In the first week of June, the BBC will broadcast the complete works of Beethoven, from the juvenile piano trios to the climactic string quartet in F major, Opus 135, with many fragments and oddities besides. The exercise is being initiated, as you might expect, by high-minded Radio 3, which is clearing its decks of all other music for six days and nights.
The article ends with a rousing,
The BBC Philharmonic will play the cycle with chief conductor Gianandrea Noseda over two weekends at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester...
These concerts will be aired on Radio 3 and "streamed" for a week on the website [www.bbc.co.uk/radio3]. Anyone from here to Hong Kong can slip a disk into the drive and download a set for keeps. Allow five minutes on broadband for Symphonies One to Eight, 10 minutes for the momentous Ninth.
Just when we thought the cultural Apocalypse was here...
And when, two or three decades hence, China is the world's largest industrial power, it will be Noseda's Beethoven that couples recall over pre-concert double-lattes as their formative revelation, as our grandparents once savoured Toscanini's over Nescafé.
Such, no less, is the potential magnitude of the BBC's magnanimity. And, to those on-message politicians who want to clip the wings of public broadcasting and yoke it to their social agendas, the Beethoven week is a robust reminder that there is life yet in the Reithian principle: that broadcasting must educate and inform, and that there is no better way in the 21st century for nation to speak peace unto nation.
(Please note that the link to the article will expire within 7-14 days.)