5:00 a.m. Sundays: Best Classical Radio Show 

Mary Berg, A Musical Offering

If you like classical, you might as well take a Walkman on that early-morning stroll and dial it to KPFA. With San Francisco's sole classical FM station, KDFC, reduced to inconsequential, commercially punctuated pleasantries, the options for adventurous music lovers are limited to four shows, each airing once a week. Three are on weak-signaled KALW 91.7 FM (two on Friday beginning at 10 p.m.; another one on Sunday nights at eight). Pride of place, however, goes to the longest-running show, veteran Mary Berg's perennial A Musical Offering. Airing from five to nine every Sunday morning on KPFA, Mary's sunrise offerings reliably include everything from medieval chants to the modern Johns, Cage and Tavener. Her later hours frequently feature live interviews and the best recordings of Bach's huge opus, some of them rarely heard. Berg introduces each selection with a calm, slightly somnambulistic voice that variously brings to mind the pre-Christian Earth Mother or the well-plowed hooker who took the pressure off J.S. Bach when he wasn't producing his umpteen children. If KPFA ever dared axe this well-loved show, revolution would be close at hand.


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