Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ahhhh...Bach. For real.

For the third time in the past six years, the 19 Minutes staff is pulling a classical music shift this morning. We're currently jamming to the sounds of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3 (in G, for you classical music snobs) in Studio 102 in 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters.

For news people, things like "Konzerstuck for Clarinet in F, by Gustaf Adolf Heinze" roll off the tongue approximately as well as the names of Croatian politicians, or even "Seewoosagur Ramgoolam". But what's even more difficult about a classical music shift is keeping from descending into the public radio classical music announcer stereotype: "[music ends]...that's music from Pietro Baldassare. His Sonata number 1 for trumpet and strings, performed by the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Vladislav Czarnecki. It's 23 minutes past the hour of 10 o'clock, on this, the 26th day of May, the year of our lord 20-ought-5..." You know the stereotype.

You'd think a typical stressed out news person, would have to ingest great quantities of quaaludes, or go under general anaethesia to sound like this. And this morning, just before our shift, I was wandering around the newsroom, talking about baseball, finding goofy lounge music for a colleague, and otherwise acting perfectly normal. And yet, when I opened the microphone (that's radio-speak for "turned on"), what was the first thing out of my mouth? "Stay with us. We'll have compositions by Haydn and Johann Sebastian Bach in just a few minutes. But first, music by Jacques Offenbach. It's six minutes past 9:00..."

So I've decided to counter this by making the classical music studio feel a little more familiar -- a little friendlier. I broke out the Pop Tarts (a technique honed by the professional announcers at the BBC). And the sports section is open on the desk next to the control board. My only fear is that instead of crediting the "Mother Goose Ballet" to Maurice Ravel, I'll announce that it's by Bronson Arroyo, or even AJ Eathorne.

Worse yet, I'll try to find the Brandenburg Concertos in the NFL-Europe standings. Come to think of it, that would be a terrific name for a team.

Speaking of sports, I'm off on assignment in the Valley of the Sun for the next few days, following the travails of an all-Japanese minor league baseball team, the Japan Samurai Bears of the Golden Baseball League. With luck, I'll be able to update from down south. Otherwise, I'll check back in on Sunday.

First, though, this music from Sergei Prokofiev...

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