The BBC announced its Christmas programming for radio last night at a special launch event at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
I didn’t attend – I didn’t receive an invite. How quickly people forget about you after you’ve left the BBC. Tsk.
No matter, because in actual fact, such events – previewing events which haven’t quite been finished off and some not scheduled – must be a bit of a nightmare to make work.
Some tidbits from the Radio 3 section caught my eye:
Music by Bach fills the scheduled programmes on Christmas Eve (nice)
Bach’s B Minor Mass from the Utrecht Early Music Festival on Christmas Eve (nice)
Lunchtime Concert featuring violinist Isabelle Faust (a real star of this year)
Horatio Clare returns with another Slow Walk in Germany from Tuesday 19 December (bliss)
Christmas around Europe on Sunday 17 December (thanks EBU Radio)
In Tune Christmas Special on Monday 18 December (always a hoot)
Sean Rafferty meets Dame Janet Baker on Christmas Day (pre-recorded, obviously)
Private Passions with Alfred Brendel (don’t expect there to be any Rachmaninov)
The BBC Proms repeats feature a wide range of the festival’s concerts though sadly none of my highlights. There’s also the Marriage of Figaro live from the MET on Saturday 23 December.
And on Christmas Day on BBC Radio 4, a BBC Symphony Orchestra concert featuring Armistaud Maupin.
Christmas is for me the time I listen the most attentively, and when I have the greatest appetite for being challenged. Comparatively speaking, what’s on offer isn’t exactly a scintillating package of Christmas goodies – a sign, no doubt, of squeezed budgets. On the whole it just lacks a little bit of innovation.
But unlike last year, there isn’t that feeling that everyone’s going to be packing up for the holidays a week before and pressing play on the CD player as they vacate the building.