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For Radio 3's 70th anniversary celebrations, Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker present a sequence of 70 pieces of music, from the medieval to today, each connected to a particular year.

The halfway point of BBC Radio 3's 70th anniversary celebrations is marked by a unique event in the history of the station: a non-stop river of music that will flow for an uninterrupted 12 hours.

An expertly curated sequence of 70 works represents Radio 3 in all its musical facets, reflecting the pioneering spirit that over the decades has championed music from the brand-new to the most-loved, while promoting the greatest artists of successive eras. The musical range is huge - from the medieval period to today - and reflects the station's commitment to world music and jazz as well as its core classical output.

It promises to be a fascinating voyage of discovery, challenge and delight. The selection can't possibly be definitive but it will be immensely entertaining as one work ebbs and another flows in juxtapositions that are humorous or poignant, subtle or thrilling.

Each of the pieces played during the day is connected to a particular year and a historical, political or cultural happening that had a musical resonance at the time. Along the way, some of the world's most important musical figures choose works that they see as "game-changing" moments in their own lives: Sir Mark Elder, Dame Emma Kirkby, Sir Neville Marriner, Oliver Knussen, and more.

The hosts are Essential Classics' Sarah Walker and Rob Cowan, who throughout the day provide an entirely online commentary on the pieces that make up the River of Music. This brand new way of presenting a music programme on BBC Radio 3 sees images, videos, social media posts and live blog updates posted throughout the day. Listeners can get involved by following the liveblog on, engaging with Radio 3 on Facebook and Twitter and contacting Rob and Sarah by text and email.

6 hours

Last on

Sun 30 Oct 2016 09:00

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Music Played

  • Richard Strauss

    Also sprach Zarathustra: Introduction

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Karl Bohm.
    • DG.
  • Hildegard von Bingen

    O Jerusalem aurea civitas

    Performer: Robert White. Singer: Emma Kirkby. Choir: Gothic Voices. Ensemble: Doreen Muskett. Director: Christopher Page.
  • Malcolm Arnold

    Four Scottish Dances

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Malcolm Arnold.
    • Malcolm Arnold: English, Irish, Scottish & Cornish Dances: LPO/Arnold.
    • Lyrita.
    • 15.
  • Robert Schumann

    Kinderszenen, Op.17: Traumerei

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
    • CBS.
  • John Tavener

    Song for Athene

    Choir: Choir of Westminster Abbey. Conductor: Martin Neary.
    • John Tavener: Innocence: Westminster Abbey Choir/English Chamber Orch/Neary.
    • Sony Classical.
    • 8.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64: III. Valse - Allegro moderato

    Orchestra: West–Eastern Divan Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Michael Tippett

    A Child of our Time: Deep River

    Singer: Faye Robinson. Singer: Sarah Walker. Singer: Jon Garrison. Singer: John Cheek. Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Choir: CBSO Chorus. Conductor: Michael Tippett.
    • NAXOS.
  • Edward Elgar

    In the South (Alassio), Op.50

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
    • Collins.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ihr Menschen, ruhmet Gottes Liebe, BWV167

    Singer: Joanne Lunn. Singer: Wilke te Brummelstroete. Singer: Paul Agnew. Singer: Dietrich Henschel. Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
  • Miles Davis

    So What

  • Johannes Brahms

    Tragic Overture, Op.81

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Arturo Toscanini.
  • Henry Purcell

    Dido & Aeneas (conclusion)

    Singer: Janet Baker. Choir: St. Anthony Singers. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Anthony Lewis.
    • DECCA.
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen

    Stimmung (excerpt)

    Choir: Singcircle. Director: Gregory Rose.
  • Cristóbal de Morales

    Parce mihi Domine

    Performer: Jan Garbarek. Choir: The Hilliard Ensemble.
    • ECM.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor, Op 31

    Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor.
    • Benjamin Grosvenor: Chopin, Lizst, Ravel.
    • Decca.
    • 7.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Four Seaons: Autumn

