BBC Radio 3 present Baroque Spring, a month of music, drama and comedy dedicated to shedding new light on the Baroque era

Sunday 3 March – Monday 1 April 2013

  • Back-to-back Bach - Breakfast on 3 broadcast Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues and Sir John Eliot Gardiner to present 90 minute BBC Two documentary, Genius of Bach
  • Baroque Poetry - Actor Dominic West reads daily poems from the Baroque era
  • Baroque Remixed – Lauren Laverne presents Baroque music remixed by Will Gregory from Goldfrapp and finalists of a talent search with the BBC Concert Orchestra
  • Baroque-around-the-clock – BBC Radio 3 presents a day of Baroque-themed comedy and music for Red Nose Day
  • Baroque Yourself – Alison Balsom and Mahan Esfahani give masterclasses on how to play Baroque music on period instruments in drive time show, In Tune
  • Baroque in the Historic - Katie Derham introduces six Sunday-afternoon concerts live from historic houses in partnership with the National Trust

    BBC Radio 3 is delighted to announce the full content line-up for Baroque Spring, a month-long season of live music, drama and discussion designed to shed new light on the Baroque era (1600-1750), when composers such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi produced some of the best-loved works of all time. The season launches on Sunday 3 March and includes contributions from leading musicians, ensembles and experts in the field of Baroque music, with a host of live discussion, master-classes, performances and poetry put together to bring alive one of the most significant periods of musical development and discovery.

    The BBC Concert Orchestra will present Baroque Remixed on 11 March, a concert featuring Baroque-influenced compositions by composers including Will Gregory from Goldfrapp and finalists from a talent search for young composers launched by the orchestra. The concert will be presented by Lauren Laverne and Andrew McGregor and broadcast live from the Roundhouse, London.

    BBC Radio 3 will Baroque-around-the-clock on Friday 15 March for Red Nose Day, while drive-time show In Tune will enter into the spirit of Comic Relief with a week of Beastly Baroque sketches from Monday 11 March. Further details to be announced shortly.

    There will be a week of live broadcasts from St George’s Bristol from Monday 25 – Friday 29 March, as part of the hall’s inaugural Bristol Baroque Festival, in which leading artists such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Early Opera Company, Mahan Esfahani, The Harp Consort and the BBC Singers will feature in the main evening strand of Live in Concert, and five specially commissioned Essays titled ‘A Taste for Baroque’, which will explore the manifold legacy of Baroque style.

    In Tune will present a series of five Baroque masterclasses starting on 4 March, with artists including Alison Balsom and Daniel Hope, while actor Dominic West will read a daily poem from the Baroque era each day on the show (from Monday 18 – Friday 29 March).

    BBC Radio 3 has also entered in to its first partnership with the National Trust to present six live concerts and a live drama placing baroque performance in its historical context. Audiences will be given the opportunity to experience the music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in a new light through performances at National Trust properties, each with their own stories linked to the period from Sunday 3 March to Sunday 31 March. The concerts will be presented by BBC Radio 3’s Katie Derham, who will be joined by the Antique Roadshow’s Lars Tharp during intervals to offer a fascinating insight into the Baroque connections at each house.

    The season launches on Sunday 3 March with a special edition of the Early Music Show, live from Media City, and featuring The English Concert directed by Laurence Cummings, performing Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and Purcell. There will be more live music in Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert throughout the season, including a concert of French sacred music performed in their own chapel by the Choir of New College, Oxford, a solo recital by harpsichordist Carole Cerasi, and Handel chamber music performed by members of the Academy of Ancient Music.

    Essential Classics will celebrate the Baroque through interviews with guests who have a particular interest in the era, including Germaine Greer and Alain de Botton as well as exploring the recordings of leading artists including Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Christopher Hogwood. In Jazz on 3 composer Alexander Hawkins will explore the musical parallels between jazz and the Baroque through his BBC Radio 3 commission and World Routes will travel to Bolivia and Paraguay for five specially commissioned editions of the programme focusing on South American Baroque.

    As part of BBC Radio 3 Breakfast’s Musical Map of Britain, running throughout 2013, the programme will be asking listeners to highlight Baroque connections to their area of the UK, as well as presenting the Breakfast Forty-Eight, a daily morning dose of the 48 Preludes and Fugues of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Composer of the Week will celebrate four key Baroque composers throughout the month: Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell and J.S. Bach. Nightwaves will be covering different aspects of Baroque music’s influence in modern day culture and Late Junction brings together diverse musicians to explore Baroque music, including Canadian electro-acoustic musician Yves Beaupré and young viol player Liam Byrne. In three special live broadcasts, Sara Mohr-Pietsch will ask listeners for their questions about the Baroque period for Baroque Busted (6, 11 and 26 March).

    Baroque Spring draws to a close on Monday 1 April with live concerts and discussions led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner from the Royal Albert Hall, London, celebrating J.S. Bach.

    In related programming on BBC Two Sir John Eliot Gardiner will present The Genius of Bach, a 90 minute music documentary revealing for the first time his life’s research into the great composer. The documentary will present a fresh perspective on J.S. Bach, delving into his life and music with the help of performances from the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists (broadcast date tbc).

    Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms, says: “Baroque Spring allows audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in an era of immense musical creativity, through live performances, interviews and drama - all designed to shed light on the Baroque. The month-long season promises to give listeners in-depth context and analysis as well as many ways to get involved, be it tuning in to a live performance, attending a concert at a National Trust property, or joining in an on-air or on-line discussion.”

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