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Monday, February 23, 2004

A while ago, I reported on the joys of listening to Australia's national Classical radio programme: Classic FM. It does not seem to be related to the UK channel of the same name. For a start, it is completely devoid of the frightful jingles that are the most prominent feature of the UK version. It's all very well having a commercial channel but the juxtaposition of mindless commercial jingles and classical music is more than my ancient, sensitive soul can bear. Such ABC 'commercials' as there are are for classical concerts or records and any extract played is well-chosen and entirely appropriate. Alternatively, the 'puff' is spoken. The very successful UK channel should learn the same lesson: no rubbish to be played immediately after (or before) any type of 'classical' music featured.

If I have one gripe it is with the coverage: it’s far from national and I found myself frustrated as I began to get out of range of the station on a given frequency. It would either be swamped with static (and the Magma’s fan doesn’t help in this respect) or overwhelmed by ‘bleeding’ from an adjacent frequency. Searching for alternative frequencies is often unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, the channel has given me great pleasure as I have rushed hither and thither round Australia. And one of the most interesting features of ABC Classic FM is the series ‘Keys to Music’ in which Graham Abbott and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra examine a classical piece or format in some detail. You can listen to the most recent broadcasts here. These programmes are well-established but the presentation changed recently. Instead of being coldly studio-bound, Graham and the orchestra have been recording the material in front of a studio audience. I was privileged to attend the first four and very interesting they were, too. I will be blogging about them shortly.

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