I’ve poached this posting re the Breaking Free season on Radio 3 from Facebook
‘ I still defy anyone to explain convincingly how they can truly enjoy such agonising random noise.’ ‘Is it very sad that I am glad to have missed it? It takes so much hard work that it is as hard to appreciate it as badly written music’ – to quote just two posts to Radio 3’s Second Viennese School week on this strand. So the fact that you [the poster] ‘cannot stand being told by Rob Cowan and his colleagues how [you] should respond to each piece of music, or performer, instead of being allowed to form [your] own judgement’ raises a vital question: what is a presenter for? IIn the old Third Programme days it was a question of reading scripts that were invariably written by someone else. They were announcers, we’re presenters – and therein lies the principal difference. Last week’s Viennese escapade is the perfect of example of music that needed explaining, at least for those who had yet to discover it. Performers too sometimes take interpretative options that call for some clarification (Glenn Gould, Horowitz, Huberman, Toscanini, Furtwängler), especially in view of today’s very different interpretative manners. Throughout my life presenters, critics, commentators, historians and the like have helped nourish my responses to a thousand and one subjects. When that stops happening I will take myself off to bed and hope I never wake up. I will have stopped functioning intellectually. I especially like Nietzsche’s idea that having the courage to oppose your convictions is more important than simply having the courage of your convictions – and by entering into dialogue with our Radio 3 listeners (which on the whole we do very successfully) that’s precisely what we do. Please follow this up … it’s an important topic.