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Composer of the Week

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Rank #75 in Music category

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BBC Radio 3's Composer Of The Week is a guide to composers and their music. The podcast is compiled from the week's programmes and published on Friday, it is only available in the UK.

Read more

BBC Radio 3's Composer Of The Week is a guide to composers and their music. The podcast is compiled from the week's programmes and published on Friday, it is only available in the UK.

iTunes Ratings

140 Ratings
Average Ratings
24
9
4
1
102

Can’t download in US?

By Remigio II - Jan 18 2020
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Why not take this off of the Apple podcast app in the US if the episodes are not available to users here? Or of course make them available here.

Please make it available in the US!

By Anna88 S. - Jan 06 2020
Read more
Please make it available in the US!

iTunes Ratings

140 Ratings
Average Ratings
24
9
4
1
102

Can’t download in US?

By Remigio II - Jan 18 2020
Read more
Why not take this off of the Apple podcast app in the US if the episodes are not available to users here? Or of course make them available here.

Please make it available in the US!

By Anna88 S. - Jan 06 2020
Read more
Please make it available in the US!
Cover image of Composer of the Week

Composer of the Week

Latest release on Jan 17, 2020

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BBC Radio 3's Composer Of The Week is a guide to composers and their music. The podcast is compiled from the week's programmes and published on Friday, it is only available in the UK.

Rank #1: George Gershwin

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of George Gershwin.

When a second-hand piano was hoisted through the window of the Gershwin family’s Lower East Side apartment, a window was quite literally opened onto a new world. Donald begins by looking at Gershwin’s early and lifelong love of the instrument. For many, he was the foremost composer of the "jazz age" and it's through jazz-inflected interpretations that his music has reached its widest audience. Next, Donald tells the story of Gershwin's excursions in the concert hall. He may have been the toast of Broadway, but his attempts to move musically out of the theatre district and into the hallowed portals of the city’s concert halls were, despite some successes, constantly frustrated and a source of disappointment to him. To end, Donald charts George Gershwin's final years, partly spent in a ramshackle beach cottage on Folly Island in South Carolina. His memorable musical experiences with the local Gullah people eventually inspired his magnum opus, the opera Porgy and Bess.
Music featured:
Summertime
That Certain Feeling
Three Preludes
Piano Concerto in F
Has Anyone Seen Joe
The Real American Folk Song
Fascinating Rhythm
Embraceable You
I Got Rhythm
I Got Rhythm Variations
Someone to Watch Over Me
Rhapsody in Blue
Second Rhapsody
American in Paris
Strike Up the Band Overture
Cuban Overture
My Man's Gone Now
I Got Plenty of Nothin'
Bess, You Is My Woman Now
It Ain’t Necessarily So
I Loves You Porgy
Catfish Row Suite
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for George Gershwin: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001tjn

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jan 04 2019

50mins

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Rank #2: Johannes Brahms

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Donald Macleod explores the lifelong friendship between Brahms and the great violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim - and the music of genius that resulted

May 18 2018

59mins

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Rank #3: Richard Strauss

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Donald Macleod introduces the life and music of the German composer and conductor, Richard Strauss.

Mar 02 2018

59mins

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Rank #4: Beethoven

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Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven, focusing on how he transformed the classical legacy of Haydn and Mozart

Dec 27 2013

1hr 5mins

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Rank #5: Luciano Berio

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Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Italian experimental composer, Luciano Berio

Jul 06 2018

1hr 10mins

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Rank #6: Joseph Haydn

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Donald Macleod explores the prolific life of Joseph Haydn, with a spotlight on his masses

Joseph Haydn’s prodigious creativity earned him the titles Father of the Symphony and Father of the String Quartet. However, he was also occupied with sacred music throughout his career. This week, as Donald Macleod follows Haydn’s journey from humble choirboy to Europe’s most celebrated composer, he shines the spotlight on music from Haydn’s many settings of the Mass. It's music that is as chock-full of invention and character as any of the instrumental forms he made his own.

In this week’s episode Donald illustrates Haydn’s generosity and sense of humour, the obstacles thrown into Haydn’s path throughout his career, the importance he placed on religion, and the effect war and turmoil had on his music. Also, the extraordinary story of how Haydn lost his head.

Music featured:
Mass in B flat major ‘Harmoniemesse’
Symphony No 94 in G major ‘Surprise’ (Andante)
Mass in B flat major ‘Theresienmesse’
String Quartet in B minor, Op 64 No 2
Organ Concerto in C major
Piano Trio No 17 in F major
Mass in G major ‘Missa Sancti Nicolai’: Agnus Dei
Stabat Mater: Sancta Mater
Mass in F major ‘Missa brevis a due soprani’
Arianna a Naxos cantata: Aria ‘Dove sei’
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 64 No 3
Mass in C major Missa in tempore belli ‘Paukenmesse’
Symphony No 100 in G major ‘Military’ (2nd movement)
Piano Trio No 39 in G major ‘Gypsy Rondo’
Die Schöpfung, Part 2:
Mass in D minor ‘Nelson Mass’
Trumpet Concerto in E flat major: movt I Allegro
Symphony No 104 in D major ‘London’: movt IV Finale: Spiritoso
Mass in B flat major ‘Schöpfungsmesse’: Kyrie and Gloria
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Eleri Llian Rees for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Joseph Haydn https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00045nb

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Apr 12 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #7: Rachel Portman

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Donald Macleod joins the Oscar winning film composer Rachel Portman in her studio in London, to chat about her life and music for film and the concert platform.

Mar 09 2018

1hr 22mins

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Rank #8: Heinrich Schütz

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Donald Macleod journeys through Christmas week in the company of Heinrich Schütz.

Donald begins by dipping a toe into the fertile archival territory of Schütz’s own writings, a fascinating window onto the life of the composer. Then we’re to the Striezelmarkt for a pastry and a glass of Glühwein, with a look at Christmas in 17th-century Dresden. Onwards to Venice, where Schütz studies with Gabrieli and hobnobs with Monteverdi. Next, things turn serious, as Schütz is swept up in the convulsions of the 30 Years’ War and its impact is felt on musical life. Finally, Donald looks at the great music of Schütz’s final years, his attempts to retire – and eventually bids farewell with his Schwanengesang.
Music featured:
Cantate Domino canticum novum, SWV 281
O quam tu pulchra es, SWV 265
Wie sehr lieblich und schöne sind doch die Wohnung dein, SWV 181
Habe deine Lust an dem Herren, SWV 311
Concert in Form einer teutschen Begräbnis-Missa, SWV 279
Gedenke deinem Knechte an dein Wort, SWV 485
Hodie Christus natus est, SWV 456
Warum toben die Heiden, SWV 23
Ein Kind ist uns geboren, SWV 302
Verbum caro factum est, SWV 314
The Christmas Story, SWV 435
Jubilate Deo in chordis et organo, SWV 276
Ride la primavera, SWV 7
Di marmo siete voi, SWV 17
Vasto mar, nel cui seno, SWV 19
Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, SWV 41
Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, SWV 29
Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen, SWV 34
Fili mi, Absalon, SWV 269
In te, Domine, speravi, SWV 259
Es steh Gott auf, SWV 356
‘O, Herr, hilf’, SWV 402
Syncharma musicum, SWV 49
Da pacem, Domine’, SWV 465
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, SWV 328
O süsser, o freundlicher Herr Jesu Christ, SWV 285
Erhöre mich, wenn ich dich rufe, SWV 289
Ist Gott für uns, SWV 329
Ich bin eine rufende Stimme, SWV 383
Verleih uns Frieden genädiglich, SWV 372
Das Wort ward Fleisch, SWV 385
Das ist je gewisslich wah, SWV 388
Danket dem Herren, denn er ist freundlich, SWV 45
Auf dem Gebirge, SWV 396
Feget den alten Sauerteig aus, SWV 404
Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich? SWV 415
Komm, heiliger Geist SWV 417
Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen, SWV 424
Jauchzet dem Herren, alle Welt (Psalm 100), SWV 493
St Matthew Passion, SWV 479
Mein Seele erhebt den Herren, SWV 494
Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Heinrich Schütz: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001qgh

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 28 2018

56mins

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Rank #9: John Williams

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To mark the composer's 80th birthday year, Donald Macleod is joined by John Williams for an exploration of his life and music

Jan 18 2013

1hr 14mins

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Rank #10: Gustav Mahler

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Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Gustav Mahler through five key themes.

