qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

To Inform, Educate and Entertain

Television is like buses: nothing for ages, then several interesting programmes come along at once. In the last week, we have had the start of BBC2's mini-series Nuremberg, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the trials, and in its first episode dealing with the case of Albert Speer, on whom I have books aplenty unread on my shelf or Amazon list. We've also got Ancient Rome on BBC1, following the same docu-drama format: I can't decide whether it's a dumbed-down format to which I have become accustomed, or whether it has stepped up a gear in these examples. I can't say I was really keen on their time-travel, starting with Nero and then back-tracking to Cæsar, but as self-contained pieces they seem reasonable. Last night BBC4 ran an interesting programme on Joyce Grenfell. On the Other Side, Bremner, Bird and Fortune has returned too, and is enjoying every minute of Blair's extended and indeterminate swan-song.

This evening, following the last part of its transmissions from the Leeds International Piano Competition, BBC4 had a film on Glenn Gould. Gould (1932-1982) had some points to make on concert performance versus studio recording, in some sense valid and in some sense misanthropic, but, I think, ultimately flawed. A number of posters to the BBC Proms Message Board complain about the background noise in concerts: whilst some of this, such as mobile phones, furniture moving, jangling coins and extra-loud sweet wrappers is avoidable, if you're after a clinical performance, go for the (SA)CD every time and don't come to the concert hall. But, if you asked the average person in the street, I think that, whatever sort of music they like, they would prefer to hear and see the live performance. It was amusing, and somewhat fitting with the air of unreality, to see in the credits for the Gould film, "extra readings by Rory Bremner".
Tags: music, tv
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