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Classic FM - It appears more middle class than sculpted cul-de-sacs, doilies, Hyacinth Bucket and a weekly shop at Waitrose (it even has Waitrose as a sponsor). And it probably is middle class, in terms of appearances. The presenters are all very well-spoken and respectable. There's none of the crude, informal banter that you'll hear on Radio One. You probably wouldn't even call it banter - you'd call it polite conversation -what you might speak about should you rather remarkably and weirdly have tea with the Queen. They're all very pleasant and knowledgeable. The presenters really know their stuff - even that bassist from Blur, Alex James. In fact, he presents the A-Z of Classical Music, a programme that has actually won some awards and rightfully so. It is an intriguing, interesting show where you learn a lot about music whilst getting to hear many wonderful pieces.
As a big fan of classical music, this station is terrific for treating my ears to some well-known classics, new interpretations of classics and new artists. It also has enlightened me to a whole host of classical music, new and old, that I'd never heard of before. It strengthened my love of Saint-Saens and if it wasn't for this channel I may have never have tracked down such beautiful pieces such as Sibelius' Symphony No 5 and Goreski's Symphony No 3. Additionally, Classical FM is a great 'study' station - great for students and great background music when you want to cosy up on the couch with a good book. Although, I must admit that it does get a bit annoying when that is disrupted by the adverts and some of the dialogue (I usually end up muting it for a minute or two although getting a news update between studying can sometimes be refreshing and reminds you of the outside world for a moment, even if it is somewhat depressing)...
*~MY PROGRAMMES OF CHOICE~*
There a whole range of fantastic presenters on the station. Here are a few which I very often listen to.
1) Alex James - As I said, you learn a lot and he's actually a very good presenter. It's also on at 11am-1pm and 11am is shamefully the time I tend to wake up nowadays (I often work late).
2) Smooth Classics at Six - Presented by Margarita Taylor from 6pm to 9pm- This is my prime studying time and I do find her voice and her choice of pieces very soothing and she helps ward off deadline panic.
3) Natalie Wheen's Full Works Concert - This can be a bit hit or miss. As the title suggests, you are served up full works and if you don't like a particular composer then it can be a bit annoying to have to listen to his or her music for so long. Again, I very often listen to her programme because it runs from 10pm to midnight and, when I'm not working, I'm very often studying at these hours.
4) Night Time Programming - Dear The Graveyard Shift Presenters, you make all-nighters less painful. Not only do I thank Nick Bailey but also the other lady who covers for him when he's off (I forget her name). Thanks to them for transmitting classical music at ungodly hours.
As you can guess, I'm not really a morning person so I can't really deliver an opinion of lauded shows such as that of Mylenne Klass and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, amongst other morning presenters. Now I am trying to become more of a morning person so maybe in the future I will treat myself to the delights of their shows. Nevertheless, I have heard good things about them and should I get up early enough in future on their specific presenting days I would definitely give their shows a listen.
*~IS IT ALL MUSICAL DELIGHT?~*
I actually have very few criticisms of the station. It is inevitably going to appeal most to middle-class persons and I'll even admit that I strive to be a little middle-class myself (in terms of money primarily - It would be nice not to wince at the prices at John Lewis). But of course I'm propagating stereotypes. And part of me hates throwing about class terms. I mean my dad is pretty 'working-class' and he loves classical music - He even introduced me to this station when I was in my teens.
Anyhow, calling the station middle-class is never really going to be a criticism. Really, I'm just jesting. What really is a little bit irritating is the constant repetition of particular pieces around the festive period. That's a little bit annoying I suppose. That and no matter how many times I enter the Classic FM competitions, I'm never going to win anything. C'mon, I'm a poor needy student. Quit giving the free holidays to families that shop at Waitrose! (Of course I'm kidding...sort of)
All in all, Classic FM is one of my favourite radio stations. Not only do I listen to it on my laptop but my iphone has a free application which you can use to tune in. That's rather handy as it means I can get my classical music fix in various locations (when the application decides to function). So if you like classical music, I'd give the station a listen. If you are unsure if you like classical music, at least give it a try and open up your mind. Some classical music may be a bit staid but there are some beautiful works out there that may very well move you.
