What music was broadcast on the day you were born?
That is Edmund Rubbra at the piano in the photo above. Mark Berry, who writes the authoritative Boulezian blog, has added a comment to my post about the first interview with designate BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey. In his comment Mark strongly disagrees with Alan Davey's view that the Third Programme - the predecessor of Radio 3 - had brought no 'context' to works. Coincidentally, I have been playing recently with the beta release of the addictive BBC Genome which lists the programmes for every day of broadcasting on the Third Programme/Radio 3 and all other BBC radio and TV channels. The game of choice on BBC Genome is to find out what was broadcast on your birthday; with auspicious synchronicity the Third Programme opened at 6.00 pm on the day I was born with a programme of unspecified new music played by the Rubbra-Gruenberg-Pleeth Trio comprising Rubbra with William Pleeth (cello) and Erich Gruenberg (violin). The main works of the evening were Purcell's Te Deum and Ode on St. Cecilia's Day (1692) - I was born on St Cecilia's day - with the The Boyd Neel Orchestra conducted by Boris Ord with Thurston Dart (harpsichord) and counter tenor Alfred Deller. The Purcell was followed by a live debate from the Cambridge Union on the motion 'That military conscription should now cease', and the evening ended with Michelangeli playing Scarlatti, Albeniz and Mompou. Just a few minutes searching the BBC Genome shows that both content and context abounded in the past - check out the Hans Keller listing for instance - and I would be a lot more confident about the future of Radio 3 if its new controller aspired to reaching the quality of the Third Programme, instead of denigrating it. Auspiciously synchronous birthday music found by readers on the BBC Genome is welcome as comments.
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