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Friday Night is Music Night

I don't know what my avant-garde teenage self would think of this, but I'm glad to announce that I have a piece included in Friday Night is Music Night. For 70 years a BBC Radio 2 staple, this venerable series is making the leap to Radio 3 tonight. It is, say the BBC, "the oldest live radio programme anywhere in the world". We have to wish Music Night all the best in its new radio home; in recent times the programme moved to Sunday, and then seemed to have retired completely late last year.


I went up to Alexandra Palace to hear the BBC Concert Orchestra rehearsing tonight's broadcast programme, which as ever is an idiosyncratic mix of 'light music', mini classical favourites and show tunes. Maybe the addition of myself and Jocelyn Pook shows a tentative step in the Radio 3 direction. If anyone can make this work in future, it's surely the orchestra's senior producer Neil Varley, with his wonderfully original and sometimes off-the-wall programming ideas.


Again returning to my teenage years, I remember that my oboe teacher Robin Miller, who played in the BBCCO for a while, told me that "Friday Night" frequently threw up considerable performing challenges; and I thought of that again while listening to this week's rehearsal, with a lot of brilliant and especially fast numbers for the orchestra to throw off in a light-hearted way. As a tribute to 70 years of this kind of thing, I've vowed to listen to the programme live tonight; even though it's been pointed out to me that this means going head-to-head with Gardener's World on BBC2. I have certainly moved my demographic in the intervening years.

Pictured - Alexandra Palace, in Wuthering Heights mode.





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