arrangements they feel that this shouldn't be included in their programming.

    So, do you feel this is justified? Have we got to move in a different direction to be accepted once again by the masses or are Classic FM wrong, why shouldn't they play bands playing arrangements? We were not long ago featured on prime time television and we had the Festival of Brass on Radio 3, lap of honour concert after the Open, an hour long Listen to the Band etc.

    Merry Christmas by the way!
     
  2. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    i think there should be a special station just for brass band music....we got told to listen to classic fm at college but i cant cos after a whil i just get bored if they slotted brass band music in occasionally i would listen to it for longer as id be waitin to hear the brass pieces therefore makin me listen to more orchestral stuff.......this makes no sense at all re-reading it but i know what i mean...honest! :) :shock:
     
  3. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Their comments are just a load of smelly stuff. They have no idea about BB music, it's plain old snobbery, they think that BB music is "Lower Class" and they won't cater for it.

    At least the BBC give us half an hour, not enough though (especially as I never listen cause I'm at rehearsals).

    :evil:
     
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I think the line about too many arrangements is just an excuse. They play tons of tracks by new groups and soloists that are effectively re-arrangements of original classics, and the most of the stuff they play after midnight doesn't fit any description of "classical that I've ever heard of.

    We used to listen to Classic fm a lot, and frequently submitted requests of band music (ranging from "anything" to snob-friendly specifics like the Severn & Downland Suites) but nothing was ever played, and the only band music we heard in about a year was the Padstow Lifeboat. We emailed them a few months ago to ask why this was, and received a very curt reply which stated that they play enough band music to satisfy perceived "audience demand" and had no intention of changing this policy in the near future. Listen to the Beeb now!

    I'll be interested to see how many other tMPers would like to hear more bands on Classic fm - if there's enough of us, maybe we should pick a piece a week and bombard them with requests so they have to rethink what the audience wants...
     
  5. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I shall remember the 'too many arrangements' diktat when they next play Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Ravel, Busoni's arrangement of Bach's Chaconne in D minor, the many orchestrations Leopold Stokowski made of pieces by Bach and others, Hamilton Harty arrangements of Handel's Water and Fireworks Music, Elgar's orchestration of Jerusalem, Schoenberg's orchestration of Bach's Ricercar, Mozart's arrangement of Handel's Messiah, Gordon Jacob's arrangement of Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite etc. etc.
     
  6. picju96

    picju96 Member

    It's on listen again on the BBC site if you miss it.
     
  7. brasschuck

    brasschuck New Member

    I must admit, I don't really understand this argument about playing more Brass Band music on Classic FM. Why should they?
    At the end of the day you just have to accept that Classic FM is not a Brass Band station, nor is it a 'variety' station, it is a classical/orchestral station. Yes, they play choral music, chamber music, even sometimes orchestral brass ensemble music, but these are all close enough to the genre of classical music and are accepted by the vast majority of the listeners (who are not tuning in to listen to Brass Bands).
    Brass Band music is not so close to the classical genre... it is, by a loose definition, closer to folk music.

    Just because we play orchestral arrangements, that's no reason why Classic FM should have to put us on their play lists. We play pop music arrangements too, but we aren't all up in arms because the pop stations aren't playing out music, so why is it different for a Classic Station.

    Now I understand that as Banders, because we are musicians, many of us are quite inclined to listen to Classic FM because we appreciate and enjoy the genre/sub-genres of music that they play, but that is up to us, it is our own choice. They can play whatever music they want, they don't have to answer to us, they can target their station towards whichever audience they want, and if that doesn't include Brass Band music/audiences, then so be it, that's their choice.

    I'm sorry there is no 'Brass FM' radio station, it would be a fine thing if there was, but there isn't. That's just the way it is.

    I'm sorry to disagree with so many, but to me, demanding Classic FM to play Brass Band music as a regular feature is like asking MacDonalds to sell gourmet food or an expensive French restaurant to serve burgers and fries with a tomato ketchup dip.... they could, but they don't want to, and therefore they don't, and nobody complains.

    I wonder if anyone agrees with me, or if I've just voluntarily jumped into the lion's pit with steak strapped to my limbs?
     
