THE LEAVING TRAINS OF THE WORLD: It has been a while since we’ve heard anything about the fate of KCSN, the radio outlet of Cal State Northridge once noted for its brave and enterprising programming including an enlightened attitude toward new music beyond that of any other local station. When last heard from KCSN was in the process of denuding itself of most of that distinction. Martin Perlich, its adventurous classical-music programmer, has been banished to that limbo currently well-populated with former arts critics and enterprising program directors. Apparently there is still classical music to be heard on KCSN, weekdays 6-6, but without Martin’s imaginative and aggressive programming. Or so you would suspect, from this recent communication from KCSN’s current general manager to whatever remains of a programming staff. “Leaving Trains,” the hypothetical work referred to in the second paragraph, is of course the familiar atonal tone-poem by, if memory serves, John Quincy Adams.
I have just spoken with the administration regarding several issues, one in particular is
our daily classical programming. Please keep up the great work that we have come to
know and love about your daily presentations. I ask that you now become extra sensitive
when it comes to the more adventurous and contemporary music in our library. I do not
wish to draw a line in the sand and prohibit any one kind of music, but at this juncture I
ask that you program the “minimalists” and “21st Century” music with less frequency.
It is your call, and from what I’ve heard not all new music is “difficult listening”. But please
stay away from the “Leaving Trains” and the “Phrygian Gates” of the world. Dig into the
wealth of Early, Romantic, Classical, and mainstream selections that thrive in our library.
If you don’t understand what I am attempting to relay to you then talk to me. My wish is
to have you pull back from the “extreme adventurous” to the “mainstream enjoyable”. And
I trust your judgment completely.
With new leadership and change management comes a fresh new direction. Our library is
rather large so please dig in and have fun. And let’s keep the channels of communication open.
I realize that this is a matter of one’s personal opinion so if you have questions or doubts run
them by me.
Thanks again for your great work.
Frederick D. Johnson
KCSN General Manager
At the Bowl last week Edo de Waart sent in one of his frequent cancellations; instead there was the utterly charming and quite splendid Shi-Yeon Sung who, from the moment of her management of Wagner’s “Meistersinger” Prelude on through a sticky evening gave a splendid account of herself. She is the Boston Symphony’s assistant conductor; one can only hope that this new generation of exceptional young assistants – our own Lionel Bringuier included – will outlast this dangerous trend of orchestral demise that stalks the land. Ms. Song has a handsome stick technique; in a thickish program ending with the Brahms First, and with the usual lack of real rehearsal time, she made the Philharmonic sound bright and chipper. In the middle there was the Schumann Piano Concerto, one of those works I unhesitatingly regard as perfect; So it sounded this night, with the young Sa Chen as soloist, in a collaboration that gave off waves of joyousness.