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This is Bernard Gabriel. It can hardly be news for me to say that much of life today is being gleaned not from reality but from the TV screen so many eyes and of course particularly those of children are glued to the tube for hours on end each day. Certainly the public world of music has begun a transfer of habitat from the great expanses of the Opera House and concert hall to the Omni present intimacy. You might say of the TV screen. What day Reese that sense of responsibility goes on high in the television world must or should feel for the great power they possess to guide direct stimulate and lighten and entertain. I've long wanted to have a close look at the way music is fairing now in the nation's TV sets and I guess this broadcast is a distinguished man in music and in television and surely he has his finger on the pulse. He's Dr. Peter Herman at music and artistic director of National Educational Television. And for
11 years music and artistic director of NBC television Opera Theater among other endeavors. He was conductor and musical director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Adler we all know there is a lot of music on television these days. But just how much serious music would you say ever gets to the nation's TV screens. Very little serious music commercial television is obviously not very interested. It's not a majority of the tourist areas so outside of an occasional impressive spectacular light always big isn't it when it when it does tell you have to do only they can do they do one spectacular maybe a year. That's all they can or seem to think they can afford. And certainly it is not. Commercial programs serious music is not a commercial property which soap sponsor
would be very interested in. So we have very little serious music on commercial television and educational television or public television as the snow color is just beginning for this new policy. Yes I was going to ask you in radio there is of course a kind of polarization between the big commercial stations and the FM stations and a subdivision of FM stations into commercial and educational. With the latter being responsible for a good deal at least of the serious music on the air and you had already intimated that there's a similar situation in television a polarization you might say between commercial TV and educational. Well there is but systematic musically program like the great radio stations in the old times cultivated in America and still cultivating and most of the civilized world is non-existing in America as you know better than
FM stations play recordings. There's nothing wrong with playing recordings but we all believe that a combination of presenting recordings and life music is a very important psychological and even economical factor in as I see rest of the civilized world. I do not know warn civilized country which has not a life radio program regularly still going strong. Only America has abandoned its own orchestra live music already even television came up. In only now public broadcasting corporation is trying to establish an effective public broadcasting a radio network which certainly will cultivate music better than as you could do with it or not. Have you any idea as to about how many educational television
stations there are in the country right now. About a hundred and ninety. There are nervous about hundred and ninety cents kind of coast to coast. And would you say that the trend seems to be that more and more of them are coming up or yes they are still building in as more satisfactory and suspected problems money you know you talk about is money part of the Broadcasting Act of public broadcasting activity 1968 which President Johnson signed. Basing his conclusions on the results of the Carnegie Commission for Public Broadcasting are encouraging but still like all visitors a fight an uphill fight to get from Congress normally assigned to public television public brokers thing and particularly assigned to it so we have that saw that no political influence is exerted because that would be self-defeating. But people try what what
is mostly on educational television in the country I mean musically speaking what kinds of things generally would you say will give us for instance now spot that over the summer of 13 weeks in a row every Sunday an hour of Boston Symphony pop concerts which are things a good fare for the summer was good soloists. There was one big series of symphony broadcast some years ago. But a symphony orchestra on TV is a dullard for a kind of form of which not everybody likes to do is interesting and it was or wasn't popular then and the difference is that produced called masterclasses by signal via and Heifetz Haifa's because Aus were and concerts which were very interesting made and great educational value. But it was years ago and what I miss and what I would like to see you know established is a kind of a
blueprint not in a helter skelter programming ones of in fact too many minute 24 hour masterclasses of Cazares I think what they did in one role is too much. THIS IS NOT be it and it does appear to get what we need is a systematic comprehensive musical program and we are hoping no that. It will establish and will be used as a blueprint. It's expensive and it especially for my job has to be created in television. Now the educational TV station in New York in The New York City area is Channel 13 and you're connected with that. Considerably particularly only since and since not recent weeks it is a move between and Indian channels 13 more I didn't realize yet it was not a band just to achieve which is probably a very good idea. Now I believe that you feel that opera or that the intimate kind of
opera is almost a natural for television and that's that's your big interest isn't it of course that you had all this experience with NBC television opera. But that's what you're mostly concerned with and most passionate about if I can say that Dr Adler. Yes this is real of course believes that not every opener but it cannot ever be a grand opera is good or even possible on television I gotta ask you why you didn't think it's big because we've got not only the spectacle really would be good but our present loudspeakers on television sets are not equipped to take a really big symphonic sound. Chamber music and lighting the camera you mean little crowd all those are we are not equipped but we will be equipped Of course there is no reason why a television manufacturer should have inserted expensive TVs because in the if there are no programmes or nobody wants it. So first we have to have programs
and then people will demand better speakers. And since technically it's no problem of course whatsoever it's just a matter of money to get more money invested in better speakers for what will certainly come now was a cassette on the horizon so that you will have a set of still fully XP cuz plugged in and you are set. Technically it is no problem it is a money problem but you feel that opera at least on the intimate side is almost geared for television. Well a certain size it is elevenses certain dimensions of part of the intimate side the meds that watch it. Timid love do it of course is an intimate thing which on a big stage never again come over really. Yeah on the other hand how about all these close ups of singers that don't look too photogenic where they're When you get right at them as a movie camera my.
