OwlTail

Cover image of Composer of the Week

Composer of the Week

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.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

Cole Porter

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Cole Porter, one of the most famous Broadway composers of his time. His achievements include a catalogue of witty, sophisticated and sometimes risque songs

1hr 17mins

1 Aug 2014

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Hoagy Carmichael

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Hoagy Carmichael.

1hr 4mins

20 Nov 2015

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Chopin

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin

1hr 1min

9 Jun 2017

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Vivaldi

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Antonio Vivaldi, a Venetian priest, feted in his lifetime as both composer and violinist, yet destined to die in obscurity in faraway Vienna

1hr 2mins

26 Dec 2014

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

George Gershwin

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 FeelingThree PreludesPiano Concerto in FHas Anyone Seen Joe The Real American Folk SongFascinating RhythmEmbraceable YouI Got RhythmI Got Rhythm VariationsSomeone to Watch Over MeRhapsody in BlueSecond RhapsodyAmerican in ParisStrike Up the Band OvertureCuban OvertureMy Man's Gone NowI Got Plenty of Nothin'Bess, You Is My Woman NowIt Ain’t Necessarily SoI Loves You PorgyCatfish Row SuitePresented by Donald MacleodProduced 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

50mins

4 Jan 2019

Rank #5

Podcast cover

Bach

Donald Macleod explores Bach's vocal music.

1hr

19 Jun 2015

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Debussy

Donald Macleod explores a less celebrated, but important, area of Debussy's output - his chamber works

55mins

17 Oct 2014

Rank #7

Podcast cover

Mozart

Donald Macleod explores five key years of Mozart's life and presents five of his chamber works for solo wind and strings

1hr 3mins

14 Nov 2014

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Haydn

Exploring Haydn's time at the Hungarian palace of Eszterhaza, the composer's primary base of operations for nearly a quarter of a century and where, he said, he 'was forced to become original'

1hr 9mins

23 Jan 2015

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Mahler

Donald Macleod explores the relationship between Gustav and Alma Mahler

57mins

30 Jun 2017

Rank #10

Podcast cover

Vivaldi's operas

A look behind the curtain and onto the stage to explore the world of Vivaldi's operas

1hr 5mins

13 Oct 2017

Rank #11

Podcast cover

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Donald Macleod explores the conflicted relationships and mysteries in the life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.Donald begins this week’s episode by looking at Tchaikovsky’s early years as a civil servant, wrestling with the tension between his desire to compose music and his responsibilities as a bureaucrat in St Petersburg. We hear about some of the composer’s tricky relationships - with the ascendant Nationalist school of Russian composers, and also with money. His need to earn a living and support himself by the music he composed led to an unconventional connection with one wealthy woman in particular. Donald traces Tchaikovsky’s long period of wandering, in which he spent years away from Russia, seemingly compelled by a disordered, un-reconciled personal life. Tchaikovsky was a mystery to the end, and there are many questions surrounding the puzzle of his death, which happened just days after the premiere of his sixth symphony, considered by many to be his finest work.Music featured:Swan Lake (Act 2) Eugene Onegin (Act 3, Scene 1)Song for the Golden Jubilee of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence Piano Concerto No. 1 (1st movement)Romeo and Juliet Chant sans paroles (Souvenir de Hapsal)None but the Lonely HeartString Quartet no.1 The Snow Maiden, First Song of LelFinale: Moderato assai - allegro vivo – presto (Symphony No. 2)1812 OvertureMarch: The Song of the Lark (The Seasons)The TempestPiano Trio, 1st movementFinale (Symphony No 4)Pimpinella (Romances, Op 38, No 6)Valse SentimentaleViolin ConcertoDanse des polichinelles et des histrions (Maid of Orleans)Souvenir de Florence (1st and 2nd movements)We Sat TogetherAct 1, March (The Nutcracker)Piano Concerto No 3Adagio & Waltz (The Sleeping Beauty - Suite)Symphony No 6Presenter: Donald MacleodProducer: Martin Williams for BBC WalesFor 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 Tchaikovsky: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000bbvAnd 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

58mins

14 Sep 2018

Rank #12

Podcast cover

Johann Sebastian Bach

Donald Macleod travels alongside J S Bach as he moves from place to place throughout his life.Donald begins with Bach’s early years in the towns of Eisenach and Ohrdruf, where his excellence as a singer and organist was first recognised. He first moved to Weimar at the age of 18, to work as a court musician, and later as an organist and concertmaster – it was here that he would write most of his organ repertoire, but also spent his time trying to please two antagonistic Dukes. Then we move to the city of Köthen, where Bach was employed at the court of Prince Leopold. The royal court offered Bach exactly what he had been denied in Weimar – the chance to build a really exceptional instrument ensemble. We arrive in Leipzig, where Bach was a public servant again, having to satisfy a plethora of different bodies and individuals. Although his time there was peppered with disputes and discontent, it was his home for 27 years and it is where he composed the bulk of the work that lives on. Finally, Donald explores the afterlife of Bach’s music, including his propulsion into outer space aboard the Voyager spacecraft’s Golden Record.Music featured:MagnificatBrandenburg Concerto No.3 in G majorConcerto in C major for organPartita No 1 for violinWiderstehe doch der SundeCapriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother Komm, Jesu, Komm Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organViolin Partita No. 2 in D minorTritt auf die GlaubensbahnThe Art of FugueCello Suite No 1 in G Major Sonata for Violin and Piano No 3 Concerto No 2 in F major Well-Tempered Clavier, No 1 in C majorJesu, Joy of Man's Desiring Violin Sonata No 1 in G minorOrchestral Suite No 4 in D majorMusical OfferingMass in B minorPartita for Violin No 3 in E major Capriccio in E major St Matthew PassionGoldberg VariationsPresented by Donald MacleodProduced by Martin Williams for BBC WalesFor 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 Johann Sebastian Bachhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002l9v 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

