A Dynamic Duo

Words like “unpredictable,” “impulsive” and “playful” are not adjectives typically used to describe the presentation of classical music on public radio. This might well change at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WBST-FM 92.1, when Bob & Bill premieres as the newest daily addition to Muncie radio.

Bob & Bill – a.k.a. Bob Christiansen and Bill Moorelock – could certainly challenge the way listeners perceive classical

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Words like “unpredictable,” “impulsive” and “playful” are not adjectives typically used to describe the presentation of classical music on public radio. This might well change at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WBST-FM 92.1, when Bob & Bill premieres as the newest daily addition to Muncie radio.

Bob & Bill – a.k.a. Bob Christiansen and Bill Moorelock – could certainly challenge the way listeners perceive classical music. Bob & Bill combines passion for the music with reverence and unpretentiousness, musical and cultural history with witty interplay.

Bob and Bill build momentum by revealing connections between selection that have no obvious link. And just when you think you’ve discovered the direction they are taking, they will make an unanticipated veer to the left or to the right.

Only 3 years ago, Bob & Bill debuted on Northwest Public Radio as a local program. WBST is proud to bring to the community this show, which has already won a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Best Music Program and a Public Radio Program Director’s Skim Award.

Two Centuries Later

The year that was 1990 went by rather fast, and the classical music world lost two great composers with the deaths of Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland.

1991, on the other hand, marks an important milestone in classical music. It is the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death.

Performance Today plans to commemorate this event with “The Great Mozart Medley Contest,” which will be conducted throughout 1991 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays.

Host Martin Goldsmith said, “As the emperor said to Mozart in Amadeus, “Too many notes!” The Great Mozart Medley Contest will feature only the very best notes, in a manner we hope will be both entertaining and rewarding for our listeners.”

Once a month, Performance Today will present a “new” Mozart composition assembled from five brief excerpts of well-known Mozart works, and will ask listeners to submit postcards identifying those excerpt in sequence.

One winner a month will be chosen at random from the pool of correct entries, and will receive a volume of CDs from the Philips Records collection of Mozart’s music. Each winner also will receive a Mozart sampler disc and Compactotheque, an exclusive Phillips Classics guide to Mozart and the Mozart year.

The puzzle medley will be broadcast randomly during the first of the year, and all the year’s correct entries, winners ad non-winners will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of the complete 180-disc Mozart collection issues by Philips for the Mozart bicentennial.

The first monthly competition will be introduced on the air on Wednesday. Entries must be received by the close of business Jan. 21, to be eligible for the January prize. The first winner will be announced on Jan. 25. The other monthly contests will follow a similar schedule.

Goldsmith said, “Although I am not eligible, I hope that everyone else will have fun with this. This is not just for the Mozart buff – but for music lovers everywhere.”

Now before we write off 1990 as done and gone, let’s not forget New Year’s Eve. At 8 p.m. Monday, WVST will air and exclusive simulcast with WIPB Channel 49.

Live from Lincoln Center invites viewers to spend New Year’s Eve with the New York Philharmonic, Music Director Zubin Mehta and soprano June Anderson. A New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Gala is an appealing program that allows you to tune your TV to WIPB Channel 49 and WBST to enjoy the stereo sound of this musical delight.

Mehta and the Philharmonic will herald in the New Year with a program of works by Verdi, Johann Strauss Jr., von Suppe, and Meyerbeer.

Anderson, a favorite collaborator with the New York Philharmonic’s late Laureate Conductor, Leonard Bernstein, will be featured in selections by Bernstein as well as in arias from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Hugh Downs will host the broadcast, which takes place at the New York Philharmonic’s home, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincolns Center. The intermission feature will include conversations with Mehta and Anderson.

A Scot’s Christmas

Many savvy travelers have found they learn most about unfamiliar places by talking with the natives, especially about their holidays and celebrations.

