300 episódios

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.

Composer of the Week BBC

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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.

    Beethoven Unleashed: Freedom and Joy

    Beethoven Unleashed: Freedom and Joy

    Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, joins Donald Mcleod to discuss Beethoven’s symphonies

    They have been described as “the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man”, “an expression of monumental intellect and innermost feeling”, and “music [which] sets in motion the machinery of awe, of fear, of terror, of pain.” There is no question that Beethoven’s nine symphonies changed music forever. The colossal legacy of these works has hovered over generations of composers since, leading Johannes Brahms to exclaim “You can't have any idea what it's like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!”

    Over this week of programmes, Donald Macleod is joined by the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, founder of the Monteverdi Choir and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, to delve into the world of these nine sublime works.

    Composer of the Week is returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

    Music Featured:

    Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21 ( I. Adagio Molto – Allegro Con Brio)
    Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21 (III. Menuet segue IV. Finale)
    Symphony No 2 in D major, Op 36 (I. Adagio Molto – Allegro Con Brio)
    Symphony No 2 in D major, Op 36 (II. Larghetto segue III. Scherzo)
    Symphony No 3 in E-flat major, Op 55 “Eroica” (I. Allegro con brio)
    The Creatures of Prometheus, Op 43 (Finale (excerpt))
    Symphony No 3 in E-flat major, Op 55 “Eroica” (IV. Finale)
    Symphony No 4 in B-flat major, Op 60 (I. Adagio – Allegro Vivace)
    Symphony No 4 in B-flat major, Op 60 (II. Adagio)
    Cherubini: Hymne au Panthéon 'Grand Chœur à la gloire des martyrs de la liberté et de ses défenseurs' (excerpt)
    Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (I. Allegro con brio)
    Rouget de Lisle: Hymne dithyrambique sur la conjuration de Robespierre et la révolution du 9 thermidor, Paris, 1794 (excerpt)
    Symphony No 5 in C minor Op 67 (III. Scherzo segue IV. Finale)
    Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68 “Pastoral” (movements III-V)
    Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace)
    Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (II. Allegretto)
    12 Irish Songs, WoO 154 (No.8. Save Me From the Grave and Wise (excerpt))
    Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (II. Allegretto scherzando)
    Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (IV. Allegro vivace)
    Missa Solemnis in D major, Op 123 - Credo (from Et Incarnatus Est to end)
    Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125 (I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso)
    Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125 (IV. Finale)

    Presented by Donald Mcleod
    Produced by Sam Phillips

    For full track listings, 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 Unleashed: Freedom and Joy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pgb5

    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

    • 1h 23 min
    James Price Johnson

    James Price Johnson

    James P. Johnson is known as the Father of Stride Piano, and composed the most iconic work that captures the essence of the Roaring Twenties, the Charleston. Both pianist and composer, he not only wrote jazz but also music for theatrical shows, symphonic works and opera too. He performed alongside jazz greats such as Fats Waller, Willie The Lion Smith and Sidney Bechet, and also collaborated with George Gershwin as well. Johnson was an early pioneer in the recording industry, and made many studio recordings as a soloist and with his own jazz band. Yet despite all of this, his name has been largely forgotten today. One possible reason for this is that being a transitional figure between ragtime and jazz, he’s been hard to categorise.

    This week, Donald Macleod will explore five periods in Johnson’s life where Johnson strove to achieve a different role: recording artist, theatre composer, performer and teacher, and also a Tickler - a ragtime saloon pianist.