This week’s episode begins with an exploration of love - a potent force in Mahler’s creative armoury, but, for Mahler’s wife Alma, it came at a heavy price. Mahler was also obsessed with human mortality, but that became all too real with the tragic death of his daughter Maria. We’ll also hear about the composer’s ambivalent relationship to religion. Despite his lack of adherence to a particular creed, Mahler’s work is shot through with a genuine religious sense. Next, Donald discusses the vein of tart humour in Mahler’s music, from the gently sardonic to the out-and-out grotesque. Finally Donald tells how Mahler’s profound love of the natural world seeped into almost everything he wrote.

Music featured:
Liebst du um Schönheit
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (No 4, ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’)
Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
Symphony No 5 (4th mvt, Adagietto)
Symphony No 6 (1st movement, Allegro energico, ma non troppo)
Rückert-Lieder (Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen)
Symphony No 4 (2nd movement, In gemächlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast)
Kindertotenlieder (Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n)
Symphony No 6 (4th movement, Finale. Allegro moderato – Allegro energico)
Symphony No 8 (Part 1, extract – ‘Veni creator spiritus')
Symphony No 4 (4th movement, Sehr behaglich)
Symphony No 10 (3rd movement, Purgatorio – Unheimlich bewegt)
Symphony No 2 (‘Resurrection’) (5th movement, Finale)
Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt)
Symphony No 1 in D (‘Titan’) (3rd movement, Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen)
Symphony No 2 (3rd movement, In ruhig fliessender Bewegung)
Symphony No 7 (3rd movement, Scherzo: Schatternhaft)
Symphony No 9 (3rd movement, Rondo-Burleske)
Lieder und gesänge aus Jugendzeit (Ablösung im Sommer)
Symphony No 3 (3rd movement, Comodo)
Das Lied von der Erde (6. Der Abschied)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Gustav Mahler https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008p73

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 27 2019

54mins

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Rank #11: Franz Schubert

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Franz Schubert.

It’s hard to think of a composer more gregarious than Schubert, and further removed from the image of the reclusive genius, closeted away in his artistic ivory tower, creating peerless masterpieces in splendid isolation. From his days at Vienna’s Stadtkonvikt, the Imperial Catholic boarding school that offered the best general and musical education in the Austrian capital, Schubert developed a wide and supportive network of highly cultured friends, with whom he explored art, politics, religion, literature, and, of course, music; frequented the odd tavern or three; and attended convivial social gatherings in the homes of well-heeled admirers, from which developed the tradition of the ‘Schubertiad’ – informal get-togethers devoted to the performance of Schubert’s music, and above all, his songs.

In this week's episode, we’ll start by meeting Schubert’s friends, and then take a trip round Vienna in search of Schubert’s audience. Next, Donald gives us a whistle-stop tour of the jaw-droppingly productive year that’s been called Schubert’s annus mirabilis, 1815. We’ll also hear how Schubert faced the challenge of following in Beethoven’s footsteps, and about the posthumous discovery of much of his music, including many of his most-loved works.

Music featured:
‘An die Musik’, D547
‘Suleika I’ D720
‘Geheimes’, D719
Symphony No 8 in B minor (‘Unfinished’), D759
‘Über Wildemann’, D884
‘Sehnsucht’, D879
‘Das Zügenglöcklein’, D871
Gesang (‘An Sylvia’), D891
String Quartet in D minor, D 810 (‘Death and the Maiden’)
Mass in F, D105 (Sanctus)
Overture in D, D590 (‘In the Italian style’)
Der Zwillingsbrüder, D647 (No 3, Aria, ‘Der Vater mag wohl immer Kind mich nennen’)
String Quartet in A minor, D804 (‘Rosamunde’)
Psalm 92, D953
Piano Trio in E flat, D929 (Op 100)
Erlkönig’, D328
Piano Sonata in E, D157
Mass in G, D167 (Agnus Dei)
String Quartet in G minor, D173
Der vierjährige Posten, D190
Symphony No 3 in D, D200
‘Heidenröslein’, D257
‘Gebet während der Schlacht’, D171
‘An die Nachtigall’, D196
‘Die Mondnacht’, D238
‘Das Rosenband’, D280
Beethoven: ‘Der Zufriedene’, Op 75 No 6
Schubert: ‘Der Zufriedene’, D320
Symphony No 4 in C minor (‘Tragic’), D417
‘Abschied’, D957 No 7
‘Der Atlas’, D 957 No 8
Octet in F for clarinet, horn, bassoon, string quartet and double bass, D803
‘Auf dem Strom’, D943
Liszt, after Schubert: Die Rose – Lied von Franz Schubert, S556/1
Symphony in C, D 944
Piano Sonata in A, D959
String Quintet in C, D 956
Ständchen, D920
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Franz Schubert https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00083n5

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 06 2019

1hr 2mins

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Rank #12: Antonín Dvořák

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Donald Macleod explores the life, music and perseverance of Antonín Dvořák.

Antonín Dvořák was no spring chicken when he found success as a composer. He was in his early thirties before he made his mark in his native Czech Republic, despite composing from a young age. Donald Macleod follows Dvořák as he attempts to win over successive audiences: from Prague to Vienna, England to America, before eventually returning to Prague and to the opera stage. Who did he need to impress in order to achieve the success he craved?

Donald Macleod introduces us to Dvořák as he struggles to carve his path as a composer. We’ll meet his influential friends who championed his work, including Brahms, the conductor Hans Richter and the virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim. Dvořák’s ambition eventually took him to America, but as well as inspiring many of his best-known works, found him embroiled in arguments about the nature of American music and struggling with homesickness. Donald considers what drove Dvořák to tirelessly persevere, particularly with the operatic genre, when his other works were so well received by audiences at home and abroad.

Music featured:
Slavonic Dances, Op 46 (Dumka)
In Nature’s Realm, Op 91
Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 10
Písně Milostné, Op 83
Serenade, Op 44
Piano Trio in F minor, Op 65
Moravian Duets, Op 32 (How small the field of Slavíkov is & Water and Tears)
Symphonic Variations, Op 78
String Quartet No 10 in E flat major, Op 51
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op 53
Czech Suite, Op 39
Stabat Mater, Op 58
Svatá Ludmila, Op 71
Symphony No 8 in G major, Op 88
Requiem, Op 89 (Hostias)
Piano Trio in E minor, Op 90 (Dumky)
Cello Concerto in B minor, Op 104
Violin Sonatina in G, Op 100
Biblical Songs, op 99
String Quartet No 12 in F major, Op 96 (American)
Symphony No 9, Op 95 (From the New World)
Vanda (Overture)
The King and the Charcoal Burner (Act 11, scene 7)
Dimitrij (Act 4, scene 3)
The Noon Witch, Op 196
Rusalka (Act 3)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Cerian Arianrhod for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Antonín Dvořák https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009zxh

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Nov 07 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #13: Sergei Rachmaninov

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Donald Macleod explores Sergei Rachmaninov’s years in America.

Reluctant even to visit at first, and once there always more than a little homesick, this proudly Russian composer in fact lived in the United States of America for 25 years, from the end of the First World War until his death in 1943. His life there was principally that of a virtuoso performer, not a composer; and Rachmaninov gave recitals for presidents, recorded discs for Thomas Edison, and felt obliged to rattle off his “hated” Prelude in C sharp minor for concert audiences wherever he went.

All this week, Donald looks at Rachmaninov’s equivocal relationship with his adopted homeland. Rachmaninov’s first toured the USA in 1909, but it was only when he fled the 1917 revolution that he had to properly adjust to life as a concert pianist there. His intense performing schedule left him exhausted – we hear about the year 1926, which dedicated solely to composition, and how he found productive solace during his in summers in Switzerland. Although Rachmaninov was slow to embrace his adopted country, never really learning proper English and always looking back longingly to mother Russia, he did come to love the United States, and eventually, in the final year of his life, became a citizen. By then he’d become immersed in American cultural life, relishing jazz music and even admiring Mickey Mouse’s take on his ubiquitous Prelude.

Music featured:
Prelude in C sharp minor
Piano concerto in D minor, 1st movement
The Isle of the Dead, Op 29
A Dream (6 Songs, Op 38 No 5)
The Star-Spangled Banner for piano
Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, 1st movement
Polichinelle in F sharp minor, Op 3 No 4
Lento a capriccio (The Bells)
Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C sharp minor (Liszt, arr. Rachmaninov)
Liebeslied (arr. for piano)
Etudes Tableaux, Op 33, Nos 2 and 7
3 Russian Songs, Op 41
Marche (Etudes Tableaux, orch. Respighi)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op 43
Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 44, second movement
Prelude in C sharp minor (arr. Barnet)
3 Symphonic Dances, Op 45
The Muse; What Happiness; Vocalise (14 Songs, Op 34)
Lilacs

Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Dominic Jewel for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Rachmaninov: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000hb7
And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 28 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #14: Igor Stravinsky

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Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky.

In this week’s episode, Donald explores the composer who is said, in his music, to have ushered in the 20th century: Igor Stravinsky. His name is probably still most associated with the utterly extraordinary, revolutionary evening that prompted that accolade – the premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on the 29th of May 1913. We’ll hear about his pivotal relationships with fellow musician Rimsky-Korsakov, his assistant Robert Craft and the impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Plus, Donald delves into some of the most formative periods in Stravinsky’s life: his creative move towards neo-classicism, the death of his wife, his lonely exile to the USA, and his experiments with serialist methods.
Music featured:
Rite of Spring
Scherzo in G minor
Pastorale
Four Etudes, Op 7, Nos 3 and 4
Symphony in E flat major (1st and 2nd movements)
Faun and Shepherdess
Scherzo Fantastique
Fireworks
The Firebird Suite
Three Movements from Petrushka
Pulcinella (Overture)
Mavra: Russian Song (arr for cello & piano)
Octet (2nd movement)
Symphony of Psalms
Concerto in E flat major 'Dumbarton Oaks'
Tango
Ebony Concerto (1st and 2nd movements)
Scherzo a la Russe
Symphony in Three Movements
Rake's Progress: Act I Scene 3 (excerpt)
Mass (Kyrie, Gloria)
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Agon: Act IV
The dove descending breaks the air
Canticum Sacrum
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Igor Stravinsky https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004y0p

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

May 10 2019

1hr 5mins

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Rank #15: Astor Piazzolla

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of the bandoneon virtuoso and composer Astor Piazzolla, through five key locations.

All his life he fought against the tide, and in the end, he was the victor. Astor Piazzolla was a rebel with a cause. A virtuoso bandoneon player and a composer, he set out to break tango free from its roots, and make it a music with a future far beyond the dance halls and cafes of 1950s Buenos Aires. Hits like “Libertango” and collaborations with jazz giants like Gary Burton and Gerry Mulligan made his name beyond the tango world, while his classical compositions brought his instrument, the bandoneon critical acclaim in the concert hall. The secrets of musical technique came, he said, from his studies with French pedagogue, Nadia Boulanger and Argentinian composer, Alberto Ginastera but they also came from his teenage experiences in Buenos Aires, the city where had played bandoneon and arranged music for Anibal Troilo’s famous tango band.

Across the week Donald Macleod traces Astor Piazzolla’s life through the places which played an important part in his musical development: New York, Buenos Aires, Paris, Rome and the Uraguayan resort of Punta del Este.

Music featured:
Tanguedia
Tres minutos con la Realidad
Piano sonata No 1, Op 7
Sideral
Requiem para un Malandra
Adios nonino
Concierto para quinteto
Buenos Aires hora cera (Buenos Aires zero hour)
El desbande
Tiernamente
El recodo
Histoire du Tango for flute and guitar
Balada para mi muerte
Sinfonía Buenos Aires, Op 15
Otoño porteño
Two pieces for clarinet and string orchestra
Triunfal
Prepárense
Tangos, El Exilio de Gardel (excerpts from the original soundtrack)
Mumuki
Michelangelo 70
Amelitango
Maria de Buenos Aires (excerpt)
Summit
Close your eyes and listen
3 Movimientos Tanguisticos Portenos
Tristezas de un Doble A
Jeanne y Paul
Resurreccion del Angel
Concerto for bandoneon, string orchestra & percussion
Le Grand Tango
La Camorra II
Five Tango Sensations
Libertango

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Astor Piazzolla https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003c6f

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Mar 22 2019

1hr 4mins

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Rank #16: Marais and Delalande

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Marin Marais and Michel-Richard Delalande, successors to Lully at the Louis XIV's court

Dec 14 2012

58mins

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Rank #17: Meredith Monk

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Donald Macleod talks to Meredith Monk about her remarkable life and unique music

Nov 04 2016

1hr 24mins

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Rank #18: Fryderyk Chopin

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Donald Macleod explores “the poet of the piano”, Fryderyk Chopin.

Donald starts this week’s episode with a look at how Chopin’s Polish heritage shaped his music. Although he left the country at the age of 20, dance forms like the polonaise and mazurka left a strong mark on his writing. Next, we catch fleeting glimpses of the composer through his letters, and his relationship with his instrument, the piano. Chopin’s reticence to perform made his rare appearances extremely lucrative, but he much preferred the more intimate and sociable surroundings of the salon, where his trademark light touch could be appreciated to the full. We hear about Chopin through the eyes of his most illustrious contemporaries – his lover George Sand, and fellow composers Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann. To end, stories of the composer’s ever-feeble health – Berlioz is supposed to have said Chopin was “dying all his life” – which makes the scale of his achievement all the more heroic.

Music featured:
‘Życzenie’ (The maiden’s wish), Op 74 No 1
Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor, Op 21 (3rd mvt, Allegro vivace)
4 Mazurkas, Op 17
Polonaise No 5 in C minor, Op 40 No 2
Polonaise No 6 in A flat, Op 53 (‘Heroic’)
Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op 52
2 Mazurkas (Mazurka in G; Mazurka in B flat)
Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Romance—Larghetto)
Preludes, Op 28
3 Mazurkas, Op 50 (No 1 in G; No 2 in A flat; No 3 in C sharp minor)
2 Nocturnes, Op 55 (No 1 in F minor; No 2 in E flat)
Etude in A flat, Op 25 No 1 (‘Aeolian Harp’)
‘Krakowiak’: Grand Concert Rondo in F, Op 14
Mazurka in B minor, Op 33 No 4
Andante spianato, Op 22 No 1
Impromptu No 3 in G flat, Op 51
Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op 48 No 2
Barcarolle, Op 60
Etude in C, Op 10 No 1
Ballade No 2 in F, Op 38
Variations in B flat major on ‘La ci darem la mano’, from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, Op 2
Scherzo No 4 in E, Op 54
Sonata in G minor for piano and cello, Op 65 (2nd and 3rd movements)
Mazurka in G minor, Op 67 No 2
2 Nocturnes, Op 27 (No 1 in C sharp minor, Larghetto; No 2 in D flat, Lento sostento)
Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor, Op 39
Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47
Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 (3rd movement, Largo)
Waltz in E flat, Op 18 (‘Grande valse brillante’)
Berceuse, Op 57
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Fryderyk Chopin https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00066mv

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jun 28 2019

1hr 3mins

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Rank #19: Leoš Janáček

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Donald Macleod illustrates Leos Janacek’s inner tensions through five key relationships

One of the most original voices of the twentieth century, Leoš Janáček was a composer, musical theorist, folklorist and teacher. Born in 1854 in the Moravian village of Hukvaldy, which was then part of the Austrian Empire, in his youth German was the language of government, education and social influence. Having returned from studies in Germany, Janáček made detailed studies of native folk song and spent years annotating the natural rhythms of the Czech language. He was to write all his works for stage in his native language. The range of his professional activities gave him a range of outlets to voice what quickly became a life-long commitment to Czech culture.

Janáček was a contradictory man, who spent much of his life feeling at odds with his circumstances. Through five of his closest relationships, Donald Macleod builds a picture of how his inner tensions found expression in his music.
Music featured:
Suite for Strings, Andante con moto (3rd movement)
Four male-voice choruses
Lachian Dances
Šárka (excerpt from Act 1)
Sinfonietta
Lavečka (The Bench)
Theme with variations (Zdenka Variations)
Amarus (3rd movement)
Janacek, rev. Mackerras: The Cunning Little Vixen Orchestral Suite JW 1/9
Quartet no.1 (The Kreutzer Quartet)
Nejistota JW V/2
Hukvaldy Songs
Taras Bulba
Pohádka
Jenůfa – excerpt from Act 1
Kat’a Kabanova – Act 3 excerpt
The diary of one who disappeared (excerpt)
Quartet for strings no. 2: Intimate Letters
Glagolitic Mass – Credo
Žárlivost
On the overgrown path (excerpts)
The Excursions of Mr Brouček
The Fiddler’s Child
Potulný šílenec

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Leoš Janáček https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cr48

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 06 2019

59mins

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Rank #20: Muzio Clementi

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Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of piano prodigy Muzio Clementi.

Muzio Clementi was one of the 18th and 19th century’s most revered musicians – a star performer, a composer admired by Czerny, Beethoven and Chopin and an astute musical businessman. However, he also had his detractors in his own time and history hasn’t been as kind to him as to the greater names of his time – Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Today his name is unfamiliar to most but it is certainly better known than the music he wrote. He was fortunate to have interactions with perhaps the world's three greatest composers, but this fortune may have also worked against him - putting him in direct competition with them. Across the episode, Donald Macleod explores Clementi’s contact with the greatest composers of his day, reassessing the life and music of the man known as the “father of the piano” in the light of these encounters. We’ll hear the stories of his musical duel with Mozart, stage-sharing with Haydn, brushes with Beethoven and dispute with John Field over a hat.

