BBC Radio 3 announces programming to mark the World War One centenary

Programmes commemorate the war through an exploration of its music

Franz Welser-Möst
Published: October 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

From January 2014, BBC Radio 3 will mark the centenary of World War One with special broadcasts across its schedule.


For one week from 5 January, Radio 3 will will focus on the cultural life of Europe on the eve of 1914 in 'Music on the Brink'. Each day the station will relive the sounds of a different European city – Paris, Berlin, Vienna, St Petersburg and London – and look at the cultural trends of the time.

Breakfast, Essential Classics, Composer Of The Week, Drama On 3 and Night Waves will all be part of the event.

A composer who will come under focus is Ivor Gurney, whose output was hugely affected by the experience of serving in the war. Composer Of The Week will dedicate five programmes to the Gloucester-born musician and Iain Burnside’s new musical drama based on Gurney’s poems, letters and songs, A Soldier And A Maker, will be broadcast on Drama On 3.

On 28 June 2014 the Vienna Philharmonic will perform a historic concert from Sarajevo, remembering the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst (pictured above), the orchestra will be joined by the Opera Choir of the National Theatre of Sarajevo to perform French, German and Austrian music in a tribute to European peace.

Throughout June, features will tell the story of World War One through its music in a season called Music in the Great War. BBC Radio 3 will follow the journeys of composers and performers caught up in the conflict and will showcase the music written to reflect the feelings of pride, camaraderie, nationalism, grief and loss connected to this devastating war.

Each day will explore how the war affected the music and culture of a different country involved in the war, including Russia, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, the USA and the UK.


Details of how the BBC Proms will mark the centenary of World War One will be announced in April 2014.

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