    Music featured:

    Charleston
    Carolina Shout
    Fascination
    Concerto Jazz A Mine
    Caprice Rag
    Empty Bed Blues
    Daintiness Rag
    Twilight Rag
    Steeplechase Rag
    There’s No Two Ways About Love
    My Sweet Hunk O’Trash
    Charleston
    Alabama Stomp
    My Headache
    My special friend is back in town
    Lonesome Swallow
    Guess who’s in town
    Victory Stride
    Drums
    Harlem Strut
    Snowy Morning Blues
    Keep off the grass
    Havin’ a ball
    A Porter’s Love Song to a Chambermaid
    Toddlin’ Home
    Runnin’ Wild Medley
    After Tonight
    Old Fashioned Love
    If I could be with you
    Jingles
    I Need Lovin’
    Yamekraw, A Negro Rhapsody
    Backwater Blues
    Charleston
    Stop That Dog
    Lock and Key
    Sweet Mistreater
    Don’t Cry Baby
    Riffs
    You’ve Got to be Modernistic
    Sippi
    Charleston
    American Symphonic Suite
    Put Your Mind Right On It
    Go Harlem
    A Porter’s Love Song to a Chambermaid
    Hungry Blues
    Harlem Hotcha
    Ain’tcha Got Music
    Harlem Symphony
    Lonesome Reverie
    Gut Stomp
    Blues for Fats
    You Can’t Lose a Broken Heart
    Charleston

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

    For full track listings, 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 Price Johnson https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000p7mr

    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

    • 1h
    Beethoven Unleashed: Titan

    Beethoven Unleashed: Titan

    This week, Donald Macleod explores Ludwig van Beethoven’s life through the years of 1822-1824 – a period during which the composer completed his greatest late masterpieces. It was also a time at which Beethoven became acutely aware of his own mortality, struggling with both his dwindling finances and his deteriorating health, and sought help from, among others, his brother Johann and a new secretary - Anton Schindler.

    Composer of the Week is returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

    Music Featured:

    Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 (II. Molto Vivace – Presto)
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 - Sanctus - Pleni sunt cœli - Osanna
    Music for Consecration of the House, WoO. 98
    Fidelio, Op.72 - O namenlose Freude!
    Piano Sonata no 32 in C minor, Op.111
    Bundeslied, Op. 122 “In allen guten Stunden”
    String Quartet in E-flat major, Op.127 (I. Maestoso – Allegro)
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 - Credo: Credo - Et Incarnatus Est
    Bagatelles, Op 119 nos. 1-6
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 - Gloria
    Gratulations Menuett, WoO 3
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 - Credo: Et ressurexit
    Opferlied, Op.121b
    Diabelli Variations, Op.120 (Nos 30, 32 & 33)
    Symphony no. 9, Op.125 (I. Allegro ma non troppo)
    Ta ta ta, WoO162
    Consecration of House Overture, Op.124
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 - Agnus Dei: Dona Nobis Pacem
    Waltz in E-flat major, WoO 84
    Symphony no.9, Op.125 (III. Adagio molto e cantabile)
    Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 'Tempest' - III. Allegretto
    Missa Solemnis, Op.123 – Kyrie: Kyrie Eleison
    Der Kuss, Op.128
    Symphony No. 9, Op.125 (IV. Presto - Allegro ma non troppo)
    Bagatelles for piano, op.126


    Presented by Donald Mcleod

    Producer: Sam Phillips

    For full track listings, 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 Unleashed: Titan https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000p01c

    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

    • 1h 24 min
    Desmarets and Boismortier

    Desmarets and Boismortier

    Donald Macleod steps into the French baroque with Desmarets and Boismortier

    Donald Macleod discovers the stories of two very colourful figures of the French baroque, Henri Desmarets and Joseph Bodin de Boismortier.

    Born a generation apart, Boismortier and Desmarets are perhaps lesser known figures of the French baroque, but together they provide a fascinating picture of life and music-making in the reigns of the Sun King and Louis XV after him.

    Boismortier’s success came from what seems to be a natural ability to keep his finger on the pulse: his music followed all the latest trends and styles. He made a small fortune supplying music to the amateur market. They were works that fall cleverly under the fingers, and he advanced his profits by publishing them for any number of different combinations of instruments. That’s not to say he didn’t dip his toe into deeper waters: he wrote cantatas, motets and stage works, of which the comic opera about Don Quixote is probably the best known. After a golden career in 1753 at the age of 63, Boismortier retired to enjoy life on a beautiful estate 45 minutes outside Paris.

