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Part 2

Episode 2 of 2

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 15:00

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Music Played

  • Henry Purcell

    King Arthur - Suite

    Performer: Alison Balsom. Music Arranger: Alison Balsom. Orchestra: The English Concert. Director: Trevor Pinnock.
    • EMI.
  • Thelonious Monk


    Ensemble: Wynton Marsalis Septet.
    • Columbia.
  • Matthew Kaner

    The Calligrapher's Manuscript

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: François‐Xavier Roth.
    • LSO.
  • Michael Praetorius

    Dances from Terpsichore: Suite de Ballets

    Ensemble: Early Music Consort of London. Director: David Munrow.
    • EMI.
  • Sir James MacMillan

    The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (extract)

    Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Jerzy Maksymiuk.
    • Koch.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Oboe Concerto in A minor

    Performer: Nicholas Daniel. Orchestra: Britten Sinfonia.
  • Trad.

    Blow the Wind Southerly

    Singer: Kathleen Ferrier.
    • Decca.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No.7 in C major, Op.105

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Beecham.
    • BBC.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    Mavis in Las Vegas

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies.
    • NAXOS.
  • Ron Grainer

    Doctor Who

    Music Arranger: Delia Derbyshire. Performer: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
    • BBC.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Brandenburg Concerto No 2 in F major, BWV 1047

    Orchestra: The English Concert. Director: Trevor Pinnock.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Alban Berg

    Altenberg Lieder, Op.4

    Singer: Margaret Price. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • William Walton

    Orb and sceptre - coronation march

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Adrian Boult.
    • Elgar & Walton: Marches & Orchestral Music: LPO/Boult.
    • EMI.
    • 13.
  • Anna Meredith

    Connect It

    Performer: Barney Harwood. Performer: Dick and Dom. Orchestra: Students from Trinty Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Orchestra: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Connect It Ensemble. Performer: David Ogle.
  • Franz Schubert

    Piano Sonata in B flat major, D.960

    Performer: Mitsuko Uchida.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Benjamin Britten

    War Requiem: Dies Irae (excerpt: Recordare - Move Him into the Sun)

    Singer: Heather Harper. Singer: Peter Pears. Singer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau. Choir: Coventry Festival Choir. Ensemble: Melos Ensemble. Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Benjamin Britten. Conductor: Meredith Davies.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Requiem: Quid sum miser; Rex tremendae; Recordare

    Singer: Ilva Ligabue. Singer: Grace Bumbry. Singer: Sándor Kónya. Singer: Raffaele Arié. Choir: Philharmonia Chorus. Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini.
    • BBC.
  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle


    Performer: John Harle. Performer: Paul Clarvis. Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis.
    • ARGO.
  • Trad.

    Kaval Sviri [The Flute Plays]

    Music Arranger: Peter Liomdev. Choir: Ensemble Trakia.
    • FOUR AD.
  • John Adams

    Nixon in China: opening

    Orchestra: Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Choir: Chorus of St Luke's. Conductor: Edo de Waart.
  • Stan Kenton

    Artistry in Rhythm

    • EMPORIO.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No.9 in D major: IV. Adagio. Sehr langsam

    Orchestra: New York Philharmonic. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.
    • CBS.
  • Pierre Boulez

    Le Marteau sans maitre: III. L'Artisanat furieux

    Singer: Hilary Summers. Ensemble: Ensemble intercontemporain. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Orlando Gibbons

    The Silver Swan

    Choir: Deller Consort. Director: Alfred Deller.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Cello Concerto in B minor, Op.104

    Performer: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich. Orchestra: State Academic Symphony Orchestra of The Russian Federation. Conductor: Evgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov.
    • BBC.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Divertimento in B flat major, K.270

    Ensemble: Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble.
    • BBC.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Concerto in G minor for organ, strings and timpani

    Performer: Peter King. Orchestra: BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Conductor: François‐Xavier Roth.
    • REGENT.
  • Johannes Brahms

    String Sextet No 1 in B flat major, Op 18 (4th mvt)

    Performer: Cecil Aronowitz. Performer: William Pleeth. Ensemble: Amadeus Quartet.
    • DG.
  • Peter Gabriel

    The Feeling Begins

    Performer: Manny Elias. Performer: Hossam Ramzy. Performer: David Bottrill. Performer: David Rhodes. Performer: Shankar. Performer: Vatche Housepian. Performer: Antranik Askarian.
    • Real World Records.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Partita for solo violin in D minor, BWV1004 : Chaconne

    Performer: Alina Ibragimova.
  • Richard Wagner

    Gotterdammerung, Act III: 'Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!' (Immolation Scene)

    Singer: Birgit Nilsson. Singer: Gottlob Frick. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Georg Solti.
    • DECCA.


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.