Music Feature

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
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*20090725

Novelist and guitar enthusiast Louis De Bernieres and classical guitar virtuoso Craig Ogden travel to Linares in Andalucia to visit the museum established in honour of its most famous son, Andres Segovia, and to discover more about the man regarded as the greatest guitarist of the 20th century.

Albeniz: Granada

DG 471430-2

Granados: Spanish Dance No 10 (Danse triste)

Granados: Spanish Dance No 5 (Andaluza)

Granados: El Maja de Goya

Bach: Gavotte en rondeau (Lute Suite No 4)

Frescobaldi: Air

DG 471699-22

Tarrega: Estudio in A

EMI R6104720

Sor: Study in D

Sor: Variations on a Theme by Mozart

Naxos 8.111090

Debussy: La fille aux cheveux de lin

Torroba: Torija (Castles of Spain)

Tedesco: Sonata (Omaggio a Boccherini) (finale)

Llobet: El noi de la mare

Naxos 8.111087

Falla: Homenaje

DG 471698-22

Ponce: Concierto del Sur (1st mvt)

Ponce: Sonatina

Naxos 8.111088

Chopin: Prelude No 7 in A

Albeniz: Sevilla

Mompou: Muneira (Suite Compostelana)

Villa-Lobos: Study No 1

Segovia: Estudio sin luz

Torroba: Fandanguillo (Suite Castellana)

Torroba: Los Mayos

Tarrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Rodrigo: Fandango

Louis De Bernieres visits the museum devoted to Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia.

*20090725

Novelist and guitar enthusiast Louis De Bernieres and classical guitar virtuoso Craig Ogden travel to Linares in Andalucia to visit the museum established in honour of its most famous son, Andres Segovia, and to discover more about the man regarded as the greatest guitarist of the 20th century.

Albeniz: Granada

DG 471430-2

Granados: Spanish Dance No 10 (Danse triste)

Granados: Spanish Dance No 5 (Andaluza)

Granados: El Maja de Goya

Bach: Gavotte en rondeau (Lute Suite No 4)

Frescobaldi: Air

DG 471699-22

Tarrega: Estudio in A

EMI R6104720

Sor: Study in D

Sor: Variations on a Theme by Mozart

Naxos 8.111090

Debussy: La fille aux cheveux de lin

Torroba: Torija (Castles of Spain)

Tedesco: Sonata (Omaggio a Boccherini) (finale)

Llobet: El noi de la mare

Naxos 8.111087

Falla: Homenaje

DG 471698-22

Ponce: Concierto del Sur (1st mvt)

Ponce: Sonatina

Naxos 8.111088

Chopin: Prelude No 7 in A

Albeniz: Sevilla

Mompou: Muneira (Suite Compostelana)

Villa-Lobos: Study No 1

Segovia: Estudio sin luz

Torroba: Fandanguillo (Suite Castellana)

Torroba: Los Mayos

Tarrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Rodrigo: Fandango

Louis De Bernieres visits the museum devoted to Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia.

*2008071920090912

Concentrating on the novels of Jane Austen, Fiona Talkington and Dr Jeanice Brooks of Southampton University present an insight into the world of the amateur musician in the late 18th century, looking at society's attitudes to them and the notion of female 'accomplishment'.

*2008071920090912

Concentrating on the novels of Jane Austen, Fiona Talkington and Dr Jeanice Brooks of Southampton University present an insight into the world of the amateur musician in the late 18th century, looking at society's attitudes to them and the notion of female 'accomplishment'.

*2008112920090808

Nigel Simeone visits Paris to tell the story of classical music activity in the city during the years of Nazi occupation.

Historians, musicologists and musicians vividly outline both the oppression and the resistance in the concert halls, conservatoires and radio studios of the time.

Nigel Simeone tells the story of classical music activity in Nazi-occupied Paris.

*2008112920090808

Nigel Simeone visits Paris to tell the story of classical music activity in the city during the years of Nazi occupation.

Historians, musicologists and musicians vividly outline both the oppression and the resistance in the concert halls, conservatoires and radio studios of the time.

Nigel Simeone tells the story of classical music activity in Nazi-occupied Paris.

19/07/200820090912
29/11/200820090808
50 Years Of Minimalism In Music2011060420111119

American conductor Richard Bernas talks to Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Bob Wilson, Louis Andriessen, Michael Nyman, Meredith Monk, David Lang, Nico Muhly, John Rockwell, Paula Cooper, among others, as he undertakes a critical survey of five decades of Minimalism in music. He traces its origins in both the San Francisco and New York underground cultures of the early 1960s, exploring the relationship between music and the visual arts, but also theatre and dance. He also assesses how Minimalism, arguably the newest style proper to emerge in Classical music, evolved into a mature and powerful force during the 1970s and 80s, eventually becoming part of the cultural mainstream of today's America. Crossing the Atlantic, he examines its influence in the wider field of European composers, such as Michael Nyman and Louis Andriessen - who've created their own brands of Minimalism.

Presenter: Richard Bernas

Producer: Juan Carlos Jaramillo.

Richard Bernas with a critical survey of Minimalism in music, both in America and Europe.

A Guide To Accomplishment

A Public Right And Obligation - The Music Of The New Deal2011032620110820

In the current economic climate some British cultural organisations are looking to America in search of ideas for fundraising. The received opinion is that America is the great shining example of private and philanthropic sponsorship of the arts. But it was not always the case - there was one brief period, a radical blossoming of government subsidy, when President Franklin D Roosevelt initiated centralised arts funding from scratch.

The National Theatre's Nicholas Hytner investigates these five golden years in New Deal America when music and the arts flourished.

Federal funding stimulated the growth of new audiences, boosted music education, kept orchestras from going under and gave a platform for composers from rural and minority backgrounds.

Beginning in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression in America, the Works Progress Administration or WPA established a scheme to get people off the dole and into jobs. Workers in the arts had to prove their skills and then were paid to perform or work behind the scenes. Orchestras and bands went to parks, parade grounds, ladies lunch meetings, factories and churches.

The Federal Music Project was less radical than the Federal Theater Project, Hytner explains. The head of music, was a Russian born classical violinist Nicolai Sokoloff, who wanted the public to be exposed to "cultivated music". The public could also interrogate composers after "laboratory" lectures. Much of the music has been lost but 12 discs of government radio broadcasts were discovered at the New York Public Library during the course of the making of this programme. Funding ended in 1939 due to the war effort and some of the political direction of the theatre projects, which caused unease within the government.

Nicholas Hytner explores the federal arts funding in Roosevelt's New Deal America.

Nicholas Hytner explores federal arts funding in Roosevelt's New Deal America.

Ballet Goes To The Music Hall2011123120120825

Deborah Bull explores ballet music in late Victorian London, at the music hall theatres.

Deborah Bull discovers a world where ballet was all about the spectacle - at the music hall theatres in late Victorian London. She talks to the dance historian Jane Pritchard and the conductor Benjamin Pope about the main composers, Georges Jacobi and Leopold Wenzel, and finds out more about the kind of dance that took place at the Alhambra and Empire Theatres in Leicester Square. Including music specially recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

First broadcast in December 2011.

Bostridge On Britten20130126

Bostridge On Britten2013012620130629

Tenor Ian Bostridge gives his perspective on Benjamin Britten.

Ian Bostridge is famous for singing the music of Benjamin Britten. In the composer's centenary year, the singer reflects on the greatness of Britten's vocal music, so much of which was written for the tenor voice.

Ian Bostridge brings his singer's experience and deep intelligence to bear on a composer whose work has formed a central part of his repertoire throughout his singing career. He pays tribute to Peter Pears, whose lifelong interpretation of Britten's music he greatly admires. He reflects on why Britten has never been fully absorbed into the mainstream of classical music and considers whether it has something to do with Britten's preoccupation with troubled, alienated characters and situations - exemplified in operas such as Peter Grimes and Turn of the Screw.

The subjects of Britten's interest - the ostracized Peter Grimes or the tortured Captain Vere in Billy Budd - are powerfully characterized by the tenor voice. Between the countertenor and baritone, the tenor voice has the capacity to express the nuances of Britten's musical language.

In this programme - full of wonderful music from the song cycles, the operas and the choral works - Ian Bostridge contemplates the strangeness of Britten's genius.

First broadcast in January 2013.

Ian Bostridge is famous for singing the music of Benjamin Britten. At the beginning of the composer's centenary year, the singer reflects on the greatness of Britten's vocal music, so much of which was written for the tenor voice.

Ian Bostridge brings his singer's experience and deep intelligence to bear on a composer whose work has formed a central part of his repertoire throughout his singing career.

He pays tribute to Peter Pears, whose lifelong interpretation of Britten's music he greatly admires.

He reflects on why Britten has never been fully absorbed into the mainstream of classical music and considers whether it has something to do with Britten's preoccupation with troubled, alienated characters and situations - exemplified in operas such as Peter Grimes and Turn of the Screw.

Celebrating Cecilia20081122

Catherine Bott tells the story of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

Chaplin And Music20121229

Charlie Chaplin's role as a pioneering actor, comedian and film maker we know. Less well known is his work as a film composer. Although he could not read music, he worked very closely with music collaborators, singing ideas and giving advice about instrumentation. Matthew Sweet explores the importance of music in Chaplin's creative life and the crucial role it played in his films.

Charles Valentin Alkan

Chopin's Scottish Swansong20100320
Come Heavy Sleep20130713

Tom Mckinney meets guitarist Julian Bream on the eve of his 80th birthday to discuss his career and a defining composition by Benjamin Britten that helped to elevate him and his instrument onto the global stage.

Julian Bream is arguably the most important guitarist of the second half of the twentieth century: pioneer of the burgeoning period instrument movement and champion of new repertoire for the guitar. The archetypal eccentric Englishman with a huge personality and incredible musical ability, Bream had a massive impact on the global musical scene from the 1960s, becoming a genuine a household name with appearances on prime-time television and platinum record sales.

His performances at the Aldeburgh Festival in the 50s, especially his recitals of Elizabethan songs with Benjamin Britten's partner the tenor Peter Pears, eventually led to Britten writing what is perhaps the guitar's finest work - the Nocturnal after John Dowland, an unsettling and often disturbing set of variations based on the song Come Heavy Sleep by John Dowland. It was a landmark moment: that a composer of Britten's stature should write such a substantial and significant piece of music for the guitar, changed at once the perception of the instrument and its subsequent repertoire. At that time the guitar was still a minority instrument, inseparably linked to its Spanish heritage. Bream pounced on the opportunity to play Nocturnal worldwide, almost utilising it as a bargaining chip to coax many other major composers into write for guitar, such as Walton, Tippett, Henze, Takemitsu and Maxwell Davies.

With contributions from guitarist Craig Ogden, Britten expert Mervyn Cooke and Bream biographer Tony Palmer, we will hear about the legacy of the Nocturnal and of Julian Bream's remarkable contribution to the guitar's history.