*~Thanks for reading my review - I'll hopefully be 'BACH' with more soon! (Well, the festive season isn't complete without crap 'Christmas cracker' style jokes, is it? :P)~* :)
*~Also published on Ciao - December 2009~*
I work from home so often have the radio on for company. As I am in a job which requires me to think hard most of the time I need a station that will provide entertainment without being too much of an intrusion!
Where to find it
Classic FM is between 100 - 102 fm on an analogue radio and 100.6 - 100.9 on a digital one. It varies slightly depending on where you are in the country - so worth having a play to get the best reception.
What to expect?
Well as the name suggests classic FM plays classical music! It has come an awful long way since the days when it first started with a reportoire of approximately 10 CDs which were played on a loop. Now the range of music that is played goes from baroque, classical, romantic, modern, early music - almost the full works.
You are just as likely to here music by Carl Jenkins, John Rutter or Leonord Bernstein as Mozart or Beethoven!
The radio station plays 24:7 and has a great range of shows.
Some of my favourite for the working week are
Simon Bates (yup him of Radio 1 fame) breakfast show - a very gentle breakfast show starting at 8.00! and going until 11.00. Expect a good variety of music, news updates, interesting competitions and a bit of chat from Mr Bates who has a soothing voice!
Most Wanted: 11 - 12 weekdays - an interactive show where you can go on the website classicfm.com and pick for a piece of music from a list of about 30 - the top 10 are played!
Requests - at lunchtime with Jamie Crick. Typical dial in show where you can request your own music.
Some of the other shows are a little less typical - for example there is "If you liked that you'll like this" with David Mellor. This takes a piece of music - for example Handels Messiah and says - well if you like that then you should like this. This is a fantastic show and often takes a much less well known piece of music and gives it some air time. I was introduced to Carl Jenkins - the Armed Man mass through this show and this is now one of my all time favourite pieces!
Other presenters include Alex James (from Blur) who is currently doing an "A - Z of classical music" on a Sunday. AGain a fascinating show with a bit more talk and a show that you can really learn something from.
Myleene Klass presents the weekend show - presumably to attract the younger audience -but again as a classically trained pianist she knows her stuff and is very funny.
When to listen to it?
I find it very relaxing - so listen in the car, or when working. I also play it to my horses when mucking out or riding in the school - they genuinely seem to calm down!
What is annoying about it?
Some bits of music are definitely played too often - for example they are playing far too many Christmas carols for me at the moment.
As a commercial radio station there are adverts too which is an interruption!
What is good about it?
Great presenters, interesting content to the shows and a wide range of music. Plus if you like to enter competitions good prizes. If you want to learn about music this is a great place to start - a gentle introduction with a mixture of old classics and more challenging pieces!
Would I recommend?
Definitely - a relaxing station to have on in the background or when you want to appear cultured!
Classic fm is available throughout the globe on their website and on digital radio stations. One of the most popular parts of the radio station is the classic fm hall of fame. This is extremely popular especially with my parents. The station provides a run down of the 300 most popular classical songs and scores. The music is really worth a listen and it is easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the station.
Some of the presenters on the show include, Nick Bailey, Howard Goodall and Mike Read. They are all excellent and provide some really enjoyable interluding pieces prior and after the scores played.
I used to hate classic fm. My parents would always put it on every time that we ate a meal together, when i was a teenager i couldn't stand it. I have now grown to accept classic fm and have actually grown fairly fond of it as well.
The station provides some really great music. They play songs that i even know as well. At christmas Classic fm is especially nice to listen to as it plays some really great songs. For instance the snowman and others like that including bach and other very famous composers.
The presenting on Classic fm is also very good they rarely make mistakes and everything just slots together so smoothly. One critisism that i do have is that they alientate a younger audience by talking in a certain way. Other than that though io would say that it is really a really good radio station if you fancy some lovely classical songs.
For many years I was forced to listen to Radio One. When I say forced, that is to say that it was constantly playing over the PA system at work and was therefore impossible to ignore. I'm sure there was a time when Radio One would have catered for part of my tastes but as I've got older and more detached from the latest releases, it has become an unfamiliar world of rappers and revamped cover versions; talent it would seem is no longer a requirement in the music industry. After a morning listening to "The Great Gutsby" Chris Moyles and his sycophantic sidekicks and the lovely, but ultimately bland and pointless, Jo Whiley, I was ready to chew my own arm off. Then I changed jobs, found myself master of my own domain and free to shape my working environment without needing to bow down to others. Due to the poor reception in the location I now found myself, choice of listening was limited and the most consistent station happened to be Classic FM. After a few days on the job, I was hooked. So from the point of view of an enthusiastic newbie, I put my case.
