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Staff Report

LONDON, 11 DECEMBER 2005— BBC Radio 3 celebrates Christmas 2005 by broadcasting continuously over ten days the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.  The marathon 214-hour broadcast of Bach's surviving oeuvre will take place from Friday 16 to Sunday 25 December and include 500 organ works, 371 chorales, 215 cantatas, 200 keyboard works, 40 chamber pieces, 28 orchestral works, 14 passions, masses, and oratorios, and six motets.  

A Bach Christmas will feature leading interpreters of the German composer such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Yo-Yo Ma, Angela Hewitt, Philippe Herreweghe and Ton Koopman. 

Elvis Costello, Archbishop of Canterbury  Rowan Williams, Terry Waite, Andrew Motion, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich,  Anthony Minghella, Fiona Shaw, Baroness Julia Neuberger, and Ian McEwan are among the many voices who will share their personal reflections on Bach and his music. 

The marathon cycle will include legendary historic recordings such as Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations, and modern day classic interpretations as well as a series of BBC chamber concerts from across the country given by leading interpreters of Bach's music from Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy and Russia.

Each day at midday Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in conversation with Radio 3 presenter Donald Macleod, introduces a feast of cantatas for the church year.  

The evening concert performances of Bach's major works, such as the St Matthew Passion, the Goldberg Variations and the Mass in B Minor, include an organ recital from St Thomas's Church in Leipzig – where Bach was cantor and music director – performed by his present-day successor. 

Musicians who will guide listeners through Bach's works include Emma Kirkby, Sigiswald Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, Andreas Scholl, Gillian Weir, Andrew Manze, András Schiff, Christopher Hogwood, Masaaki Suzuki, Sir Roger Norrington, Daniel Barenboim, Joanna McGregor and Ian Bostridge.

Unlike the six days of continuous Beethoven in June, BBC Radio 3 will not be offering any music for free download.


BBC Radio 3: A Bach Christmas  

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