I’m ashamed – in some respects – to say that I don’t listen to RTE Radio much lately. There are probably some moments of joy but Lyric FM took the joy out of my heart when they gave Marty Whelan the morning slot.
For various reasons, I found myself a) regularly on buses for a while and b) in a need to brush up on my French and German. I turned to podcasts to do it. And then I escaped the buses but I’ve been left with a couple of podcasts which…well they’re worth holding on to.
Nocturne is a programme broadcast on France Musique in the middle of the night. It’s typically a 2 hour show, and it consists primarily of complete works. The first one I listened to play the complete Kinderszenen by Schumann and I was hooked. The next one, which I listened to through my headset in UCD played the Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams. It’s quite extraordinary in the middle of the library at UCD when the world around you is more or less quiet (except for the muttered conversations, the Windows machines starting up, the mobiles whirring into life because people forgot to switch them to silent and the ongoing tap tap tap of the Facebook messaging people). For a few minutes, the world fades into the background.
There are no ads. The presenters – which vary from program to program – say a little about each piece – today I am listening to the complete album of the sound track for the film Black Gold and it was introduced with a brief discussion about James Horner’s work for Jean-Jacques Annaud, and how he took a low fee for this particular film because it offered certain opportunities in terms of who Horner could work with; and how, in the view of the presenter, it was probably the weakest of the three scores Horner had done for Annaud. The other two were Enemy at the Gates and The Name of the Rose.
But there isn’t much discussion otherwise. It’s pretty much wall to wall music and sometimes it is utterly gorgeous and other times, well you skip onto the next one.
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes if you are so inclined, or also, I believe, via the France Musique website. If you like classical music with the occasional bit of jazz and blues, it’s a wonderful two hours to have in the background of your life.