There are a couple of overnight shows which I'm not familiar with so, I cant comment on those but I'm sure that the standard matches the daytime broadcasts which I will be concentrating on. I first pick the station up on my 15-minute drive to work. In the company of Simon Bates I take a steady drive over the edge of the Marlborough Downs to the small village that I earn my living in. The scenery seems to enhance the musical experience whether it's a clear, sharp, cold morning or a blanket of brooding clouds delivering a heavy shower. Even being stuck behind the stone lorries that slow the traffic to a crawl cease to be frustrating, and that's coming from someone who suffers from road sarcasm. (Road sarcasm is a mild form of road rage, which manifests itself in comments like "no I like sitting at this junction all day" muttered under the breath). The breakfast show gets turned on once in work and the dulcet tones of Classical music's rich heritage issues forth all day. It's almost become the cultural corner of the work place and much good-natured ribbing is levelled against my oasis. Philistines!
Before launching into the personalities and programs, what is classical music? It's a broad category really, 400 years of music on a wide-ranging scale and we use a catchall vague term for it. Think of all of the categories that rock and pop has been broken down into in the mere 50 years of its existence. Classical contains as much diversity as popular contemporary artists. For example Strauss and his waltz style can be seen as the dance music of its day, to Wagner's pomp and thunder the Heavy Metal equivalent. The genre is broken down both in style and historical terms, which are as follows.
Although music is an ancient concept, it is only written down and lasted from the end of the medieval period. This is where the first category begins.
The age of great church music, and composers such as Palestrina, Allegri, Tallis and Josquin
Musical instruments get more advanced and so music becomes more ornate and florid. The first great age of instrumental music. Composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Monteverdi and Purcell
Poise, elegance and charm were the order of the day in music from the classical era. Composers include Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven
Personal expression, nationalism and the power of music as a descriptive tool. Late Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner
Cinema, motor cars, electricity, railways - a new type of music for this brave, new world. Stravinsky, Bartok, Debussy, Bernstein
Music for today's world, written by people who experience life in the same way as we do. Steve Reich, John Adams, Einaudi and John Tavener
It may seem like an odd concept to say that Classical music is an ongoing product even in the modern age, but we are all a lot more familiar with it than we realise. Film sound tracks are a big contributor to what can be regarded as contemporary classical music. Gladiator and Lord of the Rings even Star Wars and Superman all contribute to the genre, so you may find that its not all as alien and unfamiliar to you as you first thought.
Simon Bates seems like an unlikely choice for a Classical compare, always regarded as the cheesy end of popular radio, a jump to Classical seems unlikely. However he does seem to have a good delivery, which has come from a lifetime of radio work, and because his slot is the more populist end of the genre he is not really pushed out of his depth. Many people may find him a bit smarmy for a station that probably appeals to a more serious and committed listener, and whilst he is not the best presenter (merely the best known) he gets you loosened up for a day of cultural "art attack".
At eleven Jane Jones hosts the Most Wanted slot. Every day on the classic fm website 30 pieces are posted for the listeners to chose from. The top ten selections are then played and in a parallel show at the weekend the top ten of the week is given an airing. The selection is right across the board; a quick look at the selection at time of writing gives us the likes of Purcell at one historical end to Elgar and Debussey in more modern times. The obscure sits cheek by jowl with the big names, choral pieces jostle against full orchestral pieces and it's a good way of getting to hear pieces that you may not have encountered before, because they are pre-selected by an expert team.
The afternoon is welcomed in with the Lunchtime request show, as with most viewer selections it does feature the better known pieces, but for a newbie like myself, its all fairly new and fresh, so I have no problem with it. As the most listener-friendly show it is also the one that contains most advertising, which you may think that you had escaped somewhat by moving away from the mainstream stations. However even the adverts seem to be in keeping with the overall style of the station. Many contain classical music and references and are a million miles away from the in-your-face nature of most modern advertising.
