The News from PRM (aka MPBR)

          As a fan of Peter van de Graaf, I was curious when I heard new names at my regular listening times - about 9:00 P.M. Upon inquiring, I learned the following: MPB is broadcasting a new service in the evenings and overnight, "Classical 24," with live announcers around the clock - Bob Christiansen, Alison Young, Ward Jacobson, Scott Blankenship and John Zech. Other announcers of "Classical 24," including Julie Amacher and Jeff Esworthy, will be heard mid-day during the week when Greg Waxberg is not on the air. The announcers of "Classical 24" provide background about the music, including one minute at the beginning of every hour when they promote a specific piece.

          Sometimes there are awkward moments, when a piece will be announced, begin, and then after a few bars fade out abruptly, when a new piece will be announced. I was told that those moments are "fills", that that space is really for local stations to use. I hope that that gets smoothed out somehow. On the other hand, the selections have been good and the comments interesting; an example: a piece by a Massachusetts composer Byrd (didn't catch his first name) was followed by the comment that Byrd had studied abroad with Franz Liszt. After he returned to the U.S., Liszt wrote him that a German music critic had said that Byrd must be crazy and should be committed. Liszt then said that if Byrd deserved to be committed, then he (Liszt) deserved it, too, and would be happy to join him.

          It is too soon to tell if "Classical 24" will have the broad variety that van de Graaf did, but I am hoping. Meanwhile we are fortunate to have Greg Waxberg, and in particular his "Mississippi Concert Hall", which is of incalculable value to our local classical musicians.

Glenn A. Gentry