Brenda Barnes Leaves KUSC

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Modernistfan
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Brenda Barnes Leaves KUSC

Post by Modernistfan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:57 pm

KUSC just announced that Brenda Barnes would be retiring after 20 years of wrecking what had been one of the greatest classical stations in America. She has reduced the station to a monstrosity dominated by chatty, personality-driven announcers who babble endlessly and playing mostly excerpts and single movements, even of baroque orchestral suites. As for vocal music (except for a few popular arias or short excerpts) or contemporary music (and I am now referring to Shostakovich, Hindemith, Britten, or Stravinsky, not Xenakis, Lachenmann, Stockhausen, or Birtwistle), forget it! One of their hallmarks has been the removal of anything from their playlists that addresses the Holocaust or uses Jewish themes in any way--this in a market with the second-largest Jewish community in the United States (believe it or not, this actually extends to the orchestral suite from Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Golden Cockerel," which, to my ears, has a definite klezmer influence (not surprising as many of Rimsky-Korsakov's composition students were Jewish and familiar with klezmer, and Rimsky-Korsakov had encouraged them to look to their own folk music for inspiration)).
I hope whoever replaces the not really to be missed Ms. Barnes restores the station to its former greatness.

John F
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Brenda Barnes Leaves KUSC

Post by John F » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:04 pm

Barnes didn't invent that approach to classical music radio. Robert Lurtsema of WGBH (Boston) did much the same thing in his "Morning Pro Musica," going back to the early '70s, and then there was DeKoven, the original personality classical DJ, whose program of exclusively 18th century music originated in the 1950s at WFUV in New York. I suppose these people and that approach must have had a following, from their longevity and the number of their imitators. Personally I couldn't stand it. But I'm afraid you're more likely to get a Barnes clone, if they can find one, than what you want.
John Francis

Modernistfan
Posts: 1710
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Brenda Barnes Leaves KUSC

Post by Modernistfan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:16 pm

There is nothing wrong with 18th-century music, a century which includes Bach, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, Mozart, and nearly all of Haydn. However, when you cannot be bothered to play a complete Bach orchestral suite (and we are not talking about something of the length of the Mahler Second Symphony here), there is something very wrong here. They now have to make time for an inordinate number of promotional announcements and constant wheedling and begging for funds; this is a relatively recent and dismaying development.
I hope that they can do better.

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