BBC hands over the air waves to magic of Tchaikovsky

The great Russian Romantic Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is to be the next composer whose complete works will be broadcast by Radio 3.

After the enormous success of previous schedules offering the entire output of Bach, Beethoven and Webern, Tchaikovsky has been chosen for the full immersion treatment.

But BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4 will also join in the giant celebration, with highlights including the Royal Ballet's new production of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake from the Mariinsky Theatre - formerly the Kirov - in St Petersburg.

Adam Kemp, who commissions BBC television's arts, said that the broadcasts would be a "rare treat for music fans". "The Tchaikovsky season across BBC television is a first both in terms of its extraordinary scale - 11 originated programmes across three channels - and its variety."

The season will kick off on television in January. The Mariinsky will also present the opera, The Queen of Spades, under the conductor Valery Gergiev and Charles Hazlewood will present a two-part drama-documentary about Tchaikovsky's life.

The following month, Radio 3 will clear its schedules for a week to broadcast Tchaikovsky's complete works. The romantic overload will be tempered on radio by interspersing the composer's music with the works of his fellow Russian Igor Stravinsky.

The radio broadcasts will include notable exponents of the Russians' work, including Vladimir Ashkenazy and Pierre Boulez, while other artists, including the choreographer Matthew Bourne and the director Nicholas Hytner, will offer their own reflections on the composers.

The Radio 3 controller, Roger Wright, said that listeners had responded to previous seasons of complete works with great enthusiasm.

As part of the complete Beethoven, free downloads of his symphonies were offered and nearly 1.4 million were taken up - a figure which stunned record labels and critics who had long written off interest in classical music.

"The audiences have been crying out for us to do more of them and suggested all kinds of names," he said. They included Vivaldi, Telemann, Brahms, Schubert and Vaughan Williams as well as Tchaikovsky.

But Mr Wright said what was interesting about the Russian Romantic was that he produced a significant body of very great work, such as the 2nd Piano Concerto and many little-known string quartets and songs.

"There are highly crafted, magnificent pieces that are really worthy of investigation," he said.

Tchaikovsky was born in 1840. He studied the piano at school but originally became a civil servant. A colleague at the Ministry of Justice encouraged his love of music and he enrolled in the St Petersburg Conservatory, graduating to a career in composing and conducting. He died in 1893.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Recruitment Resourcer / Recruitment Account Manager

£20 - 25k + Bonus: Guru Careers: Are you a Recruitment Consultant looking to m...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers