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Composer of the Week

Updated 9 days ago

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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

159 Ratings
Average Ratings
29
9
6
3
112

Music balanced interest

By Jankers too - May 23 2020
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Quality BBC USA resident using subscribed VPN from UK works all the time

Please make it available in the US!

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

iTunes Ratings

159 Ratings
Average Ratings
29
9
6
3
112

Music balanced interest

By Jankers too - May 23 2020
Read more
Quality BBC USA resident using subscribed VPN from UK works all the time

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 Oct 16, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 9 days ago

Rank #1: Tchaikovsky

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Donald Macleod explores the life and works of Russia's most popular Romatic composer.

Jul 26 2013

1hr 2mins

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Rank #2: Cole Porter

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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

Aug 01 2014

1hr 17mins

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Rank #3: Hoagy Carmichael

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Hoagy Carmichael.

Nov 20 2015

1hr 4mins

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Rank #4: Chopin

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Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin

Jun 09 2017

1hr 1min

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Rank #5: Vivaldi

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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

Dec 26 2014

1hr 2mins

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Rank #6: 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 #7: Bach

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Donald Macleod explores Bach's vocal music.

Jun 19 2015

1hr

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Rank #8: Bill Evans

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Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Bill Evans, the 'poet of the piano' and the 'Chopin of jazz'. He came to prominence working with Miles Davis and played with Tony Bennett and Stan Getz

Nov 15 2013

1hr 6mins

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Rank #9: Debussy

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

Oct 17 2014

55mins

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Rank #10: Mozart

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

Nov 14 2014

1hr 3mins

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Rank #11: Haydn

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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'

Jan 23 2015

1hr 9mins

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Rank #12: Prokofiev

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Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's triumphant and ultimately tragic return to the USSR.

Dec 23 2016

1hr 12mins

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Rank #13: Mahler

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Donald Macleod explores the relationship between Gustav and Alma Mahler

Jun 30 2017

57mins

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Rank #14: Vivaldi's operas

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

Oct 13 2017

1hr 5mins

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Rank #15: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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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 Heart

String Quartet no.1

The Snow Maiden, First Song of Lel

Finale: Moderato assai - allegro vivo – presto (Symphony No. 2)

1812 Overture

March: The Song of the Lark (The Seasons)

The Tempest

Piano Trio, 1st movement

Finale (Symphony No 4)

Pimpinella (Romances, Op 38, No 6)

Valse Sentimentale

Violin Concerto

Danse des polichinelles et des histrions (Maid of Orleans)

Souvenir de Florence (1st and 2nd movements)

We Sat Together

Act 1, March (The Nutcracker)

Piano Concerto No 3

Adagio & Waltz (The Sleeping Beauty - Suite)

Symphony No 6
Presenter: Donald Macleod

Producer: 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 Tchaikovsky: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000bbv
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 14 2018

58mins

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Rank #16: Johann Sebastian Bach

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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:
Magnificat
Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major
Concerto in C major for organ
Partita No 1 for violin
Widerstehe doch der Sunde
Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother
Komm, Jesu, Komm
Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor
Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn
The Art of Fugue
Cello 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 major
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Violin Sonata No 1 in G minor
Orchestral Suite No 4 in D major
Musical Offering
Mass in B minor
Partita for Violin No 3 in E major
Capriccio in E major
St Matthew Passion
Goldberg Variations

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 Johann Sebastian Bach
https://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

Feb 22 2019

59mins

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Rank #17: 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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Rank #18: Tchaikovsky

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

Dec 15 2017

39mins

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Rank #19: J S Bach

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

Dec 22 2017

59mins

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Rank #20: Leonard Bernstein

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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 Riffs

The 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 Overture

Mass (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-z

Presenter: Donald Macleod

Producer: Michael Surcombe for BBC Wales

Aug 24 2018

1hr 13mins

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