“Schubert has a symphony called ‘the Unfinished Symphony,’ which we would never play,” says Rob Kennedy, the C-SPAN co-president who oversees the music project. “People might wonder, were we making a comment that Congress has unfinished business?”
And so there are no funeral dirges or military marches on the 18-track collection, a product of a collaboration with PARMA Recordings, a company that C-SPAN first hired to produce an original theme song for the cable network’s “First Ladies” series.
There’s some Mozart, and some Brahms. And that surprisingly catchy “First Ladies” tune — the kind of stuff that might make you want to break into a filibuster.
Kennedy says the collection was inspired by the many listeners who call in to the network’s switchboard, wondering what they’re hearing. C-SPAN’s musical stylings have “a small but passionate” following, he says. They even have their own Twitter feed — @cspanmusic.
Our colleague, the classical music critic Anne Midgette, says purists might have a few quibbles with the collection (there’s nothing truly groundbreaking in it, she notes, and some works are represented by only one or two movements rather than the whole piece). But overall, she said it might please listeners looking for quality classical background music. “It’s a cut above your standard classics-lite greatest-hits kind of compilation: These are all legitimate recordings of works that aren’t that well-known, played by real musicians (not computer samples!)” she says.
And it’s certainly more convenient than waiting for the next quorum call to catch your favorite tune.