At 4 p.m. today, Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie gives listeners an opportunity for such intimate discoveries with Season’s Greetings from Scotland. In this festive hour of music and conversation, Fiona and several guests share memories and favorite music from two

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Many savvy travelers have found they learn most about unfamiliar places by talking with the natives, especially about their holidays and celebrations.

At 4 p.m. today, Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie gives listeners an opportunity for such intimate discoveries with Season’s Greetings from Scotland. In this festive hour of music and conversation, Fiona and several guests share memories and favorite music from two highlights of the Scots calendar, Christmas and Hogmanay, the Scots New Year.

Joining Fiona around the microphone will be singer-songwriter and guitarist Archie Fisher, harper Alison Kinnaird, traditional Gaelic singer Christine Primrose and singer and multi-instrumentalist Dougie MacLean. IN this Musicians’ Requests show, Fiona presents her guests’ favorite holiday sounds and finds out how their holiday rituals have evolved through the years.

“The celebration of the holiday season has really changed in Scotland since the second World War,” Fiona remarked. “Our guests will be able to give us that sense of Christmas past and present.”

“Scotland is known for its raucous, sentimental celebration of New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay,” she adds. “We’ll extract a few tales of unforgettable Hogmanays from our guests!”

If they won’t tell themselves, their families might. Listeners can expect a few choice recollections from Dougie’s parents, Anne and Rob Ritchie. The show’s guests hail from many different parts of Scotland, so their experiences illustrate how traditions vary by region.

On this program, Alison plays the season harp music she most favors, some of which dates from the clarsach harp’s heyday during the 17th and 18th centuries. During that time, itinerant harpers toured the homes of the gentry, exchanging music for food and lodging.

Singer Christine Primrose, who performed with Alison in concerts throughout Britain and North America, grew up with unconventional ideas about Christmas. She was born on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, where the strict Free Church of Scotland frowned upon lavish celebrations of the season. Today Christine sings in her first language, Scots Gaelic, with a voice that often inspires listeners to write Thistle. In Season’s Greetings, Fiona offers selections from Christina’s first duo album with Alison.

Songwriter and singer Dougie MacLean, another guest on the holiday program and popular performer on Thistle, writes regularly about the importance of the land and rural culture. His parents, Dolly and Duncan, grew up and still live in rural Perthshire. During Season’s Greetings, the MacLean family recalls scenes from its rural Scottish Christmases. Dougie also conveys the new year spirit with Hogmanay fiddle tunes.

Zydeco Queen

At 5:30 p.m. tonight Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor interviews Queen Ida, one of the nations most popular stars of Zydeco, a unique musical blend created in Creole, black and Cajun communities in New Orleans.

Ida leads The Bon Temps Zydeco Band on vocals and button accordion, backed up by fiddle, triangle, guitar, washboard, bass and drums. The documentary features excerpts from one of the Bon Temps’ live performances. Queen Ida also reveals the highlights of her colorful career, including her job as a school bus driver and the Grammy award she recently won.

Next week, producer Greg Allen with his sound portrait, The Olymbites: Traditions in America, an aural journey into an extraordinary Greek-American community in Baltimore, Md.

Der Bingle

During the 1940s, Bing Crosby was the world’s best-known performer. His easy-going conversational singing style was revolutionary. Its mark on the music world rivaled that of Elvis Presley. But, while “Bing Crosby is credited for inventing American popular singing,” and National Public Radio’s Susan Stramberg, “since his death in 1977, he’s been largely overlooked.”

This holiday season, Stramberg revisits the music of the man who brought the world the ultimate Christmas song, White Christmas. Irving Berlin penned it for Crosby, who introduced the song in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn.

This NPR documentary, which features vintage recordings, rare interviews with Crosby and conversations with singer Mel Torme and others, airs on WBST-FM 92.1 at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Unusual Operas

Classic Tales of doom and death are recounted in three magnificent ground-breaking works this month on NPR World of Opera, National Public Radio’s continuing series of operatic masterpieces from around the United States and the world.

