As the clocks change, BBC Radio 3 marks the start of the Winter season with Capturing Twilight, a week of special programming featuring music, literature, and art inspired by the magical time between night and day

Sunday 24 – Sunday 31 October, across the station’s schedules

In the week leading up to the clocks moving back and the start of the Winter months, BBC Radio 3 explores the special bewitching time between night and day with Capturing Twilight, a week-long season of special programming across the station’s schedule.

Highlights include:

  • Sleep scientist Professor Matthew Walker discussing the ‘global sleep crisis’ and selecting restful musical repertoire (Private Passions, Sun 31/10);
  • Writer Andrew Martin explores the “lost hours” – daily rituals that have been mostly abandoned as not suitable to the modern lifestyle (The Essay, from Mon 25/10);
  • The Tallis Scholars conducted by Peter Philips present moments of musical reflection throughout the day, inspired by the monastic tradition, from 1am on Sunday morning (Music for the Hours, Sun 31/10);
  • New, twilight-inspired short commissions performed by BBC Concert Orchestra members (Breakfast, from Mon 25/10);
  • Authors, musicians, painters, performers and thinkers past and present discussing night-time creativity (Sunday Feature, Sun 31/10);
  • In Tune is live fromMarket Place Theatre in Armagh, where Sean Rafferty introduces performances from local musicians and discovers different types of twilight at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (In Tune, Mon 25/10);
  • Print-maker Norman Ackroyd painting the Suffolk coast from a boat at sunrise and poet Nancy Campbell responding in verse to his journey (Between The Ears: Capturing Light, Sun 24/10);
  • Twilight-infused music selections, mixing classical repertoire and beyond, accompanied online by galleries of listeners’ images (In Tune Mixtape, from Mon 25/10);

Capturing Twilight celebrates the music, art and literature that has been inspired by twilight – the glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon- featuring works by composers, performers and writers who have been provoked by this magic diffusion of light and the unsettling serenity it brings.

Programme information:

Sunday 24 October | Week 43

Words and Music: Twilight

17:30 – 18:45

Clare Perkins and Neil Pearson read a selection of vespertine verse, including texts by Adrienne Rich, James Joyce and Thomas Hardy, interspersed with music with a distinctly crepuscular character, by Wagner, Ravi Shankar and The Fall among others.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

R&M Production: Arts, Docs and Drama – London

Sunday 24 October | Week 43

Between the Ears: Capturing Light

18:45 – 19:15

Britain’s most celebrated print-maker Norman Ackroyd and the award-winning poet Nancy Campbell come together to explore what it takes to capture light on the page in poetry or in print.

Norman Ackroyd has spent his life travelling to some of the most remote places in the British Isles and his etchings rely on the interplay between light and dark. On this occasion he begins at dawn and takes a boat from Southwold harbour to paint the Suffolk coast from the North Sea for the first time, hoping to watch the sun rise on its crumbling cliffs. A new commission by Nancy Campbell responds to Norman’s journey, as he sketches and balances precariously at the stern of the boat. Nancy’s poem embodies different forms of light, exploring how it travels through space, and outlines the visible world, making Norman’s creation of a likeness possible. She examines the different properties of light: irradiance, absorption, diffraction.

The programme uses immersive binaural recordings to weave Norman’s observations with the wild soundscape of the Suffolk coast; the sea, the birds, the insights of the accompanying fishermen and music specially composed by Jane Watkins. This Between the Ears is a rare opportunity to accompany Norman, now in his 83rd year, and be privy to this process.


Producer: Clare Walker

R&M Production: Arts, Docs and Drama – London

ALL WEEK | Week 43

Breakfast

6:30 – 09:00

On Breakfast this week, Petroc Trelawny invites listeners to share their pictures of that bewitching time between night and day. It could be a view from the window where they live, a landscape they regularly journey through at that hour, or the brightening sky in the moments before the sun appears on the horizon. A selection of listeners’ photographs will accompany this week’s evening In Tune Mixtapes – also inspired by the theme of twilight – bringing the musical repertoire to life.

The programmes this week also include the premieres of three short pieces commissioned by BBC Radio 3 inspired by twilight. The new works, recorded by members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, are written by composers Sarah Frances Jenkins, James Wilson-Rhead, and Anselm McDonnell.