Dancing The Apocalypse

Dancing The Apocalypse20100731

Tom Service is obsessed with Ravel's orchestral piece La Valse. It's little wonder: the twelve-minute masterpiece is one of the most original and enigmatic works in all music. In the course of those twelve minutes Ravel presents a charming waltz in the Viennese style of Johann Strauss and then begins first to dismantle it, and finally to take an orchestral sledgehammer to the musical form. With La Valse, Ravel opened a new door in music and closed it right after him. But what prompted this violent and exhilarating music? Ravel refused to be drawn on the subject but others have seen in the work a perfect picture of an out of control Europe dancing inexorably, terrifyingly to World War 2.

Tom talks to conductor Eliahu Inbal, composer George Benjamin, Ravel biographer Roger Nichols and to David Lamaze who claims to have discovered in La Valse a hidden clue to Ravel's intent.

Tom Service looks at the dark beauty of Ravel's masterpiece La valse.

Debussy's Summer Of 1912

Debussy's Summer Of 191220090718
Dialogues of Sorrow

Dialogues Of Sorrow2010092520110813

Historian, Tristram Hunt explores how the death of Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King James I at the age of only 18, gripped the nation and led to an unprecedented outpouring of musical and cultural responses.

He was the "People's Prince" and over 2,000 official mourners attended his funeral with satellite events in Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol. Just compare that to Elizabeth I's death where there were only a couple of hundred official mourners. They felt the loss of what might have been had Henry succeed the uncouth and ill-disciplined, James.

Henry was seen as the great hope for Great Britain. He was a renaissance prince who looked to Europe, collecting Italian art, he loved pomp and ceremony and he vowed to fight the protestant cause. Every major writer and composer responded to the young Prince's death, including John Donne, George Herbert, William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes.

Tristram Hunt explores these responses with the help of Gabriel Crouch, director of the vocal ensemble Gallicantus, and music editor Sally Dunkley. In the library of Christchurch, Oxford they uncover the Fanshawe manuscripts, one of the most important collections of responses including the heartfelt and moving piece "Tis now Dead Night" by Thomas Ford, recently reconstructed for performance by Gallicantus.

Tristram also visits the National Portrait Gallery with its former director, historian Sir Roy Strong, who has been fascinated by Henry's life since the 1960s. At the gallery, they see portraits of the dashing young prince, a small medallion of him portrayed like a Roman emperor and an etching of the hearse for his lavish funeral. It's impossible to ignore the parallels to Diana's death.

Tristram Hunt explores the musical responses to the death of Prince Henry, son of James I.

Erik Satie Walks To Work2010122520110827

Composers don't come much odder than the Frenchman Erik Satie (1866-1925). His music - from slow meditative pieces to fast jokey ones with a flavour of the cabaret - was astonishingly individual; and his way of life was just as weird. Not least because he never had any money.

In 1898 Satie moved from the heart of bohemian Paris to the obscure suburb of Arcueil. No doubt he was desperate to save money - but he also liked the idea of cutting himself off from the musical establishment. Every day for a decade or more he would walk the 10 kilometres north across the city to earn a meagre living playing the piano in the cabarets of Montmartre. If he missed the last train - or couldn't afford it - he'd walk home again at night. He walked, he looked, he listened - and he spent plenty of time in cafes, where he drank, talked to friends and strangers, and even wrote music.

In this Music Feature Sarah Walker retraces Satie's footsteps from Arcueil to Montmartre - and uncovers the secrets behind his unique music: in the people and street life of Paris, its cafés and cabarets, and in the very act of walking itself.

Presenter: Sarah Walker

Producer: David Gallagher.

Sarah Walker retraces French composer Erik Satie's daily walk across Paris.

Sarah Walker retraces Satie's footsteps from Arcueil to Montmartre - and uncovers the secrets behind his unique music: in the people and street life of Paris, its cafés and cabarets, and in the very act of walking itself.

Gershwin's Horns20080520 (BBC7)
20150123 (BBC7)
20150124 (BBC7)

Rainer Hersch explores the musical significance of unusual instruments.

Rainer Hersch explores the musical significance of unusual instruments, including cannons, car horns, anvils, typewriters and salad bowls. All have featured in concert performances over the last two hundred years, but who plays them?

With the help of two leading British percussion players, Mick Doran and Neil Percy, Rainer explores the soundscape that can conjured up by bowing a cymbal, rubbing a plastic cup on a gong or hitting a car suspension spring with a hammer.

Gershwin's Horns20090426
Giovanni's House

Giovanni's House20090815
Hidden Composers

Hidden Composers

Hidden Composers2009103120100911

Two French women composers fought against the prejudice and pressures of their time to write their music. Both lived at the turn of the 20th century, and after their deaths their music was either lost or ignored. Now their reputations are being revived. Lowri Blake talks to those who are bringing the wealth of music by Louise Heritte-Viardot and Mel Bonis back into the public domain, and to the writer on music Richard Langham-Smith for whom this was a rewarding voyage of discovery.

Presenter: Lowri Blake

Producer: Richard Bannerman.

Lowri Blake discusses the revival of the music of Louise Heritte-Viardot and Mel Bonis.

If Chimes Could Whisper - The Strange Tale Of The Glass Armonica2012042820121222

Dame Evelyn Glennie celebrates the 250th birthday of one of the most unusual of all musical instruments, the Glass Armonica, premiered by Benjamin Franklin in 1762. She tries out the working instrument at the Benjamin Franklin House in London, sees an original example in the Horniman Museum, and discovers the repertoire written for it by Mozart, Hasse and Donizetti. On the way, she encounters madness and mental illness, reveals one of the world's first female virtuosi, Marianne Davies, and meets the man responsible for the present day revival of this remarkable instrument, Thomas Bloch.

First broadcast in April 2012.

Percussionist Evelyn Glennie celebrates the 250th birthday of the glass armonica.

Inspired By Birds2012022520120908

Tom McKinney explores how throughout history birds have inspired music.

Professional musician Tom McKinney has been fascinated by birds used in music since his mid teens when he first heard Chronochromie, an enormous orchestral work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, which quotes extensively from European, Far-Eastern and Central American birds.

In this Radio 3 Music Feature Tom meets fellow enthusiasts who reflect upon the profound impact that birds have had on many composers.

Experts Mark Constantine and Magnus Robb have compiled over 45,000 incredible recordings of birds some of which feature in the programme allowing birds themselves to take pride of place.

Close personal friend of Messiaen's, Peter Hill gives tantalizing glimpses into the personal life of music's most committed bird enthusiast.

As Tom discovers, being inspired by bird sound can affect people in many different ways. For a composer bird sound is source material in order to create a work of art, for example the migratory calls from a flock of swans over Sibelius's home in Finland formed the main theme in the 3rd movement of his 5th Symphony.

But for an obsessive birder like Andy Roadhouse at Spurn Point in East Yorkshire, birds become the entire focus of a person's life.

Tom reflects on composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven and Wagner who have all been fascinated - maybe even intoxicated - by bird sound. From the composition of an orchestral symphony to counting flocks of calling Meadow Pipits, the programme hears just how profoundly bird sound can affect and inspire us.

First broadcast in February 2012.

Tom McKinney explores how throughout history birds have inspired music.

Professional musician Tom McKinney has been fascinated by birds used in music since his mid teens when he first heard Chronochromie, an enormous orchestral work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, which quotes extensively from European, Far-Eastern and Central American birds.

In this Radio 3 Music Feature Tom meets fellow enthusiasts who reflect upon the profound impact that birds have had on many composers.

Experts Mark Constantine and Magnus Robb have compiled over 45,000 incredible recordings of birds some of which feature in the programme allowing birds themselves to take pride of place.

Close personal friend of Messiaen's, Peter Hill gives tantalizing glimpses into the personal life of music's most committed bird enthusiast.

As Tom discovers, being inspired by bird sound can affect people in many different ways. For a composer bird sound is source material in order to create a work of art, for example the migratory calls from a flock of swans over Sibelius's home in Finland formed the main theme in the 3rd movement of his 5th Symphony.

But for an obsessive birder like Andy Roadhouse at Spurn Point in East Yorkshire, birds become the entire focus of a person's life.

Tom reflects on composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven and Wagner who have all been fascinated - maybe even intoxicated - by bird sound. From the composition of an orchestral symphony to counting flocks of calling Meadow Pipits, the programme hears just how profoundly bird sound can affect and inspire us.

First broadcast in February 2012.

As Tom discovers, being inspired by bird sound can affect people in many different ways. For a composer bird sound is source material in order to create a work of art, for example the migratory calls from a flock of swans over Sibelius' home in Finland formed the main theme in the 3rd movement of his 5th Symphony.

Killer Bs20081226

A celebration of a virtually extinct aspect of the music industry, the B-side of a record.

Lessons With Mozart

Lessons With Mozart20091226
Music At The Court Of Catherine The Great2011102920120804

Virginia Rounding explores the music of Catherine the Great's court and charts its legacy.

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796, didn't portray herself as naturally musical. In her letters and memoirs she makes it clear that, when it came to music, she could make neither head nor tail of it - a rather unpromising patron of music, to say the least.

But, argues Virginia Rounding, who has written a biography of the Empress, though it may be true that she was not much of a musician herself, music was central not only to Catherine's determination to establish Russia as a leading cultural - and political - force, but also in her effort to reshape the education and role of women in her court and in aristocratic society. And, it is arguably under Catherine that a distinctively Russian classical music tradition began to emerge.

With music by Giuseppe Sarti, Tommaso Traetta Baldassare Galuppi, Vasily Pashkevich, Dmitry Bortniansky and by a number of princesses at her court, including Natalia Kourakine, Maria Zubova and Maria Naryshkin.

Produced by Hannah Rosenfelder

This is a Just Radio Ltd production for Radio 3

First broadcast in October 2011.

Virginia Rounding explores the music of Catherine the Great's court and charts its legacy.

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796, didn't portray herself as naturally musical. In her letters and memoirs she makes it clear that, when it came to music, she could make neither head nor tail of it - a rather unpromising patron of music, to say the least.

But, argues Virginia Rounding, who has written a biography of the Empress, though it may be true that she was not much of a musician herself, music was central not only to Catherine's determination to establish Russia as a leading cultural - and political - force, but also in her effort to reshape the education and role of women in her court and in aristocratic society. And, it is arguably under Catherine that a distinctively Russian classical music tradition began to emerge.

With music by Giuseppe Sarti, Tommaso Traetta Baldassare Galuppi, Vasily Pashkevich, Dmitry Bortniansky and by a number of princesses at her court, including Natalia Kourakine, Maria Zubova and Maria Naryshkin.

Produced by Hannah Rosenfelder

This is a Just Radio Ltd production for Radio 3

First broadcast in October 2011.

Music Of The King James Bible2011052820111224

The Revd Richard Coles assesses the influence that the Authorised Version of the Bible has had on music during the past 400 years. With the help of composers, writers and musicians he follows the trail of the King James translation from madrigals to missionaries and from Handel to hip-hop.

He considers the problems and rewards of setting the sometimes-difficult language of the 1611 version in choral anthems and oratorios. But he also tracks its journey into the American gospel tradition and discovers its central importance in the lyrics of Bob Dylan.

Richard Coles on the influence that the Authorised Version of the Bible has had on music.

The Revd Richard Coles assesses the influence that the King James Bible has had on music during the past 400 years. With the help of composers, writers and musicians he follows the trail of the King James translation from madrigals to missionaries and from Handel to hip-hop.

