Jim Lange

Host of Classical Music with Jim Lange, Eclectopia

Jim has a Master's Degree in Guitar Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His BA is in Music Education from West Liberty University.

He joined West Virginia Public Radio in 1998, working part-time on Sunday nights. This developed into original programming called Sunday Nights with Jim Lange. Around 2002, this became Eclectopia- a program that has been on the air for over a decade and has a fiercely loyal following.

Recently, a kind listener, called Jim "the mad scientist of cool music."

In 2007, he became host/producer of Classical Music with Jim Lange. He is also host/producer of Symphony of Ideas- a co-production with maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He is responsible for both Classically Speaking and EclecTopia blogs.

He has interviewed classical greats such as John Eliot Gardiner. Joshua Bell, Hans Zimmer, George Crumb, Simone Dinnerstein, Erich Kunzel and many others.

In contemporary music, he has interviewed and produced shows about David Sylvian, Bill Bruford, Ralph Towner (2014) and jazz author Joe Goldberg.

Composition is an interest. A premiere of  his sextet, "Brambles and Briers," will be part of Kanawha United Presbyterian Church's Kanawha Forum in April of 2014.

His beloved guitar gets the remains of the day and he plays the occasional gig or concert in the Charleston area.

Meditation, mind-body connection practices, Alexander Technique and the poetry of TS Eliot are interests.

His greatest accomplishment and that which gives his life real meaning is his loving wife, Beverly, who tolerates his discursive lifestyle. They have been married for 21 glorious years.


12:29 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Who's That Guy?

The one, the only, Dave McClanahan.
Credit Josh Saul

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't." ~Hamlet

"Who's that guy with the wild eyes? I want to meet him."

That's a quote from a friend of mine who finds my Facebook pictures of David McClanahan most amusing.

First, a clarification: there are two David McClanahans who work here. One of them is known as Engineer Dave and the second is the mighty Mailroom Dave.

Read more
1:40 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Mind-Body Connection, Pt. 2: The Morning Sitting

Rising at dawn, the participants of the Snowshoe Guitar Craft course in 2008 began their day with the "morning sitting" at 7:30.
Credit Jim Lange

"Life without the morning sitting is like trying to walk without legs. This is the beginning, the foundation, of strengthening personal presence. If we are absent, then life is all stuff. Nothing real happens;" ~ Robert Fripp

"And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating... ~ TS Eliot

Read more
9:41 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Your Weekly Earworm: Far From Any Road

Brett and Rennie Sparks, aka The Handsome Family
Credit Used by permission of the artists.

There is no defense against an earworm.

Even if the tune drives you mad (Call Me Maybe) and/or the lyrics are insipid (Blurred Lines) or the artist has no discernible talent (Miley-Bieber-et al), earworms are something to which you must surrender. You'll be a lot happier acknowledging the sheer ear candy's appeal than wearing your music snob-critic mask of misery.

Fortunately, there are good earworms. Enter The Handsome Family's Far From Any Road.

Read more
9:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

To the Beat of the Boom!

Boomwhackers are color-coded percussion tubes.
Credit WikiCommons

Percussion, in all of its variants, is simply exciting to me and always has been.

From Ringo's groove on Ticket to Ride or Charlie Watt's weird back-beat on Street Fighting Man, the drums are the foundation of a great rock song.

Many methods are used to teach kids the excitement of music, one of which is the very famous Orff instruments. Here we have the emphasis on rhythm. Even if we disagree on other musical issues, rhythm is a primacy of both music and life.

Read more
10:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Artist Ian Bode - The Passenger

The passenger

After music, I love the graphic arts, photography, film and almost any variation thereof.

Graphic artists, like Ian Bode, fascinate me. I am not filled with envy, but with wonder at their ability to transform a blank canvas or an ordinary sheet of paper into something living, thought-provoking or transformative. How on earth do they do it?

Read more
9:46 am
Fri February 14, 2014

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

John and Paul were the greatest song writers of the 20th and most likey the 21st centuries.
Credit WikiCommons

Watching the CBS Beatles' 50th anniversary special, several things came to mind.

The first being how much I miss John Lennon. Even when I was 5 years-old, Lennon was one I liked the best. Maybe it was infectious enthusiasm. Or maybe I just dug those sideburns.

Read more
10:58 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Mind-Body Connection, Pt. 1: To Begin Again

Traci Levine, LMT
Credit Jim Lange

We begin again, constantly.~ Robert Fripp

Pain is a powerful motivation.

The pain I am experiencing is causing me to re-evaluate many things. Pain areas, specifically my back, are causing me some alarm. Each movement, even remotely involving bending forward, or a wrong twist at the hips, is carefully considered because any wrong turn could send electric-like shocks through my back that cause subsequent immobility.

Read more
9:54 am
Thu February 6, 2014

New Music Concert - Kanawha Forum 2.0

Flutist Lindsey Goodman.

Flutist Lindsey Goodman is full of energy.