Well first of all television will need singers who look or write bad ahead of what might be sacrificed. No the world shouldn't be sacrificed but grand open as open as was ground. Big voices which I've also usually £200 This is doubly or say I don't write for Tristan because interest and again the great poet W.H. are all things that all Tetrazzini were alive she just didn't have a chance that a witchy were in the room telling her she wasn't that good looking not not she wasn't fat but when she was in that beauty. When I know you have not done as you listen to. But I'm just thinking that that's one detriment almost isn't it of a TV camera and if you get close ups of singers singing it doesn't always look too good. You know it's nice when you're way back it up in the air you know an opera house. You don't see anything but the big out exactly but there are seeing those of course and their openness which for instance do not apply these big high notes which
are the touchy ones of a singer said never to go away either. Now I ask you Dr. Adler what is happening at the moment in your work with National Educational Television where we are presenting and he is presenting next season on the network. One Oprah among us next season begins when in October. At the time going to be Sunday with 10 o'clock in the evening some people consider good for this kind of thing some people do nothings. I mean this would be on all the stations all the stations all 190 all said tema Yes including in New York City each absolutely sure it was the network people who do not want this kind of program can have not to dig it but most people are aware of and represent every month an opera of which some produce newly produced some Markku
produced with foreign organizations like BBC and England and CBC in Canada. Also we present a very interesting little opera from Tokyo. Do you know what is Germany's called it of an opera called or feels in Hiroshima. It's an NHK the Japanese commissioned opera very experimental very interesting and beautiful to look at which we will present in short it will be a series seven operas many. Three of them with us. First you first want to be Mozart's abduction from the seraglio. I hope you've got a good singer for that. Modern art and everybody mentions that model now that I'm rich then we have the lame recording of that yeah as everybody mentions happened in a very interesting thing as far as the opera are concerned. The the sync speed is not the most important piece
of the show piece and you know of course that Mozart wrote about it about the aria about this particular piece to his father I have sacrificed. I would quote almost verbatim I have sacrificed a big audio of the Constanza to the German get annoyed. Good again which is a very funny expression. The well-oiled vocal chords of Madame Coverly Arry also at that time composers had to make concessions to the bananas. Mozart didn't do it. Later on when he wrote was a masterful Liberty just like the pontiff of the libretto of the fellow Audley but I don't for the abduction is really a deliberate. Where do you get your singers. We auditioned and we mostly have for sure that we have our office in our studios for in the end I mean anybody who would like to audition for you could get an order. We really really have of course to check before because otherwise we
wouldn't have the apparatus and the time or people who want to be checked very carefully and use mostly young talent. Train them keeps them in the studio coach will work for them. Television is a very dangerous medium and not every singer was comfortable unless he is carefully trained. As you said even with mouth yanking him which very often is not necessary. Well now you have your first production is the Mozart. Yeah abduction from the seraglio and then Thomas. Then we have a repeat performance of our first production which was young checks up at all from the house of the dead. After the dust we have skied know which was our first book let me have a quick production was kind of the hands of them Gretel which we represent. Christmas is a new one production in for Made in Canada and the variety is all your children since you mention children before they look so much of television today.
