Tomorrow, the BBC begins a ten-day broadcast of the works of Bach (pictured in a little-known youthful portrait). The usual suspects will be contributing: Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Sir Roger Norrington, Dame Janet Baker, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Fiona Shaw, Ian McEwan, and Sir Wynton Marsalis. Special features of the broadcast include Bach on Call (orchestras show up to play Bach in different parts of Britain, at listeners' request); Toccata and Fugue in D Minor Day (at least a hundred organists around the country will play the probably-not-by-Bach work on Dec. 18); and the Bach Walk (Peter Dyke, organist at Hereford Cathedral, is re-creating Bach's epic 260-mile journey from Arnstadt to Lübeck, and delivering audio diaries along the way; see also Rick Jones's report in the Times). Parents of insufferably precocious children can treat them to the Bach Advent Calendar. See, this is the kind of left-wing atheist nonsense that happens when the government gets involved with the arts. Thank God the good old US of A has nothing like the BBC! We do have WKCR, the Columbia University radio station, which begins its annual Bach Fest on Dec. 22. It bears repeating that the notion of broadcasting huge swaths of one composer's music was invented by a DJ at WHRB-FM in 1943, and that the tradition continues with WHRB's semiannual Orgy® Period, the next edition of which arrives in January. Past Orgies® have included near-complete chronological surveys of Bach (twice), Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Britten, Shostakovich, Coltrane, Mingus, and the Tall Dwarfs, not to mention a program entitled Schnorgy, featuring music of Schnabel, Schnebel, and Schnittke, which prompted an investigation by the FCC.