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Paul Rhys plays Beethoven

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Biggest ever Beethoven Experience on the BBC

Category: Radio 3; BBC FOUR; Factual & Arts TV

Date: 04.05.2005
Printable version

For the first time, BBC Radio, Television and Interactive join forces to present a Beethoven season - the BBC's largest ever focus on a single creative artist.


In an unprecedented event, BBC Radio 3 will clear its schedule to broadcast The Beethoven Experience - the complete works of Beethoven in one week - and BBC Television will mount its biggest retrospective devoted to the works of one composer, taking viewers on a journey through Beethoven's dramatic life and greatest music.


From 5 to 10 June, Radio 3 presents The Beethoven Experience. Guiding listeners through this unique opportunity to hear Beethoven's complete works will be world-renowned pianist Alfred Brendel, conductor Sir Roger Norrington and violinist Peter Cropper of The Lindsay Quartet, along with Radio 3 presenters including Sean Rafferty, Penny Gore, Rob Cowan, Petroc Trelawny, Verity Sharp and Fiona Talkington.


Actor John Hurt will read a selection of Beethoven's letters, giving an insight into the composer's personality, and John Suchet will read extracts from his trilogy on Beethoven's life, The Last Master.


BBC Television celebrates Beethoven's unique position in the history of music with BBC TWO's landmark drama-documentary series, Beethoven.


This three-part series, starring Paul Rhys as the visionary composer and presented by conductor Charles Hazlewood, charts the composer's troubled life and examines some of his greatest works.


Charles Hazlewood also presents and conducts Beethoven Uncovered on BBC FOUR, a musical discovery series which unlocks the secrets of key works featured in the BBC TWO series.


Beethoven's Hair on BBC TWO is a film tracing the unlikely journey of a lock of hair cut from Beethoven's corpse, unravelling the mystery of the composer's tortured life, deafness and death.


In Barenboim on Beethoven (BBC FOUR), celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim takes outstanding young professional pianists through some of Beethoven's piano sonatas in a compelling masterclass.


BBC FOUR also screens Beethoven archive classics set in a new context. Charles Hazlewood, conductor Marin Alsop and Radio 3's Rob Cowan join forces to discuss the performances in a complete cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies, curated from the BBC's archive and featuring outstanding interpretations from some of the 20th century's greats including Klemperer, Stokowski, Haitink and Rattle.


Murray Perahia performs all five piano concertos in Perahia Plays Beethoven, and there is another chance to see the award-winning film Eroica, which tells the story behind the first performance of Beethoven's third symphony.


Peter Maniura, Head of BBC Classical Music Television, says: "Never before has BBC Television examined the life and work of a single composer in such depth, with outstanding and innovative new documentaries and performances complemented by gems from the BBC archive set in a new context."


Roger Wright, Controller Radio 3, says: "This is a unique event in Radio 3's history. Our listeners have huge loyalty, curiosity - and stamina! - and I'm sure they'll be joined by many others keen to learn more about Beethoven and his music.


"We'll follow up this extraordinary week's programming with a celebration in one day of all the music of Anton Webern, and a real Christmas treat by exploring the complete works of J S Bach."


Notes to Editors


Radio 3's The Beethoven Experience will include live music-making from The Lindsay Quartet, Beethoven symphonies performed by BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda, Fidelio presented by Scottish Opera, as well as a special performance of Wellington's Victory, presented in an appropriate - if unusual - location.


Broadcast details


Radio 3

The Beethoven Experience, continuously Sunday 5 June, 9.00am to Friday 10 June, midnight.


For more details and full schedule, see



Beethoven, Fridays 3, 10, 17 June at 9.00pm

Beethoven's Hair, Tuesday 14 June at 11.20pm (tbc)



Beethoven Uncovered, Fridays 3, 10, 17 June at 10.00pm Barenboim on Beethoven, Monday 30 May at 7.30pm

Beethoven Archive:

Eroica, Monday 30 May at 9.00pm

Menuhin Violin Concerto, Wednesday 1 June at 7.00pm Beethoven Symphonies 1-3, Saturday 4 June at 7.00pm Beethoven Symphonies 4-6, Saturday 11 June at 7.00pm Beethoven Symphonies 7-9, Saturday 18 June at 7.00pm

Perahia Plays Beethoven, Saturdays 25 June and 2 July at 7.00pm


All broadcast details are subject to change.


Digital viewers of Beethoven on BBC TWO can press red on their remote control at any time during the series to access full details of the music being played, together with supplementary information about Beethoven's music and the unfolding drama of the great composer's extraordinary life.


Digital viewers of BBC FOUR's Beethoven Uncovered can press red to view a map of the music, which depicts the movements, structure, key changes and subjects as Charles Hazlewood explores individual pieces. Developed last year for Mozart Uncovered, this animated guide follows Charles through his exploration of the pieces and the subsequent full performance, and does not require viewers to be able to read sheet music.



Category: Radio 3; BBC FOUR; Factual & Arts TV

Date: 04.05.2005
Printable version


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