Life after Henry Revise and survive

Radio 3 round-up

The zenith is past. Henry Purcell has been re-laid - not to say relayed - to tercentennial rest in Westminster Abbey. And Radio 3's year- long celebration of the indigenous muse, Fairest Isle itself, has but a little month to run. No doubt the BBC has received the predictable complaints from composers, performers and musical pressure groups who think they ought to have been included. No doubt the odd buff is still hankering after a really comprehensive investigation into the decline and fall of the British comedy overture. But the ingenious and genuinely exploratory ways in which so many of the programme-makers have seized upon the Fairest Isle pretext must have reassured many listeners who fear the future of serious music broadcasting in this country is set on an inexorable slide towards rushed schedules and sound-bite presentation.

Among recent series, for instance, Adrian Jack's Sunday evening explorations of five great English cathedrals not only indulged the ear in some of the more purple passages of Anglican Church music, but reminded one of the pleasures of sheer leisureliness as a broadcasting value. By the end of each hour-and-a-half, one felt positively steeped in the history, sights and sounds of the cathedral concerned.

As for the year's more arcane revivals, even that fabled genre of the far-off 1950s, the so-called Cheltenham Symphony, has been briefly resuscitated into a late-night series - though one might wonder whether midnight was the likeliest time to win new friends for Humphrey Searle and Peter Racine Fricker. Among features still to come are a nostalgic look at British film music on 10 December; and, on 20 December, an entire evening drawing together the achievements of Gustav Holst - whose opera, The Perfect Fool, receives a rare broadcast on Christmas Day itself.

Come 1 January, however, Radio 3 is going to have to adjust to life without Fairest Isle or any other obvious big theme to help fill its ever-gaping maw. True, 1996 includes the Bruckner centenary, but one imagines any comprehensive celebration of the Germanic 19th century (Fairest Reich?) is likely to be postponed to the Brahms-Schubert junketings of 1997.

There are also a number of structural changes in programming that have been quietly insinuated in recent months to take account of. The moving forward of Composer of the Week is evidently part of a larger pattern. Weekdays and weekends alike, most of the more focused series and features - the archival and discussion programmes, the slots for early music, ethnic recordings and jazz - now seem to be crammed into the afternoons. Not necessarily objectionable in itself: indeed many listeners might welcome a completion of the process with the removal of In Tune to the middle of the night - which is about all its garrulous inconsequence is fit for - leaving a straight run through to the concert and opera relays that inevitably dominate the evening schedules.

But the quid pro quo is what has happened to the mornings. For the arrival of Morning Collection with Paul Gambaccini means that the first six hours of each weekday (not to mention the first five on Sundays) now comprise little more than loose miscellanies of recorded music, linked by little information, less discussion and nothing at all in the way of features.

True, Musical Encounters runs an "Artist of the Week" through its schedules; granted, Penny Gore has been blasting On Air listeners from sleep all this week with instalments of Smetana's Ma Vlast. And the sequences of Haydn sonatas, Holst orchestral pieces and Dvorak symphonies that Gambaccini has been running through Morning Collection have proved one of its more encouraging features, whatever the fuss over his mode of presentation. But the real discussion ought to be whether Radio 3 listeners feel entirely happy to find the first third of each day's broadcasting (with the partial exception of Saturdays) virtually declared a thought-free zone.

BAYAN NORTHCOTT

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England