Music featured:
Symphony No 3 (Finale)
Musical Characteristics, Op 19
Piano Sonata in A flat Major, WoO 13
Sonata for piano, Op 2 No 4
Duetto in C Major, Op 3 No 3 (Presto)
Mozart (arr. Clementi): Symphony no. 40 in G minor, K 550 (Finale)
Sonata in G minor, Op 7 No 3
Toccata in B flat Major, Op 11 No 2
Sonata in B flat major, Op 24 No 2
Variations on Mozart’s Batti, batti, o bel Masetto from Don Giovanni, WoO 10
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 8 No 2 (II. Larghetto con espressione)
Symphony in B flat major, Op 18 No 1 (I. Allegro Assai)
Sonata in G minor, Op 9 No 2
Overture in D Major
Symphony No 4
Capriccio in F major, Op 34 No 2
Monferinas selection
Sonata, Op 34 No 2
Concerto for piano and orchestra (II. Adagio e cantibile)
Piano Sonata in F minor, Op 13 No 6 (III. Presto)
Adagio sostenuto in F major (Gradus ad Parnassum, Book I, No 14)
Sonata in B minor, Op 40 No 2 (II. Largo)
Symphony No 2 in D major ( Finale)
Symphony No 1 in C major (III. Minuet and Trio)
Piano Sonata in G minor, Op 50 No 3 “Didone abbandonata”
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Muzio Clementi https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009bdq

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Oct 18 2019

1hr 7mins

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Ludwig van Beethoven: Why Beethoven?

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Donald Macleod asks conductor Marin Alsop and historian Simon Schama why Beethoven's life and work still matter today.

All through 2020, as part of Radio 3's Beethoven Unleashed season, Donald Macleod takes an unprecedented deep dive into the compelling story and extraordinary music of Ludwig van Beethoven. In this uniquely ambitious series, told across 125 episodes of Composer of the Week, Donald puts us inside Beethoven’s world and explores his hopes, struggles and perseverance in all the colourful detail this amazing narrative deserves. Alongside this in-depth biography, Donald will also be meeting and talking to Beethoven enthusiasts and experts from across the world to discover how his music continues to speak to us in the twenty-first century. Through story and sound, the series builds into a vivid new portrait of this composer, born 250 years ago this year, who made art that changed how people saw themselves and understood the world.

Music featured:
Bagatelle in A minor (Fur Elise), WoO 59
String Quartet No 10, Op 74 (Harp) (3rd movement)
Symphony No 3 in E flat major (Eroica) (3rd movement)
Grosse Fuge, Op 133
Symphony No 5 in C minor (1st and 2nd movements)
Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (2nd movement)
Sonata in A major, Op 30 No 1 for violin and piano
Leonore Overture No 3
Piano Sonata No 27 in E minor, Op 90 (2nd movement)
Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (2nd movement)
Piano Sonata No 13 in E flat major, Op 27 No 1 (2nd movement)
Symphony No 3 in E flat major (Eroica), Op 55 (2nd movement)
The Creatures of Prometheus: Overture
Fidelio: Act II finale
Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (1st movement)
Piano Sonata No 14 (Moonlight), Op 27 No 2 (1st movement)
String Quartet in F minor, Op 95 (1st movement)
Egmont Overture, Op 84
Symphony No 9 in D major (Choral), Op 125
String Quartet in A minor, Op 132 (5th movement)
String Quartet in E flat major, Op 127 (1st movement)
Bagatelle in E flat major, Op 126 No 6
Mass in D major (Missa Solemnis), Op 123 (Kyrie)
Coriolan Overture, Op 62
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (5th movement)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Beethoven: Why Beethoven?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d7zg

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jan 17 2020

1hr 23mins

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George Walker

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of George Walker, in conversation with his son Gregory.

When Rosa King Walker announced to her five-year-old son George that, like it or not, he was going to have piano lessons, she can scarcely have been aware that she was dispatching him on a lifelong journey in music. He made his concerto début at the age of 23 playing Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the great Eugene Ormandy. A stellar career on the concert platform surely beckoned, but in the event, things were not so straightforward. We’ll hear how Walker began to turn his back on the idea of a solo career, gravitating instead towards a life in teaching – and, increasingly, composition. Donald and Gregory discuss Walker’s studies with the formidable Nadia Boulanger, the relief when his commissions started rolling in, and the far reaches of his stylistic ambition. Walker won the epic Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996 for his piece Lilacs, a career-defining moment, which makes what happened next in Walker’s career all the more surprising. “I got probably more publicity nationwide than perhaps any other Pulitzer Prize-winner,” he recalled in 2015. “But not a single orchestra approached me about doing the piece or any piece. It materialized in nothing.” In this emotional look back at the life and work of his father, Gregory discusses identity, representation and perseverance, ending with the story of his swansong, Visions, inspired by the tragedy of the Charleston church massacre.

Music featured:
Response
String Quartet No 1
Lyric for Strings
Piano Sonata No 1
Cello Sonata
Trombone Concerto
The Bereaved Maid
Sonata No 1 for violin and piano
Spatials
Variations for Orchestra
Five Fancies for clarinet and piano four hands (Theme and 5 variations)
Piano Concerto
Music for Brass (Sacred and Profane)
Cantata
Piano Sonata No 4
Sinfonia No 1
Hey Nonny No (anon)
Poème for violin and orchestra
In Time of Silver Rain
Mother Goose (Circa 2054)
Lilacs
Modus
Icarus in Orbit
Piano Sonata No 5
Da Camera, for piano trio, harp, celesta, string orchestra and percussion
Violin Concerto
Bleu
Sinfonia No 5 (‘Visions’)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for George Walker https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cz2q

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jan 10 2020

1hr 12mins

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Arcangelo Corelli

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Donald Macleod delves into the international successes of Arcangelo Corelli.

Arcangelo Corelli was something of a European phenomenon not only during his lifetime, but also after his death. His compositional output was not large, but the development of the printing press enabled his music to be widely circulated. Musically, he bridged the gap between the Baroque and the Classical periods, and is seen as pivotal in the development of the sonata and the concerto. Even today, Corelli’s music is held in high esteem, with composers still inspired by his music. As a violinist he was also legendary, and people flocked from all over Europe to not only hear him play, but to also be taught by him. Corelli spent most of his career in Rome, maintained in some luxury by royalty, nobility and the Church. During his career he collaborated with many other composers including Alessandro Scarlatti and Handel. Despite his fame and continued popularity, we still know relatively little about Corelli, and this Composer of the Week series seeks to explore the man and his music through his personal and professional relationships.

Music featured:
Sonata in G minor, Op 4 No 2 (Corrente)
Concerto Grossi, Op 6 No 3
Sonata in G, Op 1 No 9
Handel: La Resurrezione (Ho un non so che nel cor)
Sonata in F major, Op 5 No 10
Concerto Grosso in D, Op 6 No 1
Fuga con un soggetto solo
Sonata in G minor, Op 5 No 5
Sonata in F, Op 1 No 1
Sonata in A minor, Op 1 No 4
Sonata in B minor, Op 3 No 4
Sonata in F minor, Op 3 No 9
Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 12
Sonata in D
Sonata in B major, Op 2 No 5
Sonata in E flat major, Op 2 No 11
Sinfonia to Santa Beatrice d’Este in D minor, WoO1
Concerto in G minor, Op 6 No 8 (Christmas Concerto)
Sonata in C, Op 5 No 9
Sonata in A minor, op 4 No 5
Sonata in B minor, op 4 No 12
Sonata in C, Op 2 No 3
Sonata in F major, Op 2 No 7
Handel: Sonata a 5, HWV288 (Violin Concerto in B flat)
Sonata in G minor WoO2
Corelli Arr. J. C. Schickhardt: Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 3
Sonata No 2 in D minor, Op 2 No 2
Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 2
Corelli Arr. Geminiani: Concerto Grosso VII in D minor
Sonata in D minor, Op 5 No 12 (Follia)
Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 9

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Arcangelo Corelli. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d6y6

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 27 2019

1hr 4mins

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Johannes Brahms

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Donald Macleod explores the music of Johannes Brahms through his close relationships.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