Musical Comedy Was My Dish20080902 (BBC7)
20150216 (BBC7)
20150217 (BBC7)

Ben Elton explores the lyrical side of PG Wodehouse, who wrote for many musical comedies.

Ben Elton explores a forgotten side of his greatest literary hero. PG Wodehouse wrote lyrics for hundreds of songs which appeared in many musical comedies. He worked with composers such as Jerome Kern and Cole Porter, making an invaluable contribution to the development of musical comedy on Broadway and in the West End.

Musical Comedy Was My Dish20081224

Ben Elton explores the lyrical side of PG Wodehouse, who wrote for many musical comedies.

Musical Deletions2013022320130831

Roderick Swanston explores musical deletions, revision and completions, tracing the process of how works reach their final version, uncovering some intriguing stories along the way and offering a vision of the creative process that is all too often ignored. Featuring music by Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Elgar, Mahler and Bruckner and insights from Christopher Hogwood, Anthony Payne, Barry Cooper, John Williamson and Lois Fitch.

Producer: Hannah Rosenfelder

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 3

First broadcast in February 2012.

Nights In A Divided Spain20110903

Thoughts of Spanish music mostly conjure up images of exoticism or flamenco, frequently written by composers from outside Spain itself. But within Spain a national music was flourishing at the start of the 20th century, with Manuel de Falla leading the way. Dermot Clinch explores the meaning of 'Spanishness' for native composers such as Falla, Joaquin Rodrigo and Roberto Gerhard (later exiled in England), and looks at their music against the backdrop of the political and cultural upheavals of the 1930s and 40s: the creation of the Republic followed by the Nationalist uprising, the ensuing Civil War and the subsequent regime of General Franco.

With contributions from the musicologists Carol Hess, Graham Wade and Samuel Llano and from the historian Paul Preston, along with the insider's viewpoint from Madrid with Cecilia Rodrigo, daughter of the composer and keeper of his memory and archive.

Dermot Clinch explores Spain's music and political history in the early 20th century.

Ode To Whitman

Ode To Whitman20100724

Rob Cowan explores the attraction to composers of the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Whitman's poetry has inspired an extraordinary number of musical works - there are some 1200 vocal and instrumental settings of his verse by, among others, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Bernstein, Ives, Weill, Hindemith, Holst and John Adams - and the 'Bard of Democracy's optimistic, inclusive, radically free voice continues to appeal to contemporary composers today.

Some of the earliest settings were by English composers, who saw in Whitman a liberation from Victorian jingoism. He represented instead optimism and renewal, a celebration of free speech and free love. Its timeless qualities meant that Whitman's poetry also became a potent force during the Second World War for Kurt Weill and Paul Hindemith, in flight from the Nazis, and looking to forge a new American identity.

Weaving together readings of his poetry with some of the music setting his words, and with contributions from David Reynolds, author of 'Walt Whitman's America,' on the influence of music on Whitman's verse, M. Wynn Thomas on the radical qualities of his poetry, and Jack Sullivan on the musical responses to Whitman, this feature takes in some of the wealth of music Whitman has inspired, and discovers the inherently musical aspects of his writing. Music was such a powerful force on Whitman that he saw himself less as a poet than as a singer or bard, and his verse repeatedly alludes to it: "I sing the body electric", "Song of myself", "I hear America singing" are among his titles. Seeing his poetry as a kind of singing, he highlighted American themes but also integrated operatic techniques - the most profound influence on him being, as he put it, "the great, overwhelming, touching human voice..."

Vaughan Williams: Toward the Unknown Region (extract)

Roderick Williams, Baritone/ Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/ David Lloyd-Jones

Michael Tilson Thomas: We two boys together clinging (extract)

Thomas Hampson (baritone)/ Craig Rutenberg (piano)

Delius: Sea Drift (two extracts)

Bryn Terfel (baritone)/ Bournemouth Symphony Chorus/ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ Richard Hickox (conductor)

Vaughan Williams: Sea Symphony (extract - mvt 1)

BBC Symphony Chorus/ BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Andrew Davis (cond)

Bernstein: To What You Said (extract)

Charles Ives: Walt Whitman

John Adams: The Wound Dresser (extract)

Christopher Maltman (baritone)/ BBC Symphony Orchestra/ John Adams (conductor)

Hindemith: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd: A Requiem for Those We Love (extract: March, Over the breast of spring)

Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/ Robert Shaw (conductor)

Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem

Yvonne Kenny (soprano)/ London Symphony Chorus/ London Symphony Orchestra/ Richard Hickox (conductor)

Delius: Songs of Farewell (extract - II 'I stand as on some mighty eagle's beak')

Bournemouth Symphony Chorus/ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ Richard Hickox (conductor).

Rob Cowan explores the attraction of composers to the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Our Lady Of Paris2013032320130907

Simon Russell Beale celebrates the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame, Paris, by exploring the tension between the sacred and secular as expressed in the musical and cultural life of this city.

Eight hundred and fifty years ago the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame was founded. The technological and intellectual innovations that erupted at this time gave birth not only to advances in architecture but also to a revolution in western music. Mediaeval musicians veered away from single line plainchant, adding multiple voices and complex harmonies. This extraordinary advance changed the face of music forever as polyphony from Notre Dame flooded across Europe.

But the pre-eminence of Paris wasn't to last as the conservatism of the church came into conflict with the innovation of composers. Simon will discover that the tension between the sacred and the secular, which is so prevalent within France's history, caused musicians to turn away from the churches and towards the secular sphere. But rather than killing the tradition, Simon discovers that the sense of the sacred makes its way into French music in the most surprising places. As composers clash with the clergy, their expression of mystery through music becomes all the more poignant leading to some of the most innovative and effective expressions of the divine.

Despite the restrictions of religion, the violence of the Revolution and the official separation of Church and State, through adaptation and innovation, French sacred music has survived against all odds and it all began at Notre Dame.

Producer: Katharine Longworth

First broadcast in March 2013.

Our Lady Of Paris2013032320130907

Simon Russell Beale celebrates the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame, Paris, by exploring the tension between the sacred and secular as expressed in the musical and cultural life of this city.

Eight hundred and fifty years ago the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame was founded. The technological and intellectual innovations that erupted at this time gave birth not only to advances in architecture but also to a revolution in western music. Mediaeval musicians veered away from single line plainchant, adding multiple voices and complex harmonies. This extraordinary advance changed the face of music forever as polyphony from Notre Dame flooded across Europe.

But the pre-eminence of Paris wasn't to last as the conservatism of the church came into conflict with the innovation of composers. Simon will discover that the tension between the sacred and the secular, which is so prevalent within France's history, caused musicians to turn away from the churches and towards the secular sphere. But rather than killing the tradition, Simon discovers that the sense of the sacred makes its way into French music in the most surprising places. As composers clash with the clergy, their expression of mystery through music becomes all the more poignant leading to some of the most innovative and effective expressions of the divine.

Despite the restrictions of religion, the violence of the Revolution and the official separation of Church and State, through adaptation and innovation, French sacred music has survived against all odds and it all began at Notre Dame.

Producer: Katharine Longworth

First broadcast in March 2013.

Paying The Piper: The Coal-man And The Hosier20081125

The story of the hosiery manufacturer who introduced Beethoven to England.

Paying The Piper: The Coal-man And The Hosier20081129

The story of the hosiery manufacturer who introduced Beethoven to England.

Preparing A Piano2012092220130427

As a tribute in the centenary year of John Cage (1912-92) and in, perhaps, the first DIY programme ever to be broadcast on Radio 3, the inimitable pianist and comedian Rainer Hersch learns how to prepare a piano.

Cage first prepared a piano when he was commissioned to write for the dance work Bacchanale. The venue was too small for Cage's percussion group and the only instrument available was a piano. Cage was excited by the possibility of "placing in the hands of a single pianist the equivalent of an entire percussion orchestra" and went on to compose over thirty pieces using a variety of items to prepare his piano.

Cage coined the term "prepared piano" and was undoubtedly the composer who made the technique famous. Earlier composers such as Henry Cowell and Erik Satie had contributed to the idea but some musicologists believe the technique goes back to the early nineteenth century when paper was placed over piano strings.

In an unusual and humorous programme Rainer composes his own piece for the prepared piano using a manual written by Richard Bunger Evans, a close associate of John Cage.

The Royal College of Music plays host and Rainer's hand is held during the preparation by the college's expert Chris Moulton. Arne Gieshoff and William Cole, two RCM students, also take part playing their own short pieces for the prepared piano and talking about how they have been influenced by Cage. The programme is illustrated by works from Cage himself.

First broadcast in September 2012.

As a tribute in the centenary year of John Cage and in, perhaps, the first DIY programme ever to be broadcast on Radio 3, the inimitable pianist and comedian Rainer Hersch learns how to prepare a piano.

The Royal College of Music plays host and Rainer's hand is held during the preparation by the college's expert Chris Moulton. Arne Gieshoff and William Cole, two RCM students, will also be taking part playing their own short pieces for the prepared piano and talking about how they have been influenced by Cage. The programme is illustrated by works from Cage himself.

Puccini: Touched By The Little Finger Of The Almighty2008121620090118
Purcell And Dryden - A Professional Friendship2009090520100828

Alyn Shipton explores Dryden and Purcell's collaboration on the semi-opera King Arthur, a work which is often regarded as the first professional collaboration between librettist and composer. He is joined by Purcell biographer Jonathan Keates, who describes some of the sights, sounds and smell of the world of Restoration theatre. It was a period in which people would come in and out for single acts of an opera, jostle in the stalls and swap seats in boxes, while the privileged would claim seats on the stage.

There is a look at the latest scholarship on the genesis of the opera, with Dryden's biographer, James Wynn, who traces the origins of the collaboration between the two men in the preface to Dioclesian, which was signed by Purcell but written by Dryden. He explains that 17th-century authorship was a bit like the teams of writers on a present-day sitcom.

Alyn also considers the origin of the Knights of the Garter, the redecoration of Windsor Castle and the messy politics of Jacobites supporting the ousted James II versus William III's Orange and Protestant sympathies. This provides the background to such remarkable musical treats as Purcell and Dryden's Chorus of Cold People, the paeon of praise to St George, and the best-known setting in the opera Fairest Isle. With naked sylphs, ancient British battles and a drinking song worthy of the terraces at an England game, Alyn sheds new light on this most fascinating of operas.

Alyn Shipton on Dryden and Purcell's collaboration on the semi-opera King Arthur.

Reviving Robin2009112820101030

The pianist Kathryn Stott tells the story of how, in 1934, the young Communist party member Michael Tippett inspired a depressed mining community in Cleveland with his very first opera, based on the legend of Robin Hood. The work has remained hidden with strict instructions that it never be performed again, but 75 years later residents of Boosbeck in east Cleveland have come together in an ambitious attempt to recreate the project - in the bar of the town's Station Hotel.

Producer: Celia Quartermain.

Kathryn Stott tells the story of how Michael Tippett's Robin Hood came to be written.

Rolls, Records And The Return Of Myra Hess20090627
Scriabin - A Life In Colour20100821

The extraordinary music and story of the Russian composer, pianist, mystic and philosopher. With contributions from Gerard McBurney, Simon Morrison and pianist and conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Peggy Reynolds enters the mystical world and the languid rich harmonies of Alexander Scriabin.

