300 episodes

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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    • 4.4 • 176 Ratings

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.

    Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

    Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

    Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most gifted and versatile musicians the world has ever seen. As a child prodigy he was likened to Mozart and he grew to become one of the most famous and beloved composers in Europe, during the middle of the 19th century. His life was cut tragically short, at the age of 38, while he was at the very height of his powers. This week, Donald Macleod focuses on the final five years of Mendelssohn’s life, and follows the composer through his extremely hectic work schedule which undoubtedly contributed to his early demise.


    Music Featured:

    Lied ohne Worte in E minor, Op 62 No 3 (Trauermarsch)
    Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)
    Cello Sonata No 2 in D, Op 58
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op 61 (excerpt)
    O for the wings of a dove! (From Hear My Prayer)
    Lieder ohne Worte in B flat, Op 62 No 2, 5-6
    Lieder ohne Worte in E flat, Op 67 No 1
    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64
    Organ Sonata No 5 in D, Op 65
    Wenn sich zwei Herzen scheiden, Op 99 No 5
    Lieder ohne Worte in C, Op 67 No 4
    Lieder ohne Worte in A, Op 85 No 5
    Lieder ohne Worte in D, Op 102 No 2-3
    Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66
    Athalie, Op 74 (Overture & War March)
    Lied ohne Worte in D minor (Reiterlied)
    Rondo Brilliant in E flat, Op 29
    Lauda Sion, Op 73
    Nachtlied, Op 71 No 6
    Jubilate, Op 69
    Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56 “Scottish” (Vivace non troppo & Adagio)
    String Quartet in F minor, Op 80


    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 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000shr0

    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

    • 51 min
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

    Donald Macleod finds connections between Mozart’s operas and the composer’s own life

    Born in 1756, the theatre was a life-long passion for Mozart. Starting at the tender age of just 11, in the space of 22 years he produced an astonishing 24 theatrical works. His destiny was to follow in his father’s footsteps, as a court musician. Instead, by 1781, after a disagreement over his frequent absences from court, Mozart parted ways with his employer, the Elector of Cologne. He left Salzburg and servitude behind, to set himself up in Vienna, a thriving centre for music. The following year he triumphed with his comic singspiel, Die Entführung aus dem Serail. The succession of works that followed include many of the mainstays of operatic repertory, among them The Magic Flute, which was completed in the year of his death, at the age of 35 in 1791.

    This week Donald Macleod finds connecting points between the characters Mozart created for the stage and the composer's own experiences in life. He examines how Mozart struggled to be a dutiful son, and how he tackles honour and duty in Idomeneo, Lucio Silla and Mitridate. The ideas of enlightenment that influenced Mozart's own views find expression in the balance of power he depicts between servants and the ruling classes in The Marriage of Figaro. The composer’s thorny path to marriage with Constanze also finds him examining the complexities of love in Die Enführung aus dem Serail and Così fan tutte. Donald ends with Mozart's masterly representation of temptation and evil, as characterised by the ultimate bad boy Don Giovanni and the scheming and manipulative Queen of the Night.


    Music Featured:

    Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
    Le nozze di Figaro, Act 1: Cinque, dieci …. Se vuol ballare, Signor Contino
    La finta giardiniera, Act 1: Appena mi vedon
    Così fan tutte, Act 1: Scene 3 (excerpt)
    Don Giovanni , Act 1: Notte e giorno faticar
    Don Giovanni, Act 1: Ah! Chi mi dice mai...Madamina, il catalogo è questo
    Don Giovanni, Act 1: Champagne Aria
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 2: Martern aller Arten
    Le nozze di Figaro, Act 2: Esci ormai, garzon malnato …Signore! Cos’è quell’stupore?
    Le nozze di Figaro, Act 3: Hai già vinto la causa….. Vedró, mentr’io sospiro
    Don Giovanni, Act 1: Finale, Riposate, vezzose ragazze
    La clemenza di Tito, Act 1: Parto, parto
    Die Zauberflöte, Act 1: Bei mannern, weiche Liebe fühlen
    Idomeneo, Act 1: Estinto e Idomeneo ….tutte nel cor vi sento ..Pieta! Numi pieta!
    Così fan tutte, Act 1: Finale, Ah che tutta in un momento … Dammi un bacio
    Le nozze di Figaro, Act 2: Porgi Amor
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 2: Wenn der Freude Tränen fliessen … Ach Belmonte! ach mein Leben!
    Don Giovanni, Act 1: O sai che l’onore
    Lucio Silla, Overture
    Lucio Silla, Act 1: Dall sponda tenebrosa; E tollerare io posso; Il desio di vendetta
    Mitridate, Rè di Ponto, Act 2: Lungi da te, mio bene
    La Clemenza di Tito, Act 1: Come ti piaci imponi
    La Clemenza di Tito, Act 2: Deh per questo istante solo; Ove s’intese mai più contumace; Se all’impero, amici Dei
    Die Zauberflöte, Act 2:Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 1: Solche hergelauf’ne Laffen
    Le nozze di Figaro, Act 1: La Vendetta… via, resti servita
    Idomeneo, Act 3: Ha vinto amore …. d’Oreste, d’Aiace
    Die Zauberflöte, Act 1: Finale, Wie stark ist nicht dein zauberton ...Es lebe Sarastro! Sarastro soll leben
    Don Giovanni, Act 2: Finale II, Già mensa è preparata ... Ah dov’è il perfido?