When I called her a dynamo, at first she looked puzzled, but I explained that I meant that she was full of enthusiasm, energy and drive. Just hearing about her performing and teaching schedule makes me want to take a nap.

But she is more than just a person with enthusiasm. She is a professional musician on a mission. This mission is her passion since she was 18 years old. Her mission is contemporary music.

Read more
12:16 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Claudio Abbado - A Tribute

Maestro Claudio Abbado.
Credit WikiCommons

Conductor Claudio Abbado passed this week (January 20, 2014) and today on Classical Music we pay tribute to the maestro.

President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy paid tribute: Mr. Abbado had “honored the great musical tradition of our country in Europe and all over the world.”

The New York Times has a tribute.

Read more
2:15 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Oh, the Hipsters Lie!

"I'll take a half-caff, mocha, half-soy, fair trade, Guatemalan cup of heavy irony, please."
Credit WikiCommons

Music snobbery comes in many forms, but it operates under two basic principles.

The first is that a hipster assumes that they know about bands you couldn't possible know about and therefore you are much less hip than they. Secondly, once everyone knows about a band, their music or their "hipness," is no longer viable as they have "gone commercial."

Jimmy Kimmel has done a social experiment. When a camera and a mic are present, what will they say when asked about fictional bands?

The result is a scream:

Read more
6:47 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Run For the Cover(s)!

PG's compilation of artists interpreting his songs is indeed a thorny affair.
Credit RealWorld Records

To cover a song is not to copy it note for note or sound for sound. This is just mimicry, not artistry. An artist has to find their own voice within the song and doing so, create a successful reinterpretation. In turn, we learn something new.

Read more
1:01 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The "Dissonant" Mozart

W.A. Mozart
Credit WikiCommons

Salieri: I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink strokes - at an absolute beauty.

I can't say I've been on a Mozart kick, but some coincidences make me wonder.

The fabulous film, Amadeus, has been in my DVD player for a while. I marvel at the sheer virtuosity of its costumes, the sets, the magnificent acting of F. Murray Abraham who plays the burdened Salieri and of course, the storyline.

Read more
10:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Album of the Year

Norwegian musician/producer Jan Bang.
Credit Arild Danielsen (Used by Permission)

This is the time when music lists appear proclaiming best albums/artists/songs of the year. NPR has a few.

Groups like Vampire Weekend have great songs:

Read more
8:48 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Winter Music

Winter light has its own personality.
Credit Jim Lange

"There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes." ~Emily Dickinson

Our musical tastes are often governed by the seasons. This natural process takes place without fervor nor fanfare.

So, what then is "winter music"? What music speaks to you more clearly during the frosty season? I'm not talking merely about Christmas music, but what music seems to be in accord with the snow, ice and the deep freeze?

Some suggested hibernal listening:

Read more
10:00 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Bach: Behind the Portrait

Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Credit Shella Rock @ Decca / Used by permission.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner has had a life-long relationship with Bach. In  fact, the Haussmann portrait hung in the his home and the young Gardiner passed it every day. Imagine that.

Read more
6:03 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Icy Music

Wait, this isn't an instrument, is it?
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Percussionists- let's tip our hats to them.

Drummers, per se, have been the butt of many a joke over the years, but the percussionist, a slightly more subtle animal, has to be given kudos. They have been a major force in moving music forward since the early part of the 20th century.

SIDEBAR: A drummer, in the most confined definition, is someone who plays a kit, a drum set. A percussionist, by my own definition, is someone who plays a wide variety of percussion instruments. That's the distinction for me. No emails, thanks.

Read more
Classically Speaking with Jim Lange
2:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Of Monarchs and Music

A feast for the eyes, ears and mind.
Credit athenalearning.com

I love music history DVDs.

Blame it on my laziness (or my age). Those endless, small-print historical tomes with their insanely detailed texts only make my head swim. My eyes want to drink in the glorious cathedrals and paintings, to hear the perfect choirs and ensembles; all the while a dulcet-toned narrator guides me through musical antiquity. 

Read more
1:24 pm
Thu November 28, 2013


Your holiday mellowing agent, tryptophan.

My hands get so cold as I prepare the turkey. The cold water rinse doesn't help. You have to dig inside to find those hidden parts: the neck and the extra stuff (Yuk!) wrapped in plastic. It gets to a point where my hands need relief-throbbing back to sensation as I run a little warm water over them.

Read more
3:31 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Shedding Light Into the Dark

A lively, witting and very educational look at an overlooked and misunderstood era.
Credit athenalearning.com

When we are first exposed to educational topics that excite and stimulate our minds, the manner with which the information is delivered becomes the template for future learning.

What do I mean? My preference is British.

Read more
classical music
6:51 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Mind Your Pleas and Cues

Nothing suggests a successful concert like a good riot.
Credit Die Zeit, 1913

How should you act at a classical concert? Are there rules you should follow? Is everyone around you asleep or lost in reverential contemplation?

Read more