  8. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    The other thing to remember is that Classic FM is a commercial station, not a public service broadcaster. Thus they will play whatever will give them the greatest number of listeners, and hence the most advertising revenue.
    This is why their programming consists mainly of whatever's in the classical chart, plus "that tune from such-and-such an advert". And why Lesley Garrett and Aled Jones get their own programmes to plug their latest albums. It's very rare that you get any 'niche' or non-mainstream music on there (although David Mellor's "Look how big my record collection is" progamme on a Sunday lunch-time at least tries to introduce some more obscure stuff).
    If we want more brass music on the radio, only the BBC or local radio is likely to listen, IMO. Banging on at Classic FM is a waste of time, cos as far as they're concerned brass bands won't sell advertising.
    The reduction of brass band programming on the BBC is disgusting (1/2 hour a week?), as a public service it should know better.
     
  9. brasschuck

    brasschuck New Member

    Sorry to pick on this particular post, but this seems to be a common interpretation and I just want to add my own feelings on the matter...

    WhatSharp?:
    Me : I think, perhaps, they are trying to be diplomatic.

    WhatSharp?:
    Me : So what? Why should they? Maybe they don't want to, no reason why they should.

    WhatSharp?:
    Me : I don't think so. This is a poor argument based on a non-informed assumption.

    Me : don't want to, don't have to.


    Just my feelings on this common argument. No offence intended. I hope people understand what I'm trying to say here, and understand why I'm saying what I'm saying.
     
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    'Brass Band music is not so close to the classical genre... it is, by a loose definition, closer to folk music'.

    This is where your argument first falls down, IMHO. Do you really think pieces like Blitz, Spectrum, Paganini Varitations, Dove Descending, Concerto Grosso, In Memoriam RK, Grimethorpe Aria, Pageantry, Moorside Suite, Severn Suite, Variations for Brass Band, Diversions on a Bass Theme, Salamander, etc. etc. etc. etc. are closer to folk music than classical. I don't think so.

    'Just because we play orchestral arrangements, that's no reason why Classic FM should have to put us on their play lists. We play pop music arrangements too,'

    What about Classic Rock? What about Hooked on Classics?(Eurgh!) It's not just brass bands that play them.

    'Now I understand that as Banders, because we are musicians, many of us are quite inclined to listen to Classic FM because we appreciate and enjoy the genre/sub-genres of music that they play, but that is up to us, it is our own choice. They can play whatever music they want, they don't have to answer to us, they can target their station towards whichever audience they want, and if that doesn't include Brass Band music/audiences, then so be it, that's their choice.

    I'm sorry there is no 'Brass FM' radio station, it would be a fine thing if there was, but there isn't. That's just the way it is.

    I'm sorry to disagree with so many, but to me, demanding Classic FM to play Brass Band music as a regular feature is like asking MacDonalds to sell gourmet food or an expensive French restaurant to serve burgers and fries with a tomato ketchup dip.... they could, but they don't want to, and therefore they don't, and nobody complains.'

    I think those analogies are rather insulting to the brass band genre. MacDonalds and French fries with tomato ketchup? We're about a bit more than that. Having said that, the flip side is that the brass band movement hasn't always helped itself. I believe that a lot of people not involved in brass bands still perceive them to be about clotch caps, The Floral Dance and Brassed Off when brass bands are about so much more. The movement hasn't, either by accident or design, totally shaken those images off. Too many concerts (for my liking, anyway) still contain items like William Tell, Clog Dance (John Marcangelo) and The Floral Dance, some 26 years after it was topical. Perhaps it doesn't want to shake these images off, but not forgetting the publicity that the Floral Dance and Brassed Off brought brass bands, they're about far more than that these days.

    I wouldn't necessarily want more coverage on Classic FM (I made the point earlier that their reasons for not including bands, i.e. 'too many arrangements' doesn't hold any water at all), but bands did feature occasionally with live concerts on Radio 3 (whose presenters would probably be somewhat more informed than those on Classic FM) and perhaps we could aim for a little more exposure on there.

    Having said all that, if another 'Brassed Off' type film arrived on the scene, chances are Classic FM would probably play the accompanying soundtrack quite regularly!

    Still, disparate views or not it's an interesting and thought provoking topic.
     
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  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    [
    WhatSharp?:
    Me : I don't think so. This is a poor argument based on a non-informed assumption.

    But your comments about MacDonalds and French fries with tomato ketchup aids that perception
     
  13. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    I've got to agree with 'Chuck. At the end of the day, brass banding isn't 'mainstream' enough to entice Classic FM to feature. Although Classic FM has radically overhauled it's programming in the last year or so, there is still a huge amount of 'Classical' music that they don't play and I'm afraid that Brass Band music falls even lower down the pecking order.

