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Roger Wright Roger Wright | 16:08 UK Time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

Another busy week for Radio 3 has reminded me of our need to find ways, in our busy time-poor world, of spreading the word about the station's programming.

Andy Kershaw

Andy Kershaw

Last Friday we had a launch event for a special one-off series called Music Planet which will begin on Thursday 13 January. It is an eight part series related to the latest BBC Natural History Unit BBC One spectacular called Human Planet. Andy Kershaw will return to Radio 3 to present the programmes which will feature world music recorded on location around the globe. It promises to be a fascinating opportunity to hear little known music from far-flung cultures.

Choir of the Year 2010 - The Wellensian Consort

Choir of the Year 2010 - The Wellensian Consort

On Sunday I went to the Choir of the Year final at London's Royal Festival Hall. It was a really special occasion, still available to hear on bbc.co.uk/iPlayer after our broadcast on Monday evening. Aled Jones was, as ever, a genial host and the feelgood factor, particularly from hearing what the young choirs have achieved, was enormous - a snapshot of what Aled features every Sunday evening on The Choir.

That was followed two nights later by the British Composer Awards. These awards are a great reminder of the compositional talent which we are fortunate to have in such abundance at the moment in the UK - from familiar and increasingly established names such as Brian Elias and Ryan Wigglesworth to relative newcomers like Cheryl Frances-Hoad (who won two awards) and Sasha Siem



Following on from the groundbreaking success of our Beethoven Experience and Bach Christmas we have also just announced the latest in our single composer extravaganzas. The Genius of Mozart will run from January 1st - 12th and will feature his complete works, including a lot of live music as well as contextual programming, including Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus.

What all these programming initiatives have in common is that they are all different ways in which to draw attention to what Radio 3 does on a daily basis. Live music (be it classical, jazz or world), debate, discussion, drama, recommendations, music sequences and music in context - it’s all there regularly on Radio 3 - and so these special series are consistent with the station's output throughout the rest of the year and I hope that they introduce more listeners to R3 and its rich and varied programming.






  • Comment number 1.

    Mr Wright,

    Very disappointed that you have announced another season of "musical indigestion" by concentrating the entire station on one composer. The previous seasons have become unlistenable very quickly: as a metaphor, even one's favourite food becomes very boring when it's presented as every meal, 24 hours a day.

    At the end of this blog you rightly praise R3's "rich and varied programming". Suspending that public service virtue for monochromatic obsession is a travesty of R3's values and principles.

  • Comment number 2.

    I was wondering how long it would take before Mozart became the subject of a Radio 3 extravaganza. It has been a long time coming. Unlike other listeners, I enjoy these occasional blocks. There's one radio in my home which is permanently on and tuned to Radio 3. That was because of the Bach Christmas broadcast. A Radio 3 programme is the last thing I hear before going to sleep and it's the first thing I hear when I wake up in the morning. Thank you for having the courage to upset some listeners and provide these occasional specials.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can I suggest that you set up some message boards on the R3 web site? Many organisations which provide services to the public have them. Listeners would then be able to have a proper discussion of these initiatives. The blog format makes a real discussion very difficult.

  • Comment number 4.

    "contextual programming, including Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus."

    If Mr Shaffer's play is the highlight of the contextual material this season on the 'Genius' of Mozart doesn't promise very well. I would prefer the 'Real' Mozart who is much more interesting for this century, rather than his reinvention of the 20th century.

    Or even an account of why Mozart was reinvented.

  • Comment number 5.

    I found the Bach Christmas of a few years ago an unmitigated disaster, Bach is for most music lovers a constant source of musical refreshment and delight, but just Bach night and day was too much of a good thing. Favourite works were played at 4am, clearly one was not meant to listen properly. The greatest master used as aural wall paper. When I complained at the time I was told that the idea of blocks of just one composer was being reconsidered for that very reason

    Now Mozart,gets the same treatment.

    Any one who loves this music deeply as I do will be horified at the prospect of it being treated in this disrepectful way. Its a gimmic, yes you can say you have played, presumably mainly from CD, all 626 works, rather like a stamp collector collecting the missing stamp but is it musical or enlightening in any meaningful way.

    The difficult thing is to plan concerts so Mozart or whoever sits well with the rest of the programme. But thats hard and needs planning and thought.

    The upshot is my listening on Radio 3 will be reduced to nearly nil during that period. Thank god for internet radio, !!!

  • Comment number 6.

    I could not agree more with Custardfish. I cannot think of a better way of turning off listeners from Mozart (or any other composer given the same treatment).

  • Comment number 7.

    ... and on Tuesday at noon the messageboards were closed down in the most arbritary manner ... my complaint to the BBC trust that R3 was in breach of the Charter in taking this step was responded to with a patronising reiteration of the announcement ...

    happily there is a new forum for R3 listeners organised by Friends of R3 ... you can join our discussions there Mr Wright

  • Comment number 8.

    What made you change your mind Mr Wright ? Back in December 2005 you were quoted in the Telegraph saying "Our view is that with Mozart end to end, the overall effect would be detrimental to the music. The music could wrongly be seen as slightly more chocolate-boxy than it really is."

  • Comment number 9.

    "Another busy week for Radio 3 has reminded me of our need to find ways, in our busy time-poor world, of spreading the word about the station's programming."

