Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inside the mind of Lyric FM

Lyric FM - sorry, RTÉ lyric fm - is seeking our votes for its "Top 100": "Who is your favourite tenor or soprano? Which composer do you enjoy the most? What is your most loved movie soundtrack?" My first reaction to this survey is to think of Dr Johnson's dog walking on its hind legs. Actually I'm not surprised that it's done at all - it's an entertaining way for station bosses to get an idea of who their audience is. I wonder how long it took them to come up with the 10 choices for each of the categories. I hope it was a long, difficult process filled with passionate argument that eventually produced a list that all parties were satisfied with. It can't be easy to pick just 10 sopranos or whatever, especially when you also have to make a token or otherwise nod to Irish performers. Then again, the list of symphonies looks like it chose itself - Saint-Saens 3, Mozart 41, Beethoven 9, Mendelssohn 4, Dvorak 9, Schubert 8, Haydn 101, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky 5, Mahler 5 - pretty much a "usual suspects", but how did they settle on Haydn's "Clock" over any others?
And yes, Karl Jenkins made it to the list of favourite choral works. And yes, there is a "favourite soundtrack" list but not a "favourite chamber work" list, which I think says a lot about where Lyric - sorry, lyric - is coming from. This is, after all, the station that gave George Hamilton a job. I'm not sure what to think about the "favourite orchestra" list; on the one hand, those who have an opinion on, say, Berlin versus New York have a certain kind of specialised knowledge, but on the other hand would those same people regard the Boston Pops or RTECO as being eligible for the same list? (I don't know; I'm not a "favourite orchestra" kind of listener so the whole thing is moot to me)
In the end, the Top 100 will probably just be an excuse to play some popular music on May 3rd, and it won't have any other meaning or implications. But until then, we can dream of Andrea Bocelli getting zero votes, and Anton Webern emerging as Ireland's favourite composer. Vote early and often!

1 comment:

Jon said...

People love lists. It's some sort of mass compulsion. No matter how often magazines, radio or tv channels run top 10/20/100 polls or features, people will always vote and always listen - whether it's rock guitarists, tv adverts, symphony orchestras or crisp flavours. And it makes for very cheap content & programming.

My top ten of lists would be Channel 4's Best Ever TV ads of 2006, the NME Readers Poll for 1985, 'Downbeat' magazine's 2007 Critics' Poll, Practical Carpentry's 1956 Best Chisel poll...