All-day revels for un-ancient Marriner

All-day revels for un-ancient Marriner


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2014

We have been accused at times, quite unfairly, of being a tad harsh on that derivative, soporific, life-draining operation known as Classic FM. ‘Never a good word to say about us,’ we’ve heard its bosses complains.

Well, here’s one.

On Tuesday, April 15, Sir Neville Marriner’s 90th birthday, all music broadcast on Classic FM will be conducted by him. Prior to that, from Saturday March 29 Classic FM will relay Neville Marriner at 90 Week, climaxing with a broadcast of Sir Neville’s 90th birthday concert from the Royal Festival Hall with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields – the ensemble he founded in 1958.

Well done, Classic FM.

Neville is the most recorded conductor after Herbert von Karajan and the kindest man that ever set foot on a podium. It is fit and proper to honour him in this way. Good programming, too. Press release follows.


neville marriner

Classic FM, Global’s national classical music station, has announced a major celebration of Sir Neville Marriner to mark the British conductor’s 90th birthday.


For the first time in its 21-year history, Classic FM will play one conductor’s recordings for an entire 24-hour period. On Tuesday 15th April – Sir Neville’s birthday – every single piece of music broadcast on Classic FM will be conducted by him, as the station honours this remarkable musician.


Preceding this unique takeover, from Saturday 29th March Classic FM will devote a week of special programmes to the conductor.Neville Marriner at 90 Week will culminate in an exclusive broadcast of Sir Neville’s 90th birthday concert on Friday 4th April from the Royal Festival Hall with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields – the ensemble he founded in 1958. Sir Neville has worked with the Academy for over fifty years and remains Life President.


The celebratory week will include an interview with Sir Neville and his son, the clarinettist Andrew Marriner, both of whom will be guests onCharlotte Green’s Culture Club on Sunday 30th March (3pm to 5pm). The programme will also feature an interview with the current Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, violinist Joshua Bell. Later that evening (7pm to 9pm), David Mellor will present an affectionate tribute to the conductor with some of his finest archive recordings.


From Monday 31st March, Jane Jones will host five special Full Works Concerts (8pm to 10pm), dedicated to profiling the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. On Monday, Jane begins with an exclusive broadcast of a concert recorded for Classic FM at London’s Cadogan Hall in January, which sees Joshua Bell lead the orchestra in Bach’s Violin Concerto in E and Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 (‘Eroica’). From Tuesday to Thursday, many of Sir Neville’s most acclaimed recordings with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields will be played, whilst on Friday the celebrations continue with the broadcast of the conductor’s 90th birthday concert, recorded on Monday 1stApril at the Royal Festival Hall with the Academy.


Further celebrations during the week will include a special edition of Saturday Night at the Movies with Howard Goodall (5pm to 7pm) in which the film score discography of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields will be profiled, while Classic FM morning presenter John Suchet will feature the orchestra’s brand new recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 14 and 27 with pianist Ingrid Jacoby, conducted by Sir Neville, as Classic FM’s Album of the Week.



  • Fritz Curzon says:

    Congratulations to Sir Neville and greetings to him and Andrew too.

  • David Boxwell says:

    90 is not too young to do new repertoire (his recent Chandos recording of Schulhoff and Krenek is wonderful).

  • Max says:

    Hard to believe a conductor as good as Marriner was once head of the MN Orchestra.

    Those were the days!

  • thank you Sir Neville for re-introducing me to classical music when I was living in Poland in the 70,s. My mother was a Royal Academician way back and had tried to educate me but other types of music got in the way. Living in Poland at that time was very difficult but the one thing we were able to buy were CD,s (mostly of Chopin!) and it was wonderful to find your recordings in Warsaw . I have felt for a very long time that your achievements should have long been celebrated so am So delighted to hear that ,at long last, the powers that be have realised this too! My daughter,Amanda, receives the latest about you from Andrew which she then sends to me. Thank you so much for your music. Judith Forster

  • Barbara Chasson says:

    I played with ‘Sir’ Neville in the 80’s (he wasn’t a ‘Sir’ then) and the Academy of St. Martins, etc. An American violist, resident in London for 20 years, freelance player. Neville was a total ‘mensch’ and I send him a big hug for his birthday! BTW: I turned 71 two days ago!!!! Happy Birthday to you, my fellow Picesean!!!