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Phonic FM is Exeter’s sound alternative — a community radio station for the city and beyond, broadcasting on 106.8FM and online since 2008.

Classical Journey

Orchestral and chamber music, from the Renaissance to the present day, and from Europe and around the world.
Image used by kind permission of photographer Ellen van Deelen

Orchestral and chamber music, from the Renaissance to the present day, and from Europe and around the world. Image used by kind permission of photographer Ellen van Deelen

Show Name: Classical Journey

Presenter Name:
Luch Càise-Dearg

Show Time and Day:
10.00-12.00 Tuesday (except last Tuesday of each month)

What type of music can we expect to hear on the show?
Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern:in that order, by composers as widely separated in time as John Taverner in the sixteenth century, and Sir John Tavener in the twenty first century.

Why do you like this music?
In every piece the musicians are celebrating the very best of what was achieved before mass-production and electronics, when the only resources were human ingenuity and hard work.

What is the format of the show?
The two hours are roughly divided into four segments: first the extravagance of the early renaissance and baroque – Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, then the supreme achievements of the classical – Mozart, Haydn,  Beethoven. then the wonderful impressionism of the romantic – Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns,
and finally the modern music of our own turbulent century, Stravinsky, Orff, Gershwin. There are no rules.  Orchestral music, chamber music, opera, ballet, solo instrumental or voice; all are included.  And listeners can get involved, suggesting their own favourites or accessing the extensive ‘Classical Journey’ archive. Local live performances get pride of place: concerts, recordings, live interviews and live performances wherever possible!

Why should we listen to your show?
Simply for pleasure!  But also to hear about live music events which are happening locally – many of which are very cheap to attend or even free.  And to share a passion for the very best in classical music.

How did the show come about?
With the sad demise of ‘Lily’s Light Bites’ Exeter’s local community radio was facing a dramatic drop in classical music output.  Only Lily’s humble technician, Luch, remained with an extensive archive of beautiful music and no one to present it or play it.  Each week he journeys into that store of music from the past to see what musical gems he can find, and each week he discovers an Aladdin’s cave full of musical treasures.

What goes on behind the scenes in the studio?
Each week Luch seeks out the news on live classical concerts in Exeter and the surrounding area – from the mighty Bournemouth Philharmonic to our own wonderful and extraordinary Exeter Recorder Orchestra – and even manages to get to some of the concerts himself.  All the information is brought together, along with the week’s selection of recorded music from the archives, new recordings and suggestions and requests from listeners.  Once that theme music starts (Lumbye’s, Champagne Galop, by the way) it’s all systems go!  Apart from keeping all the flyers and recordings in order ready for an orderly return to calmly announcing the next record, the greatest joy is emails coming in or telephone calls from listeners offering comments and suggestions, or news of local music events.  Weaving the messages into the programme at the opportune moment is the special ingredient which makes live community radio so much fun!

What has been your best on air moment?
That has to be the first live telephone interview on ‘Classical Journey’.  Former presenter, Lily, phoned in to talk about local musician, and now international star, Crispian Steele-Perkins.  The studio system for integrating the presenter’s voice with the caller worked perfectly and the show slid seamlessly into a private telephone conversation and back to music.  I was really amazed by the result.  So – please! – any listeners who would like to talk about music, call during the show and try a little live chat on air.  It really is fantastic fun!

What has been your worst, or most embarrassing, on air moment?
We all know about Luch’s little ‘incident’, trying to start Lily’s show when she was held up one week.  Very embarrassing!  (See presenter’s details.)  But the most embarrassing moments on the ‘Classical Journey’ are when a specific track is introduced, but something completely different starts playing.  Then the challenge is to work out what we’re really listening to as quickly as possible, while rearranging the schedule so that the little ‘detour’ doesn’t take us over time.

Who is your favourite artist?  Why?
Philip Glass has already been mentioned as favourite composer.  But my favourite artist has to be local guitarist (and ‘cellist) David Cottom.  Spanish and classical guitar are my number one choice in music, and David is an accomplished expert in both.  And that’s quite apart from being a very kind and gentle man, a wonderful teacher, and always ready to entertain whoever is around by playing music from his extensive classical repertoire – and the many pieces he has composed himself.

What is your all time favourite album?  Why?
I’ve already mentioned Koyaanisqatsi, which is actually a film score.  If the question really was, “What album would you keep if you could only have one?”  I would be tempted to choose the 1947 recording of Kathleen Ferrier singing the St Matthew Passion with the Bach Choir and the Jacques Orchestra.  Arguably her voice is the most outstanding of the twentieth century and therefore, in terms of recording, of all time.  The combination of her brilliance, and that of Johann Sebastian Bach, with the intense tragedy of the lyrics, is only enhanced by the sad knowledge she herself would die so young, at the age of only 41, just six year’s later. Sorry to end on a sad note.  I prefer to remember that the music lives on!  Kathleen Ferrier, and Johann Sebastian Bach, and all the great musicians of the past, continue to bring pleasure to every new generation through their music.

You can also visit the Classical Journey blog

If you would like to see more images from Ellen van Deelen please see her e-book featuring more musical rodents.



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