We’ll hear about Brahms’s doomed early romance with a young singer, Agathe von Siebold, plus his lifelong friendships with Robert, and particularly Clara Schumann - probably the person he was closest to in his life. Donald explores the music written for some of the women he knew intimately, and why he sought solitude and how it came to influence his music. Throughout his life, there was a great expectation placed on Brahms’s shoulders. We end by looking at how that shaped his character and music.
Music featured:
Sonata No 3 in F minor, Op 5 (4th movement)
Lieder & Romanzen, Op 14 (No 4, Ein Sonett & No 7, Ständchen)
Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 15 (1st movement)
Ave Maria, Op 12
String Sextet No 2 in G, Op 36 (1. Allegro non troppo)
2 Gavottes, WoO 3 (Nos 1 and 2)
Piano Sonata No 1 in C major, Op 1 (1. Allegro)
6 Songs, Op 3 (Nos 2 and 3)
Piano Quartet, Op 25 (3rd and 4th movements)
String Sextet No 1in B flat major, Op 18 (2nd movement)
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34A (1st movement)
Rhapsody in B minor, Op 79 No 1
6 Songs, Op 7 (Nos 2 -5)
Variations in E flat on a Theme by Schumann (Nos 8-11)
Alto Rhapsody, Op 53
16 Waltzes, Op 39 (Nos 1-4)
Cello Sonata No 1 in E minor, Op 38 (3rd movement - Allegro)
Klavierstücke, Op 76 (No 7 - Intermezzo in A major; No 8 - Capriccio in C major)
Violin Sonata No 2, Op 100 (1st movement: Allegro amabile)
Nanie, Op 82
Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 83 (3rd movement - Andante)
Serenade No 1 in D major, Op 11 (2nd movement)
Piano Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor, Op 2 (4th movement)
Vier ernste Gesänge, Op 121 (Nos 3 and 4)
Ein Deutsches Requiem [A German Requiem], Op 45 (2nd and 3rd movements)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Johannes Brahms. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cb1x

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 20 2019

1hr 8mins

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Percy Grainger

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Donald Macleod surveys the life, music and quirks of Australian composer, Percy Grainger

Donald Macleod begins this week episode about Percy Grainger by tracing the composer's ambivalent relationship with his primary musical instrument, the piano, and the ever-present influence of his mother. He then follows Grainger to London, where his composing took second place to performing, leading to concert tours of Scandinavia, South Africa, New Zealand and back home to Australia. We’ll also hear about his enthusiastic and sometimes controversial role in the folksong revival of the 1900s, away from starchy drawing rooms and concert halls. Donald keeps up with Grainger during an anxiety-ridden move to America during the First World War. To end, he explores some of the composer's more unsavoury views and his quest for musical 'freedom'.

Music featured:
Mowgli's Song Against People
Molly on the Shore
Walking Tune
Tribute to Foster
Marching Song of Democracy
Hill-Song 1 and 2
Handel in the Strand
English Dance
Colonial Song
Scotch Strathspey and Reel
The Warriors
Brigg Fair
Creeping Jane
I'm Seventeen Come Sunday
Four Settings from 'Songs of the North'
Green Bushes
Lincolnshire Posy
Country Garden
Suite: In a Nutshell
The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart
Irish Tune from County Derry
The Bride's Tragedy
Shepherd's Hey
The Power of Love
Jutish Melody (Danish Folk Song Suite)
To a Nordic Princess
Immovable Do
Free Music
Free Music No 2
The Jungle Book (excerpts)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Percy Grainger. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000c4kf

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 13 2019

1hr 11mins

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Leoš Janáček

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Donald Macleod illustrates Leos Janacek’s inner tensions through five key relationships

One of the most original voices of the twentieth century, Leoš Janáček was a composer, musical theorist, folklorist and teacher. Born in 1854 in the Moravian village of Hukvaldy, which was then part of the Austrian Empire, in his youth German was the language of government, education and social influence. Having returned from studies in Germany, Janáček made detailed studies of native folk song and spent years annotating the natural rhythms of the Czech language. He was to write all his works for stage in his native language. The range of his professional activities gave him a range of outlets to voice what quickly became a life-long commitment to Czech culture.

Janáček was a contradictory man, who spent much of his life feeling at odds with his circumstances. Through five of his closest relationships, Donald Macleod builds a picture of how his inner tensions found expression in his music.
Music featured:
Suite for Strings, Andante con moto (3rd movement)
Four male-voice choruses
Lachian Dances
Šárka (excerpt from Act 1)
Sinfonietta
Lavečka (The Bench)
Theme with variations (Zdenka Variations)
Amarus (3rd movement)
Janacek, rev. Mackerras: The Cunning Little Vixen Orchestral Suite JW 1/9
Quartet no.1 (The Kreutzer Quartet)
Nejistota JW V/2
Hukvaldy Songs
Taras Bulba
Pohádka
Jenůfa – excerpt from Act 1
Kat’a Kabanova – Act 3 excerpt
The diary of one who disappeared (excerpt)
Quartet for strings no. 2: Intimate Letters
Glagolitic Mass – Credo
Žárlivost
On the overgrown path (excerpts)
The Excursions of Mr Brouček
The Fiddler’s Child
Potulný šílenec

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Leoš Janáček https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cr48

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Dec 06 2019

59mins

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Mary Lou Williams

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Donald Macleod charts the extraordinary life of composer and jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams’ music stands out from the crowd because, as Duke Ellington recognised, “her writing and performing have always been just a little ahead throughout her career.” A prolific composer and arranger, she was also a gifted pianist. A master of blues, boogie woogie, stride, swing and be-bop, Williams was quick to absorb the prevailing musical currents in her own music, naturally able to exploit her ability to play anything she heard around her. It is this restless musical curiosity that defines her own compositions, and led her to become friends with and mentor many younger musicians, among them Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Born around 1910 in Atlanta, Georgia, Williams grew up in Pittsburgh, where she had to overcome racial segregation, gender discrimination and the disadvantages of an impoverished family to realise her musical ambitions. Learning to play entirely by ear, she was performing locally by age six. Barely into her teens she was touring professionally as a pianist, living proof that - contrary to the prevailing views - women really could play jazz as well as men. But her artistic success came at some personal cost, with instances of domestic abuse, two divorces, a gambling addiction, and the ongoing strain of trying to support her extended family, all taking its toll over the years. After taking a spiritual path, she spent some years trying to rehabilitate addicted musicians, and developed an interest in writing sacred jazz pieces, and after a long career of some sixty years she took on the mantle of educating future generations about the cultural roots of jazz.

Over the course of the episode, Donald Macleod follows Mary Lou Williams as her life and musical pathways intertwine, from the early years playing Kansas City swing, to embracing be-bop, religion and modern jazz.

Music featured:
The History of Jazz (excerpt)
Rosa Mae
My mama pinned a rose on me
Willis
Nite Life Variations
Close to Five
Lonely Moments
Cloudy
Kool Bongo
Walkin’ and Swingin’
Corky Stomp
Froggy Bottom
Lotta Sax Appeal
Mess-A-Stomp
The Rocks
Little Joe from Chicago
Sammy Cahn & Saul Chaplin, arr. by ML Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band
A Mellow Bit of Rhythm
Twinklin’
Jelly Roll Morton, arr. ML Williams: The Pearls
What’s Your Story, Morning Glory
Scratchin’ in the Gravel
Roll ‘Em
Gjon Mili Jam Session
Boogie misterioso
Zodiac Suite (excerpt)
In the land of Oo-bla-dee
Mary Lou Williams Orchestra
In the land of Oo-bla-dee
A Fungus A Mungus
Nicole
Irving Berlin, arr. by ML Williams: Blue Skies (Trumpets no end)
Tisherome
New Musical Express
Hymn to St. Martin de Porres
The Devil
O.W.
Mary Lou’s Mass
ML Williams, Sonny Henry: Lazarus
Zodiac Suite
Syl-o-gism
Why?
Chunka Lunka
Ode to Saint Cecilie
Medi II
Blues for Timme
Praise the Lord
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Mary Lou Williams https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bdx1
And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Nov 22 2019

1hr 7mins

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Malcolm Arnold

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Donald Macleod journeys through some of the contrasting sides of Sir Malcolm Arnold and his music

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalization. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the episode Donald Macleod traces Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life through exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his love of Cornwall and Ireland, to his own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Music featured:
The Belles of St Trinian’s (Prelude)
Symphony No 2, Op 40 (Lento)
String Quartet No 1, Op 23
Clarinet Sonatina, Op 29
English Dances Set 1, Op 27
Three Shanties, Op 4 (Allegro vivace)
Four Cornish Dances, Op 91
Fantasy for Guitar, Op 107
Symphony No 8, Op 124 (Allegro)
Philharmonic Concerto, Op 120
Suite Bourgeoise for flute, oboe and piano (Tango)
Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, Op 47
A Grand Grand Overture, Op 57
Symphony No 4, Op 71 (Allegro)
Concerto for Two Pianos (3 Hands), Op 104
The Padstow Lifeboat, Op 94
Divertimento for flute, oboe and clarinet, Op 37
Little Suite No 1, Op 53
Fantasy for Brass Band, Op 114
Concerto for Two Violins, Op 77
Hobson’s Choice (Overture)
The Sound Barrier
Five Blake Songs, Op 66
Symphony No 5, Op 74

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Malcolm Arnold https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b8hm

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Nov 15 2019

57mins

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Antonín Dvořák

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Donald Macleod explores the life, music and perseverance of Antonín Dvořák.

