From Bill Cavness
Friends have often asked me why I chose to devote my lifetime career to radio, when my entry into the field of broadcasting dates far enough back that I could have been a pioneer in television, or at least in public television.
My answer today is the same one I’ve always used: radio, with its appeal to a single sense, forces me to keep my imagination working, while television somehow blocks much of its use. When I listen to a play on the air, I design the sets and the costumes and the lighting — even the faces and the characters’ movements. When I watch the same play, other people have done those things, and I must accept their taste and judgment.
For going on 28 years, I have tried in the Reading Aloud series to present works of fiction and non-fiction in a way that allows you, imaginatively, to take part in the broadcast — even with Chamberworks and other concerts, to establish a You-Are-There feeling, so that in hearing a late Beethoven quartet well-played, you feel all dressed up in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and sitting in a handsome auditorium surrounded by other music lovers.
Sometimes my T-shirt and tattered jeans and bare feet and reclining chair make that sort of fantasy an uphill pull, but I feel that the mind needs exercise just as much as the body does. Maybe that’s why I’m always a little startled at your generous response to a book of factual prose, as compared to lively, active fiction. That is certainly why I prefer music recorded during public performance, as opposed to perhaps-slicker studio performances which allow for editing, or re-takes, to eliminate the chances of slight mishap always present in live presentations.
At this writing, Reading Aloud has established a record for a continuous series of its kind, and Chamberworks will very soon reach the 1,000-program mark: a thousand hours of music and not one commercial recording! May both continue at least that much more.