Producer: Richard Denison

ALL WEEK | Week 43

In Tune Mixtape

Mon to Thu,19:00 – 19:30; Fri, 19:15 – 19:45

In Tune’s Classical Music Mixtape – an imaginative, eclectic mix featuring classical favourites, lesser-known gems and a few surprises thrown in for good measure – is this week inspired by twilight, featuring selections of music around themes such as: before dawn; city and working life; nature and landscape; sea and sky; and dusk.

The Mixtapes will be accompanied on BBC Sounds by selections of listeners’ photographs capturing the time between night and day.

ALL WEEK | Week 43

The Essay: The Lost Hours

22:45 – 23:00


Writer and raconteur Andrew Martin muses on the phenomenon of the “lost hours of the day”.

From Elevenses to Afternoon Tea, from Luncheon to The Cocktail Hour, he considers how the day used not to be so monolithic; about how it was punctuated by rituals that lent a character to different hours. All the rituals described are in decline to some extent, but none can be written off completely, and perhaps some will revive post-Covid as we rediscover the social possibilities of our days.

Monday 25 October: Elevenses

Tuesday 26 October: Lunch

Wednesday 27 October: Afternoon Tea

Thursday 28 October: The Lost Hours of the Afternoon

Friday 29 October: The Cocktail Hour

Producer: Karen Holden

A Radio Drama – London production for BBC Radio 3

Monday 25 October | Week 43

In Tune: Live from Armagh, Northern Ireland

17:00 – 19:00

In Tune is broadcast live from the Market Place Theatre in Armagh. Sean Rafferty welcomes an audience and musical artists from across Northern Ireland, and discovers more about the many different types of twilight as he visits the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.

Live music performances include: Michael McHale (solo piano); Eimear McGeown (flute and tin whistle) with Michael McHale; Armagh Pipers with Brian Vallely.

Producer: Marie-Claire Doris

Tuesday 26 October| Week 43

Free Thinking: Twilight

22:00 – 22:45

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough talks to writers and artists who have reflected twilight in their own work: Photographing at nightfall, capturing the sense of light in classical music, the charged body of a black Jaguar in the Amazon. Eleanor’s guests are composer Sally Beamish, poet Pascale Petit, photographer Jasper Goodall and literary expert Alexandra Harris. They also discuss the way twilight has been by writers and painters of the past.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

An R&M Production – Factual for BBC Radio 3

Thursday 28 October| Week 43

Unclassified: Dreaming of Dusk

23:30 – 00:30

Elizabeth Alker presents music that evokes the magical transition between light and dark at the end of the day. Atmospheric saxophone drones, swooping electronics reminiscent of bird calls, and gamelan rhythms arouse images of long autumn shadows, in a piece created by the community London’s Total Refreshment Centre. We also draw on the reflective nature of dusk light with the American RnB vocalist Jhelisa, who has turned her hand to spiritual music by releasing a soul-opening opus of radiating frequencies called Solar Plexus E. 320 Hz. Also on the programme, the artist known as Aboutface melds seasonal field recordings with instrumental and electronic sounds to remind us of our connection to nature.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Friday 29 October | Week 43

Late Junction: Mary Lattimore’s mixtape

23:00 – 01:00

Late Junction marks the changing of the seasons with twilight-inspired sounds, ahead of the clocks going back this weekend. Introduced by Verity Sharp, there’s avant-garde accordion from Pauline Oliveros, traditional banjo playing from Irish folk legend Margaret Barry and a new collaboration between Seoul and Buenos Aires for flute and cello by the duo DASOMxVIOLETA.

The programme also includes an ethereal mixtape from Los Angeles-based harpist and composer Mary Lattimore. Raised on classical compositions and The Cure, her own music is inspired by her own experiences of nature and heartbreak as well as poems, imagined tales and news stories. Often described as an instrumental storyteller, Lattimore is drawn to songs that say a lot with no words both as a player and as a listener, reaching for a space where ‘the melody line is a sentence in itself’. Her latest release is a double whammy – two collections of recordings made between 2015 and 2020, a process she’s described as ‘opening a box filled with memories’. In the wake of opening this box of memories, she curates a special mixtape for Late Junction to transport you far away.