    Performer: Nigel Kennedy. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra.
    • EMI.
  • Duke Ellington

    Far East Suite: Bluebird of Delhi

    Orchestra: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.
  • Steve Reich

    Different Trains: III. After the war

    Ensemble: Kronos Quartet.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No.6 in F major, 'Pastoral': I. Allegro ma non troppo

    Orchestra: The London Classical Players. Conductor: Sir Roger Norrington.
    • VIRGIN.
  • John Tavener

    The Protecting Veil: opening

    Performer: Steven Isserlis. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky.
  • Thomas Adès

    Asyla (3rd mvt, 'Ecstasio')

    Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • EMI.
  • Maurice Ravel

    String Quartet

    Ensemble: Belcea Quartet.
    • EMI.
  • Edward Elgar

    The Apostles: Prologue

    Orchestra: Halle. Choir: Hallé Choir. Choir: Hallé Youth Choir. Conductor: Sir Mark Elder.
    • Elgar: The Apsotles: The Halle.
    • Halle.
    • 1.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K.364

    Performer: Igor Oistrakh. Performer: David Oistrakh. Orchestra: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Yehudi Menuhin.
    • BBC.
  • Compay Segundo

    Chan Chan

    Ensemble: Buena Vista Social Club.
  • Moises Simons

    The Peanut Vendor

    Ensemble: The King’s Singers. Ensemble: Gordon Langford Trio.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Dame Ethel Smyth

    The Wreckers: conclusion of Act II

    Singer: Anne-Marie Owens. Singer: Justin Lavender. Singer: Peter Sidhom. Singer: David Wilson‐Johnson. Singer: Brian Bannatyne-Scott. Singer: Judith Howarth. Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Odaline de la Martinez.
    • CONIFER.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No.4 in E flat major, 'Romantic': III. Scherzo. Bewegt

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Günter Wand.
    • RCA.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    L'Eraclito amoroso ('Udite amanti')

    Performer: Jakob Lindberg. Performer: Anders Ericson. Singer: Anne Sofie von Otter.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Gregorio Allegri

    Miserere mei, Deus (sung in English)

    Choir: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Singer: Roy Goodman. Conductor: Sir David Willcocks.
    • DECCA.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring: Part I

    Orchestra: Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. Conductor: Pierre Monteux.
    • DECCA.
  • César Franck

    Sonata for flute and piano: III. Recitativo-Fantasia: Ben moderato

    Performer: James Galway. Performer: Martha Argerich.
    • RCA.
  • Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

    Symphony No 3, 'Sorrowful Songs' (2nd mvt)

    Singer: Dawn Upshaw. Orchestra: London Sinfonietta. Conductor: David Zinman.
  • Eric Coates

    London Suite: III. Knightsbridge (March)

    Orchestra: BBC Concert Orchestra. Conductor: Barry Wordsworth.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Judith Weir

    All the Ends of the Earth

    Choir: BBC Singers. Ensemble: Endymion Ensemble. Conductor: David Hill.
    • SIGNUM.
  • Trad.

    Gat Kirwani

    Performer: Paul Horn. Performer: Sam Chianis. Performer: Penelope Estabrook. Performer: Harihar Rao. Performer: N. C. Mullick.
    • BGO.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610): Ave Maris Stella

    Ensemble: The Taverner Choir, Consort & Players. Singer: Emma Kirkby. Singer: Emily Van Evera. Singer: Nigel Rogers. Director: Andrew Parrott.
    • EMI.
  • John White

    Piano Sonata No.54

    Performer: Roger Smalley.
    • NMC.
  • João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Tommy Williams & Milton Banana

    The Girl from Ipanema



River of Music: the live blog

River of Music: the live blog

Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker are posting updates and clips throughout the day on Sunday.

Dive into Radio 3's River of Music

Dive into Radio 3's River of Music

Good speakers/headphones recommended. Flippers optional.