At the turn of the twentieth century this remarkable figure's music and ideals challenged the very nature of individual and musical expression. His compositional technique and style evolved extraordinarily during of his life - his early piano pieces, reflect his adoration of Chopin, they are romantic and fresh while his later compositions explore new reaches and innovations in harmony. His ten piano sonatas are staples of the piano repertoire, and his miniature piano pieces are considered masterpieces of 20th century pianism.

Scriabin loved to discuss philosophy and became enthralled by the theosophy movement of Madam Blavatsky. He was convinced that he was destined to produce an all-consuming work of art - an apocalyptic work of cosmic proportions which would transfigure mankind and its universe. The unrealised Mysterium (Final Mystery) which would embrace music, sound; colour and light; dance; fires, incense, perfumes; tastes, pain and other tactile experiences. Scriabin's works from 1902 until his death in1914 were all influenced by his this vision.

His orchestra works include the Divine Poem (1903), the Poem of Ecstasy (1907), and the Poem of Fire or Prometheus (1909) a multi-sensory work for which Scriabin orchestrated a part for colour keyboard which was to project a constantly evolving stream of colours as the visuals to the sonic portion of the score.

Peggy Reynolds explores the life and music of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin.

Scriabin: A Life In Colour20110806

The extraordinary music and story of the Russian composer, pianist, mystic and philosopher. With contributions from Gerard McBurney, Simon Morrison and pianist and conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Peggy Reynolds enters the mystical world and the languid rich harmonies of Alexander Scriabin.

At the turn of the twentieth century this remarkable figure's music and ideals challenged the very nature of individual and musical expression. His compositional technique and style evolved extraordinarily during of his life - his early piano pieces, reflect his adoration of Chopin, they are romantic and fresh while his later compositions explore new reaches and innovations in harmony. His ten piano sonatas are staples of the piano repertoire, and his miniature piano pieces are considered masterpieces of 20th century pianism.

Scriabin loved to discuss philosophy and became enthralled by the theosophy movement of Madam Blavatsky. He was convinced that he was destined to produce an all-consuming work of art - an apocalyptic work of cosmic proportions which would transfigure mankind and its universe. The unrealised Mysterium (Final Mystery) which would embrace music, sound; colour and light; dance; fires, incense, perfumes; tastes, pain and other tactile experiences. Scriabin's works from 1902 until his death in1914 were all influenced by his this vision.

His orchestra works include the Divine Poem (1903), the Poem of Ecstasy (1907), and the Poem of Fire or Prometheus (1909) a multi-sensory work for which Scriabin orchestrated a part for colour keyboard which was to project a constantly evolving stream of colours as the visuals to the sonic portion of the score.

Music includes:

Symphony No. 3, Op. 43, Le Poème Divin

Etude in C sharp minor Op.2, No. 2

4 Pieces Op 51, No. 3

Le Poème de l'extase, Op. 54

Prelude Op. 11, No. 14

Piano Sonata No. 9 Messe Noire, Op. 68

Prelude in B Op. 2, No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 70

Promethée: Le Poème du Feu Op. 60

Vers la flamme, Op. 72

5 Preludes Op. 74, Nos. 3 & 5.

Peggy Reynolds explores the life and music of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin.

Singing For Britten2013112320140816

Benjamin Britten was notoriously particular about the professional musicians he worked with (a close-knit circle of friends) and he had famously high musical standards. Yet all his life he embraced working with amateurs and children. John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers from Suffolk and beyond to share their experiences of singing for Britten - and to discover why it was so special.

John Bridcut sang for Britten as a student in 1971, on the recording of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. It's an experience he will never forget:

'How I wish I could remember every moment of those recording sessions. But at the time I was far too busy getting the notes right. What has stayed with me is Britten's crystal-clear beat, and his nervous intensity. He demanded the most of you. When he first appeared, he greeted our chorus master with a kiss on both cheeks - that sort of thing was quite rare in those days - and the whole of the London Symphony Chorus cheered!'

John returns to Suffolk, to Britten's Snape Maltings, to swap memories with two fellow singers from that summer more than forty years ago. He also talks to long-standing members of Britten's 'house choir', the Aldeburgh Festival Singers; Suffolk children who sang for Britten in the 1940s and 1950s; and two retired doctors who've not seen each other since they sang on Britten's celebrated recording of his War Requiem as schoolboys.

Britten worked with amateur singers right to the end of his career. John Bridcut asks what he drew from them, and why working with amateurs was so central to his vision of music being 'useful, and to the living'.

Producers: Jane Greenwood and Elizabeth Burke

First broadcast November 2013.

Benjamin Britten was notoriously particular about the professional musicians he worked with ? a close-knit circle of friends ? and he had famously high musical standards. Yet all his life he embraced working with amateurs and children. John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers from Suffolk and beyond to share their experiences of singing for Britten ? and to discover why it was so special.

Singing For Britten2013112320140816

Benjamin Britten was notoriously particular about the professional musicians he worked with (a close-knit circle of friends) and he had famously high musical standards. Yet all his life he embraced working with amateurs and children. John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers from Suffolk and beyond to share their experiences of singing for Britten - and to discover why it was so special.

John Bridcut sang for Britten as a student in 1971, on the recording of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. It's an experience he will never forget:

'How I wish I could remember every moment of those recording sessions. But at the time I was far too busy getting the notes right. What has stayed with me is Britten's crystal-clear beat, and his nervous intensity. He demanded the most of you. When he first appeared, he greeted our chorus master with a kiss on both cheeks - that sort of thing was quite rare in those days - and the whole of the London Symphony Chorus cheered!'

John returns to Suffolk, to Britten's Snape Maltings, to swap memories with two fellow singers from that summer more than forty years ago. He also talks to long-standing members of Britten's 'house choir', the Aldeburgh Festival Singers; Suffolk children who sang for Britten in the 1940s and 1950s; and two retired doctors who've not seen each other since they sang on Britten's celebrated recording of his War Requiem as schoolboys.

Britten worked with amateur singers right to the end of his career. John Bridcut asks what he drew from them, and why working with amateurs was so central to his vision of music being 'useful, and to the living'.

Producers: Jane Greenwood and Elizabeth Burke

First broadcast November 2013.

Benjamin Britten was notoriously particular about the professional musicians he worked with ? a close-knit circle of friends ? and he had famously high musical standards. Yet all his life he embraced working with amateurs and children. John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers from Suffolk and beyond to share their experiences of singing for Britten ? and to discover why it was so special.

Sir Henry's Hoard

Sir Henry's Hoard2010090420110709

Discovered in the basement of the British Library: Proms legend Sir Henry Wood's substantial collection of concert programmes dating from the 1900s and covering musical events across Europe and beyond. Bound into a succession of volumes proudly displaying their owner's name in gold leaf.

In Sir Henry's Hoard, Stephen Johnson uses this fabulous collection to build a picture of concert life of the day: the great performers (for example, Pablo de Sarasate, Fritz Kreisler, Arthur Nikisch); the hot new music of the day (Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Gustav Mahler); the first early music revival, embracing music from Monteverdi to Bach; the late 19th century 'golden period' for women's music-making; the often (to us) strange make-up of concerts, with the overture often last, for example.

There's also a look at how advances in printing techniques made it possible for such programmes to be produced swiftly, attractively and cheaply, together with a sideways glance at the exotic range of businesses that might advertise in such publications, from umbrella and hat makers to life assurance salesmen.

Why did Henry Wood join the exchange scheme that circulated such concert programmes, his own included? Just to be well-informed....or as a route to furthering his fledgling career?

Along the way, Stephen Johnson visits the site of the Queen's Hall where Wood made his name through the Promenade Concerts, and the Hitchin church where his wartime funeral took place, a few miles from his last 'home' - the Cromwell Hotel in Stevenage. He also tracks down two stray volumes of programmes that turned up in Cambridge.

And of course there's plenty of music, much of it from major performers of Henry Wood's day...and plenty from 'Old Timber' himself.

Stephen Johnson explores Proms founder Henry Wood's collection of concert programmes.

Soul Ii Soul20081202

Trevor Nelson tells the story of the influential band Soul II Soul.

Sound Of Cinema: Chaplin And Music2012122920130928
Sound Of Cinema: Chaplin And Music2012122920130928

Charlie Chaplin's role as a pioneering actor, comedian and film maker we know. Less well known is his work as a film composer. Although he could not read music, he worked very closely with music collaborators, singing ideas and giving advice about instrumentation. Matthew Sweet explores the importance of music in Chaplin's creative life and the crucial role it played in his films.

String Theory

String Theory2008122720100102

International violinist Daniel Hope examines the mysteries of the violin. No one knows who invented it and it was often seen as the Devil's instrument, certainly one that most resembles the human voice and thought at one time to be able to steal men's souls. Exploring its history, Hope offers up his own thoughts on the violin's musical DNA, what he calls the 'soul and feeling of the violin' that can be traced back to countries as diverse as Mongolia, China, India and Arabia. As well as featuring music from the four corners of the world, the programme looks at the transformation of the bow as a tool of war to an instrument of music. And there's a rare chance for Daniel to get his hands on an early instrument built by a descendant of the Father of the Violin, Andrea Amati, on which he plays excerpts from the earliest published violin sonata, written in 1610.

String Theory2008122720100102

International violinist Daniel Hope examines the mysteries of the violin. No one knows who invented it and it was often seen as the Devil's instrument, certainly one that most resembles the human voice and thought at one time to be able to steal men's souls. Exploring its history, Hope offers up his own thoughts on the violin's musical DNA, what he calls the 'soul and feeling of the violin' that can be traced back to countries as diverse as Mongolia, China, India and Arabia. As well as featuring music from the four corners of the world, the programme looks at the transformation of the bow as a tool of war to an instrument of music. And there's a rare chance for Daniel to get his hands on an early instrument built by a descendant of the Father of the Violin, Andrea Amati, on which he plays excerpts from the earliest published violin sonata, written in 1610.

Sumptuous Was the Feast20121027

Sumptuous Was The Feast2012102720130817 (R3)

'Hiawatha' in the Royal Albert Hall was one of the entertainment phenomena of the 1920s and 30s in London. For two weeks each summer the hall was brimful for the dramatisation of black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's cantata trilogy: 'Hiawatha's Wedding Feast', 'The Death of Minnehaha' and 'Hiawatha's Departure' - collectively known as 'The Song of Hiawatha'. Hundreds of members of the giant Royal Choral Society swamped the arena (aka the tribal encampment) dressed in home-made native American costumes. A vast backcloth, depicting mountains and forests, obscured the Albert Hall's giant organ. Wigwams invaded the stage, where the principal singers (many of the best known British stars of the day) did their stuff. And the bulk of the performances was directed by Dr Malcolm Sargent, matinee idol in the making.

At the hundredth anniversary of Coleridge-Taylor's death, Andrew Green's Sumptuous Was The Feast' seeks out memories from those who appeared in the Albert Hall productions and those who attended them. Kath Marshall recalls the tribal chants of an authentic Mohawk chief. Rosemary Woodhouse crept onto the stage to solve the mystery of just how Hiawatha's canoe drifted off-stage as it departed for the Hereafter.

