Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Early Music Show broadcasts live from Brighton!

Clare Norburn, Co-Artistic Director of the Brighton Early Music Festival takes the guest blog slot to write about the experiences of a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the festival.

Wednesday, 21st October 11am
Les Pratt, producer of BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show calls to talk through the suggested order of the show. We planned it first with him back in February and we have chosen three young groups to perform live. Les has finalised timings with them for their pieces, has some ideas about what the presenter, Lucie Skeaping will ask and which CDs relating to festival concerts they will play. He wants to check that I am Ok to talk about certain of the festivals themes and concerts. Les tells me his next phone call will be to Deborah Roberts, my “partner in crime” the other Co-Artistic Director of the Festival.

Saturday 24th October 8am
The BBC van arrives at the Sallis Benney Theatre and the BBC team start setting up – which involves an awful lot of cabling.

Harpsichord arrives and is tuned by our lovely harpsichord provider, Malcolm Rose.

The first ensemble, Triologue, arrive promptly for their sound check. Lucie Skeaping, presenter arrives to go through her script with Les Pratt and Deborah Roberts and myself. 1607 Ensemble arrive and wait for their sound check.

Final group to have their sound check is Tempus Fugit – they have by far the most complicated set up – sitar, theorbo (extremely long-necked lute like instrument but with a second set of long deep bass strings), harpsichord, violin, recorder and two singers. It’s their first broadcast and they want to get it right!

Amazing! The sound checks finish 15 minutes early. Malcolm gives the harpsichord a final tuning.

Doors open to the audience.

Les Pratt, the producer comes on stage to introduce Lucie Skeaping, the presenter, to tell everyone what is going to happen. We wait in a hushed state trying to imagine the newsreader in London and keeping a weather eye on our watches. Suddenly, we’re live. The red light is on and Lucie announces “Today the Early Music Show comes live from the Brighton Early Music Festival…..” We are broadcasting live to the nation for the next hour!

You can hear the broadcast on BBC iplayer and the Brighton Early Music Festival continues till 8th November -

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