A wealth of emotions ...
It's been a busy start to 2011!
A few years ago we offered A Bach Christmas and the feedback flooded in about what Bach meant to our listeners. I suppose we might have anticipated it, but the combination of the universality of Bach's music, its power to move, console and inspire, and the timing of the programming seemed to unlock an outpouring of emotion. I certainly didn’t expect a similar type of reaction to Mozart, but we got it.
The new year seems, like Christmas, to be a time of reflection as well as fresh beginnings, and from the listener interaction with the station it is clear that Mozart provided a perfect musical companion to match the mood. Sara Mohr-Pietsch's programme Play Mozart For Me unlocked a wealth of emotions and reminded me of the special qualities of late night radio. It has a particularly intimate atmosphere and offers a safe, confidential space to listeners for them to share some reflections. As has been noted, Mozart had a powerful ability to write music that is happy and sad at the same time, and that range of emotions was certainly presented by the memories and stories of our audience. The composer John Tavener's commentary on Mozart as a sacred composer was just one of the many remarkable elements of this treasure trove season.
Yet again there is huge speculation about when we might offer another such composer festival and who the composer might be. Despite the demand, these seasons cannot come too often. They involve a huge amount of work (I chuckled at the waspish comment from one writer that we had put on the Mozart season because we were all on holiday!) and, although we offer different formats for each composer we tackle, we want to avoid formulaic programming. So no word for a little while about when and who, or even if!
Village pipers of Galicia
Music Planet has also been warmly received and there are plenty of wonderfully evocative programmes to come in that series. In these wet, cold and dark days it is a treat to be taken to other parts of the world and have the musical culture of their often distant communities introduced to us. A new sound world opened up with the help of our expert tour guides, Lucy Duran and Andy Kershaw.
If you haven't tried our Musicality Test then do have a go. Amazingly, in the first week it has had over 100,000 participants. There have been lots of amusing discussions in these offices about our individual results. I have been busy justifying my mediocre score in the social creativity section as proof of my appropriate lack of desire to take part in public sing-alongs and dancing! The larger the number of participants the better the survey results that can be analysed by our colleagues at Lab UK as they examine the musicality of the UK.
- Read Petroc Trelawny's Genius of Mozart blogs.
- Read Andy Kershaw's Music Planet blog.
- Read Michael Orwell's Musicality Test blog.
- Take the Musicality Test!