Don't get me wrong: I love M*A*S*H. I never miss an episode, and I've seen them all four or five times. But I also love classical music, and when it comes to the depiction of highbrows, the show falls flat. Not that I am a highbrow myself; more of a middlebrow. But my brow is high enough to recognize when a program is pandering to the general public, who are ignorant of most classical music. Its whole aim is to provoke name recognition among the Great Unwashed, and so we always hear about Bach and Mozart, whether it is from Radar's hearthrob nurse or Charles Emerson Winchester III, that great windbag of ersatz culture. Bach and Mozart of course, are unassailable in their Olympian fastnesses, but these are names people know without having heard much, if any, of their music. Vivaldi is distinctly overrated and overplayed, and for that reason can hardly be avoided by anyone who is tuning through the local classical music radio station (assuming any are left). "The Seasons" has been played enough to last true lovers of the art the next 500 years. Vivaldi is one of the M*A*S*H highbrows' favorites.
It is when we come to more recent music that M*A*S*H reveals its populist strategy, ignoring composers interesting to true appreciators of the art, like Debussy, Stravinsky and Hindemith, invoking instead purveyors of pop concert schlock like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Tchaikovsky, indeed! Never any mention of his contemporary Brahms, a recognized master who despised the superficial outpourings of the Russian. I wonder if Alan Alda is fond of musical warhorses? Or maybe they employed Liberace and Mantovani as musical advisors?
They would have done better to write out these fake highbrow characters. Then the whole series would ring true for me.