By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Words like “unpredictable,” “impulsive” and “playful” are not adjectives typically used to describe the presentation of classical music on public radio. This might well change at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WBST-FM 92.1, when Bob & Bill premieres as the newest daily addition to Muncie radio.

Bob & Bill – a.k.a. Bob Christiansen and Bill Moorelock – could certainly challenge the way listeners perceive classical music. Bob & Bill combines passion for the music with reverence and unpretentiousness, musical and cultural history with witty interplay.

Bob and Bill build momentum by revealing connections between selection that have no obvious link. And just when you think you’ve discovered the direction they are taking, they will make an unanticipated veer to the left or to the right.

Only 3 years ago, Bob & Bill debuted on Northwest Public Radio as a local program. WBST is proud to bring to the community this show, which has already won a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Best Music Program and a Public Radio Program Director’s Skim Award.

Two Centuries Later

The year that was 1990 went by rather fast, and the classical music world lost two great composers with the deaths of Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland.

1991, on the other hand, marks an important milestone in classical music. It is the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death.

Performance Today plans to commemorate this event with “The Great Mozart Medley Contest,” which will be conducted throughout 1991 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays.

Host Martin Goldsmith said, “As the emperor said to Mozart in Amadeus, “Too many notes!” The Great Mozart Medley Contest will feature only the very best notes, in a manner we hope will be both entertaining and rewarding for our listeners.”

Once a month, Performance Today will present a “new” Mozart composition assembled from five brief excerpts of well-known Mozart works, and will ask listeners to submit postcards identifying those excerpt in sequence.

One winner a month will be chosen at random from the pool of correct entries, and will receive a volume of CDs from the Philips Records collection of Mozart’s music. Each winner also will receive a Mozart sampler disc and Compactotheque, an exclusive Phillips Classics guide to Mozart and the Mozart year.

The puzzle medley will be broadcast randomly during the first of the year, and all the year’s correct entries, winners ad non-winners will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of the complete 180-disc Mozart collection issues by Philips for the Mozart bicentennial.

The first monthly competition will be introduced on the air on Wednesday. Entries must be received by the close of business Jan. 21, to be eligible for the January prize. The first winner will be announced on Jan. 25. The other monthly contests will follow a similar schedule.

Goldsmith said, “Although I am not eligible, I hope that everyone else will have fun with this. This is not just for the Mozart buff – but for music lovers everywhere.”

Now before we write off 1990 as done and gone, let’s not forget New Year’s Eve. At 8 p.m. Monday, WVST will air and exclusive simulcast with WIPB Channel 49.

Live from Lincoln Center invites viewers to spend New Year’s Eve with the New York Philharmonic, Music Director Zubin Mehta and soprano June Anderson. A New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Gala is an appealing program that allows you to tune your TV to WIPB Channel 49 and WBST to enjoy the stereo sound of this musical delight.

Mehta and the Philharmonic will herald in the New Year with a program of works by Verdi, Johann Strauss Jr., von Suppe, and Meyerbeer.

Anderson, a favorite collaborator with the New York Philharmonic’s late Laureate Conductor, Leonard Bernstein, will be featured in selections by Bernstein as well as in arias from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Hugh Downs will host the broadcast, which takes place at the New York Philharmonic’s home, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincolns Center. The intermission feature will include conversations with Mehta and Anderson.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Many savvy travelers have found they learn most about unfamiliar places by talking with the natives, especially about their holidays and celebrations.

At 4 p.m. today, Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie gives listeners an opportunity for such intimate discoveries with Season’s Greetings from Scotland. In this festive hour of music and conversation, Fiona and several guests share memories and favorite music from two highlights of the Scots calendar, Christmas and Hogmanay, the Scots New Year.

Joining Fiona around the microphone will be singer-songwriter and guitarist Archie Fisher, harper Alison Kinnaird, traditional Gaelic singer Christine Primrose and singer and multi-instrumentalist Dougie MacLean. IN this Musicians’ Requests show, Fiona presents her guests’ favorite holiday sounds and finds out how their holiday rituals have evolved through the years.

“The celebration of the holiday season has really changed in Scotland since the second World War,” Fiona remarked. “Our guests will be able to give us that sense of Christmas past and present.”

“Scotland is known for its raucous, sentimental celebration of New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay,” she adds. “We’ll extract a few tales of unforgettable Hogmanays from our guests!”

If they won’t tell themselves, their families might. Listeners can expect a few choice recollections from Dougie’s parents, Anne and Rob Ritchie. The show’s guests hail from many different parts of Scotland, so their experiences illustrate how traditions vary by region.

On this program, Alison plays the season harp music she most favors, some of which dates from the clarsach harp’s heyday during the 17th and 18th centuries. During that time, itinerant harpers toured the homes of the gentry, exchanging music for food and lodging.

