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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

Mere ramblings



The title of what might become a cul de sac will suffice whilst I rearrange the future, which task could overwhelm me completely. As my present mood, whilst not flamboyant or aggressive, is not particularly edgy, I might manage a few harmless observations from my perch.

The 80th birthday of Sir Malcolm Arnold recently recalls the amount of thoroughly delightful music from his pen, and a fair amount recorded. Only for a short period years ago did I have connection with him over some publishing matters, and it was a joy. His music must have brightened the lives of many listeners. Watch out for his symphonies recorded on the Naxos label.

The latest season of BBC Promenade Concerts in London is now over. It brings joy to thousands of people every year. Then the summer months pass at such a speed, and wintertime drags on and seems endless. Thank goodness for the timelessness of music, which is mostly unseasonal.

I have spread a listening period for cello sonatas by Heinrich von Herzogenberg over two days. He lived 1843-1900 and left a fair amount of music, most of which we do not know. A full-blooded Romantic, he's been pretty well overlooked since his death. Let's try resuscitation now his music is appearing on record.

Which -- above -- does raise yet again the easy option habits of many music-lovers. I have been on the music trail for sixty years, and still find myself flabbergasted at the holes in my listening experience. Obviously no one can absorb all the standard repertoire and reams of the lesser-known in an average lifetime. It is the unfortunate slowdown of many listeners, content with what they know and disinclined to tackle the unfamiliar. The pity of this becomes apparent when massive advances in recording techniques make a vast repertoire instantly available. Perhaps the joy of discovery has largely vanished as technological progress reduces our involvement to the purchase of sleek machines with push buttons. You also need records, but CDs flood the market at such an alarming rate as to make choice a dodgy gamble. One grumble of the past about accessibility should now be stone dead, but we humans soon find another.


Copyright © 4 October 2001 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK


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