“In a cramped studio with walls draped by cables, the words dribbled off the announcer’s tongue in a serene classical music burble,” writes Daniel J. Wakin in an article posted Friday (12/11) on The New York Times online. “ ‘That was the “Mother Goose” Suite, music by Maurice Ravel’—slight lift and pause here—’performed by the New York Philharmonic.’ The cadence was cultured, the subject matter refined. But that gravelly baritone sounded oddly out of place. Somehow it belonged to, what? Hollywood? Maybe a madcap situation comedy? ‘Saturday Night Live’ even? Indeed, the man in that little room was Alec Baldwin, the actor with a restless and tabloid-turbulent career that encompasses all three realms. His latest guise is pitchman for high art, as in Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. This season Mr. Baldwin became the official announcer of the New York Philharmonic’s weekly radio broadcasts. … During the recording session this month for a program to be performed in February, he leaned into the microphone, sometimes cupping his right hand, sometimes karate-chopping the air slightly as he spoke. … He practiced reading each section, working closely with the producer, Mark Travis, on pronouncing the names of composers and performers. Then he would read through a take, clearing his throat and restarting often. He would ask Mr. Travis for the mood of a piece’s ending, then match his tone to it.”

Posted December 11, 2009