Singer Christine Primrose, who performed with Alison in concerts throughout Britain and North America, grew up with unconventional ideas about Christmas. She was born on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, where the strict Free Church of Scotland frowned upon lavish celebrations of the season. Today Christine sings in her first language, Scots Gaelic, with a voice that often inspires listeners to write Thistle. In Season’s Greetings, Fiona offers selections from Christina’s first duo album with Alison.

Songwriter and singer Dougie MacLean, another guest on the holiday program and popular performer on Thistle, writes regularly about the importance of the land and rural culture. His parents, Dolly and Duncan, grew up and still live in rural Perthshire. During Season’s Greetings, the MacLean family recalls scenes from its rural Scottish Christmases. Dougie also conveys the new year spirit with Hogmanay fiddle tunes.

Zydeco Queen

At 5:30 p.m. tonight Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor interviews Queen Ida, one of the nations most popular stars of Zydeco, a unique musical blend created in Creole, black and Cajun communities in New Orleans.

Ida leads The Bon Temps Zydeco Band on vocals and button accordion, backed up by fiddle, triangle, guitar, washboard, bass and drums. The documentary features excerpts from one of the Bon Temps’ live performances. Queen Ida also reveals the highlights of her colorful career, including her job as a school bus driver and the Grammy award she recently won.

Next week, producer Greg Allen with his sound portrait, The Olymbites: Traditions in America, an aural journey into an extraordinary Greek-American community in Baltimore, Md.

Der Bingle

During the 1940s, Bing Crosby was the world’s best-known performer. His easy-going conversational singing style was revolutionary. Its mark on the music world rivaled that of Elvis Presley. But, while “Bing Crosby is credited for inventing American popular singing,” and National Public Radio’s Susan Stramberg, “since his death in 1977, he’s been largely overlooked.”

This holiday season, Stramberg revisits the music of the man who brought the world the ultimate Christmas song, White Christmas. Irving Berlin penned it for Crosby, who introduced the song in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn.

This NPR documentary, which features vintage recordings, rare interviews with Crosby and conversations with singer Mel Torme and others, airs on WBST-FM 92.1 at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie StarĀ  (Page T-15)

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcast was presented, and the opera that historic afternoon was Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

The cast for Saturday’s broadcast of La Traviata will feature three American singers in the major roles: Diana Sovierro as Violetta, Jerry Hadley as Alfredo Germont and Brian Schexnayder as his father, Giorgio Garmont. American conductor Rico Saccani will make his Met broadcast debut leading the performance. The announcer is Peter Allen.

To mark this 50th anniversary, WBST is offering a special 1990-1991 Metropolitan Opera broadcast schedule to the readers of The Muncie Star who read this column. All you need to do is write: WBST, Ball State University, Muncie IN 47306-0550 and ask for your free schedule.

Special Stuff

Last week I mentioned that WBST plans on airing about 40 special programs for the December holiday season. Get ready, because next week they will be listed in an easy-reference format.

Today, however, you’ll get a special preview of our holiday music specials that will air Dec. 11 to 25. During these weeks, WBST offers a variety of special programming.

Western Wind: A Celebration of Light, A Jazz Piano Christmas, Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special and An Acoustic Christmas: Steve Wariner and Friends will evoke reveries and reminiscences, from traditional and contemporary to regional and international.

The history and legend of contemporary religious celebrations are woven together with music in the Dec. 18 hour-long special, Western Wind: A Celebration of Light. The acclaimed Western Wind Vocal Ensemble’s unique repertoire includes music and songs representative of the spirituality and significance of the winter solstice, renaissance and Hanukkah.

America’s original art form is the focus of A Jazz Piano Christmas, a 1-hour Dec. 22 special featuring keyboard specialists Billy Taylor, George Shearing, Marian McPartland and other notables from the jazz world. A Jazz Piano Christmas will use the “let’s-take-it-easy” philosophy of its genre for high-energy celebration.

Two musical events that mark the season’s sacred mood are the production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, hosted by Dudley Moore, and the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special: Arise ans Set the Captive Free. These specials will be broadcast Dec. 22 and 24, respectively.

Messiah presents original instruments and a men’s and boy’s choir as specified by the 18th-century composer. The ensemble of soloists and instruments, exquisitely blended by Handel, is under the artistic direction of James Richman.

The St. Olaf Choir joins the St. Olaf Orchestra in the all-new musical event – the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special. The 90-minute concert features the world famous 400-voice massed choir and 100-member orchestra conducted by Anton Armstrong.

Dec. 23’s An Acoustic Christmas reaffirms the true American spirit with 2 hours of outstanding performances by some of Nashville’s finest musicians and greatest storytellers. Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Maura O’Connell and othres get together in the city where country and western sound began.

The Woman of Japan

At 5:30 tonight on Horizons, host Vertamae Grosvenor explores the world of the modern Japanese woman. While Japan advances as a world power, women in Japan are still struggling to break free from traditional roles, as seen in tonight’s features, “Women in Japan Speak Out.”

During the past 10 years, many Japanese women have been making changes in the office and at home. This program features women from many walks of life – all reflecting on Japan’s complex society from a feminine point of view.