The Top Forty

We’re listening to National Public Radio more often these days. We’re in flight from the CBC. And we’re not alone. You can’t spend a lunch hour, an evening with someone without the question coming up: so, what do you think about the changes at the CBC?

Sam and Janet are taking the high road. Fans of classical music in Canada have had a good run at the public expense. It’s time to say thanks and go elsewhere.  Elsewhere is often National Public Radio. In our part of the country, WNED, from Buffalo.  I phone to renew my membership. “We’re in flight from the CBC,” I say. “Oh, we know, dear,” whispers an ancient voice with a Boston accent. “We’re all so sorry for you.”

So now at lunches and dinners the talk is about how to persuade one’s cable company to include WNED in the radio package. And about how to get NPR stations in the Mid-West and California on the web. Not to mention the BBC. We’re becoming global citizens.  And there’s You Tube. We go to a klezmer concert, come home and watch on You Tube, clips from 14 past performances by the same group. We’re having a good time!

I’m grateful to the CBC for years of enjoyment, for introducing me to contemporary composers, for In Performance, for the Winnipeg New Music Festival, for the fall roundup of summer-time concerts.  I still listen to Tom Allen and to what’s-her-name in the mornings. Usually. Otherwise, it’s so long and goodbye.

Listeners at WNED recently chose their Top Forty classical favourites. No. 1: Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”).  No. 2: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”). American sentimentalism wins out over German universalism!

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4 Responses to “The Top Forty”


  1. 1 John September 2, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    iTunes has lots of web-streaming radio stations. Besides, CBC2 still has classical music between 10-2pm. I listened today and it was just fine.

  2. 2 janetajzenstat September 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Hello John: I’m listening to CBC right now. Nazarallah’s program will be just fine. But as the new widow said: what am I going to do tonight? Well I know the answer. I’ll be listening to National Public Radio. J.

  3. 3 John September 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    And I’ll be listening to part of my large classical CD collection!

  4. 4 Gideon Strauss September 3, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Poor Tom Allen. I listened to him playing mediocre contemporary Canadian music this morning on my drive to Mississauga, and I just could not take it any longer after three songs.

    (As an aside, I am so delighted to learn you are blogging, Prof. Ajzenstat!)


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