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Standing up for the BBC

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Categories: contemporary classical music, music profession
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The Beeb, Aunty or just plain BBC has once more been at the heart of hot topics in press and other media.  In advance of charter renewal, due in 2016, Parliament has been conducting a review of how well the BBC is doing and has invited contributions from listeners, programme makers and competitors, alike.

And  what a field day the competitors have been having!  The BBC, as public service broadcasters, (they cry), must be distinctive, take risks, present work commercial broadcasters could not afford to, be accountable, serve all the interests of the entire population across the age spectrum.  What they must not do, (they holler), is tread on the turf of the commercial broadcasters, mirror their repertoire or copy their style of presentation.

Particularly loud whining comes from classic fm’s masters about BBC Radio 3, and why? Is it because Radio 3 presenters have become more personable?  Is it because there are drive-time strands which dare to play part of a work instead of the whole work?  Is it because they give broadcast time to composers of film music?  is it because they are encouraging greater interaction with their listeners? Classic fm would rush to claim all of those.  But the real reason is because Radio 3 programming, programme-making and artistic values are in a class way beyond any other classical music broadcaster on the face of the planet, classic fm included.

What other station would dare to broadcast the entire canon of Bach cantatas; would create Baroque Spring, devoting a month of music drama and comedy dedicated to shedding new light on the baroque era, will be broadcasting every Richard Strauss opera in full, this year, 2014?   And now with their latest 18th century music season, joined up programming sees broadcasts from Radio 3, BBC2 and BBC4.

As music lovers, we couldn’t be more fortunate in the vision, creativity and originality of the team at BBC Radio3.

Here are a few insights into contemporary composition, provided by Radio 3 programme-makers, together with links from tutti to explore more of their music –

John Rutter + music by John R.

Peter Maxwell Davies + music by Max

John McCabe + music by John  M.

and finally, not an interview with a woman composer as there wasn’t one to be found(!), but a performance at the BBC proms by the London Symphony Orchestra of part of

Stars, Night, Music and Light by Judith Weir + music by Judith

Bravo BBC!
Sarah Rodgers

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