At 8pm last night BBC viewers and listeners everywhere were in for a treat…
In their first ever pan-channel broadcast the BBC launched BBC Music, an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives with a spectacular version of God Only Knows. The reworking of the song, originally by The Beach Boys, was performed by 27 musicians from all genres of music, uniting to create ‘The Impossible Orchestra’.
The launch of this new initiative shows the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in over 30 years. Bob Shennan, Director BBC Music, said: “This is an exciting moment for BBC Music as we launch to a global audience. With the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra at its heart and comprising an array of iconic music stars, from a wide range of musical genres, this ‘impossible’ orchestra is a celebration of all the talent, diversity and musical passion found every single day throughout the BBC. Our audiences are very clear in their passion for music and that’s why BBC Music exists: to create, curate and celebrate music – for the love of it.”
God Only Knows features the song’s original writer and creator, Brian Wilson, alongside a list of world-famous musicians including Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Gareth Malone, Jools Holland and, of course, the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Brian Wilson said that he felt “incredibly humbled that the BBC would choose God Only Knows to promote their new music initiative. All of the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough. I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. God Only Knows is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”
The location of the film is also very special as the Alexandra Palace Theatre is the home of the first ever BBC broadcast over 90 years ago!
The song has now been released as a single in a first-time collaboration between Sony, Warner and Universal Music and all of the proceeds are going to BBC Children in Need. It is already available to download and will be in shops later in the week.
During 2013/14 the BBC has broadcast over 41,000 hours of musical content making it the world’s largest music broadcaster. This has included 600 classical music concerts a year on Radio 3, Radio 1’s Big Weekend and The Proms. BBC Four is also the biggest commissioner of music documentaries in the UK.
Also this week, BBC Ten Pieces has launched in cinemas and on iPlayer as the BBC Learning team joins with over 200 partners and classical musicians to help inspire primary school children and introduce them to classical music. Approximately 100,000 children will see the film at over 300 screenings across the UK and eventually the DVD of the film will be made available to primary schools for free.
All information about BBC Music can be found on their new homepage.