Podcasting Beethoven's symphonies

How’s this for an extraordinary public gift? The BBC is broadcasting the complete works of Beethoven on Radio 3 and the television stations BBC2 and BBC4, starting on June 5. All nine symphonies, performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, will be available for free download.

Here’s Norman Lebrecht‘s prescient comment:

Noseda is no Karajan, that’s for sure, but he served a tough apprenticeship with Valery Gergiev in St Petersburg and has come on nicely in three Manchester seasons, manifesting a deft, unsentimental touch in German Romanticism, alongside his Russian and operatic specialisms. At 41 he is younger, less experienced and less established on the international circuit than any of his recorded predecessors.

Yet it may turn out that Noseda’s Beethoven becomes the household version to computer-literate millions in China, India or Korea who have never heard of Karajan or Klemperer and could, in any event, never afford the price of a DG or EMI set.

To them, Noseda and the BBC Phil are the bringers of light and arbiters of art.

When, two or three decades hence, China is the world’s largest industrial power, it will be Noseda’s Beethoven that couples recall as their formative revelation, as our grandparents once savoured Toscanini’s.

Such is the potential magnitude of the BBC’s magnanimity. The Beethoven week is a robust reminder that there is life yet in the Reithian principle: that broadcasting must educate and inform, and that there is no better way in the 21st century for nation to speak peace unto nation.

What a great institution.

Update It looks like this is a free download, not a podcast. The BBC is doing some interesting stuff in podcasting, but I suspect this isn’t it.

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