BBC Radio 3 is going to broadcast the complete works of Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach) in a marathon 214 hours of broadcasting over the ten days beginning on Friday 16th December and ending on the afternoon of Sunday 25th December.
For people, such as me, who consider that J S Bach was the greatest composer of classical music ever to have lived (or, possibly, ever likely to live) the prospect of having the opportunity to listen to many of his works over such a short period is enticing, to put it mildly! However, very unfortunately, not even I will be capable of listening to everything, but I shall certainly make it my business to be near a radio (or a broadband internet connection) for as much of these ten days as possible and to listen to whatever is being broadcast provided it does not conflict with other activities.
Two items of music that I shall make a particular effort to listen to are Cantatas 112 and 185 (but see below):
- the first is "Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt" and will be broadcast sometime after midnight on Monday 19th December;
- so far I am unable to trace when the other, Cantata 185, will be broadcast; cantata 185 is entitled "Barmherziges Herze der Ewigen Liebe" - my recording of this is one I obtained over 30 years ago and because it is on a 33rpm vinyl LP disc has become somewhat worn over the years. I have been trying, for at least 15 years, to find a replacement recording on CD, but to date I have not succeeded; I suspect that my recording must be very rare. I bought it in about 1974 when I lived in Casablanca (Morocco) and the recording was on the 'Joker' label, with the performance being given by the Swabian Choral Singers accompanied by the Stuttgart Bach Orchestra
The broadcasts commence on Friday 16th December at 7pm British time (19.00 GMT) with the Christmas Oratorio - parts 1, 2 and 3 (BWV 248) and end with parts 4, 5 and 6 of the same oratorio on Christmas Day, 25th December, at 3.30pm (15.30 GMT). A fitting end to a magnificent ten days! If you are outside the UK you can still listen to this (although I expect the sound quality might not be quite so good over PC speakers, unless you have a quality speaker system hooked up to your internet connection) by clicking here and then on the 'Radio Player' button at the top of the page.