But this is no mere trip down memory lane. Andrew Green investigates the popularity of Longfellow's poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' on both sides of the Atlantic. He examines how Coleridge-Taylor was idolised by the black community in the USA as a role model. And has Hiawatha obscured the composer's wider output?

'Sumptuous Was The Feast' details other performances of 'Hiawatha' from Scarborough to Melbourne, Australia...before the craze died after the Second World War. But could hordes of braves and squaws again fill the arena of the Albert Hall?

Sumptuous Was The Feast2012102720130817
20130817 (R3)

'Hiawatha' in the Royal Albert Hall was one of the entertainment phenomena of the 1920s and 30s in London. For two weeks each summer the hall was brimful for the dramatisation of black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's cantata trilogy: 'Hiawatha's Wedding Feast', 'The Death of Minnehaha' and 'Hiawatha's Departure' - collectively known as 'The Song of Hiawatha'. Hundreds of members of the giant Royal Choral Society swamped the arena (aka the tribal encampment) dressed in home-made native American costumes. A vast backcloth, depicting mountains and forests, obscured the Albert Hall's giant organ. Wigwams invaded the stage, where the principal singers (many of the best known British stars of the day) did their stuff. And the bulk of the performances was directed by Dr Malcolm Sargent, matinee idol in the making.

At the hundredth anniversary of Coleridge-Taylor's death, Andrew Green's Sumptuous Was The Feast' seeks out memories from those who appeared in the Albert Hall productions and those who attended them. Kath Marshall recalls the tribal chants of an authentic Mohawk chief. Rosemary Woodhouse crept onto the stage to solve the mystery of just how Hiawatha's canoe drifted off-stage as it departed for the Hereafter.

But this is no mere trip down memory lane. Andrew Green investigates the popularity of Longfellow's poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' on both sides of the Atlantic. He examines how Coleridge-Taylor was idolised by the black community in the USA as a role model. And has Hiawatha obscured the composer's wider output?

'Sumptuous Was The Feast' details other performances of 'Hiawatha' from Scarborough to Melbourne, Australia...before the craze died after the Second World War. But could hordes of braves and squaws again fill the arena of the Albert Hall?

Tchaikovsky's 1812: A Dishonest Overture?2012120120130810

September 7th, 1812. Near the village of Borodino, just 30 miles from Moscow, the forces of Tsarist Russia face the might of Napoleon's grande armée. James Jolly explores Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, written to commemorate this battle, and discovers hidden depths in this famous crowd-pleaser, which plays fast and loose with historical fact. With contributions from historian Orlando Figes, Russian music expert Geoffrey Norris, and conductors Andrew Litton and Vasily Petrenko.

September the 7th, 1812. Near the village of Borodino, just 30 miles from Moscow, the forces of Tsarist Russia face the might of Napoleon's grande armée. James Jolly explores Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, written to commemorate this battle, and discovers hidden depths in this famous crowd-pleaser, which plays fast and loose with historical fact. With contributions from historian Orlando Figes, Russian music expert Geoffrey Norris, and conductors Andrew Litton and Vasily Petrenko. Part of Radio 3's Napoleon season.

The Arch-musician

The Arch-musician2010032720110723

We tend to think of the Italian Renaissance as a cauldron of iconoclastic ideas. But that's far less true of music than of visual art or science. In today's Music Feature Catherine Bott goes in search of a composer born 500 years ago who found that being a *musical* innovator was no easy task: Nicola Vicentino.

Imagine an octave divided into 31 parts - 31 very small intervals, 'microtones' - rather than the 12 semitones we're used to today. Sounds weird - and it sounded weird to people when Vicentino first came up with idea in the 1500s. 'But opposition won't stop me,' he said. He composed microtonal music, he built a 'superharpsichord' (archicembalo) and 'superorgan' to play it, he trained choirs to sing it, he wrote a book promoting it.

'Learning and investigating new things - that's human nature' was Vicentino's motto. Every page of his book is filled with 'my ideas'. His radical musical ideas provoked every possible reaction - from vitriolic hostility to fanatical support. Traditionalists were horrified. Some of the most powerful people in Italy gave Vicentino their patronage. Adoring pupils dubbed him Arcimusico - the Arch-Musician.

In this programme, Catherine Bott uncovers Vicentino's remarkable story, exploring what it meant to be a musical innovator in sixteenth-century Italy. How did Vicentino come up with his ideas? How did he try to sell them? Why did people react in the way they did? What were the consequences - for Vicentino himself, and for the future of music?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle Vicentino faced is that his music is very hard to perform. But in the twenty-first century people are at last beginning to prove it's possible. Catherine Bott has a go herself, and meets other people who've tried - including members of the BBC Singers who tackled Vicentino's music specially for this programme with conductor James Weeks.

With Anton Lesser as Vicentino and contributions from Manfred Cordes, Davide Daolmi, Mary Hollingsworth, Margaret Hunter, Lewis Jones, Laurie Stras, James Weeks, Jon Wild and members of the BBC Singers.

Catherine Bott uncovers the story of radical composer Nicola Vicentino.

The Art Of Noises

The Art Of Noises2009082520100829

One hundred years after the founding manifesto of Futurism, Robert Worby examine the least-documented aspect of Italy's most audacious art movement: the Art of Noises.

The most influential futurist musician was Luigi Russolo who argued for a complete reappraisal of classical orchestras to include sounds of the modern world. He designed and built early mechanical synthesisers, or intonarumori, to recreate the sounds of factories, cars and whistles.

Robert travels to Milan, the birthplace of Futurism, to visit reconstructions of the intonarumori - a collection of instruments invented by Russolo - and re-imagine the sounds of the trams and the mighty railway station which inspired them. With all but a few shards of Russolo's music lost or destroyed, why do the Art of Noises continue to resonate for many musicians and artists today?

Robert Worby examine the Art of Noises, an offshoot of the Italian Futurism movement.

The Cellists That Time Forgot2012012820120901

Think of cellists from the past and the names Casals, Fournier, Rostropovich and Du Pre immediately spring to mind. But what about the ones that got away? There are great cellists who, over time, have faded from public consciousness - until now. In this compelling feature, Julian Lloyd Webber reveals four forgotten 'heroes' who helped to shape his own destiny as one of the foremost cellists of his generation.

As an instrument the cello has never been more popular and the level of playing, never better. From humble beginnings the cello is now an established solo instrument that any present-day composer would want to write for. In this - his sixtieth birthday year - one of today's most renowned solo cellists, Julian Lloyd Webber, not only tells the story of his cellist heroes, but introduces rare and relatively unheard recordings. He'll tell the story of the cellists themselves, explore how they have inspired him, and look at how the art and style of the cellist has changed through the centuries.

1) Felix Salmond (1888 - 1952). A marvellous cellist whose career was overshadowed by the disastrous first performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto in which he was the soloist. Although no-one laid the blame on him (the problem was with the under-rehearsed orchestra) his career (and his confidence) suffered and he fled to America where he embarked on a very distinguished teaching career which produced some of the finest players of modern times.

2) Milos Sadlo (1912 - 2003). Everyone thinks that it was Rostropovich who re-introduced the long lost Haydn C major Concerto to the world after it was rediscovered in Prague in 1961. But it was Milos Sadlo - a fabulous cellist with a wide discography.

3) Antonio Janigro (1918 -1989). The Italian cellist Antonio Janigro was a prolific recording artist. When war broke out in 1939 he found himself trapped in Zagreb where he was on holiday, and was forced to remain there. Luckily he was offered a professorship at Zagreb Conservatory and he eventually formed the widely recorded I Soloisti di Zagreb which he both conducted and played with as a cello soloist.

4) Leonard Rose (1918-1984). An American cellist who not only enjoyed a distinguished recording career but went on to be one of the world's leading pedagogues, counting Yo Yo Mar and Lynn Harrell among his pupils.

This feature is more than a biographical snapshot into cello history. Julian relates these cellists to wider developments in the cellist repertoire, fusing this with his personal passions.

Presented by Julian Lloyd Webber.

Interviewees: Tully Potter - music historian; Professor Robin Stowell - Cardiff University; Kenneth Woods - cellist and conductor.

First broadcast in January 2012.

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber introduces four forgotten heroes of the cello-playing world.

Think of cellists from the past and the names Casals, Fournier, Rostropovich and Du Pre immediately spring to mind. But what about the ones that got away? There are great cellists who, over time, have faded from public consciousness - until now. In this compelling feature, Julian Lloyd Webber reveals four forgotten 'heroes' who helped to shape his own destiny as one of the foremost cellists of his generation.

As an instrument the cello has never been more popular and the level of playing, never better. From humble beginnings the cello is now an established solo instrument that any present-day composer would want to write for. In this - his sixtieth birthday year - one of today's most renowned solo cellists, Julian Lloyd Webber, not only tells the story of his cellist heroes, but introduces rare and relatively unheard recordings. He'll tell the story of the cellists themselves, explore how they have inspired him, and look at how the art and style of the cellist has changed through the centuries.

1) Felix Salmond (1888 - 1952). A marvellous cellist whose career was overshadowed by the disastrous first performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto in which he was the soloist. Although no-one laid the blame on him (the problem was with the under-rehearsed orchestra) his career (and his confidence) suffered and he fled to America where he embarked on a very distinguished teaching career which produced some of the finest players of modern times.

2) Milos Sadlo (1912 - 2003). Everyone thinks that it was Rostropovich who re-introduced the long lost Haydn C major Concerto to the world after it was rediscovered in Prague in 1961. But it was Milos Sadlo - a fabulous cellist with a wide discography.

3) Antonio Janigro (1918 -1989). The Italian cellist Antonio Janigro was a prolific recording artist. When war broke out in 1939 he found himself trapped in Zagreb where he was on holiday, and was forced to remain there. Luckily he was offered a professorship at Zagreb Conservatory and he eventually formed the widely recorded I Soloisti di Zagreb which he both conducted and played with as a cello soloist.

4) Leonard Rose (1918-1984). An American cellist who not only enjoyed a distinguished recording career but went on to be one of the world's leading pedagogues, counting Yo Yo Mar and Lynn Harrell among his pupils.

This feature is more than a biographical snapshot into cello history. Julian relates these cellists to wider developments in the cellist repertoire, fusing this with his personal passions.

Presented by Julian Lloyd Webber.

Interviewees: Tully Potter - music historian; Professor Robin Stowell - Cardiff University; Kenneth Woods - cellist and conductor.

First broadcast in January 2012.

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber introduces four forgotten heroes of the cello-playing world.

4) Leonard Rose (1918-1984). An American cellist who not only enjoyed a distinguished recording career but went on to be one of the world's leading pedagogues, counting Yo Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell among his pupils.

Interviewees: Tully Potter - music historian; Professor Robin Stowell - Cardiff University; Kenneth Woods - cellist & conductor.

The Daffodil Maiden

The Daffodil Maiden20090822
The Devil In Music2011111920120811

Film composer Christopher Young, who has scored Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Hellraiser, and Drag Me to Hell, discovers how his musical scare tactics are inspired by the past.

