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BBC4 to focus on Britten & contemporary classical music

BBC4 to focus on Britten & contemporary classical music
Staff Reporter
12 September 2012

British composer Benjamin Britten is to be the subject of programming on BBC Four as the channel focuses on contemporary classical music and celebrates Britten’s centenary in 2013.

Richard Klein, controller of BBC Four, says: “BBC Four is the home for music on television and next year we’ll be looking at contemporary classical music in the 20th century as part of a major focus at the beginning of the year. Benjamin Britten is a key part of that story.

“Not only will BBC Four be offering licence fee payers a chance to see archive television gems in the region that inspired his work and life, Aldeburgh, but we will be proud to broadcast some of his classic works alongside rare and illuminating archive interviews.”

The Britten programming will begin on the weekend of the centenary of the composer’s birth (22-25 November), when BBC Four will have a weekend of screenings. The films will be a collection of archive recordings of BBC-recorded Britten performances at the festival.  Radio 3 will also be commemorating the composer’s centenary.

The BBC played a significant part in the Britten story from the earliest days of the Corporation’s existence, both as a commissioner of new music, and as a broadcaster of performances and interviews with the composer himself. As part of Britten on the BBC in 2013, rare archive interviews and performances from this time will be brought to light.

BBC Four will curate classic Britten documentaries and performances recorded by the BBC throughout the year. It will also show a brand new series called Composers In Their Own Words, featuring rare interviews that Britten gave to the BBC, alongside expert comment.

BBC Four will also broadcast Billy Budd from Glyndebourne and the BBC’s Owen Wingrave, Britten's seminal opera, shown in a brand new remastered version of the classic BBC dramatisation.There will be further announcements about Britten television programming later this Autumn.

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