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A wealth of emotions ...

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Roger Wright Roger Wright | 12:55 UK Time, Monday, 17 January 2011

Composite graphical image for Mozart


It's been a busy start to 2011!


The response to our season The Genius of Mozart has been overwhelming, Music Planet has begun and the Musicality Test seems to have caught the public imagination.

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!

Picture of village pipers of Galicia

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.



  • Comment number 1.

    "Despite the demand, these seasons cannot come too often."

    I think this might be considered a matter of opinion!

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mr Wright,

    I expected you of course to praise your Mozart season, but it would at least have been politic to mention that one of the reasons these seasons can't happen too often is that they attract criticism as well as praise, since they undermine the wonderful *range* of music and culture that makes R3 so special.

    I did have to laugh at the "formulaic programming" comment though. What could be more formulaic than "every note he composed, whether it's any good or not, whether anyone's listening or not [since nobody can listen 24 hours a day for twelve days]"?

    Still, the first 'Music Planet' has gone a long way to calming me down - this is exactly what R3 should be about.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think it would be fair to say that the comments on the Mozart blogs on this site were split roughly 50:50 for and against. I realise it is often said in this situation that the BBC must be getting it about right.

    Whilst I appreciate that many listeners may wish to immerse themselves in one composer's music for an extended period of time, I really do think twelve consecutive days is a bit much!

    Many comments have suggested that there could be a theme of programmes on a particular composer spread over a longer period. In my view this would be preferable, as regular programming of Jazz and World music and other "classical" composer's music could then continue to be broadcast, rather than being completely ceased as happened during the Genius of Mozart.

  • Comment number 5.

    The Radio 3 Forum poll ended with 63.6% broadly against the Mozartfest and 36.4% broadly in favour http://www.for3.org/forums/showthread.php?1010-Results-of-the-Mozart-poll .

    The Guardian poll, prior to the event, was closer (i.e. rather more favourable) at 50-50 http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/poll/2010/dec/15/poll-radio-three-3-mozart .

    I made the blog comments here (4 different articles) somewhere between the two: 59% against, 41% in favour.

  • Comment number 6.

    I see from the censorship of my message 2 that criticism of Mr Wright's decisions is not appreciated.

    So therefore, congratulations Mr Wright on your wonderful decision to cancel 2 complete weeks of jazz programmes so that we could all get a chance to hear that little known and rarely broadcast composer Mozart. Please continue to disregard complaints from your jazz listeners as we do not matter and should know better than to want to hear this music on your radio station.

  • Comment number 7.


    The kids are loving facebook, you need an option to 'share this on facebook' on the schedule listings so all those music students can tell their mates when they browsing the schedules.

    is well easy with addthis.com

    get yer nerds on to it

    btw, ta very much for making radio 3 FANTASTIC

  • Comment number 8.

    I did not listen to all of the mozart stuff, but the little I did hear was nice and it inspired me to pick up a book about mozart from the library.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not sure what Tony wrote the first time (obviously) - but totally agree re: displacement of Jazz programming. Two whole weeks with no Jazz, given that most of the R3 output is on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.


  • Comment number 10.

    "Hello. I like Jazz. I don't like Mozart. I have compiled some statistics to prove I am right ..." - most of these posts seem small-minded and selfish.

    Radio 3 is not there to cater to your personal whims, but to cater to a broad variety of people whose needs are not otherwise catered for. That means there will be times when what's on the radio is not what you enjoy.

    You are ignoring the fact that thousands of people were overjoyed by the Mozart extravaganza and were deeply moved by it. Some of those people might be bored and annoyed by having weekends on radio 3 interrupted by jazz programs but where's the value in complaining about it?

    As an audience of minority interests (whether of serious music, contemporary music, arts, drama or jazz), we will get nowhere if we only defend our own little patch of radio 3 to the denigration of others.

    Take your lead from the controller, who, despite not being the world's biggest Mozart fan, put radio3's listeners, radio3's remit and radio3's pioneering spirit before his own personal tastes.

    My guess for next complete composer extravaganza:
    Purcell or Stravinsky.

  • Comment number 11.

    Stop press: have we already had Stravinsky?

  • Comment number 12.

    Bambos Neophytou is missing the point entirely. There is very little jazz broadcast by the BBC, almost entirely on R3. Weekends are not "interrupted" by jazz, this is part of the station's core remit.

    There is a large amount of classical music broadcast (which I also appreciate by the way). But when even the tiny minority of airtime given over to jazz is cancelled for even more classical music, who is being "selfish"? This is not against Mozart but the whole idea that R3 should be given over to one thing for so long, to the exclusion of all other minority interests.

    I agree completely with BN's sentence "Radio 3 is not there to cater to your personal whims, but to cater to a broad variety of people whose needs are not otherwise catered for.". This was my complaint in the first place, as addressed to Mr Wright!

  • Comment number 13.

    Dear Bambos,

    Yes, you're right. We are strongest by standing together.

    Which is why it's senseless to alienate half your "coalition" of minority interests by having a ceaseless twelve-day festival which pushes out everything else to the point of despairing tedium.

    If someone can honestly say that they'd stayed awake and listened for all the 280-something hours and got the *whole* "experience", perhaps it would have been worth it. Since that's medically impossible outside of psychiatric facilities, I can only conclude that you all enjoyed *parts* of the experience, and it wouldn't have been at all detrimental to your enjoyment to have it interrupted for the sake of the "small-minded".

  • Comment number 14.

    Spot on guys. Bambos is way off target. I too like Mozart (but not for 12 consecutive days to the exclusion of all else!) interspersed with early music, jazz, world, whatever.

    It is the mix of music that can be encountered on Radio 3 (and the lack of adverts) that is the joy of this station.

  • Comment number 15.

    I wasn't keen on the idea of R3 devoting 12 whole days non-stop to a single composer, even Mozart, but I thought I'd give it a chance. In the event the almost total lack of schedule information made very difficult to decide what programmes to listen to. Unfortunately, the few I tried at random proved not to be to my taste at all - single movements followed almost without a pause by irritating trailers, emails from lonely listeners, etc. I'm afraid I though they were very poor indeed.

    Still, I'm, pleased that everyone else enjoyed it so much.


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