Relaxing Classics at 2 follows and this acts as a nice little wind down. Launch is sitting heavily and the energy level is at a low and although in my case being at work I'm not allowed to slow down (well as long as the boss is around) but at least my mind can take a bit of a breather. Still covering the range of composers but this time a chilled out edge takes over and soothing strings, haunting harps and alluring pianos take over from the brasher numbers.
On the way home its Drive Time with Mark Forrest, again a popular show with lots of chat and better known music and very often a slot of music from the movies which will be familiar to even those who think they don't know any classical music. Like the breakfast show on the way in the drive is more relaxed than in my pre-classical days.
The Evening Concert can feature anything from the powerful and long symphonic pieces to shorter more immediate pieces and from standards that have been played for the last few hundred years to debut performances of contemporary works, Whatever you are given it is all a worth while listen.
There are a number of other shows of a more informative nature, especially at the weekends. Composers Notes with John Suchett is one great example of this which each week takes a well-known composer and studies not only his life and music but more specifically how they made their living. Alongside these shows the usual trappings of a radio stations business can also be found, news, travel, weather, events etc. At the end of the day though more than anything else it's all about the music. From the grandiose sounds of Beethoven's most energetic moments to the pastoral piano of Debussy, from the religious overtones of the Tallis and Purcell to the smooth strings of Vivaldi there is something for everyone and as a mood enhancing background, which is how I use it, there is none better. Granted Classical music does feature on the likes of Radio three but here I think the selection is better and less preaching to the converted and genuinely aimed at spreading the word. Classical music has long been an apparently elitist category, guarded by people that view it as requiring a certain breed or intellect to appreciate. All you need is a receptive ear and a soul that can be moved by the beauty in the world, so tune in to 100-102 fm and let the music do the rest. If an oik like me can be turned on to such joyous music, then there is hope for everyone.
If you enjoy going to the cinema or to music concerts (not pop music) then the classic FM website is a place should you visit on a regular basis. Especially if you like going for free! This website has a particular section where tickets are given away for many events all over the country. Obviously the number of tickets varies for different events from a couple of tickets to hundreds of tickets. There are often special previews of films where the whole cinema is taken over by Classic FM and all the tickets are free. There is normally a choice of about half a dozen cinemas around the country with the showings either mid-week or a Saturday or Sunday morning. To apply it is just a case of completing an on-line form, but you do have to confirm that you are able to attend and hopefully people who do not use their tickets will be barred from future events. We have applied for two sets of cinema tickets and been successful on both occasions. The list of events changes fairly regularly so it is well worth book-marking this site and keep checking it out. The rest of the web site is certainly worth having a look at as well. After the Home page there are five main sections: Listen In. On this page you can listen to Classic FM over the Internet. Unfortunately I have a problem with my sound card in my PC so I haven’t been able to try this out, perhaps if anyone tries it they could leave a comment about the quality etc. I am still using the old fashioned wireless and listening on 100-102 FM. What’s On. This page a full programme guide to all the Classic FM programmes. Out and About. This is a very useful page if you are looking for events. There is an Event Search facility, which lets you look for events that you may be interested in attending. You can search by location, venue, type of concert, date or for a specific event. This database seems to be kept up to date well and is quick and easy to use. Re
ad Up. This is a collection of interesting short articles. Good to read if you have a few minutes to spare. Shopping. From this page are a number of links to on-line partners of Classic FM. One I find particularly interesting is the link to Webswappers.com where you can swap CD’s, instruments, music or memorabilia. There is also lots of other categories and this website is worth a visit on it’s own merits. Overall the ClassicFM website (http://www.classicfm.com) is well put together and easy to navigate and as well as all the useful information is your chance to get some free event tickets.
I would have given this a five-star rating for its musical content, presenters, information and general goodness, were it not for the adverts. I realise that the adverts keep the station going in terms of revenue, but they are sooooooo annoying. The other night I had just listened to a movement from the wonderful Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2, and no sooner had the final bars died away than I was listening to yet another advert for World Vision. If you have time to listen to Classic FM all day, you will soon realise that they play the same dozen or so adverts over and over again - as if the more times we hear them the more likely we are to go and buy the item or sponsor a child. However, that grumble aside, I find Classic FM to be a well-organised, well presented radio station, which plays well-known classics such as Barber's Adagio for Strings, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and Schuberts Trout Quintet alongside more recent composers such as Mahler and Berlioz. Less 'high-brow' (I hate that word but I can't think of another) than Radio 3, Classic FM caters for all classical-music lovers. The nightly evening concerts are well worth having on as background music, and at lunchtimes you can phone or email in your requests. If you are bored of Radio 1 and fancy something a bit less frenetic, tune your Radio to 100.1 and turn it up. You'll be glad you did!