NPR World of Opera has its season premiere on WBST at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. This trio for the Halloween season starts with the production of Philip Glass’s acclaimed

(The Muncie Star – Page T-15)

By DAVID SPEAKMAN

Classic Tales of doom and death are recounted in three magnificent ground-breaking works this month on NPR World of Opera, National Public Radio’s continuing series of operatic masterpieces from around the United States and the world.

NPR World of Opera has its season premiere on WBST at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. This trio for the Halloween season starts with the production of Philip Glass’s acclaimed The Fall of the House of Usher, based on the story by Edgar Allen Poe.

Minimalist composer Glass is one of the most prominent and controversial composers on the international music scene, and is known for revising traditional operatic writing, often incorporating high-tech video electronics into his productions.

Glass’s brooding, atmospheric music takes center stage in this production. David Trombley, Dwayne Croft and Sharon Baker sing the roles of the principal characters who lead listeners through Poe’s horror story about an ancestral curse and a premature burial.

The world premiere of Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus by Libby Larson has received wide critical acclaim. The opera is based on the haunting 19th-century novel by Mary Shelley. Libby Larson, regarded as one of America’s brightest young composers, created the work as an exploration of intellectual ambition, technological arrogance and isolation. All the music and vocal parts are electronically mixed.

The month concludes with The Flying Dutchman, the dark tale of a legendary voyager, doomed to roam the Earth for eternity until he can find a woman who is willing to faithful to him “until death.” The opera by Richard Wagner is heard in a production from the world-famous Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the venue Wagner built for his works.

Wagner was inspired to write the opera by a sailor’s tale he heard on board a ship on the North Sea in 1839. The work marked the first time Wagner used musical themes or “leitmotivs.” that now are so closely associated with his work. It was also the first time he used the orchestra more as a character itself than as an accompaniment.

Steve Curwood, host of NPR World of Opera, says, “Each of these operas reflects what I regard as opera’s gift – its magnificence as human symphony, with all the passion, cruelty and beauty of life itself.”

The Model Minority

Hard working parents and smart, obedient children who graduate from the best schools and become top professionals – this is the stereotype of Asian Americans, the so-called “model minority.”

“The Chinese American community abounds with examples that seem to bear out the stereotype, but this is only a partial truth,” says Helen Borten, producer of the first October documentary to air on Horizons, at 5:30 tonight on WBST.

Borton’s story is the first of five documentaries to profile various multicultural groups as they struggle for economic, political and social success at home and abroad.

In her story, “Chinese Americans” Climbing the Golden Mountain,” Borten reports from New York City on the success and the heartbreak of Chinese Americans as they pursue the American dream. Borten says, “School dropouts, youth gangs, garment industry sweatshops, cultural isolation and mental illness are also what many Chinese immigrants encounter after they come to America.”

In the next Horizons October documentary, airing at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14, producer Scott Schlegel spotlights the music of black women composers who struggle for recognition and acceptance in the male-dominated world of classical music.

In “Black Women Classical Composers,” Schlegel reports that getting classical music published is difficult for anyone, but it is especially hard for women. “There is a belief in the world of classical music publishing that women’s compositions are less deep, less emotionally powerful than men’s,” Schlegel says.

In the coming weeks: “Latino Performing Artists: Art for Troubled Times” and “Daughters of Zion: Women in Israel.”

Storytime

At 11:30 a.m. today The Sound of Writing features “Voice From the Outer Banks” by Richard Hill. This story is the tale of  a woman dead for 175 years who still manages to speak. Richard Hill tells this outlandish tale written by the daughter of Aaron Burr.

Ursula K. LeGuin, one of the most popular authors in the genre of speculative fiction, reads “Texts,” a vignette of a woman trying to escape the pretentious communications of today.

This text of an unnerving message tells of the woman, even alone and in silence, everything she sees seems to be at once of this world and another.