Antonín Dvořák was no spring chicken when he found success as a composer. He was in his early thirties before he made his mark in his native Czech Republic, despite composing from a young age. Donald Macleod follows Dvořák as he attempts to win over successive audiences: from Prague to Vienna, England to America, before eventually returning to Prague and to the opera stage. Who did he need to impress in order to achieve the success he craved?

Donald Macleod introduces us to Dvořák as he struggles to carve his path as a composer. We’ll meet his influential friends who championed his work, including Brahms, the conductor Hans Richter and the virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim. Dvořák’s ambition eventually took him to America, but as well as inspiring many of his best-known works, found him embroiled in arguments about the nature of American music and struggling with homesickness. Donald considers what drove Dvořák to tirelessly persevere, particularly with the operatic genre, when his other works were so well received by audiences at home and abroad.

Music featured:
Slavonic Dances, Op 46 (Dumka)
In Nature’s Realm, Op 91
Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 10
Písně Milostné, Op 83
Serenade, Op 44
Piano Trio in F minor, Op 65
Moravian Duets, Op 32 (How small the field of Slavíkov is & Water and Tears)
Symphonic Variations, Op 78
String Quartet No 10 in E flat major, Op 51
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op 53
Czech Suite, Op 39
Stabat Mater, Op 58
Svatá Ludmila, Op 71
Symphony No 8 in G major, Op 88
Requiem, Op 89 (Hostias)
Piano Trio in E minor, Op 90 (Dumky)
Cello Concerto in B minor, Op 104
Violin Sonatina in G, Op 100
Biblical Songs, op 99
String Quartet No 12 in F major, Op 96 (American)
Symphony No 9, Op 95 (From the New World)
Vanda (Overture)
The King and the Charcoal Burner (Act 11, scene 7)
Dimitrij (Act 4, scene 3)
The Noon Witch, Op 196
Rusalka (Act 3)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Cerian Arianrhod for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Antonín Dvořák https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009zxh

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Nov 07 2019

1hr 6mins

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Harrison Birtwistle

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Donald Macleod talks to Sir Harrison Birtwistle about his life, inspiration and music.

This week Donald Macleod meets Sir Harrison Birtwistle, described as “the most forceful and uncompromisingly original composer of his generation.” We hear his major compositions, broadly in chronological order, and reveal the preoccupations and processes behind a singular music imagination.

To begin, we’ll hear about, Birtwistle’s daily working life, and about his early years among what became known as the Manchester school of composers. The premiere of his first opera Punch and Judy at Aldeburgh was infamous - much of the audience – including its commissioner Benjamin Britten – walked out at the interval. Next, we’ll hear about Birtwistle’s time in America and his friendship with Morton Feldman. They discuss some of his non-musical inspirations too: the power of mythology, the paintings of Paul Klee and the films of Quentin Tarantino. Birtwistle reveals how time, and the instruments for measuring time, have inspired many of his compositions, and how a lifelong fascination with moths inspired a new work meditating on loss.
Music featured:
Oockooing Bird
Refrains and Choruses
Punch and Judy (The Resolve; Passion Aria; Adding Song)
Tragoedia
Dinah and Nick’s Love Song
Trio
Chronometer
The Triumph of Time
Duets for Storab (Urlar; Stark Pastoral; Crunluath)
Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum
The Mask of Orpheus (13th, 14th 15th Arch from Act 2, Scene 2)
Silbury Air
Nine Settings of Lorine Niedecker (There’s A Better Shine; How The White Gulls; My Life; Sleep’s Dream)
Earth Dances
Harrison’s Clocks (Clock 2; Clock 5)
Panic
Virelai (Sus une fontayne)
The Minotaur (Part Two)
The Moth Requiem
In Broken Images
Duet for Eight Strings

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Harrison Birtwistle https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009r3h

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Nov 01 2019

1hr 15mins

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Muzio Clementi

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Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of piano prodigy Muzio Clementi.

Muzio Clementi was one of the 18th and 19th century’s most revered musicians – a star performer, a composer admired by Czerny, Beethoven and Chopin and an astute musical businessman. However, he also had his detractors in his own time and history hasn’t been as kind to him as to the greater names of his time – Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Today his name is unfamiliar to most but it is certainly better known than the music he wrote. He was fortunate to have interactions with perhaps the world's three greatest composers, but this fortune may have also worked against him - putting him in direct competition with them. Across the episode, Donald Macleod explores Clementi’s contact with the greatest composers of his day, reassessing the life and music of the man known as the “father of the piano” in the light of these encounters. We’ll hear the stories of his musical duel with Mozart, stage-sharing with Haydn, brushes with Beethoven and dispute with John Field over a hat.

Music featured:
Symphony No 3 (Finale)
Musical Characteristics, Op 19
Piano Sonata in A flat Major, WoO 13
Sonata for piano, Op 2 No 4
Duetto in C Major, Op 3 No 3 (Presto)
Mozart (arr. Clementi): Symphony no. 40 in G minor, K 550 (Finale)
Sonata in G minor, Op 7 No 3
Toccata in B flat Major, Op 11 No 2
Sonata in B flat major, Op 24 No 2
Variations on Mozart’s Batti, batti, o bel Masetto from Don Giovanni, WoO 10
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 8 No 2 (II. Larghetto con espressione)
Symphony in B flat major, Op 18 No 1 (I. Allegro Assai)
Sonata in G minor, Op 9 No 2
Overture in D Major
Symphony No 4
Capriccio in F major, Op 34 No 2
Monferinas selection
Sonata, Op 34 No 2
Concerto for piano and orchestra (II. Adagio e cantibile)
Piano Sonata in F minor, Op 13 No 6 (III. Presto)
Adagio sostenuto in F major (Gradus ad Parnassum, Book I, No 14)
Sonata in B minor, Op 40 No 2 (II. Largo)
Symphony No 2 in D major ( Finale)
Symphony No 1 in C major (III. Minuet and Trio)
Piano Sonata in G minor, Op 50 No 3 “Didone abbandonata”
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Muzio Clementi https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009bdq

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Oct 18 2019

1hr 7mins

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Sergei Prokofiev

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Donald Macleod explores the music of Sergei Prokofiev and tells the story of his American dream.

After a series of revolutions in his native Russia, the young composer Sergei Prokofiev made the decision to leave his homeland and to head to the United States in search of fame and fortune. His years in the United States would turn into some of the most tumultuous of his life. Across this week, Donald explores how those years in exile and how it would prove to be one of his most challenging periods professionally, financially and personally. His life was set against the turbulent events of the first half of the twentieth century, and forces beyond his control so often intervened to scupper his grand ambitions.
Music featured:
Violin Concerto No 1 in D, Op 19 (3rd movement)
Seven, They Are Seven, Op 30
Sonata for piano No 2, Op 14 (3rd & 4th movements)
Visions Fugitives, Op 22 (selection)
Symphony No 1 in D major, Op 25 (Classical)
Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op 31
Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op 34
Prelude from 10 pieces for piano, Op 12
Concerto No 1 for piano and orchestra in D flat major, Op 10 (excerpts)
Scythian Suite, Op 20
The Love for Three Oranges Symphonic Suite, Op 33bis (Marche)
Four Pieces, Op 32 (selection)
Piano Concerto No 3 in C major, Op 26
Five melodies for violin and piano, Op 35bis (selection)
The Fiery Angel, Op 37 (Act IV Scene 1)
Sonata No 3 in A minor, Op 28
The Gambler: Four Portraits from the Opera, Op 49 (Portrait No 1; Alexis)
Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 16
Quintet in G minor, Op 39 (Selection)
The Prodigal Son, Op 46 (Scene 2, excerpt)
Chout Suite, Op 21 (excerpts)
American Overture, Op 42
Peter and the Wolf (excerpt)
Five Poems, Op 36 (selection)
The Love of Three Oranges Symphonic Suite, Op 33bis
Romeo and Juliet, Op 64 (excerpts)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Sergei Prokofiev https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00093cn

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Oct 11 2019

1hr 13mins

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Gustav Mahler

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Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Gustav Mahler through five key themes.

