Strange Nostalgia

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 06:27 AM

I felt it a few years ago at a concert where Robert White and Dick Hyman shared memories of the Golden Age of Radio, the time when Bobby was a child singer and actor and Dick was playing the piano and organ on live radio soap operas. I felt it recently, attending South Pacific, when the orchestra struck up that amazing overture.  And I feel it every time I hear live music at the Naumburg Band Shell in Central Park.

Now, I wasn't alive during the Golden Age of Radio; my earthly existence post-dates the South Pacific premiere by a decade; and even my parents were just little children when the Naumburg Band Shell was opened in 1923. And yet, all those performances evoke in me a most powerful and strange nostalgia: a longing for a time in the past and--this is the strange part--a time I never actually experienced. 

How special must it have been to hear an orchestra perform at that gleaming new Band Shell when live music was almost the only music there was?  The new season of free Naumburg Orchestral Concerts in Central Park begins Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The Knights and cellist Jan Vogler will play Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Schubert.

I’m sure many of those who attend will remember other performances they’ve seen at the Band Shell. But I, for some strange reason, will be feeling nostalgic for those long-gone performances I was never alive to hear.

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Comments [3]

jerry from Mnahattan, New York

Well, maybe not exactly on topic, but then what are blogs for but expression? First and second, WQXR has never sounded better...and Jeff Spurgeon is the ne plus ultra of radio personalities, rarely does he put a syllable wrong. But - and I say this a a major market disk jockey for over 10 years and a reasonably well respected club disk jockey to this day - this new "rock n' roll" spoof promo does not serve the station well. It begins by telling us that you know what we don't want and then proceed to make us listen to what we already know we don't want. A spoof of the "Q"? It's beneath you and only entertains everyone in the production studio when Jeff lays down the track. Announcing to the choir is all it is. But, again, though electronica and dance music (I'd love to remix Renee Fleming's cover of "Endlessly") may be my prime interest, next I listen to WQXR virtually all the time...and, again, it has never sounded better (though I do miss Ms. Dalferes).

Jun. 28 2010 02:20 PM
Michael Meltzer

If you are nostalgiac for long-gone performances, and if you can write fiction, you can go there. Give it a shot!

Jun. 24 2010 04:04 PM

Well Jeff, what about being around about 1900-1930 or so and seeing the March King himself conducting his own band right in that spot! How thrilling to see John P. Sousa getting the crowd up on their feet with a rousing version of ''Liberty Bell'' or ''Washington Post'' march. ( And then he'd polish them off with a rousing version of 'Stars & Stripes Forever'' (Ah....the good old days.....)

Jun. 22 2010 12:54 PM

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