Are you sick of listening to the same old radio shows, and bored with hearing the same old records played over and over again. Why not try something different like Classic F.M. They play mostly classical music, but you do not have to be middle class to enjoy this type of music. They have a good range of music by various composers, they also have the latest news and weather bulletins throughout the day. They also run competitions, the current one is for a food hamper. Why not try it and see what you think.
I think Classic FM is a superb idea. Finally there is proof that Classical music is not dead after all. It has long been a popular opinion among those of the pop-world that Classical music is a 'has-been' art, and the fact that it doesn't make it into the charts, and that public performances required subsidy, was supposed to be proof. Then along comes Classic FM and is very quickly the most listened-to commercial station. Fantastic!! Having said that, I still can't stand to listen to it a lot of the time. My biggest gripe is that the channel seems to be one quarter music and three quarters adverts, news, travel and weather. I know it's a commercial station, and probably it could not be any other way, but it is so infuriating. Especially when you get the same few adverts going round and round all day long. Radio ads are infuriating enough the first time, but after 300 repeats my desire to buy double-glazing or a car phone has usually turned into a desire to strangle the guy who came up with the inane jingle. Another problem with the station is the presenters, or those who write their lines - I don't know how it works. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the kind of snob who thinks that telling me the backgrouund to a piece should be the preserve of university music professors. But some of the howlers that are broadcast are particularly maddening. Such as when a presenter announced a famous tenor singing the role of Don Quixote (pronounced Quicksoat) from Mozart's Don Juan (pronounced Dune). Or the time that Henry Kelly announced that Liszt only had one entry into the Hall of Fame, proving that the British public could appreciate great music even when it came from lesser composers. LISZT - possibly the most influential composer of the 1800s besides Wagner; not only was it clear that Henry Kelly barely knew who he was, but, without bothering to find out, he decides to declare him a 'lesser' composer without being t
he least bit embarrassed. Composers names are mispronounced every few minutes. Pieces are announced with the wrong title. I don't want much, but I'd like to feel that the presenter cares a little about what they're playing, especially if they're going to give you a long spiel and pretend they are experts. The other annoying thing is the playlist. A never ending selection of sugary sweet, cloying, unremarkable musical wallpaper. You will never hear Ligeti, Penderecki, Anthony-Turnage, and only the more easy-going works of Stravinsky or Ravel. And usually only one movement from a multi-movement work will be played - always the most boring one. Probably this is due to market trends as well, but I think Classic FM is responsible for creating and perpetuating this market for 'easy-listening' classics. They play a long list of schmalzy Romantic nonsense, then invent a request show, and, lo and behold, everybody asks for the same schmalzy Romantic stuff. I love the idea of the station, but I think it has a long way to go.
I've always like classical music, I dont know why I just find it really soothing. Its also fantastic to drive to, especially at rush hour. Well a friend recommended this to me and what a discovery, I especially love smooth classics at 7 really peaceful and the lunchtime request show is great as you know you can listen to the music you want to. Its great as they do the whole spectrum from renaissance music to modern classical stuff, so there should be something there to suit everyones tastes
After many years of driving to work and listening to mindless drivel and complete and utter rubbish, I decided to experiment, and tuned over various days to various stations eventually hitting on Classic FM. What a pleasure!!! I mainly listen to Henry Kelly in a morning, a man who used to mean Game for a Laugh to me. I have since gone out of my way to listen to other parts of the day and I have not been dissapointed. It is not Radio3 and does not try to be. The aim of the radio station is to entertain and educate with snippets as opposed to full blooded symphonies, although every evening they do have a symphony or two. I for one will never go back to drivel, although my kids look at me in a funny way sometimes when I tell them to turn their music down!!! The only hassle is the adverts, but I realise that they are a necessity. Also check out www.classicfm.com.