We hope the children will not only look at hands look good at all but listen a little to nothing that's not a male but our first opera of the abduction from the seraglio reapers richt really a fairy tale it's a very funny and Abra was fair daily shopper and young people can look at that. I will get some kid got it now. Dr. Adler what Support Foundation wise. Or otherwise have you had for these ventures more of the of what foundation has given us a three year grant for the establishing of the project of the project and any team gives us additional help. In bookkeeping promotion and some money for discussion programs which next year will be connected with each opera broadcast we will have two mostly prominent guests or guests who will discuss possibility of music on television in
general and opera in particular. So at least for the moment you don't have financial worries. We have free non financial war worries because one's budget when the venture was drafted prices whereas a low when oil prices are increasing and the competition is foreign countries which spend march more money and time and up better than we do they do. Of course as well I mean our TVs on everywhere on television and opera houses and things where the music is much more subsidized than the rest of the world as you know it's such a hard light in this country isn't it to get where we have to start any structure. Twenty five years ago it was considered impossible that the government or anybody would give but. It is beginning to move though we have a long way to go but of course the financial crisis. I like to do a whole series with government officials and see if I can't lend a helping hand to get them more involved and more interested I did what I did an interview with Mayor former Mayor
Wagner you know New York City you have and that was a start perhaps I can go on from there. And when you have more do productions Rockefeller Rockfeller has been wonderful to see you guys want wasn't anybody else but where you have really to go and to push is Washington. There is really where we result federal support in the long run needs a symphony orchestras but all those nor noncommercial television can exist. Dr. Adler speaking of opera so many people are saying these days an opera as presented by the Metropolitan for instance is dying the death of the dodo. But isn't that a little hard to believe with prices as they now are for tickets and celebrated singers such as Joan Sutherland able to command perhaps a good million dollars or more a year by singing old fashioned opera in an old fashioned way.
My old fashioned opera in my opinion are as old fashioned as an emblem does old fashion that's not old fashioned. This set the story in music like in many arts is that that is no really important new production coming up that is new productions. People are not interested and capable to ride to begin impressive operas. There hasn't been an opera written since the last 30 or 40 years which was able to get a foothold on the repertoire. Don't you think that's partly due to the difficulty in getting people to consider melody and important thing in serious music anymore where malice is such an important thing. You know opera and in gaining an audience response. Well you know as a musician that it came a time when the turning point was very clearly beginning of the century where after Wagner
Strauss would Cheaney people fear that's the end you cannot. I would Strauss out strollers and you cannot go beyond Puccini and melody. And there is nothing to gain anymore from that and begin to turn away from that and that is magically a very dangerous void because Open I was out someone singing in lines is not opera anymore. So the worry then is that new things new put in new works of importance are not coming along. But that's true as you have told me even before we went on the air with any kind of sizable work in music and I mean there are very much in the way of symphony that's very important. I don't think organic works are whiling where most people don't write for big symphonies anymore and it's not the time our time is turning since the beginning of a century from the monumental to the intimate and so there's no question about it. People don't write dredges large spectacle even of the money would be here and in music being is just a question of style I mean just you know cycles that kind of thing go
Blues. Maybe the symphony form for instance. Is exhausted going to do us 100 years on the 50 years before me. But it did no artform really in the same way as going on eternally as all the changes do you feel that maybe Iraq is going to be as into all of us and that's not a facetious remark because a lot of people are very serious will about what they say feel that this is really the expression of the age of a new age. Well it is an expression of the age as far as popular or similar but they're making it into more than that a little bit more but that's fine money as an operator you can see there was an A but I don't like freedom as that's a very classical music eyeglass music that is semi popular where you have not to cooperate with an audiences not to cooperate too much. Mission Otto's would say that it's exulting and is just as deep and just as important as Bach or Beethoven or what he don't compare by compare.