    That kind of material comfort was not to be Henri Desmarets’s destiny. Born in 1661, he started out as a page at the Sun King’s court. What was shaping up to be a promising career fell off the tracks after he eloped with one of his pupils. Her furious father got an order for his arrest, arranged for him to be attacked in the street, and dragged him through the courts. The furore finally ended when the couple fled into exile. In his absence Desmarets was condemned to death. He eventually settled at the Court of Lorraine. There’s little doubt his fall from grace had a detrimental effect on his reputation. His operas and masses show him to be a talented and innovative composer. He was one of the very first composers known to have written for double choir and orchestra.


    Music Featured:

    Boismortier: Trio sonata in D, op 37 no 3 (I. Allegro)
    Desmarets: Mass for Two Choirs and Two Orchestras: Kyrie
    Desmarets: La Diane de Fontainebleau (excerpt)
    Boismortier: Flute sonata in B minor op 44/2
    Desmarets: Te Deum (excerpt)
    Desmarets: La Diane de Fontainebleau – Marche
    Desmarets: La Diane de Fontainebleau (excerpt)
    Boismortier: Bassoon Concerto, Op 21
    Boismortier: Les quatre saisons, Op. 5 (Cantata no 4: Hyver)
    Desmarets: De Profundis
    Desmarets: Didon (Act 5, Sc 1)
    A Nocte Temporis
    Desmarets: Théagène et Chariclée (Act 4, sc 1)
    Desmarets: Mass for 2 choirs and 2 orchestras (excerpt)
    Boismortier: Troisième suite de piéces de clavécin
    Boismortier: Les voyages de l’amour (Act 4, sc 2)
    Boismortier: Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse (First divertimento)
    Desmarets: Les amours de Momus (Lieux charmants)
    Desmarets: Usquequo Domino (Psalm XII) (excerpt)
    Desmarets: Vénus et Adonis (Act 3 Sc 3, excerpt)
    Desmarets: Vénus et Adonis (Act 5, sc 5 to 8, excerpt)
    Boismortier: : Exaudiat te Dominus (Psalm 19)
    Boismortier: Daphnis et Chloé (Act 3, excerpt)
    Boismortier: Daphnis et Chloé (Act 2, Sc 3, excerpt)
    Desmarets: Domine ne furore
    Boismortier: Concerto for 5 flutes in A minor, Op 15/2
    Desmarets: Circé: Sommeil - Ah! Que le sommeil est charmant


    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

    For full track listings, 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 Desmarets and Boismortier https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nvbl

    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

    • 59 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: Piano Sonatas

    Beethoven Unleashed: Piano Sonatas

    This week, the world-renowned pianist Angela Hewitt chooses five contrasting aspects of the piano sonatas to discuss with Donald Macleod. In 2020, Hewitt reaches the end of her survey of Beethoven’s piano works with the last recording in her acclaimed series of his 32 piano sonatas. Begun in 2005, her Beethoven odyssey has been taken at a deliberately measured pace, to give ample space and time to reflect on each sonata, each recording being a testament to her deep understanding of Beethoven. Well known for her award-winning interpretation of Bach’s music, she brings that special insight to Beethoven’s profound admiration for the composer, after which she explores the humour Beethoven injects into his music, the composer’s ability to write cantabile or singing style and how Beethoven responded to the advancement of the piano.

    Composer of the Week is returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

    Music Featured:

