BBC Radio 3 to celebrate music of the British Isles

BBC Radio 3 announces extensive coverage of British music throughout June.

Edward Elgar
Published: May 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

Throughout June BBC Radio 3 will be promoting and celebrating British music with special coverage of the nation’s foremost composers, works and performers.


From William Byrd’s masses to Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Benjamin’s Written On Skin, centuries of British music will be showcased.

Radio 3's Breakfast will continue creating its 'Musical Map of Britain', a year-long online project creating a snapshot of the musical heritage of the country. Composer of the Week, meanwhile, will explore the lives and music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Charles Hubert Parry, Edward Elgar (pictured right) and George Lloyd.

Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker’s Essential Classics will feature 20 great works of Britain’s favourite composers, while four British poets – Sean O’Brien, Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Muldoon and Gwyneth Lewis – will be invited to discuss the music they love in Private Passions.

At the heart of the programming is the celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary. A selection of live concerts include two of his operas – Peter Grimes live from Aldeburgh Festival (7 June), and Gloriana live from the Royal Opera House (29 June) – and the War Requiem performed by the CBSO and CBSO Chorus live at St Paul’s Cathedral (25 June).

A new play by Mark Ravenhill charting the relationship between Britten and Imogen Holst when Britten was working on his opera Gloriana for the Queen’s coronation will be broadcast on Drama On 3, and further programming will reflect this year’s Coronation Celebrations (on 2 June).

Other highlights will be the world premiere of Guy Barker’s That Obscure Hurt, commissioned by the BBC and Aldeburgh Festival and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra; an exploration of jazz and world music links to British music; and another chance to hear David Pownell’s play Elgar’s Rondo, originally broadcast in 2007 and starring David Horovitch, Emma Fielding and Robert Glenister.


For more information, see the Radio & TV section of the June issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale now.

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