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‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – this Sat. AM on KWUR by

It may seem odd, if not unseemly, to put in a promo KWUR blog post for one particular selection that will open my classical show this Saturday at 11 AM, since I like to air offbeat works much of the time anyway.  However, there are a few special reasons here to promote this selection, the 1977 musico-dramatic collaboration between playwright Tom Stoppard and conductor/composer Andre Previn, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour".  First performed in 1977, this work is set in a USSR-era political prison, where one prisoner is a political dissident, and the other is genuinely mentally ill and imagines that he can conduct an orchestra on command.  Hence the presence of an orchestra in this work.  You can read more about the work from articles such as these:

(a) December 2008 Times of London interview with Stoppard and Previn

(b) January 2009 primer from Mark Espiner, The Guardian, on the play

(c) The National Theatre's page on their 2010 revival of the play

The other main reason for promoting this work is the source of the recording.  To my knowledge, there is only one recording of this work, on RCA, made right after the premiere, with a distinguished cast of actors and Previn himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, it's not available on CD, AFAICT.  The recording to be broadcast from KWUR this Saturday morning, ~ 11 AM, is from the private collection of Dr. Alfred Holtzer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Washington University.  Dr. Holtzer and I occasionally meet at concerts, and knowing about my KWUR show, he was kind enough to offer this recording for airplay at KWUR, for what may be its 1st-ever broadcast in St. Louis.  (So I have to take really good care of the LP, needless to say.)  The cast includes:

i. Ian Richardson (Ivanov, the mental patient who imagines the orchestra in his head)

ii. Ian McKellen (Alexander Ivanov, the imprisoned dissident)

iii. Patrick Stewart (the Doctor)

Dr. Holtzer also has a past connection to KWUR, as he was the faculty advisor to a group of students back in the 1970's who had the idea of setting up a campus radio station.  With funds allocated to him to serve as a faculty advisor to any Wash. U. student group, he directed the funds to this group of students.  The result is the station that is still going 30+ years later.  I sincerely thank Dr. Holtzer for the opportunity to present this recording from KWUR this Saturday.

In addition, in keeping with KWUR's mission of airing out-of-the-mainstream selections, if I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that neither KWMU, 90.7 FM nor the late and much-missed KFUO, 99.1 FM have aired this work.  Hence my claim that this will be the St. Louis broadcast premiere.  This, after all, is why alternative radio stations exist, to air selections that wouldn't be heard otherwise.  So if you're in your car near campus or are at your computer this Saturday around 11 AM, please feel free to listen in.

8 responses to “‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ – this Sat. AM on KWUR”

  1. Stephen Michael says:

    Awesome show today.   Thank you to George and to Dr Holtzer.  
    The organ music was also great.
    KWUR, as the only station with locally-hosted classical music in STL, should have more that just one show.  It might help KWUR on its mission to increase its signal strength, if they were to expand their Classical footprint.  What a compelling case, to point out that you are the only station in that genre in the entire area.

  2. George Y. says:

    Thanks for the kind post.  At KWUR, there are actually 2 other 1-hour classical shows on this semester's schedule:
    (a) Monday, 3-4 PM
    (b) Wednesday, 2-3 PM
    Historically, Saturday mornings at 11 AM has been the "traditional" classical slot, from my predecessor before me, Maxwell Krem.  I hope you and others are able to keep listening in, either by terrestrial signal if you're close to campus or on the internet.  If you have any particular interests, feel free to drop a note and I can see what I can work into my show.  Thanks again.

  3. Ceci says:

    This was rad.

  4. George Y. says:

    Ceci: Thanks for commenting. Hope the dialogue came through OK.

  5. Renee Goubeaux says:

    I'm so sorry to have discovered this broadcast announcement 4 weeks too late!  I play in an orchestra that is preparing a performance of the Previn/Stoppard piece for April 26.  Is there any way to convince Dr. Holtzer and KWUR to rebroadcast so we can all tune in?  Trust me, we (the 85 orchestra musicians) will all stay up late or get up early to get ears on this piece.  
    Please advise and thanks for finding this classic.

  6. George Y. says:

    Hi Renee: Thanks for the kind comment about EGBDF and your upcoming performance. I'll see what I can do for you, and will get back to you ASAP. Best, George

  7. Ivan says:

    Hi! Seems that I missed all the fun long time ago))
    Is it possible to re-play that broadcast? Any archive?

  8. George Y. says:

    Hi Ivan: Sorry that it took me so long to respond about your post on "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour".  The short answer is no, that we don't have an archive of that broadcast and thus I can't replay it.  But thanks for stopping by, and again, my sincere apologies that I took so long to get back to you.

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