About Jimmosk
Up until the age of 16, I didn't listen to any music. In fact I couldn't understand why people listened to it at all; it was just this weird thing people seemed to enjoy doing for some reason, a reason totally beyond me. Things change. I became a film music fan through my interest in sf films -- soundtracks and novelizations were the closest you could come to recapturing the movie experience in those pre-video days -- and the Star Wars and Star Trek series, Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark became a frequent aural backdrop in my room. They were a great introduction to the range of sounds a symphony orchestra could make and the emotions it could elicit.

I was also an astronomy fanatic, and spent a lot of time working in my high school's planetarium. We would often just put Holst's "The Planets" on as audiences were entering or leaving, and the shows we gave sometimes had background music. In particular I remember a series of packaged shows produced by the Hansen Planetarium in Utah. They had a wonderful and exotic variety of pieces in their soundtracks, mostly exerpts from classical pieces or film scores. I'll always remember the name of the music editor for those shows, one Reuben C. Fox. Mr. Fox, whoever you are, you've got a great ear.

My high school library had a few hundred records shelved in its back office, kept there to discourage theft; as a result nobody almost no one knew of their existence. I was a library aide, and one day stopped blithely walking past them and actually looked at what was there. Seeing a few pieces I recognized from the planetarium, I checked some out, then more and more. My college had a much larger library, there were two area classical radio stations, and I somehow found a copy of the Vox Turnabout catalog which let you mail-order a wide variety of cassettes for $2.50 each. The Rest, as they say...

Let me make it clear that when I was starting out, learning pieces took effort. The first time I got a recording of Prokofiev's Fifth from my high school library, I listened to the whole thing without finding any music in it. But I thought that I'd be able to teach myself what was good about it, to find the hidden melodies, by listening to it many times. After the sixth listen or so, I thought the second movement was pretty neat, and there were snippets of the first movement that I could follow, although the rest was still opaque. Another eight or so listens (i.e. the next day) the whole piece was followable; I could see why people would want to listen to and record it. It's been that way with almost all the new music I've learned. Of course, once I knew enough music in a particular style, and certainly of a particular composer, picking up more such pieces became easier. But letting myself acclimate to the unknown is the only way I've ever found to enjoy it.

--Jim Moskowitz

I'm interested in sharing some of these composers, and others, with a larger audience through the miracle of radio. I've been a classical disc jockey for five semesters and summers on Swarthmore College's WSRN 91.5 FM. If you live within five miles of the college (or ten miles downwind :-) you may have been among the lucky few to hear me.
If by any chance you're associated with a radio station yourself (preferably something slightly farther-reaching), in the Philadelphia area, I'd love to talk to you about the chances of putting together some unusual-repertoire programs....

email me at: jim {at} jimmosk {dot} com

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