Here’s a little taste of my next “Sightings” column, which appears biweekly in the “Pursuits” section of the Saturday Wall Street Journal:
Where and when did you last hear the New York Philharmonic? If you don’t live in New York City, the answer is most likely, “On an old record.” Like most American orchestras, the Philharmonic, aided and abetted by the American Federation of Musicians, priced itself out of the major-label recording business in the ’70s, and since then has made only occasional appearances on CD. And what about radio? The Philharmonic’s broadcasts used to bring it to every corner of the country. (It was while listening to a Sunday matinee on CBS that many Americans first learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.) But traditional classical radio is well on the way to becoming obsolete. In Kentucky, for instance, only one station airs “The New York Philharmonic This Week,” the orchestra’s long-running series.
Does this mean that the orchestra of Leonard Bernstein and Arturo Toscanini is doomed to become a regional ensemble, known primarily to those who attend its Lincoln Center concerts? Not necessarily. You can also hear the Philharmonic on the Web by going to nyphil.org, where the orchestra’s most recent broadcasts are available in streaming audio–but you can only listen to the last program, and you can’t download it to your computer to hear at your leisure….
As always, there’s lots more where that came from. See for yourself–buy a copy of tomorrow’s Journal and look me up.