Discovering Music: BBC Radio 3


One of the things I miss about analogue radio is the accidental discoveries I would make whilst cooking with the radio on.  Being a child of the digital age - and having long since banished any non-digital devices from my flat - I have pretty much everything I want pretty much whenever I want it.  This causes problems, as I'm literally spoilt for choice, but it does have plenty of benefits.

First amongst these bountiful benefits is the marvelous BBC iPlayer.  I've always struggled to watch or listen to any program at the same time each week, and now I don't have to bother at all.  Hurrah for On Demand!

Now I can finally catch up on back issues of the excellent Discovering Music series that I would occasionally catch on Radio 3.  Often presented by the inimitable Charles Hazlewood (whom I suspect shares a stylist with Richard Hammond), the program dissects a piece of classical music, playing crucial extracts and discussing the work, before playing the piece in its entirety.

This week it's Haydn's Symphony No. 100 (the Military) that's under the knife, with the help of the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Hazlewood himself.  The 8th of Haydn's 12 London Symphonies, the Military was Haydn's first with a 60 piece orchestra (before coming to London, he'd only had access to 40 piece orchestras).  This episode is available from the iPlayer here until Sunday, but being as the series is designed as an educational aid there's also an archive of past episodes here.

Discovering Music is public service broadcasting at its best.  Many people umm and err about the benefits of analysing music in this fashion, but I'm of the opinion that increased knowledge increases appreciation.  A full understanding of what tricks and techniques Bach uses in his Goldberg Variations, for example, can only add to the sense of awe with which everyone should hold the composer.

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