    Piano Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op 2 No 1 (I. Allegro)
    Piano Sonata No 2 in A major, Op 2 No 2 (IV. Rondo: Grazioso)
    Piano Sonata No 3 in C major, Op 2 No 3 (II. Adagio)
    Piano Sonata No 3 in C major, Op 2 No 3 (IV. Allegro assai)
    Piano Sonata No 7 in D major, Op 10 No 3 (II. Largo e mesto)
    Piano Sonata No 3 in C major, Op 2 No 3 (III. Scherzo)
    Bach: Partita No 2 in C minor, BWV 826 (excerpt)
    Piano Sonata No 8 in C minor, Op 13 (Pathétique) (I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio)
    Piano Sonata No 28 in A major, Op 101 (IV. Allegro Geschwind)
    Bach: Fugue No 17 in A flat major, BWV 862 (excerpt)
    Piano Sonata No 31 in A flat major, Op 110 (III. Fuga: Allegro ma non troppo)
    Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109 (III. Andante molto cantabile ed expressive)
    Piano Sonata No 25 in G major, Op 79 (II. Andante)
    Piano Sonata No 11 in B flat major, Op 22 (II. Adagio con molta espressione)
    Piano Sonata No 27 in E minor, Op 90 (I. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen)
    Piano Sonata No 28 in A major, Op 101 (I. Allegretto ma non troppo)
    Piano Sonata No 16 in G major, Op 31 No 1 (II. Adagio grazioso)
    Piano Sonata No 8 in C minor, Op 13 (Pathétique) (II. Adagio con espressione)
    Piano Sonata No 10 in G major, Op 14 No 2 (II. Andante)
    Piano Sonata No 16 in G major, Op 31 No 1 (I. Allegro vivace)
    Piano Sonata No 6 in F major, Op 10 No 2 (III. Presto)
    Piano Sonata No 18 in E flat major, Op 31 No 3
    Piano Sonata No 23 in F minor (Appassionata), Op 57 (I. Allegro assai)
    Piano Sonata No 17 in D minor (Tempest), Op 31 No 2 (II: Adagio)
    Piano Sonata No 29 in B flat major (Hammerklavier), Op 106 (I. Allegro)
    Piano Sonata No 26 in E flat major, Op 81a (Les adieux) (II. Abwesenheit & III: Das Wiedersehen)

    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 Beethoven Unleashed: Piano Sonatas https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nlwr

    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

    • 1h 27 min
    Kaija Saariaho (b 1952)

    Kaija Saariaho (b 1952)

    “Music is a study of my own self and of the human spirit”, so says the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Her passion for music is all consuming, with the inspiration to compose reflecting the breadth of her interests, in poetry, literature, fine arts, and cinematography to name but a few.

    One of the foremost composers of our time, Kaija Saariaho was born in 1952 in Helsinki. She studied with the modernist Paavo Heininen, before founding the pioneering “Ears Open” group with fellow composer Magnus Lindberg. Her studies continued in Freiburg with Brian Fernyhough and Klaus Huber at the Darmstadt summer courses, and then at the ground-breaking IRCAM research institute in Paris.

    Earlier this year Donald Macleod and Kaija Saariaho met up in Paris, the city where she’s made her home since 1982, to talk about five contrasting aspects of her music.

    Music Included:

    D’Om le vrai sens (excerpt)
    Notes on Light for cello and orchestra (II. Fire & III. Awakening)
    Noa Noa for flute and electronics
    D’Om le vrai sens, (III. L’Odorat & IV. Le Toucher)
    Orion for Orchestra (I. Memento mori)
    Nocturne for solo violin
    Cloud Trio (IV. Tranquillo ma sempre molto espressivo)
    Laterna Magica
    Circle Map (excerpt)
    Jardin secret II for harpsichord and tape
    Lichtbogen for nine musicians and live electronics (excerpt)
    Lonh for voice and electronics
    Circle Map (V. Dialogue VI. Day and Night)
    Quatre Instants (excerpt)
    Quatre instants (II. Douleur – Torment & III. Parfum de l’instant)
    Nuits, adieux for mixed choir and 4 soloists
    True Fire for baritone and orchestra (excerpt)
    Leino Songs
    L’amour de loin, Act 4 excerpt
    La passion de Simone for soprano solo, choir, orchestra and electronics (excerpt)
    Only the Sound Remains (excerpt)
    L’amour de loin, Act 5

    Presented by Donald Macleod

    Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Cymru Wales


    For full track listings, 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 Kaija Saariaho https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nbdg

    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

    • 1h 22 min

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