Throughout the programme, Christopher Young examines how a composer makes an audience jump in terror. He discovers how his own devilish compositions are inspired by the works of Wagner, Berlioz and Liszt. Surprising connections are drawn between classic horror scenes and demonically inspired operas and symphonies.

The programme starts with an investigation of the relationship between the devil and the violin, embodied in the life and legend of Niccolo Paganini. With musicologist Maiko Kawabata and violinist Philippe Quint, Christopher considers the devil's role in musical complexity.

The tritone is a musical interval nicknamed Diabolus in Musica. It was generally avoided by medieval composers due to the chaos it created within harmony. Goldsmith's Lecturer in Music Anthony Pryer dissects the unsettling nature of the Devil in Music. Along the way, Christopher discovers what many musicologists consider to be the first horror scene: The Wolf's Glen scene from Der Freischutz, an 1822 opera by Carl Maria Von Weber. With University of Leeds Professor of Critical Musicology Derek Scott, Christopher examines Mozart's Don Giovanni and Franz Liszt's Faust Symphony. King Edward Professor of Music at King's John Deathridge helps Christopher to discover the demonic techniques developed by Richard Wagner. Horror music expert Stan Link examines Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, while identifying the sensorial similarities between horror films and classic Romantic works.

The Devil in Music is a Whistledown production for BBC Radio 3. The producer is Colin McNulty.

First broadcast in November 2011.

Film composer Christopher Young discovers the scare techniques in classical composition.

Film composer Christopher Young, who has scored Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Hellraiser, and Drag Me to Hell, discovers how his musical scare tactics are inspired by the past.

Throughout the programme, Christopher Young examines how a composer makes an audience jump in terror. He discovers how his own devilish compositions are inspired by the works of Wagner, Berlioz and Liszt. Surprising connections are drawn between classic horror scenes and demonically inspired operas and symphonies.

The programme starts with an investigation of the relationship between the devil and the violin, embodied in the life and legend of Niccolo Paganini. With musicologist Maiko Kawabata and violinist Philippe Quint, Christopher considers the devil's role in musical complexity.

The tritone is a musical interval nicknamed Diabolus in Musica. It was generally avoided by medieval composers due to the chaos it created within harmony. Goldsmith's Lecturer in Music Anthony Pryer dissects the unsettling nature of the Devil in Music. Along the way, Christopher discovers what many musicologists consider to be the first horror scene: The Wolf's Glen scene from Der Freischutz, an 1822 opera by Carl Maria Von Weber. With University of Leeds Professor of Critical Musicology Derek Scott, Christopher examines Mozart's Don Giovanni and Franz Liszt's Faust Symphony. King Edward Professor of Music at King's John Deathridge helps Christopher to discover the demonic techniques developed by Richard Wagner. Horror music expert Stan Link examines Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, while identifying the sensorial similarities between horror films and classic Romantic works.

The Devil in Music is a Whistledown production for BBC Radio 3. The producer is Colin McNulty.

Film composer Christopher Young discovers the scare techniques in classical composition.

The Exile Returned2012063020130720

On September 21st 1962 when Igor Stravinsky got off the plane at Moscow airport he stepped onto Russian soil for the first time in over 45 years. During this time he had become the world's most famous composer and was first a Swiss and then an American citizen. Now at the age of 80 he returned at the height of the Cold War to a country cut off from the composer by revolution. What would he make of the old country and what would the old country make of him?

Bridget Kendall, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent and former Moscow correspondent tells the story of the composer's visit to Moscow and his home city of St Petersburg and the effect it had on Stravinsky, his party and the artists, composers and musicians living in the USSR. Featuring archive recordings of the concerts Stravinsky conducted during the trip, interviews with Russian writers and musicians who were in the audience, the composer's biographer Stephen Walsh and Soviet music specialists Gerard McBurney and Marina Frolova-Walker; Bridget Kendall uncovers the cultural significance of the event 50 years on.

The programme also features an exclusive interview with the composer's assistant, Robert Craft, who accompanied him on the visit and recalls how Stravinsky and his wife Vera immediately became enthusiastic Russians once again as soon as they came back to the 'motherland'.

Producer: Andy Cartwright

A Soundscape Production for BBC Radio 3

First broadcast in June 2012.

The Fantastical World Of Robert Schumann

The Fantastical World Of Robert Schumann2010052920131221

Launching Radio 3's Schumann 200 season, pianist Lucy Parham discovers how literature inspired Schumann to write some of his celebrated piano cycles - Papillons, Carnaval, Fantasiestucke and Kreisleriana. In the 200th year since Schumann's birth, this feature looks behind the music. Schumann turned to the novels of Jean Paul and ETA Hoffmann to access a fantasy world of dual personalities, the ordinary becoming extraordinary, humour and irony. This inspired him to write some of his most idiosyncratic and ground-breaking piano works.

Lucy Parham is a well known Schumann interpreter and artistic director of Schumann festivals. She reveals how literary links have shed new light on her interpretation. Visiting Schumann's birthplace in Zwickau, Lucy looks at Schumann's extraordinary collection of books, immaculately preserved, including a novel by Jean Paul, Flegeljahre, with annotations by the composer. A description of a masked ball from this book became Papillons. Also in the collection, she discovers Shakespeare's Macbeth and looks at a score with a quotation from Macbeth in Schumann's hand. As the director of the museum Thomas Synofzik explains, Schumann could never have written music without literature and he might well have become a writer. Lucy plays Schumann's music in the museum, on a piano from 1860 played by Clara Schumann and belonging to the Wieck family, and talks about how her intepretation has deepened. The feature includes insights into German literature from academics Ricarda Schmidt and Erika Reiman and the writer Laura Tunbridge.

Throughout the programme you hear Schumann's own words, and passages from the books he turned to for inspiration, read by the renowned actor and music enthusiast Henry Goodman

The Fantastical World Of Robert Schumann2010052920131221

Launching Radio 3's Schumann 200 season, pianist Lucy Parham discovers how literature inspired Schumann to write some of his celebrated piano cycles - Papillons, Carnaval, Fantasiestucke and Kreisleriana. In the 200th year since Schumann's birth, this feature looks behind the music. Schumann turned to the novels of Jean Paul and ETA Hoffmann to access a fantasy world of dual personalities, the ordinary becoming extraordinary, humour and irony. This inspired him to write some of his most idiosyncratic and ground-breaking piano works.

Lucy Parham is a well known Schumann interpreter and artistic director of Schumann festivals. She reveals how literary links have shed new light on her interpretation. Visiting Schumann's birthplace in Zwickau, Lucy looks at Schumann's extraordinary collection of books, immaculately preserved, including a novel by Jean Paul, Flegeljahre, with annotations by the composer. A description of a masked ball from this book became Papillons. Also in the collection, she discovers Shakespeare's Macbeth and looks at a score with a quotation from Macbeth in Schumann's hand. As the director of the museum Thomas Synofzik explains, Schumann could never have written music without literature and he might well have become a writer. Lucy plays Schumann's music in the museum, on a piano from 1860 played by Clara Schumann and belonging to the Wieck family, and talks about how her intepretation has deepened. The feature includes insights into German literature from academics Ricarda Schmidt and Erika Reiman and the writer Laura Tunbridge.

Throughout the programme you hear Schumann's own words, and passages from the books he turned to for inspiration, read by the renowned actor and music enthusiast Henry Goodman.

episode-b00sk904.jpg

The Hands Of The Composer2011092420120721

Iain Burnside muses on the idea of how hands, fingers, thumbs and their use have directly affected Western keyboard composition.

Pianist Stephen Hough, composer Huw Watkins and critic Bryce Morrison join in with their insights into how the physiology of great composers' hands had an impact on the music that they wrote and the various challenges performers face as a result.

Includes music by Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Ligeti.

Interesting Facts from the programme:

Beethoven's hands were heavy and muscular.

Weber had astonishingly long thumbs.

The extreme length of Rachmaninov's fingers has led some experts to postulate that he had Marfan's syndrome, a genetic condition.

Chopin's hands were so elastic and flexible that when he extended them they prompted one of his pupils to remark that they resembled "the opening mouth of a serpent, about to swallow a rabbit whole."

Schumann permanently damaged his right hand in attempting to build the strength and independence of his fingers on a mechanical device. This ended his virtuoso piano career but fortuitously led to him spending more time composing.

Music: Music includes great pianist-composers, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov, works by tragically frustrated pianists Schumann and Scriabin through Schoenberg and Stravinsky to finish with the ultimate challenge for contemporary pianists, the phenomenally difficult etudes of non-pianist György Ligeti.

Quotes from programme:

"Stravinsky made no secret about writing at the piano. There are so many chords, for example the first chord in the Symphony of Psalms that has a tenth in both hands. You can just imagine Stravinsky sitting down at the piano and his fingers falling into this position. You can feel that sometimes his hands are doing the composing, or at least having a hand in it."

Huw Watkins, composer

"The last three fingers of the right hand were his Divas"

Stephen Hough, pianist, on Chopin

"Thomas Adés is blessed with enormous hands. He can stretch an eleventh with many notes in between, which I can't quite do. I can stretch a tenth and I know that it's difficult to resist writing huge meaty chords and Tom certainly doesn't in his piano writing!"

Huw Watkins

"Scriabin was obsessed with his hands. When he wasn't stretching them, he was washing them."

Iain Burnside

"The patterns that Faure writes are quite unlike anyone else's and they suggest a certain sort of hand. If you look at, for example, the 3rd Valse Caprice, it looks in some ways like other people's music and then you try and you think: 'I'm going to have to start learning the piano all over again!' It all sounds easy, which is again irritating - no one has any idea that you're making an enormous effort."

Bryce Morrison

Producer: Mark Swartzentruber

Associate Producer: Naomi Edemariam

A Perfectly Normal Production for BBC Radio 3

First broadcast in 2011.

Chopin's hands were so elastic and flexible that when he extended them they prompted one of his pupils to remark that they resembled "the opening mouth of a serpent, about to swallow a rabbit whole."

Music: Music includes great pianist-composers, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov, works by tragically frustrated pianists Schumann and Scriabin through Schoenberg and Stravinsky to finish with the ultimate challenge for contemporary pianists, the phenomenally difficult etudes of non-pianist György Ligeti.

"Stravinsky made no secret about writing at the piano. There are so many chords, for example the first chord in the Symphony of Psalms that has a tenth in both hands. You can just imagine Stravinsky sitting down at the piano and his fingers falling into this position. You can feel that sometimes his hands are doing the composing, or at least having a hand in it."

"The last three fingers of the right hand were his Divas"

"Thomas Adés is blessed with enormous hands. He can stretch an eleventh with many notes in between, which I can't quite do. I can stretch a tenth and I know that it's difficult to resist writing huge meaty chords and Tom certainly doesn't in his piano writing!"

"Scriabin was obsessed with his hands. When he wasn't stretching them, he was washing them."

"The patterns that Faure writes are quite unlike anyone else's and they suggest a certain sort of hand. If you look at, for example, the 3rd Valse Caprice, it looks in some ways like other people's music and then you try and you think: 'I'm going to have to start learning the piano all over again!' It all sounds easy, which is again irritating - no one has any idea that you're making an enormous effort."

Iain Burnside on how hands and their use have affected Western keyboard composition.

