BBC's Beethoven Bargain Bonanza

By london_ken Last edited 166 months ago
BBC's Beethoven Bargain Bonanza

News of more free stuff here at Londonist, this time for those of you who can't actually be arsed to go out.

Anyone with a passing acquaintance with BBC TV or BBC Radio may have noticed they've gone a bit Beethoven barmy. Between BBC Four, BBC2 and BBC Radio 3 Beethoven's entire body of works will be broadcast, allowing you to get acquainted with some of the more obscure gems in the canon. Londonist was mighty surprised to switch on Radio 3 on Sunday to hear what appeared to be the British national anthem played in an improvisational stylee. Mrs Londonist's sceptism at our identification of the melody was met with a resounding 'told you so' when the piece was announced as Seven variations on God Save The King.

Even if you're not a classical music nut then you will still be familiar with the major works, in particular Beethoven's 5th Symphony (you know, 'duh duh duh duuuuuuuuhh.... duh duh duh duuuuuuuuuh') and the 9th Symphony, with its final section Ode to Joy, adopted as the European anthem. The good news, for those of you who quite like these pieces but could never bring yourselves to buy a classical CD, is that the BBC is making the the performances of all nine symphonies available for download as MP3 files. It's a scheme which is entirely fitting with the BBC's original ethos, its past and its future, and hopefully the experiment will prove to be a success. (Look out for the scare-mongering Evening Standard publishing 'news' along the lines of "Listening to Beethoven makes you deaf", citing research that showed 100% of composers called Beethoven went deaf, and whinging about some sort of conspiracy at the BBC.)

The downloads will be made available the day after their broadcast and will be up for a week. Symphonies 1 and 3 were broadcast yesterday, so are up on the site now. For the full schedule, visit the downloads site, but the populist 5th Symphony will be available to download tomorrow and the 9th Symphony available from 1st July.

If the fact that this fabulous output is available for free isn't enough for you, this excellent article from The Scotsman will hopefully convince you to broaden your mind.

Last Updated 07 June 2005