    We have to remember that Classic FM is a station which was designed with the idea of making orchestral music more mainstream, not as a platform for promoting brass bands, or more 'obscure' composers. I agree that it would be fantastic if the banding movement got more exposure through radio (or even, heaven forbid, through TV!), but I can't see Classic FM changing their business plan to cater for what they will perceive as more minority tastes.

    Sam
     
  14. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    i dont think this is entirely true...

    i've not had much experience in playing with bands and stuff but i've noticed a certain snobbery from a few orchestral players i know around brass players. i've nothing aginst orchestral people some of them are my best friends but i have noticed they seem to look down on brass players.

    i could be wrong it could just be a minority but i wouldnt have said it was a poor argument i would of said it was quite a good argument

    :dunno
     
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    First of all, I should say that I very rarely tune in to Classic FM, and that is mainly to the occasional evening concert if the programme appeals to me. Just as I would not go into a restaurant and be content to eat a little bit of whatever the waiter chose to put on my plate, so the idea of listening to non-stop music with no idea what is coming next has no appeal for me - for the same reason I rarely listen to Morning on 3 since they revamped the schedules.

    If Classic FM are using the question of arrangements as a barrier, then you wonder what access to recordings they have. If anything, that argument could be a lever to get more original brass band compositions broadcast, even if initially they concentrated on composers who were known in other areas of classical music.

    As an aside, I've yet to hear any music for wind orchestra either, although, as I said, I don't listen very often.
     
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    As an aside, I've yet to hear any music for wind orchestra either, although, as I said, I don't listen very often.[/quote]

    But again, another genre that doesn't receive enough airtime for my liking, whatever the station.
     
  17. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I agree with Brasschuck -- though I know little about Classic FM. The identity of brass bands and the music they play is very difficult to pin down. Maybe the banding world doesn't help itself by trying to be all things to all people. What are the BBC and Classic FM to make of bands who might play "Maunsel Forts" followed by "Abba Hits", then dropping their pants on stage?

    Is the broadcasting of amateur brass bands any more or less than of amateur choirs? Both have similar roots, though in the case of the latter I suspect the pub (beer) factor is not approaching equal emphasis. Is there a body (or committee) of serious-minded people who are willing to get together and promote one particular musical facet (serious or light) of brass bands?
     
  18. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I've heard a couple of band pieces on Classic FM... if you call in and ask for something like "Padstow Lifeboat", they'll play it...
    But, what you see is what you get from Classic FM... ie: classical music... Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert... etc etc etc...
    Band Music?! :shock: Most people who listen to Classic FM probably dont even know what the Brass Band World is about, or knows it exsists! (I didn't have a clue until I joined a band that this amazing world was happening!)

    There are areas that have a radio show just for us banders, ie: Sounds of Brass, and the BBC's Listen to the Band; yea, it's just for an hour... great stuff... whooo... that's all we're gonna get for now... Banding needs to be more recognised to get anymore 'respect'...

    Besides, who needs radio, when you've got the real thing! ie: band concerts that are happening every week, and those unforgettable band contests! :wink: :D
     
  19. brasschuck

    brasschuck New Member

    Dave,

    Thanks for your response, I agree with most of what you said.

    Two points:

    Your point about our music (like Blitz etc) being more like orchestral than folk, I totally agree with you. When I made that comment I was actually thinking more about the nature of our movement, than of the music we play, but I failed to state that, sorry. I do agree with you about the music thing.


    The point about Macdonalds, fries, ketchup etc. Sorry, as soon as I had submitted my post, it dawned on me that someone might interperate my analogy about burgers and fries as being insulting to bands. I honestly didn't mean that... I was just using two contrasting cuisine options to represent two musical genres, I didn't mean that one is 'better' than the other. Sorry to give that impression.

    Cheers
    [/i]
     
  20. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    At the same time, Classic FM are more than happy to give plenty of airtime to the likes of the 'pub tenor' Russell Watson, who (to the best of my knowledge) has yet to take part in a full opera, 'babes' like Vanessa-Mae and all-women string quartets and the like who use their looks and the like to get their publicity, whatever their musical talents.

    As I said, I'm not losing any sleep over Classic FM not playing more brass band music, but the arguments and analogies put forward in their defence thus far are, to my eyes, inconsistent.
     
  21. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Hey! No need to apologise, this is merely a healthy debate with differing views! It's what I like! :)
     
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