The Kreutzer Sonata20101127

Marking the centenary of his death, Katie Derham considers the relationship between Tolstoy and the Russian composers of the early 20th century.

"Music, like every other art, but especially music, makes us desire that everyone, as many people as possible, take part in our experience of pleasure", wrote Count Leo Tolstoy in his diary in October 1910.

Several weeks later, during an icy November, Tolstoy - one of the world's greatest artists and moral activists - fled his family estate in Yasnaya Polyana having finally decided to leave his wife. He died on his journey. One of the most renowned of his later works was a novella called The Kreutzer Sonata which told the tale of the infatuation of an older married woman for a young violinist.

This programme will explore how music remained a source of continued recreation and delight and was an emotional stimulus for Tolstoy for much of his life.

Tolstoy loved Russian folk music and the rousing music of the gypsies. At university, he was inspired by friends who had a passion for music to play the piano and he wrote a waltz. He even thought he might become a composer.

Later on, eminent musicians visited the Tolstoy homes in the country and in Moscow - and some performed there. They included the great pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, Sergei Rachmaninov, the harpsichordist and pianist Wanda Landovska, and most famously Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky wrote of meeting Tolstoy: "I was frightened and self-conscious when I found myself face to face with him... but his manner was very straightforward and open... with me he only wanted to talk music."

Producer: Diana Bentley

Exec Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 3.

Katie Derham examines Tolstoy's fraught relationship with music and musicians.

The Practice Of Practising2013122820140726

Celebrated pianist Stephen Hough reflects on a life spent practising. Told through a series of intensive rehearsal sessions as he prepares for the first night of the Proms in 2013, Stephen gives an in-depth and frank account of the hard work, self-examination, isolation and forensic scrutiny required to turn a seemingly impossible collection of notes into an effortless and awe inspiring performance.

With contributions from fellow musicians including violinist Nicola Benedetti, mezzo soprano Joyce Di Donato and guitarist Julian Bream, The Practice of Practising also examines the firm but distant approach needed by parents of musical children, how singers push themselves past the emotional brink in rehearsal rather than on stage and what happens to the superstar instrumentalist in retirement, when the need to practice is no longer there.

Producer: Freya Hellier.

The Practice Of Practising2013122820140726

Celebrated pianist Stephen Hough reflects on a life spent practising. Told through a series of intensive rehearsal sessions as he prepares for the first night of the Proms in 2013, Stephen gives an in-depth and frank account of the hard work, self-examination, isolation and forensic scrutiny required to turn a seemingly impossible collection of notes into an effortless and awe inspiring performance.

With contributions from fellow musicians including violinist Nicola Benedetti, mezzo soprano Joyce Di Donato and guitarist Julian Bream, The Practice of Practising also examines the firm but distant approach needed by parents of musical children, how singers push themselves past the emotional brink in rehearsal rather than on stage and what happens to the superstar instrumentalist in retirement, when the need to practice is no longer there.

Producer: Freya Hellier.

Celebrated pianist Stephen Hough reflects on a life spent practising. Told through a series of intensive rehearsal sessions as he prepares for the first night of the Proms, Stephen gives an in depth and frank account of the hard work, self-examination, isolation and forensic scrutiny required to turn a seemingly impossible collection of notes into an effortless and awe inspiring performance.

The Rite Of Spring2013052520130824

Dance critic Stephanie Jordan traces the explosive influence of the Rite of Spring on modern dance, the shocking combination of Igor Stravinsky's music and Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography, 100 years after the piece was famously premiered in Paris in 1913 and led to uproar.

The programme features interviews with choreographers Akram Khan and Mark Morris, both devising new interpretations of the Rite. Stephanie Jordan meets Deborah Bull, who danced the role of the Chosen Maiden and Monica Mason, for whom the Royal Ballet1s Kenneth MacMillan created his legendary solo choreography. Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer explain how they reconstructed Nijinsky1s 1913 ballet and Marin Alsop describes the physicality involved in conducting Stravinsky1s score today.

First broadcast in May 2013.

The Shorthand Of Emotion20110820

Katie Derham considers the relationship between Leo Tolstoy and the Russian composers of his day.

"Music, like every other art, but especially music, makes us desire that everyone, as many people as possible, take part in our experience of pleasure", wrote Count Leo Tolstoy in his diary in October 1910.

Several weeks later, during an icy November, Tolstoy - one of the world's greatest artists and moral activists - fled his family estate in Yasnaya Polyana having finally decided to leave his wife. He died on his journey. One of the most renowned of his later works was a novella called The Kreutzer Sonata which told the tale of the infatuation of an older married woman for a young violinist.

This programme explores how music remained a source of continued recreation and delight and was an emotional stimulus for Tolstoy for much of his life.

Tolstoy loved Russian folk music and the rousing music of the gypsies. At university, he was inspired by friends who had a passion for music to play the piano and he wrote a waltz. He even thought he might become a composer.

Later on, eminent musicians visited the Tolstoy homes in the country and in Moscow - and some performed there. They included the great pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, Sergei Rachmaninov, the harpsichordist and pianist Wanda Landowska, and, most famously, Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky wrote of meeting Tolstoy: "I was frightened and self-conscious when I found myself face to face with him... but his manner was very straightforward and open... with me he only wanted to talk music."

Producer: Diana Bentley

Exec Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 3.

Katie Derham on the relationship between Tolstoy and the Russian composers of his day.

The Sound That Burned: The Queen's Hall 70th Anniversary2011043020120526

On May 10th 1941, during the worst night of the Blitz German incendiary bombs set fire to one of Europe's great concert halls. The water supply ran out and Queen's Hall, famed for its acoustic, burned.

Andrew Green tells the story of the hall - its struggle for financial viability, its relationship with visiting and home-grown orchestras and conductors, its design and acoustic qualities, its place in concert-goers' affections - and traces the events of that fateful night.

With contributions from, among others, broadcasters John Amis and Richard Baker, cultural historian Leanne Langley, acoustician Rob Harris, Queens Hall 'guide' Robert Threlfall and archive of many of the last century's finest musicians.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 3.

Andrew Green tells the story of the last days of London's celebrated Queen's Hall.

Theodorakis - Greece's Musical Revolutionary20100130

85 this year, Mikis Theodorakis is best known for the music to 1974 film Zorba the Greek, but as Miranda Hinkley discovers, there's also a wealth of chamber, opera and symphonic music. Part of the resistance during the Second World War, imprisoned during the Greek Civil War, exiled during the military dictatorship, his story mirrors that of modern Greece. And he's been responsible for a musical revolution, a uniquely Greek sound. Mikis Theodorakis is joined by singers Maria Farantouri and Marios Frangoulis and by violinist Georgos Demertzis, to look back on a 60-year career.

Presented and produced by Miranda Hinkley. Executive Producer Alan Hall.

A Nightjar production.

Theodorakis - Greece's Musical Revolutionary20100130

85 this year, Mikis Theodorakis is best known for the music to 1974 film Zorba the Greek, but as Miranda Hinkley discovers, there's also a wealth of chamber, opera and symphonic music. Part of the resistance during the Second World War, imprisoned during the Greek Civil War, exiled during the military dictatorship, his story mirrors that of modern Greece. And he's been responsible for a musical revolution, a uniquely Greek sound. Mikis Theodorakis is joined by singers Maria Farantouri and Marios Frangoulis and by violinist Georgos Demertzis, to look back on a 60-year career.

Presented and produced by Miranda Hinkley. Executive Producer Alan Hall.

A Nightjar production.

Tracking The Aryans20100909

Historian Bettany Hughes uncovers the troubled story of the search for the ancient Aryans, and journeys to Siberia to find out how recent archaeological discoveries are bringing them renewed attention.

Nowadays associated with the Nazi ideology of a blond blue-eyed master race, the term Aryan was once used to refer to the speakers of a prehistoric language from which the modern Indo-European Language family is descended (including, among others, English, German, Latin, Greek, Farsi and Hindi). But the name's origins lie in the ancient texts of Bronze Age Iran and North India.

Archaeologists on the remote borders of Siberia and Kazakhstan have recently uncovered a series of unexpectedly sophisticated prehistoric settlements. Within, they have discovered unusually complex burial rituals and the earliest known chariots in the world. Could this Steppe culture be the origin of the Aryans of Iran and North India? And what can it tell us about the origin of Indo-European languages?

Bettany travels to the Siberian Steppe to the ancient circular fortified town of Arkaim to find out. And witnesses how even today the Aryans are being used for modern political ends.

Bettany Hughes tells the troubled story of the search for the ancient Aryans.

Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain

Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain20090816
Vaughan Williams: Late Love, Late Life20080715 (BBC7)
20150205 (BBC7)
20150206 (BBC7)

Julian Lloyd Webber examines composer Ralph Vaughan Williams's affair with Ursula Wood.

Julian Lloyd Webber examines the impact of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams's affair with Ursula Wood on his life and music. The affair began in March 1938, when he was 66 and Ursula 25, and lasted until 1951, when they were able to marry following the death of his wife Adeline.

Verdi 200: Verdi The Opera Director - The Composer's Other Artistic Side20131012

Verdi 200

Throughout his career of nearly 30 operas, Giuseppe Verdi developed an interest in the genre well beyond the world of sound to encompass other aspects of the spectacle on stage. That he was able to take control of the latter as he gained fame and strengthened his position around Europe remains a relatively unknown and obscure side of his artistic life - until now. With the help of valuable archive material and visiting opera houses and institutions in Milan, Venice and Parma - key places for Verdi - opera scholar Susan Rutherford explains how he brought things full circle, completing the journey from composer to 'director', a role he was crucial to develop in 19th-century Italy. This documentary shows how he intervened in the making of staging designs, the latest scenic effects, and - not least - the acting and delivery techniques of his singers as he aimed towards the perfect fusion between music and drama. His role of 'director' was particularly prominent, this programme shows, in his last three works: Aida, Otello and Falstaff. With contributions from, among others, singer Placido Domingo, opera director Graham Vick, the Superintendent of Venice's La Fenice Theatre Cristiano Chiarot, and the director of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma, Emilio Sala.

Verdi 200: Verdi The Opera Director - The Composer's Other Artistic Side20131012

Verdi 200

Throughout his career of nearly 30 operas, Giuseppe Verdi developed an interest in the genre well beyond the world of sound to encompass other aspects of the spectacle on stage. That he was able to take control of the latter as he gained fame and strengthened his position around Europe remains a relatively unknown and obscure side of his artistic life - until now. With the help of valuable archive material and visiting opera houses and institutions in Milan, Venice and Parma - key places for Verdi - opera scholar Susan Rutherford explains how he brought things full circle, completing the journey from composer to 'director', a role he was crucial to develop in 19th-century Italy. This documentary shows how he intervened in the making of staging designs, the latest scenic effects, and - not least - the acting and delivery techniques of his singers as he aimed towards the perfect fusion between music and drama. His role of 'director' was particularly prominent, this programme shows, in his last three works: Aida, Otello and Falstaff. With contributions from, among others, singer Placido Domingo, opera director Graham Vick, the Superintendent of Venice's La Fenice Theatre Cristiano Chiarot, and the director of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma, Emilio Sala.