    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 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000s8w7

    And you can delve into the A-Z of all t

    • 59 min
    Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

    Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

    Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of Britain’s most loved composers, and best-known symphonists, writing nine symphonies which span almost fifty years of his career. These works evoke a wide range of moods, each creating its own unique world, from his first stormy choral symphony, through the aggressive and the tranquil, to his final enigmatic, haunting Ninth. This week, Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of Vaughan Williams - a man who helped forge a new identity for English music in the 20th Century - paying special attention to the symphonies.


    Music Featured:

    The Robin’s Nest
    Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
    Prayer to the Father of Heaven
    A Cambridge Mass (Credo : Credo in Unum Deum)
    A London Symphony (original 1913 version) (IV. Andante con moto)
    Linden Lea
    Bushes and Briars
    God that madest heaven and earth
    The Lark Ascending (original piano and violin version)
    Norfolk Rhapsody No 1
    On Wenlock Edge (On Bredon Hill)
    A Sea Symphony (Scherzo: The Waves)
    Dona Nobis Pacem - Reconciliation
    Symphony No 3, “A Pastoral Symphony” (II. Lento moderato)
    English Folk Song Suite (III. March, "Folk Songs from Somerset")
    Job (Introduction; Sarabande of the Sons of God; Epilogue)
    Music for the film 49th Parallel (Prelude (closing titles))
    Symphony No 6 (Epilogue)
    Romance
    Four Last Songs (Tired)
    Flos Campi (VI. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum)
    Symphony No 5 (IV. Passacaglia)
    String Quartet No 2 (II. Romance)
    Toward the Unknown Region
    Come down O Love Divine (Down Ampney)
    Sinfonia Antartica (Intermezzo (with introductory lines))
    Hodie (This Day) - No Sad Thought His Soul Affright
    Songs of Travel (Nos 1, 6 & 9)
    Symphony No 9 (IV. Andante tranquillo)
    Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus


    Presented by Donald Macleod
    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 Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000s1kx

    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

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

    Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

    Franz Schubert’s short life spanned a crucial period in music history as the elegant, classical stylings of Mozart and Haydn were giving way to the drama and passion of the romantic era. Schubert came to embody that transformation, in music that was all about personal expression and individual inspiration. This week, Donald Macleod throws the spotlight on Schubert’s chamber music and explores the stories around five key works for small ensembles.


    Music Featured:

    Pensa, che questo istante, D76
    Symphony No 2 in B flat major, D125 (III. Menuetto & IV. Presto vivace)
    Fantasie in G minor, for four hands, D9
    Kyrie in D minor, K49
    String Quartet No 10 in E flat major, D87
    Klage, D436
    Andenken, D423
    Widerhall, D428
    Die Bürgschaft, D435 (excerpt)
    Symphony No 5 in B flat, D485 (Andante con moto & Menuetto)
    String Quartet No 11 in E, D353
    March in E major, D606
    Overture in D major, D556
    Salve Regina in A major, D676
    Erlafsee, D586
    Atys, D585
    Piano Quintet in A major, “Die Forelle” D667 (Scherzo, Thema, Finale)
    Rosamunde, D797 (The Full Moon Shines)
    Die schöne Müllerin, D795 (Das Wandern, Ungeduld & Trockne Blumen)
    String Quartet No 13 in A minor, D804 “Rosamunde” (Allegro ma non troppo & Andante)
    Sonata for piano duet in C, Grand Duo D812 (Scherzo & Allegro Vivace)
    Fugue in E minor, D952
    Auf dem Strom, D943
    String Quintet in C, D956 (Adagio & Scherzo)
    String Quartet No 14 in D minor, D810 “Death and the Maiden” (Andante con moto)


    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 Franz Schubert (1797-1828) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rvh9

    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

    • 54 min
    Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792)

    Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792)

    In a first for Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Joseph Martin Kraus. Kraus has been called the Swedish Mozart; he was born in the same year as Mozart, in 1756, and survived him by just twelve months. Originally from Germany, Kraus found work as a composer based at the Swedish royal court and quickly came to be regarded as one of the leading music directors in all Europe. Haydn said that he knew of only two geniuses, Mozart and Joseph Martin Kraus.