This week’s episode begins with an exploration of love - a potent force in Mahler’s creative armoury, but, for Mahler’s wife Alma, it came at a heavy price. Mahler was also obsessed with human mortality, but that became all too real with the tragic death of his daughter Maria. We’ll also hear about the composer’s ambivalent relationship to religion. Despite his lack of adherence to a particular creed, Mahler’s work is shot through with a genuine religious sense. Next, Donald discusses the vein of tart humour in Mahler’s music, from the gently sardonic to the out-and-out grotesque. Finally Donald tells how Mahler’s profound love of the natural world seeped into almost everything he wrote.

Music featured:
Liebst du um Schönheit
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (No 4, ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’)
Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
Symphony No 5 (4th mvt, Adagietto)
Symphony No 6 (1st movement, Allegro energico, ma non troppo)
Rückert-Lieder (Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen)
Symphony No 4 (2nd movement, In gemächlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast)
Kindertotenlieder (Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n)
Symphony No 6 (4th movement, Finale. Allegro moderato – Allegro energico)
Symphony No 8 (Part 1, extract – ‘Veni creator spiritus')
Symphony No 4 (4th movement, Sehr behaglich)
Symphony No 10 (3rd movement, Purgatorio – Unheimlich bewegt)
Symphony No 2 (‘Resurrection’) (5th movement, Finale)
Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt)
Symphony No 1 in D (‘Titan’) (3rd movement, Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen)
Symphony No 2 (3rd movement, In ruhig fliessender Bewegung)
Symphony No 7 (3rd movement, Scherzo: Schatternhaft)
Symphony No 9 (3rd movement, Rondo-Burleske)
Lieder und gesänge aus Jugendzeit (Ablösung im Sommer)
Symphony No 3 (3rd movement, Comodo)
Das Lied von der Erde (6. Der Abschied)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Gustav Mahler https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008p73

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 27 2019

54mins

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Henry Purcell

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Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell.

Frustratingly little is known about the tragically abbreviated life of the composer who is arguably Britain’s greatest, Henry Purcell. Purcell kept no diary of his own – at least none has survived – and if he was active as a letter-writer, precious little of his correspondence has come down to us. Our evidence for the facts of the composer’s life appears in a sequence of glimpses – a portrait here, an anecdote there, unvarnished entries in the official records of the time. Donald begins with a whistle-stop trip through the scanty facts of the composer’s biography, and then looks at a single year, 1680, in which Purcell emerged as one of the greatest contrapuntists of his time. We hear about the pieces he wrote to mark specific events, from King Charles’ escape from shipwreck to the passing of Queen Mary. Next, an excursion round six key Purcellian venues, from pint-sized York Buildings to gargantuan Westminster Abbey. Finally, Donald tells stories of the relatively small but extraordinarily rich body of work Purcell wrote for intimate, domestic settings.
His smaller-scale work – catches, songs, keyboard and chamber music – is generally less well-known, but contains some absolute gems. In a sense, it’s the music that Purcell didn’t have to write.

Music featured:
Sound the trumpet (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
Chacony in G minor, Z730
I was glad, Z19
Now does the glorious day appear, Z332
The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act 3, extract)
Thou knowest, Lord, Z58c
Theodosius, Z606 (‘Hail to the myrtle shade’)
Fantazia IV in G minor, Z735
Fantazia V in B flat major, Z736
Theodosius, Z606 (Act 1, scene 1)
Fantazia VIII in D minor, Z739
Fantazia VI in F major, Z737
Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king, Z340
Fantazia X in E minor, Z741
Fantazia XI in G major, Z742
March, Z860
Funeral Sentences (Man that is born of a woman, Z27 – In the midst of life, Z17 – Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts, Z58b)
Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57
Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333
Who can from joy refrain, Z342
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 3)
Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49 (Bell anthem)
Ye tuneful Muses, Z344
Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328
My heart is inditing, Z30
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 4, extract)
Since the Duke is return’d, Z271
Overture in G, Z770
Suite No 7 in D minor, Z668
Sonata No 7 in E minor, Z796 (Twelve Sonnata’s of III Parts)
O! Fair Cedaria, hide those eyes, Z402
I resolve against cringing and whining, Z386
I take no pleasure in the sun’s bright beams, Z388
She loves and she confesses too, Z413
Sonata No 6 in G minor, Z807
Tell me, some pitying angel, Z196
Fantasia upon one note, Z745
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Henry Purcell https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008gtl

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 20 2019

1hr

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Franz Schubert

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Franz Schubert.

It’s hard to think of a composer more gregarious than Schubert, and further removed from the image of the reclusive genius, closeted away in his artistic ivory tower, creating peerless masterpieces in splendid isolation. From his days at Vienna’s Stadtkonvikt, the Imperial Catholic boarding school that offered the best general and musical education in the Austrian capital, Schubert developed a wide and supportive network of highly cultured friends, with whom he explored art, politics, religion, literature, and, of course, music; frequented the odd tavern or three; and attended convivial social gatherings in the homes of well-heeled admirers, from which developed the tradition of the ‘Schubertiad’ – informal get-togethers devoted to the performance of Schubert’s music, and above all, his songs.

In this week's episode, we’ll start by meeting Schubert’s friends, and then take a trip round Vienna in search of Schubert’s audience. Next, Donald gives us a whistle-stop tour of the jaw-droppingly productive year that’s been called Schubert’s annus mirabilis, 1815. We’ll also hear how Schubert faced the challenge of following in Beethoven’s footsteps, and about the posthumous discovery of much of his music, including many of his most-loved works.

Music featured:
‘An die Musik’, D547
‘Suleika I’ D720
‘Geheimes’, D719
Symphony No 8 in B minor (‘Unfinished’), D759
‘Über Wildemann’, D884
‘Sehnsucht’, D879
‘Das Zügenglöcklein’, D871
Gesang (‘An Sylvia’), D891
String Quartet in D minor, D 810 (‘Death and the Maiden’)
Mass in F, D105 (Sanctus)
Overture in D, D590 (‘In the Italian style’)
Der Zwillingsbrüder, D647 (No 3, Aria, ‘Der Vater mag wohl immer Kind mich nennen’)
String Quartet in A minor, D804 (‘Rosamunde’)
Psalm 92, D953
Piano Trio in E flat, D929 (Op 100)
Erlkönig’, D328
Piano Sonata in E, D157
Mass in G, D167 (Agnus Dei)
String Quartet in G minor, D173
Der vierjährige Posten, D190
Symphony No 3 in D, D200
‘Heidenröslein’, D257
‘Gebet während der Schlacht’, D171
‘An die Nachtigall’, D196
‘Die Mondnacht’, D238
‘Das Rosenband’, D280
Beethoven: ‘Der Zufriedene’, Op 75 No 6
Schubert: ‘Der Zufriedene’, D320
Symphony No 4 in C minor (‘Tragic’), D417
‘Abschied’, D957 No 7
‘Der Atlas’, D 957 No 8
Octet in F for clarinet, horn, bassoon, string quartet and double bass, D803
‘Auf dem Strom’, D943
Liszt, after Schubert: Die Rose – Lied von Franz Schubert, S556/1
Symphony in C, D 944
Piano Sonata in A, D959
String Quintet in C, D 956
Ständchen, D920
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Franz Schubert https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00083n5

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Sep 06 2019

1hr 2mins

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Guillaume Dufay

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Donald Macleod is joined by William Lyons to explore Guillaume Dufay's life and music.

The beauty, originality and technical mastery of Guillaume Dufay’s music illustrate why the Florentine ruler Piero de’Medici gave him the epithet “the greatest ornament of our age”. Undoubtedly he is one of the 15th century’s most distinctive voices. He was in his late 70s by the time he died in 1474; a long life by medieval standards. His outstanding talent transported him from an uncertain start in life as the illegitimate son of a servant and an unknown man, to being a musician who was feted at court, and respected by the church and the papacy alike. As his fame spread across Europe, he commanded the admiration of his fellow composers, influencing not only his direct contemporaries but also the generation of composers who succeeded him, among them Johannes Ockeghem.