    As previously mentioned, the message boards were a good way of generating conversation and "buzz" about programming. Shame really, I suppose the moderators were what cost money.

    You should embrace the two unofficial R3 message boards which have arisen and are very active, perhaps link to them from the R3 site.

    One question - who is moderating the blogs and why have they not been cut? Surely once the technology is in place, MB or blog, the only subsequent costs are the monitors and moderators.

  • Comment number 10.

    has the controller thought of running a few trailers or even a competition to guess the most asked for chunk of Mozart (preferably without the 'boring' supporting bits) - after all this seems to be a key idea of another channel.

  • Comment number 11.

    @Anne. I would guess it is a combination of common sense and good Radio 3 controlling that has, happily, enabled us to look forward to a wonderful start to 2011. Thank you very much Radio 3 for giving us what we, many Radio 3 devotees and regular listeners have been waiting for ever since these extravaganzas.

    People who are complaining need to lighten up - it's a one off, a bit of fun and a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the work one mind.

    We should all be championing BBC projects like this, because we would not be able to get them anywhere else. No commercial radio station would go within a million miles of such dedicated programming; it is the antithesis of finding out 'the most popular / most requested chunks' or tunes. It's about the whole and not the 'good bits'. Those with shorter attention spans are well catered for elsewhere.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Bambos - I have no complaints about these extravaganzas. The ten days of Bach was a highlight that I will never forget. I listened every day from 7 am till 10 pm, and at the end of the ten days listened to some of the night time transmissions on listen again. But I remember what Roger Wright said at the time about doing the same with Mozart (found his exact words on the Telegraph website) - so I do wonder what changed his mind ?

  • Comment number 13.

    I did enjoy the Bach-fest and, indeed, applauded it at the time. I have, however, now changed my opinion of these one-composer extravaganzas. They are wonderful for some, and deadly for everyone else. To have Radio 3 play only music by a composer that doesn't appeal for days on end is just too much. I hope this will be the last.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dear Mr. Wright,
    I feel that I should add my voice to those who are unhappy with the 12 day Mozart-Fest which is due to be broadcast next month. It's not that I don't like Mozart but I feel that 12 solid days is rather overkill.

    On the plus side, I enjoyed cherry picking things from the other "total immersion" events (the 3 days of Tchaikovsky, however many days it was of Bach etc.) but feel that 12 days of Mozart is rather too much in one go.

  • Comment number 15.

    I was thrilled by the Bach immersion and disappointed that it was not followed by Mozart immersion. It will be a great experience!

    The Radio 3 presenters have been advertising the opportunity to nominate one's favourite Mozart piece - but I can't find where on the website to do so.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think that a whole day or a weekend devoted to one composer would be acceptable, but several days is going too far. What I would like to see is this practice of a whole day or weekend once occurring a month with a schedule published a year in advance so that ee could look forward to the programmes.

  • Comment number 17.

    I started listening to Radio3 shortly after the word got around about the Bach Christmas. The 10 days of continuous Bach was definitely the most fabulous thing I'd ever seen a radio station do. So much amazing music gathered in one place and there was no way I could stay awake to enjoy it all. I soon turned to recording it and listen to some of those interviews and performances to this day.

    So 10 days of Mozart should be a similar amount of fun and I expect I will enjoy it also.

    There are considerations with Mozart which make such programming quite a different thing from Bach. Partly due to the improvidence of Friede, the fire in Weimar and WWII, Bach's output is startlingly uniform stylistically. Mozart, on the other hand, left a trail of music from earliest childhood until his passing which reveals with crystaline clarity his growth as a composer. To mix that up seems to me to almost guarantee a seriously uneven set of broadcasts.

    You have a couple smart hosts who can guide you through that. I hope you will listen carefully to them. They're both female.

    Finally, I would like to advocate, yet again, for you to set up a support system for Radio3 which allows people who don't pay the TV tax (whatever that fee is you guys all pay) to support your work. My life over here on this side of the pond has been immeasurably enriched by my access to Radio3 - especially since "classical" music radio is defunct in the States. I hear whine after whine about funding of the BBC over there, tight economies everywhere, stupid cutbacks of support of culture etc. My "public radio" station nags me 2 or 3 times a year to contribute. I don't care much to contribute to it, but I sure would contribute to Radio3.

    With the advent of computers in every household throughout much of the literate world there must be hundreds or 10s of hundreds out there like me. If I can talk about wooden boats with a man in Lahore why can't I donate to Radio3. PayPal is easy and the exchange rate is pretty low.

    Get with the program, guys. It's a brave new world out there and you're giving your programming away while crying poor. Take advantage of the new world and get the law fixed so I and my kind can donate and support the Bach Christmas and 10 days of Wolfgang.

  • Comment number 18.

    For an analysis of Radio Three and its audience see the article just added to the Journalism Now project at the University of Winchester. We are cataloging serious music journalism on radio and TV stations around the world and would very much welcome contributions from Radio 3 listeners. See: http://www.winchesterjournalism.co.uk/joomla_1.5_winol/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=198:bbc-radio-three&catid=61:radio&Itemid=95

  • Comment number 19.

    I join listener from post 17 in his feelings and wishes! Bravo Radio3!


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