59mins

22 Feb 2019

Rank #13

Podcast cover

Arcangelo Corelli

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 3Sonata in G, Op 1 No 9Handel: La Resurrezione (Ho un non so che nel cor)Sonata in F major, Op 5 No 10Concerto Grosso in D, Op 6 No 1Fuga con un soggetto soloSonata in G minor, Op 5 No 5Sonata in F, Op 1 No 1Sonata in A minor, Op 1 No 4Sonata in B minor, Op 3 No 4Sonata in F minor, Op 3 No 9Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 12Sonata in D Sonata in B major, Op 2 No 5Sonata in E flat major, Op 2 No 11Sinfonia to Santa Beatrice d’Este in D minor, WoO1Concerto in G minor, Op 6 No 8 (Christmas Concerto)Sonata in C, Op 5 No 9Sonata in A minor, op 4 No 5Sonata in B minor, op 4 No 12Sonata in C, Op 2 No 3Sonata in F major, Op 2 No 7Handel: Sonata a 5, HWV288 (Violin Concerto in B flat)Sonata in G minor WoO2Corelli Arr. J. C. Schickhardt: Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 3Sonata No 2 in D minor, Op 2 No 2Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 2Corelli Arr. Geminiani: Concerto Grosso VII in D minorSonata in D minor, Op 5 No 12 (Follia)Concerto Grosso in F, Op 6 No 9Presented by Donald MacleodProduced by Luke Whitlock for BBC WalesFor 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

1hr 4mins

27 Dec 2019

Rank #14

Podcast cover

Tchaikovsky

Donald Macleod explores the rich vein of fairy tale and fantasy in Tchaikovsky's music

39mins

15 Dec 2017

Rank #15

Podcast cover

J S Bach

Donald Macleod traces J S Bach's early life from Eisenach through to his first marriage.

59mins

22 Dec 2017

Rank #16

Podcast cover

Leonard Bernstein

Donald Macleod is joined by Bernstein protegée, conductor Marin Alsop, to look back at Bernstein’s hectic life as composer, pianist, thinker and entertainer.There are no neutrals when it comes to Leonard Bernstein: exhibitionist, a playboy touring Italy in a Maserati, an exhilarating conductor, provocative thinker, ‘one of the most electrifying personalities of our time’. 2018 marks the centenary of this life-affirming composer who always preferred to call himself, simply, ‘musician’. Donald and Marin begin in the world of jazz which inspired much of Bernstein’s finest work, then look at the composer’s gift for reaching new audiences through the theatre. They discuss Bernstein’s reputation as a musical thinker– treading a delicate line between the innovative and the kitsch, and trace his journey from upstart son of a Jewish immigrant to superstar ambassador for American music.Thanks to the BBC radio and TV archives, we hear from Bernstein himself in interviews he gave through the course of his prolific career. We discover a man who was forceful in his views, passionate to the extreme, charismatic on the stage, but also latterly tormented by regrets and a feeling that he had never quite achieved the magnum opus inside him. Music featured:Enter Three Sailors (Fancy Free)Prelude, Fugue and RiffsThe Lark (Latin Choruses)The Age of Anxiety (part 2)arr. Buddy Rich: West Side Story The Children Fly (Peter Pan)Wonderful Town (Overture) A Quiet Place (Act 1 finale)West Side Story (excerpts)Slava! A Political OvertureMass (excerpts)I Hate Music!Kaddish (1st mvt)Samba (Divertimento)Mr and Mrs Webb Say Goodnight (Arias and Barcarolles)On the Waterfront (Suite)Songfest (excerpts)Lucky to be Me (On the Town)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 Bernstein: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00007gc 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-zPresenter: Donald MacleodProducer: Michael Surcombe for BBC Wales

1hr 13mins

24 Aug 2018

Rank #17

Podcast cover

Donizetti

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Gaetano Donizetti, who composed almost 70 operas in 19th-century Italy

59mins

19 Sep 2014

Rank #18

Podcast cover

Thelonious Monk

Donald Macleod and Brian Priestley celebrate the centenary of jazz legend Thelonious Monk

1hr 15mins

24 Nov 2017

Rank #19

Podcast cover

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of undisputed master, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

1hr 2mins

27 Jul 2018

Rank #20