Donald Macleod is joined by William Lyons, a historical music researcher and the founder of the ensemble The Dufay Collective. Pulling together what’s known about Dufay, across the episode, they build a picture of the man behind this illustrious reputation, examine the key relationships he fostered, and consider how his music flourished as he navigated the turbulent political currents of the age.
Music featured:
St. Anthony of Padua Mass
Ce jour de l’an
Quel fronte signorillo
C’est bien raison de devoir essaucier
Ave Regina caelorum
Missa Ave regina caelorum
Motet: Apostolo gloriosum
Seigneur Leon, vous soyés bienvenus
Missa Sancti Jacobi - Offertorium
Magnificat tertii et quarti toni
Missa Ecce ancilla Domini - Sanctus
Malheureulx cueur
Motet: Moribus et genere
Adieu ces bons vins de Lannoys
Missa Sine Nomine - Kyrie & Gloria
Ballade: Resvelliés-vous et faites chiere lye
Vasilissa ergo gaude
O Sancte Sebastiane
Missa Sancti Jacobi - Sanctus, Agnus Dei
Vergene Bella
La Belle se siet
Ballade: Se la face ay pale
Flos Florum
Ecclesiae militantis
Balsamus et munda cera
Supremum est mortalibus bonum
Ave Maris Stella
L’alta tua bellezza
Salve flos Tusce gentis
Ce moys de may
Bon jour, bon mois
Il sera par vous combatu
Missa L’homme armé - Kyrie
S’il est Plaisir
Je me complains
Par le regard
Ave regina caelorum II
Sanctus Ave verum corpus
Gaude virgo
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Guillaume Dufay https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007yz1

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Aug 30 2019

1hr 18mins

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Edward Elgar

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Donald Macleod explores Edward Elgar’s music through the locations that inspired him.

Worcester-born, with his roots in the beautiful English countryside around Hereford and the Malverns yet drawn to the bright lights of London, English composer Edward Elgar moved house a lot. He lived in over 25 residences in his lifetime, stayed with friends, travelled often for work and pleasure in the UK, Europe and further afield, and had a number of second homes he rented as retreats. This week we’re focusing on the locations that were important to Elgar, and the places that inspired his music. Following Elgar’s journeys, Donald takes us from home life in the Midlands to country cottage holidays, summers in Europe and as far afield as the Amazon.

Music featured:
Pomp and Circumstance March, Op 39 No 1 in D major
Cockaigne (In London Town)
Salut d'amour, Op 12
O Happy Eyes, Op 18 No 1
The Dream of Gerontius, Op 38
Owls, an Epitaph, Op 53 No 4 (Four Choral Songs)
Enigma Variations, Op 36
Symphony No 2 (3rd movement)
String Quartet (2nd movement)
Introduction ‘The woodland interlude’ (Caractacus)
Sea Pictures, Op 37
Piano Quintet, Op 84 (3rd movt - Andante – Allegro)
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 85 (1st movement)
In Smyrna
Paris – Five Quadrilles
From the Bavarian Highlands, Op 27 Nos 3 - 6
In the South (Alassio)
Mina
The Wand of Youth Suite No 1, Op 1a
Organ Sonata No 1 in G major, Op 28 (2nd movement)
Severn Suite, Op 87
Lux Aeterna (choral arrangement of Enigma Variations Op 36 Nimrod by John Cameron)
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amy Wheel for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Edward Elgar https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000754h

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Aug 02 2019

57mins

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Antonio Vivaldi

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Antonio Vivaldi.

As a virtuoso violinist, as a teacher, as a priest and as a prolific composer, Antonio Vivaldi was a key figure in Baroque Italy and remains one of the most famous names in classical music today. In this episode, Donald begins by exploring Vivaldi’s intrinsic link with his birth city, Venice, through a series of images. Next, he examines the depth of Vivaldi’s faith – as an ordained priest who didn’t say mass, there have been many questions asked about his piety. We’ll also hear about the composer’s many female muses, his rapid fall from grace to anonymity and the posthumous rediscovery of his music after a long period in the musical wilderness.

Music featured:
Violin Concerto in E flat major “La Tempesta di Mare”, RV 253
Armida, RV 699
Violin Concerto in F minor “L’inverno”, RV297
Judita Triumphans, RV644
Concerto for two horns, RV 538
Laetatus sum (psalm 121), RV 607
Concerto in G minor, Op 3 No 2, RV 578
Stabat Mater dolorosa, RV 621
Gloria, RV 589
Griselda, RV 718
Il Teuzzone RV 736
Dorilla In Tempe, RV 709
Concerto for Viola d’Amore in A minor, RV397
Orlando furioso, RV 728
Nulla in mundo pax sincera, RV 630
Atenaide, RV 702
Il Farnace, RV 711
Concerto per S.A.S.I.S.P.G.M.D.G.S.M.B., RV 574
Violin Concerto in E major “la primavera”, RV 269
La Senna Festeggiante, RV 693
Violin Concerto No 12 in B Minor “La Cetra”, RV 391
Agrippo, RV697
Il Bajazet, RV 703
Nisi Dominus, RV 608
Salve Regina, RV 616
Bach: Concerto for Four Keyboards in A minor (after Vivaldi), BWV 1065
L’Olimpiade, RV 725
Violin Concerto in G Minor “L'estate", RV 315
Dixit Dominus, RV 594
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Antonio Vivaldi https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006zh2

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jul 26 2019

1hr 13mins

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James MacMillan

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Donald Macleod talks to composer James MacMillan as he celebrates his 60th birthday

One of the UK’s most prolific living composers, James MacMillan was born on the 16th of July 1959 in Ayrshire. His grandfather introduced him to brass band music and his primary teacher taught him the recorder. The combination of these musical experiences sparked a lifelong passion in James to make and create music of his own. As well as James’s journey into music, we’ll hear about the birth of James’s political and religious views, and his critiques of Scotland which finds their way into his writing. Donald and James discuss the importance of the composer’s connection with his listeners and performers. His festival, the Cumnock Tryst, brings musical sharing to his community in Ayrshire, and his religious music continues to bring solace even in very difficult family times.

Music featured:
The Storm (Into the Ferment)
Berserking (1st movement)
It is Finished (Seven Last Words from the Cross)
The Confession of Isobel Gowdie
For Ian
Cantos Sagrados (Identity)
The Reproaches (Cello Concerto)
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
A Scotch Bestiary
Tenebrae Responsories
Clemency: Sarah’s Lament
Piano Concerto No 2 (3rd movement - Shamnation)
O Radiant Dawn (Strathclyde Motets)
Miserere
Oboe Concerto
The Sacrifice: Act III, Scene 3
Domus Infelix Est - An Unhappy House
One
Prelude (St Luke Passion)
Benedicimus Deum coeli (Strathclyde Motets)
Violin Concerto (3rd movement – Song and Dance)
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem (Stabat Mater)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for James MacMillan https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006sjd

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jul 19 2019

1hr 12mins

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Carl Nielsen

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Donald Macleod explores Carl Nielsen’s worldview through his music.

You’ll find a clue as to Carl Nielsen’s character in any number of photographs that show him smiling; they include snaps of him taken as a young man in which he’s cheekily pulling funny faces for the camera. They’re far removed from the formal portraiture one might expect of Denmark’s foremost composer. As well as a good sense of humour, these unselfconscious poses reveal an open, inquisitive fascination with the world around him.

In this episode, Donald Macleod explores how the world around him fed into Nielsen’s music. Excerpts from five of his symphonies reveal some of his most profound thinking on life, while his major choral works Hymnus Amoris and Springtime on Funen - which directly relate to his rural childhood - show a more personal side of his character. Ever the keen observer, there’s comedy and drama and even a musical portrait of chickens to be found in his operas.
Music featured:
Maskarade: Overture
Violin Concerto, Op 33 (Rondo: Allegretto scherzando)
Frihed er det bedste guld
Helios Overture
Afflictus Sum (3 Motets)
The Cockerel’s Dance (Maskarade)
Se dig ud en sommerdag
Chaconne, Op 32
Symphony No 3 (1: Allegro espansivo)
String Quintet in G major (3: Allegretto scherzando)
Springtime on Funen, Op 42
Five Piano Pieces Op 3 (Humoresque: Allegretto giocoso)
Little Suite for Strings (Intermezzo)
6 Songs, Op 10
Symphony No 1 (Allegro orgoglioso)
Hymnus Amoris
Benedictus Dominus (3 Motets)
Jens Vejmand (excerpts)
Suite, Op 45 for piano (Allegretto un pochettino)
Saga-Dream
Saul and David (Act 4)
String Quartet in F major, Op 44 (1: Allegro non tanto e comodo)
Symphony No 5 (Allegro – Presto – Andante poco tranquillo – Allegro (tempo 1))
Graeshoppen
Wind Quintet (1: Allegro ben moderato)
Pan and Syrinx, Op 49
Sonata for violin and piano No 2, Op 35 (2: molto adagio)
Symphony No 4 (1: Allegro)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Carl Nielsen https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006m0z

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3cjHdZlXwL7W41XGB77X3S0/composers-a-to-z

Jul 12 2019

1hr 5mins

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iTunes Ratings

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Can’t download in US?

By Remigio II - Jan 18 2020
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Why not take this off of the Apple podcast app in the US if the episodes are not available to users here? Or of course make them available here.

Please make it available in the US!

By Anna88 S. - Jan 06 2020
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Please make it available in the US!