Produced by Katie Callin
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Sunday 31 October | Week 44

Music for the Hours

Throughout the day

The ancient names of the cycle of the church’s Liturgical Hours reflect the natural rhythm of our world:

01:00: Matins (Night)

04:00: Lauds (Dawn)

06:30: Prime (Daylight)

09:00: Terce (Mid-morning)

12:00: Sext (Midday)

15:30: None (Mid-afternoon)

18:45: Vespers (Sunset)

21:45: Compline (Evening)

For the culmination of the Capturing Twilight season, Radio 3 presents Music for the Hours – a day punctuated by moments of musical reflection. This is inspired by the daily rituals of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, which formed the basis of the earliest Christian services particularly in the monastic tradition. The music centres on medieval chant and the incredible Renaissance vocal polyphony that arose from this tradition, with complementary choral works from contemporary composers, recorded specially for Radio 3 by the Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips.

The daily ritual of Christian devotion was created in the 6th century by St Benedict, and remains familiar in monasteries and convents around the world today. The Tallis Scholars director Peter Philips introduces each of the offices at roughly three hour intervals, beginning with Matins and ending with Compline, reflecting the time of the day with Latin chant interspersed with polyphony from across the centuries. Music includes chant melodies by Hildegard of Bingen, settings of prayers, motets and canticles by Renaissance composers such as Thomas Tallis, Orlande de Lassus, John Sheppard and John Taverner, sitting alongside more recent works by Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, and Igor Stravinsky.

Producer: Helen Garrison

Sunday 31 October | Week 44

Sunday Morning

09:45 – 12:00

Sarah plays music celebrating the brightness of late mornings in autumn and reflects on the changing of the hour and today’s Music for the Hours in music by Vivaldi, Boulanger, Britten, Richter, Copland, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Palestrina.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

Sunday 31 October | Week 44

Private Passions: Matthew Walker

12:00 – 13:00

Michael Berkeley’s guest is the sleep scientist Professor Matthew Walker.

Matthew began his career in Britain, training as a doctor, but he is now Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Berkeley, California and the founder and director of the Centre for Sleep Science. He is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and his best-selling book Why We Sleep has been translated into over 40 languages.

Matthew tells Michael about the ‘global sleep crisis’, the sleep deficit that is costing individuals their health and economies billions. He explains why it is so important to get at least seven hours of sleep a night and the dangers to our physical and mental health if we regularly get even an hour less than that. And he describes the joys of sleeping and dreaming and the magic they work on our creativity, memory and wellbeing.

Matthew has chosen music with a restful, sleep-inducing tempo and rhythm by Debussy, Chopin, Handel and Purcell, as well as a track which transports him back to his home town of Liverpool.

And he tells Michael about the most important scientific conversation of his career – with a pianist.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3

Sunday 31 October | Week 44

Sunday Feature: Nuit Blanche

19:30 – 20:15

Glenn Gould would “emerge along with the bats and the raccoons at twilight”. Franz Kafka wrote entire stories before sunrise. Hotel pianos distracted Duke Ellington until dawn. George Sand, James Baldwin, A L Kennedy, Marcel Proust… countless writers and artists come alive at night. Why?

In this composed feature we encounter self-proclaimed “night owls”, past and present – authors, musicians, painters, performers and thinkers – to discover what can be achieved before daybreak. We eavesdrop on nocturnal artists at work, at home, through whispered and intimate conversations, discovering why they feel most suited to these hours.

The naturalist Chris Yates, who writes extensively about the night, rarely sleeps before dawn. His childlike fascination with the world around him peaks after dark “when perceptions of time slow down, senses heighten, and the powers of imagination widen”.

As well as Chris, we spend the night with artists across the UK and beyond, including ‘Shadow’ (a trans femme graffiti writer), the novelist and performer A L Kennedy, and the writer Sukhdev Sandhu, as they embark on their creative overnight excursions.

Sleep expert Dr Aliyah Rehman explores why creativity comes at certain hours. Researcher Mason Currey brings tales of night owls long departed. Timekeeping historian David Rooney considers who put clocks in charge – and people’s acts of resistance.

Accompanying this exploration of night-time creativity is an eclectic music soundtrack from Chopin to Schoenberg, Matt Berry to Morton Feldman, Nightmares On Wax to Doris Day, and more.

Narrator: Laura Bauld

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Far Shoreline production for BBC Radio 3