There’s some decent stuff around on the radio for those who are prepared to hunt it out, and I happen upon most of it as I drive up and down the M3 and A303 on one of my early morning or late night stints. I always find myself coming back to the Composer Of The Week podcasts, though, lined up so neatly on the BBC iPlayer.
This programme has been a staple part of Radio 3’s output for much longer than I can remember, and the podcast version condenses the week’s worth of radio into a single hour or so by playing extracts rather than full works. Surprisingly this does not detract from the quality of it at all.
It is not just the great and the good who make it onto Composer Of The Week either. Often they will explore the murkier nooks and crannies of the musical past, and from time to time they will emerge blinking into the present for good measure.
Composer Of The Week epitomises everything that is good about Radio 3 – it is intelligent but unpatronising radio that treats its listeners as though they are capable of independent thought, but still know nothing about the composer at hand. When so much listening is dumbed down to the point of – what else? – dumbness it makes a difference to hear something that retains a balanced view.
Perhaps this is just me getting all Ed Reardonesque and railing against the twelve year olds, but I always come away from Composer Of The Week having learned something new and experienced a piece of music I did not know before. Long may this programme continue.