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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 12:37 GMT
Radio 3 plans Beethoven marathon
Ludwig Van Beethoven
The influential composer combined traditional and innovative elements
BBC Radio 3 is clearing the airwaves to make way for the entire works of Beethoven next year.

Listeners will be able to hear everything from his major symphonies to lesser-known folk songs over six consecutive days and nights in June.

For the first time in the network's history, schedules will be entirely devoted to one theme.

Radio 3 controller Roger Wright said: "Our listeners have huge loyalty, curiosity - and stamina!"

"They want to be taken further in their search for knowledge."

Regular presenters will be on hand to take listeners through Beethoven's classic repertoire and will be joined by guest appearances from Alfred Brendel, Sir Roger Norrington and violinist Peter Cropper of the Lindsay Quartet.

Former ITV News presenter John Suchet will read from his trilogy about the composer, The Last Master, while actor John Hurt will read extracts from some of Beethoven's letters.

Live performances will come from the Lindsay Quartet, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda.

"This innovative approach to programming that Radio 3 can uniquely deliver builds on the award-winning success of our special evenings and seasons such as those dedicated to Berlioz, Walton, Janacek and Dallapiccola," said Mr Wright.

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