    Music Featured:

    Soliman II Overture
    Miserere in C minor, VB 4 (excerpt)
    String Quartet in B flat major, VB 181
    Sinfonie in C major, with Violin obligato, VB 138
    Proserpin, VB 19 (Overture)
    Azire, VB 18 (excerpt)
    Sinfonie in C minor
    Flute Quintet (Largo & Allegro con brio)
    La Pesca, VB 44
    Symphony in E flat major, VB 144
    La Tempesta, VB 63 (Ma tut remi)
    Du temps, qui détruit tout, VB 58
    Sonata in E flat major, VB 195 (Allegro ma non troppo presto)
    Riksdagsmarsch, VB 154
    Piano Sonata in E major, VB 196 (Vivace)
    Soliman II (excerpts from Act II (Nr.6) & Act III (Nr.16-19))
    Funeral Cantata (Part One)
    Cantata La Gelosia, VB46 (excerpt)
    Symphony in C minor, VB 148 (Symphonie funèbre)
    Funeral Cantata (Part Two)
    String Quartet in E major, VB 180 (Allegretto)


    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 Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rltv

    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

    • 1 hr
    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

    This week Donald Macleod reflects on five aspects of Tchaikovsky. The rich vein of fairy tale and fantasy, his love of literature and his long-standing love-affair with Italy. Also, the composer’s relationship with the man he called ‘Modya’, his beloved younger brother, Modest.
    In 19th-century Russia, music was a key strand in national identity. Tchaikovsky’s ancestral Russian roots were a matter of great pride to him, but just how Russian a composer was he?

    Music featured:

    The Nutcracker, Op 71 (Act 1 Scene 2, March of the Toy Soldiers)
    The Snow Maiden, Op 12 (No 2, Dance and Chorus of the Birds)
    Swan Lake, Op 20 (Act 2 No 13e, Danse des cygnes: Pas d'action (Odette et le prince))
    The Slippers (Act 1 scene 2, extract – Oksana’s aria)
    The Sleeping Beauty, Op 66 (Act 1 No 5 (‘The Palace Garden’), No 6 (‘Valse’))
    The Nutcracker, Op 71 (Act 2 No 12, Divertissement)
    12 Romances, Op 60 (No 5, ‘Simple Words’)
    Manfred Symphony, Op 58 (2nd mvt, Vivace con spirito)
    Eugene Onegin, Op 24 (Act 1 scene 2)
    Hamlet, overture-fantasia, Op 67
    Six Romances, Op 73 (No 2, ‘Night’)
    Six Romances, Op 38 (No 6, ‘La Pimpinella’)
    Piano Trio in A minor, Op 50 (1st mvt, Pezzo elegiaco. Moderato assai—Allegro giusto)
    String Sextet in D minor (‘Souvenir de Florence’), Op 70 (2nd mvt, Adagio cantabile e con moto)
    Capriccio Italien, Op 45
    Six Romances, Op 38 (No 2, ‘It was in the early spring’)
    12 Pieces for Piano, Op 40 (No 1, Etude)
    The Queen of Spades, Op 68 (Act 3 scenes 6 (conclusion) and 7)
    12 Pieces for Piano, Op 40 (No 8, ‘Valse’)
    Iolanta, Op 69 (No 7, Scene and Duet of Iolanta and Vaudémont)
    Sixteen Songs for Children, Op 54 (No 10, ‘Lullaby in a storm’)
    Scherzo à la Russe, Op 1 No 1
    Symphony No 2 (‘Little Russian’) (2nd mvt, Andantino marziale, quasi moderato)
    String Quartet No 1 in D, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Andante cantabile)
    All-Night Vigil (No 16, The Great Doxology)
    The Year 1812, Op 49
    Six Romances, Op 6 (No 6, ‘None but the Lonely Heart’)


    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Chris Barstow


    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 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rbt0

    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

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
176 Ratings

176 Ratings

StevenA66 ,

Four Stars

Generally, it's excellent. I'm able to get and enjoy my classical music fix. Sometimes, though, (like this week's for Castle) I'm unable to download it for my iPhone. Why is this, please?

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Great listen

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Superlative

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