Ludwig van fest

Here is an interesting story from BBC Radio 3. Between 9.00 o'clock in the morning of June 5th and midnight the following Friday they are broadcating every single note of music written by Ludwig van Beethoven in a week of programming called the Beethoven Experience. When they say every single note, they mean every single note. Not just the symphonies, quartets etc, but also promised are rare morsels such as Two Arias from Ignaz Umlauf's Songspiel The Beautiful Shoemaker's Wife, and a duet with two obbligato eyeglasses. Supporting this Beethoven fest are three distinguished commentators. Alfred Brendel on the piano sonatas, Sir Roger Norrington on the symphonies, and Peter Cropper from the Lindsays on the quartets.

The airwaves are literally being cleared for this epic, and during the five days not a single note of any other composer's music will be heard over the network. If five days is too concentrated a period of listening the whole sequence of programmes can be heard during the following week on demand over the web via the BBC radioplayer service which can be launched with this link. More details of the Beethoven Experience are available from the BBC Radio 3 website.

This is really wonderful stuff, and exactly the kind of 'audience contrary' programming that the PSB stations should be tackling. I am really delighted they are doing it, and I urge everyone to drop in via the airwaves, or the net, to sample the Ludwig van fest. But I have to admit to a sneaking feeling of relief that during that week we will be in Les Gargoris, a remote hamlet in the Vaucluse region of France just up the road from baroque cellist and fellow blogger Ruth Phillips who posts on Meanwhile here in France. We will be close to the inspirational Benedictine community at the Abbey of Ste Madeleine at le Barroux where Gregorian Chant flourishes (see my post Pliable's Travels), and at the foot of cycling shrine Mont Ventoux which I wrote about in Keeping up with Lance Armstrong.

By choice we will be without an internet connection, yet alone BBC Radio 3 reception. (But fear not, On An Overgrown Path will continue posting due to the miracle of technology aka my webmaster son). We will have a CD system (but nothing to compare with my lovely B&W Nautilus 803 speakers), and a huge pile of books including Evening in the Palace of Reason and What We Really Do: The Tallis Scholars. Our equally huge pile of CD's will include Bach, Rameau, medieval polyphony and chant, the new Keith Jarrett solo double CD, Marc Copland (who records up the road from Les Gargoris at the Studio la Buissonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines) , Michel Petrucciani, and the Philippe Herreweghe recording of the Missa Solemnis (which is available in the UK for just £5 in a Harmonia Mundi promotion, and must be the bargain musical experience of the year, if not century).

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