Music on television has come in various guises over the last 50 years. It was already part of the programme mix at the very beginning and is still around, more sophisticated than ever, live and event driven and at it’s best reaching millions – at any rate more people than those experiencing music in opera houses, concert halls or other venues. Television has been instrumental in popularizing music, preserving precious moments of music making and helping to create music and performances which would not exist without it.
“When music lovers like you lean back today and enjoy a live broadcast from La Scala in Milan, a “Last Night of the Proms”, a “New Year´s Concert” from Vienna or any other Gala they benefit from enormous technical developments over the last fifty years or so and a breed of practitioners who are as virtuosic in handling today´s audiovisual recording equipment as the artists they sort of immortalize for you. While technology advances content ends to get more popular because of the ratings game. In any event television has played a significant role in popularizing classical music since it started. And think about the value of its archives, unless they have been destroyed by penny pinching executives. Isn´t it wonderful that we can watch the very first images of a regular television service in 1936, a Toscanini performing, a Leonard Bernstein with his knowledge and charisma attracting young people to classical music or a Stravinsky conducting his own “Firebird”? And that we have become used to expressive close-ups, behind the scenes material and cameras used like a “fly on the wall”? Even if staging for the camera is more or less out, we do enjoy every bit of live music on the box which slowly turns into your home cinema. And for us practitioners, television still remains a bit of an adventure.” Reiner E. Moritz
“perhaps the more interesting television is found in the rarer moments of observation: of Stravinsky using facial expressions to conduct his Petrushka, or Yan Pascal Tortelier totally immersing himself in an Elgar masterclass.”