Viola: Air On A C String2012072820130727

Writer and string player Fiona Maddocks takes an analytical look at the viola. Why did so many great composers choose the most misunderstood and enigmatic string instrument as their favourite? What is it about its tone quality and the role that it plays in musical texture - right at the heart of the harmonic engine room - that made it so attractive, and why has it become the butt of jokes? With contributions from soloists PInchas Zukerman and Maxim Rysanov, Paul Cassidy of the Brodsky Quartet, violist/composers Brett Dean and Sally Beamish, and baroque violist Annette Isserlis.

Music includes works by Bach, Purcell, Mozart Beethoven, Schubert, Janacek, Smetana, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Hindemith, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Walton, and Bartok.

Writer and string player Fiona Maddocks takes an analytical look at the viola. Why did so many great composers choose the most misunderstood and enigmatic string instrument as their favourite? What is it about its tone quality and the role that it plays in musical texture - right at the heart of the harmonic engine room - that made it so attractive, and why has it become the butt of jokes? With contributions from soloists PInchas Zukerman and Maxim Rysanov, Paul Cassidy of the Brodsky Quartet, violist/composers Brett Dean and Sally Beamish, and baroque violist Annette Isserlis.

Music includes works by Bach, Purcell, Mozart Beethoven, Schubert, Janacek, Smetana, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Hindemith, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Walton, and Bartok.

Fiona Maddocks discusses the viola, misunderstood middle child of the string family.

Wandering Minstrels2012081820130803

Sarah Walker uncovers the forgotten story of one of the best known orchestras in Britain in the late 1800s: The Wandering Minstrels - a bunch of aristocrats and middle-class dilettantes who claimed to be the only purely amateur orchestra in Europe. They gave the first ever concert in the Royal Albert Hall, they raised the equivalent of millions of pounds for charity through their performances - and they really put the professionals' backs up.

And if their name seems familiar, you're probably thinking of the Gilbert and Sullivan song 'A wandering minstrel I' from The Mikado. No, the orchestra didn't name themselves after the song: the song was a tongue-in-cheek homage to the then-famous orchestra. Sullivan was good mates with the orchestra's founder, Seymour Egerton (later the Fourth Earl of Wilton), and Nanki-Poo, who sings the song, is - like the orchestra's players - a member of the nobility roughing it as an itinerant musician.

First broadcast in August 2012.

The story of the orchestra who gave the first ever concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Water Music

Water Music20090801
When The Opera Comes To Town

When The Opera Comes To Town2010042420110910

It's often forgotten that opera during the nineteenth century in Britain didn't always mean London. In fact, the provinces were a vital part of the operatic circuit. In this programme, Susan Rutherford uncovers some of the stories from the rich history of provincial opera, when audiences from all classes flocked to hear whatever the visiting opera company was performing. Perhaps the most tenacious presence on the provincial opera scene during the nineteenth century and beyond was the Carl Rosa Company, which chuffed and puffed around the country on its own steam train. We discover their punishing schedule - typically a residency of a week with a different opera every night before boarding the train again to the next theatre. Sarah Crouch, violinist in the Carl Rosa orchestra as it struggled to survive during the 1950s, remembers life on the road, "going on the knocker" - traipsing around towns looking for digs, and performing Wagner operas with a pint sized orchestra. "We had to play really quite strongly."

In spite of resources which were limited by today's standards, the music itself was glorious - a repertoire based around Verdi, Wagner, Puccini - including La Boheme, which like many other works had its first UK performance outside London. Carmen was so popular that special companies were established, which toured for months at a time with only that piece. English language performance was all the rage. The operatic establishment during the last decades of the nineteenth century was desperate to create a national opera to rival the houses which were springing up in Europe. Competitions were arranged to encourage British composers to come up with something which could compare with the great Italian and German works. In these years, in many ways, seeds were sown which would flower into ENO and the provincial touring opera companies of today. Martin Pickard, Head of Music at Opera North, gives the contemporary perspective.

And we hear the tale of Maria Malibran - the most famous opera star of her day. (The stage-presence of Lady Gaga, the voice of an angel.) It was an enormous coup for the Manchester Festival when she agreed to appear in 1836. The members of the festival committee must have been thrilled - until she died in the city, leaving nobody to take charge of the arrangements.

With music by Bizet, Puccini, Verdi and Offenbach.

Producer: Kerry Clark.

Susan Rutherford explores the history of opera outside London.

Who Was Carlos Kleiber?

Who Was Carlos Kleiber?2009092620100807

Ivan Hewett explores the musical enigma of the late conductor Carlos Kleiber. Despite huge demand and adulatory critical praise for his work, he gave very few performances and never granted an interview, increasing speculation about his art and personality. Ivan talks to some of the few who knew Kleiber well and attempts to explain his mercurial and electrifying genius.

While most great conductors have strongly-defined profiles, views and attitudes, Kleiber, the son of an equally feted conductor was and remains an enigma, with rumours about him circulating far more freely than facts. Primarily a recluse, he could only be persuaded into the public arena, at least since the late 1980s, by the combination of a momentous event, long rehearsal times and a huge fee. These performances, though, were nothing less than life-changing: concerts with the impact of religious events. Kleiber was also one of the few maestros who, although very demanding at rehearsal, was adored by the musicians who played for him - and by other conductors.

But why did he give so few performances? Why his obvious insecurities? Did he really only make records 'when the freezer ran out of food'? And what about Kleiber the man - his life, his friends, his loves, his obsessions?

Ivan Hewett explores the musical enigma of the conductor Carlos Kleiber.

Who's Afraid Of Hugo Wolf?

Who's Afraid Of Hugo Wolf?2010022720110716

Iain Burnside traces the life and work of lieder writer Hugo Wolf.

Hugo Wolf's reputation is for humourless, dense, difficult songs.Yet, when you listen to them, a different story emerges. They can be biting or tender, funny or sad, erotic or esoteric - but always as immediately appealing as those by Schubert or Schumann. How did Wolf gain such a mistaken reputation?

With performances of Wolf songs from Fischer-Dieskau, Elly Ameling, Ian Bostridge and Barbra Streisand amongst others, pianist and lieder-lover Iain Burnside traces Wolf's life and aims as a composer. In his quest to set the Wolf record straight, he is joined by fellow Wolf enthusiasts: Dr Susan Youens and Dr Amanda Glauert, the pianist Graham Johnson, and Jeremy Sams, whose father was the eminent Wolf scholar, Eric Sams.

Iain discovers how Wolf's sense of humour based on caricature and derision made him as many friends as enemies; how Wagner was both an ardent inspiration and a curse on Wolf's career; how Bizet's opera Carmen brought a new clarity of vision to Wolf's late song collections; and how the richnesses & sophistication of Wolf recordings past may be inhibiting our appreciation of Wolf today.

Songs featured:

Auch kleine Dinge (Italienisches Liederbuch)

Felicity Lott (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)

HYPERION CDA66760

Der Gartner (Morike Lieder)

Werner Gura (tenor), Jan Schultsz (piano)

Harmonia Mundi HMC 901882

Erstes Liebeslied eines Madchens (Morike Lieder)

Arleen Auger (soprano), Irwin Gage (piano)

HYPERION CDA66590

An den Schlaf (Morike Lieder)

Ian Bostridge (tenor), Antonio Pappano (tenor)

EMI 342256-2

Prometheus (Goethe lieder)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)

EMI 562188-2

Zur Warnung (Morike Lieder)

Stephan Genz (baritoe), Roger Vignoles (piano)

HYPERION CDA 67311/2

Abschied (Morike Lieder)

In der Fruhe (Morike Lieder)

Sagt, seid Ihr es, feiner Herr (Spanisches Liederbuch)

Anne Sophie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

EMI CDS 555325-2

Herr, was tragt der Boden hier (Spanisches Liederbuch)

Olaf Bar (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

Geh', Geliebter, geh' jetzt! (Spanisches Liederbuch)

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)

EMI 565749-2

Gesegnet sei das Grun (Italienisches Liederbuch)

Elly Ameling, Dalton Baldwin

PHILIPS 442 744-2

Verschwiegene Liebe (Eichendorff Lieder)

Barbra Streisand (voice) Claus Ogerman (piano)

SONY SK33452

Alles endet, was entstehet (Michelangelo Lieder)

Why Do We Sing?20080819 (BBC7)
20150206 (BBC7)
20150207 (BBC7)

Gareth Malone explores how man developed the ability to sing and how this evolved.

Gareth Malone explores how man developed the vocal capability to sing. He investigates how singing as we know it today began hundreds of millions of years ago and how prehistoric man used a type of vocal communication which could be called the precursor of singing. He finds out how this changed and developed as man evolved and explores what this tells us about human communication and how our relationship with song has grown out of moments in early history.

Why Do Women Die In Opera?

Why Do Women Die In Opera?2010062620110226 (R3)

Where would opera be without dead women? Associate editor of the Guardian and opera fanatic, Martin Kettle, considers the fact that, be it through suicide, murder, asphyxiation, drowning, execution, consumption, leaping off a balcony or dying in an avalanche, when it comes to the most popular tragic operas, to a disconcerting extent it's the sopranos, and occasionally the mezzos, who get the chop.

Together with singers Natalie Dessay and Christine Rice, singer/director Catherine Malfitano, director David McVicar, ENO music director Edward Gardner, The Royal Opera House's director of opera Elaine Padmore and scholars Peter Conrad, Susan McClary and Margaret Reynolds, Martin considers the social, historical, political and artistic contexts in which to understand the dying operatic heroine in canonical operas including La Traviata, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, Carmen, Manon, Tristan and Isolde, the Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser, Gotterdammerung, Salome, Elektra and Lulu.

He looks at how composers' own relationships with women might shed light on their dying divas and he weighs up a certain feminist approach to nineteenth century tragic opera which presents death as a punishment that the female romantic lead is required (by a 19th century bourgeois audience) to pay for living too passionately.

Why Do Women Die In Opera?2010062620110226
20110226 (R3)

Where would opera be without dead women? Associate editor of the Guardian and opera fanatic, Martin Kettle, considers the fact that, be it through suicide, murder, asphyxiation, drowning, execution, consumption, leaping off a balcony or dying in an avalanche, when it comes to the most popular tragic operas, to a disconcerting extent it's the sopranos, and occasionally the mezzos, who get the chop.

Together with singers Natalie Dessay and Christine Rice, singer/director Catherine Malfitano, director David McVicar, ENO music director Edward Gardner, The Royal Opera House's director of opera Elaine Padmore and scholars Peter Conrad, Susan McClary and Margaret Reynolds, Martin considers the social, historical, political and artistic contexts in which to understand the dying operatic heroine in canonical operas including La Traviata, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, Carmen, Manon, Tristan and Isolde, the Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser, Gotterdammerung, Salome, Elektra and Lulu.

He looks at how composers' own relationships with women might shed light on their dying divas and he weighs up a certain feminist approach to nineteenth century tragic opera which presents death as a punishment that the female romantic lead is required (by a 19th century bourgeois audience) to pay for living too passionately.

Journalist Martin Kettle asks why, so often in opera, the soprano meets a gruesome end.

02 LASTPlaying Castro's Tune20090110

Is the economic pressure placed on Cuban musicians detrimental to the national culture?