Richard Leeming, executive producer, syndication at BBC Audio & Music, took on the role of senior producer for Radio 3's Spirit of Schubert season. Here, Richard looks at the background to some of the features.
All this week Radio 3 has been celebrating the life and work of Franz Schubert, when working out how to reflect The Spirit of Schubert season on the Radio 3 website, we decided to go one further and actually bring the man to life.
Resurrecting Franz Schubert in the shape of the twitter account @franzisunwell has been one of the highlights of a brilliant creative challenge, taking Radio 3’s broadcast output and using interactive technologies to allow listeners easier access to what was being played on air.
Making sense of Schubert’s enormous body of work was a key theme for the season. To put his work in context and pick out the highlights, Radio 3 asked some of the world’s leading Schubert scholars to recommend their key works. These choices would necessarily be spread throughout the broadcast schedule, so the most important task for the Radio 3 website was to collect all of these works and allow people to listen to them in one convenient place.
So if you haven’t been able to listen to all of each episode of In Tune, you can now hear all of Graham Johnson’s brilliant reinterpretations of Schubert’s Lieder in one convenient place.
Missed one of Alfred Brendel’s piano sonata choices? (and some of them were broadcast in the middle of the night!). They’re all here.
We also decided that some of the output was so engaging and editorially demanding that we should make a real feature of it by filming it. Three times a day Tom Service has donned a white coat and entered The Schubert Lab. Each one has been filmed so you can catch up with any you may have missed.
Filming parts of the broadcast output has been particularly successful for some of the intimate late night performances like the Kit Downes Trio’s interpretation of Schubert's Auf dem Wasser zu Singen. This looks beautiful on You Tube.
Meanwhile every part of the BBC has an ongoing duty to try and reach new audiences, so we decided to use the season to experiment with some social media platforms, which also enabled us to take a really entertaining - while always respectful - approach.
So while @franzisunwell has playfully congratulated Professor Newbould on completing his unfinished symphony, and commiserated with Beethoven on the anniversary of his death, there was also a serious point: we’ve used the tweets to illustrate the little that is known about Schubert and add context to the music being played on air.
We also created a lively Tumblr blog to work as a digital scrapbook where we could collate relevant and amusing photos, clips and articles, again giving our audience a different perspective on Schubert.
So we hope that you’ve found our digital output to be a useful complement to the fantastic music played on air.
- Visit the Schubert One-Stop-Shop for comprehensive click-through links to Radio 3's online and broadcast content.