Broadcast highlights

The pick of the week's classical music programmes for 14 to 20 December


Radio highlights


Holst: The Planets
Tuesday 15 December, 1.30pm

In this series Frances Fyfield explores the stories of well-known pieces of music. This week she investigates Holst’s 1914 orchestral masterpiece, The Planets. Immediately adored by audiences, Holst apparently hated the work’s popularity. Guests on the programme select their favourite moments from the score, kept in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and are joined by the curator Martin Holmes, who looks after the precious manuscripts there.

Breakfast with Martin Handley
Saturday 19 December, 7am

Radio 3’s Breakfast programme will be serving up a helping of festive cheer this year with specially recorded performances by the BBC Singers of all your favourite carols. Tune in every day at 8.30am this Saturday for your daily carol.

Music Matters: Midlands Christmas Music
Saturday 19 December, 12.15pm

Tom Service travels across the English Midlands taking a snapshot of music-making in villages, towns and cities as people prepare for Christmas. Visiting Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and the West Midlands, he meets those bringing music to the heart of communities. From brass bands to opera, children’s choirs to pub carols, he discovers stories about the importance of music in people’s lives at this time of year.

TV highlights

In the Spirit of Diaghilev
Friday 18 December, 7.45pm

As part of the centenary celebrations of the Ballets Russes, BBC Four is broadcasting this programme from London’s Sadler’s Wells. Today’s most acclaimed choreographers, including Wayne McGregor, share their thoughts on the enduring influence of Diaghilev and the collaborative spirit that characterised the company. Plus there’ll be a look behind the scenes at new works in rehearsal.

Riot at the Rite
Friday 18 December, 9pm


Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring famously provoked a riot in the theatre at its premiere in Paris in 1913. This BBC Two drama takes a look at the events that night. Masterminded by the Russian impresario, Sergei Diaghilev and choreographed by his lover, the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, the ballet changed the course of musical and cultural history, as well as the lives of everyone involved.