From September 28, BBC Radio 3, the home of classical music, will have a new-look weekend schedule, bringing live classical concerts to the station at the weekends through the introduction of Live In Concert on Saturdays and Sundays.
There will also be a new film music programme presented by film expert Matthew Sweet, consistent jazz slots, more new music programming in an extended Hear And Now, and a new Monday opera slot. The autumn schedule changes are in response to Radio 3 budget cuts that were announced in 2011, following the most recent licence fee settlement.
Bringing the best of high-profile classical music concerts to audiences around the UK, Radio 3’s Live In Concert will now also become a weekend fixture between 7.30pm and 10pm Saturday and Sunday, increasing the station’s live music commitment.
Controller of BBC Radio 3, Roger Wright, commented: “BBC Radio 3 brings more high quality live classical music to audiences than any other broadcaster, with over 600 complete concerts a year and every BBC Prom live.
"Although we have had to make tough decisions in order to make savings in line with the rest of the BBC, I’m pleased that we are able to offer listeners an increase in the amount of live classical music at weekends. This will broaden the access to performances from across the UK and increase Radio 3’s offer of 'the best seat in the house' at public concerts.
"In re-appraising the schedule we have prioritised protecting the unique range of the station’s classical, world music, jazz and arts content whilst reducing our overall output. We have had to make difficult decisions with a much reduced budget in order to ensure the best value for money for the licence fee payer and the best offering for our audience.”
A new film music programme, Sound Of Cinema, will broadcast between 4pm and 5pm on Saturdays. The programme will be a blend of authoritative recommendation and non-playlisted film scores presented by film critic, author and presenter of Night Waves, Matthew Sweet. The programme will launch during the BBC’s Sound Of Cinema season this autumn.
The new scheduling will also make weekend jazz programming more consistent. Jazz Record Requests, Alyn Shipton’s jazz listener recommendation show, will remain between 5pm and 6pm but will now be joined from 6-7.30pm, by Jazz Line-up’s focus on new and mainstream jazz artists. The programme comes forward from its previous 11pm Sunday night slot.
Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz will remain in its usual 12midnight–1am Saturday night slot, meaning that jazz lovers will have a regular Saturday night offering of jazz, with Jazz Record Requests unaffected by opera schedules.
Opera On 3’s mission to capture regular live performances from the UK and internationally will have a newly defined slot on Monday nights from 7.30pm. From time-to-time Opera On 3 will also broadcast special individual live performances on Saturday nights.
As part of Radio 3’s commitment to broadcasting new music, Hear And Now, the leading programme for contemporary music, will be extended by 30 minutes to a 10pm–12midnight Saturday slot.
Other schedule changes:
A new chance for listeners to catch-up with the best of the week’s lunchtime recitals on Saturdays and Sundays between 1pm and 2pm. This will replace the Early Music Show on Saturday and Sunday which will be reduced to one show a week on Sundays at 2-3pm. The show will lead in to Choral Evensong (3-4pm) and The Choir (4-5.30pm), Words And Music (5.30-6.45pm) and Sunday Feature (6:.45-7.30pm) all of which will have moved forward by an hour in the schedule.
Saturday Classics, Radio 3’s guest-presented classical music programme featuring well-known personalities and classical music experts, will come forward by an hour between 2pm and 4pm.
Drama On Three will now be at 10-11.30pm on Sunday night following the new live concert slot. This is an established drama slot and will replace World Routes. World music will be represented in the schedule through the existing programme, World On 3’s eclectic mix of international sounds, with exclusive sessions and concerts from leading world music artists presented by Lopa Kothari and Mary Ann Kennedy on Friday nights between 11pm and 1am.
Notes to Editors
Live In Concert
Radio 3 broadcasts classical music concerts live every weekday evening at 7.30pm from across the UK and a specially recorded Sunday Concert at 2pm each weekend. With the new schedule announcement Live In Concert will now broadcast a live concert on Saturday and Sunday nights. Live In Concert is the best seat in the house for the finest orchestras, choirs, ensembles and soloists from across the globe.
Sound Of Cinema
Each week, Matthew Sweet’s new film music programme takes music from a new movie release of the week as a starting point to explore a narrative of great film scores. In the first edition at 4pm on Saturday 28 September, Matthew bases his show on the forthcoming re-release of Robin Hardy's cult British film The Wicker Man. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Matthew looks back at the film's imaginative score and takes it as a springboard to explore film music which evokes the uneasy and sometimes sinister side of English rural life, as portrayed on the screen.
Featured scores include Sir Gawain And The Green Knight from 1973 with music by Ron Goodwin; Witchfinder General from 1968 with music by Paul Ferris; James Bernard's music for the 1957 Hound Of The Baskervilles; Eric Korngold's music The Adventures Of Robin Hood; Patrick Doyle's Music for Brave; and Jim William's Music for the 2013 film A Field In England. Radio 3 will be asking the audience to join the conversation via #bbcsoundofcinema.
...I’m pleased that we are able to offer listeners an increase in the amount of live classical music at weekends. This will broaden the access to performances from across the UK and increase Radio 3’s offer of 'the best seat in the house' at public concerts."