Well I mean they say this is the current equivalent emotions of these great composers of the past and evoked Well I don't know whether we have great composers and those are not my people in particular because of the quality but you feel that it's strictly a popular kind of thing interesting I mean you're considered you know so far it hasn't trend towards it and there's some very good and interesting numbers of it but why compare like compares a division between serious music which needs and demands very serious cooperation of the listener. Yes. And semi popular is in all the other trying to do that that's the reason I bring that up. You try to do what you consider the element of rock or the realm of rock as a realm of serious music. The press and many people have said this to me. They are just interviewing the man who wrote a book on the subject and he certainly feels that way now that it's not to be considered
a light type of entertainment. So where to look this I do want to first of all I'm not a specialist the middle I'm very interested in it but there is no question that the fact that rock is based on a beat that's malice is a big ask which of us so much getting lost in modern music classical music is of course a reaction against the beat less kind of music which in which the desire Lucian of the person which is in classical music happened in this respect I mean you can consider the announcer and the fact that Bach is a favorite composer as he has such a power because he has he has he has an anti-romantic that's not the romantic at the moment. The movement is anti-romantic to a degree in music but all these trends probably change and I'm looking forward to hear more but I don't know why somebody calls this Tommy air rock opera because somebody stands at the microphone and sings the electric
guitar or some songs which may be very good or not so good. Why call it off but I there's nothing to do with opera. Well there's a trend to take take popular music and put it into a serious mold popular artists are called great artists today. They give performances in Carnegie Hall. They do everything they can to operas you know there's always this this business of trying to to make everyone think of it as a serious art. Well isn't that so you know these people are not any of them very serious but rather they're odd isn't the same way. That's because it is another version which was they are very serious people it's very worthwhile and by all means let them strive for what they really feel. Right and I get to television once more. Do you feel that instrumentalists were to stage and present their concerts more visually than they now do but this might be an advantage on television. RESIDENT It is an advantage to present absolute music like Symphony and concert
music while occupying as much as a television screen does is another question. Real musicians very often prefer to listen to music man and not look so much right. You look in a concert hall all right but you don't look soo much the camera doesn't switch around all the time which it has to do in short is strictly musical. Maybe I'm like concert music to present on a visual medium is touchy. Opera is a mixed media has ordeal an ordeal hard and then we do concert music has no video or in the score inserted so many people prefer to listen to a recording. But there is no question that there is a future one is to find a form out and for instance Lenny Bernstein's use concert by any intelligent conversation talking or start with things isn't I really interesting in my opinion the only
legitimate musical form of concept existing anywhere. I'm sure this question is one subject for a whole broadcast but anyway perhaps you might have a few pertinent comments. Are there any developments right now in Europe or Asia that that is to say an connection with music on television that seem particularly significant to you. Well significant visit both Europe and Asia is far ahead in presenting studios music and television. What instance jump back is the only country which has steel lines for television that means television sound can be transmitted through particularly equipped lines which present stereo sound needs or you would hope as that North America and in Japan for instance Japan is not an operator country. They have lots of orchestras they love classical symphonic
music in spite of Madame Butterfly. You know it's not a problem they present all the time symphony concerts almost daily you can see in Tokyo simply concerts and they have a few pretty good pianists let me tell you I reviewed on the air. What is his name. No more late last year. Fabulous YOUNG LiVE bows and string players even more brain string players and young string players and be on his are coming. Japan is now the country was in Russia which was 20 years ago the big producer of young that's what are the ages. Yes it's now Japan as a long story why was there sat by most obstinate intensity and seriousness that you know they are unbeatable. And France England. Italy has a have it all be doing a lot with opera. No not a vision not much not much not much that's very very touchy uses good I'm typical Italian opera does not lend itself was expansive kind of singing and I know what's I think
your job or is not the ideal really ideal where you lose what is a modern than I do as it does which was first commissioned opera and b c I can almost answer my last question to you myself from just our chat. I've got to ask you what trends you see for the near future in music in television and I can almost tell you right now that you see there is a lot of opera and you're involved in it and you think it's a growing and you're most optimistic and it looks like a wonderful season or two. Not really no you know but I believe in a comprehensive music program which presents all assets of music all the concert music and use guns in the recital. But it has to be developed step by step it is not so easy transfer to transfer to an electronic medium like in when the radio was invented you hang a microphone in the concert hall and you have a concept. That's right you're going to let them see it you know.
How true. Well the future of music on television and the current developments and projects now in the making comprise a vast subject that will bear delving into often and soon again. I am enormously grateful to you Dr. Peter Herman Adler music an artistic director of any opera for being my guest and for giving us the behind the scenes look that you have. My very best wishes for continued success in your work right now and may it bear the complete fruition that you so strongly desire. This has been Bernard Gabriel with my constant wish for a most musical week. This program was acquired with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
Bernard Gabriel
Episode Number
Music and Television Dr. Peter Herman Adler
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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