Next Wednesday BBC Radio 3 marks the 400th anniversary of the first printed collection of Shakespeare’s plays, the First Folio, with a special Shakespeare Day of programming completely dedicated to the Bard.
From 7am to 7pm, every work broadcast on the station over 12 hours has a Shakespearean connection, and throughout the day, there are live short readings of some of Shakespeare’s most inspiring lines, by actors Paterson Joseph and Niamh Cusack.
Breakfast (6:30 – 9:00): Petroc Trelawny presents Radio 3’s classical breakfast show with music inspired by Shakespeare that captures the mood of the morning, with works by Debussy, Purcell, Britten, Sullivan and Weber.
Essential Classics (9:00 – 12:00): Georgia Mann includes music byBeethoven, Korngold, Dvořák, Vaughan Williams and Tchaikovsky, all inspired by Shakespeare.
Composer of the Week: Berlioz and Shakespeare (12:00 – 13:00): All week, Donald Macleod concentrates on Berlioz’s life-long passion for Shakespeare. In today’s programme, Berlioz reconnects with Shakespearean actor Harriet Smithson and works on a new symphony based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Lunchtime Concert (13:00 – 14:00): Sarah Walker presents Shakespeare-inspired chamber music including Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio with its eerie second movement reminiscent of Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth, his Tempest Sonata, and Brahms’s 5 Orphelia-Lieder.
Afternoon Concert (14:00 – 17:00): Penny Gore includes music from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and two different compositions on Macbeth by Sullivan and Verdi.
In Tune (17:00 – 19:00): Katie’s guests include composer Nigel Hess who talks about writing music to Shakespeare’s plays, and Trio Gaspard perform live in the studio.
Later in the evening, Radio 3 in Concert (19:30 – 22:00) includes extracts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Free Thinking (22:00 – 22:45) discusses Shakespearean inspiration in other art forms, with Matthew Sweet joined live by guests Professor Preti Taneja – author of a novel We That Are Young which sets the King Lear in Delhi, by Dr Iain Smith who studies films from around the world, by Research Fellow Michelle Assay who has studied Shakespeare, music and Hamlet in Russia, and by Andrew Dickson, journalist and author of Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe.
Also part of a wider month of Shakespeare celebrations on Radio 3, on Sunday 12 November Drama on 3 (19:30 – 21:00) presents The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd
Elsewhere on BBC channels on Wednesday 8 November, Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius is broadcast on BBC Two and iPlayer. This is a three-part documentary series featuring an A-list cast of actors, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Adrian Lester, Lolita Chakrabarti, Martin Freeman and Jessie Buckley, alongside academics and writers James Shapiro, Jeanette Winterson, Lucy Jago , Jeremy O’Harris and Ewan Fernie – who provide fresh insights into the incredible story of our greatest writer, the place and time he inhabited and the work he produced. The series is made by 72 Films (a Fremantle company), the award-winning producers of Rise of the Nazis, Elizabeth’s Secret Agents.