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

    • Music

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.

    Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

    Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

    Donald Macleod explores Grieg's music through the places from which he took inspiration.

    On 9th September 1907, it’s estimated that some forty to fifty thousand people turned out to pay their respects and watch Edvard Grieg’s cortège pass through the streets of Bergen. It’s an image that speaks of the enormous affection and esteem in which Grieg was held at the time of his death.

    Bergen was where Grieg was born in 1843, and in a speech he made 60 years later, he acknowledged that his music was drawn from the life of its people, the surroundings of the town and its natural beauty.

    This week Donald Macleod’s exploring Grieg’s life through the contrasting environments he needed to find the inspiration to write music. Donald begins his survey in Bergen, before assessing the decade Grieg spent in Oslo, the solitude he found in the picturesque Hardanger region and in the house he had built in the mountains. But Grieg had another, contradictory side to his nature, he was also a restless spirit and a keen traveller.

    Music Featured:

    2 Elegiac Melodies, Op 34, (Varen)
    Piano concerto in A minor (3rd movt - Allegro moderato molto e marcato)
    4 Psalms, Op 74 (Jesus Kristus er opfaren)
    4 piano pieces, Op 1 (Allegro con leggerezza)
    String Quartet in G minor, Op 27 (3rd movt - Intermezzo)
    Holberg Suite, Op 40
    Lyric pieces, Op 12 (Arietta)
    Sigurd Jorsalfar: Three orchestral pieces, Op 56 (Intermezzo: Borghild’s Dream)
    Piano Sonata in E minor, Op 7 (I. Allegro moderato)
    In Autumn, Op 11
    Haugtussa, Op 67
    Grieg, arr. J. Halvorsen: Folkelivsbilder, Op 19 (Bridal procession)
    Humoresque, Op 6, No 2
    Album Leaves, Op 28
    Norwegian Dances, Op 35
    The Mountain Thrall, Op 32b
    Lyric Pieces Op 54: No 3 Trolltog; No 4 Notturno; No 6 Klokkeklang
    Fra Monte pincio
    Piano Concerto in A minor (2nd movt - Adagio)
    Violin Sonata No 3 (Allegro animato – Prestissimo)
    Peer Gynt Suite No 2, Op 55
    6 songs, Op 25 No 2 (En Svane)
    Symphonic Dances op 64 No 4 (Andante)
    Lyric pieces, Op 71 (Remembrances)
    Melodies of the Heart, Op 5 (No 1,To brune Ojne; No 3, Jeg elsker Dig)
    Ballade in G minor (in the form of variations on a Norwegian folktune), Op 24
    Cello Sonata in A minor Op 36 (Allegro molto e marcato)
    Slåtter, Op 72: (Nos 1- 4)


    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 Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000qlk0

    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 4 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: In Perspective

    Beethoven Unleashed: In Perspective

    Donald Macleod introduces personal highlights of his year-long celebration of Beethoven

    Donald Macleod embarks on the final week of his year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, selecting his personal highlights of conversations he's had with special guests over the course of 25 series.

    Composer of the Week has this year, every alternate week, explored the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth. In this, the final week of 25 series devoted to the extraordinary composer, Donald Macleod looks back over the year, and presents his personal highlights from the interviews he carried out over the course of 125 programmes. From historian Simon Schama to conductors Marin Alsop and John Eliot Gardiner, and pianists Jonathan Biss and Angela Hewitt, Donald was joined by experts and performers who gave remarkable insights into the unique human being that was Beethoven. This week he brings together some of the conversations that stayed with him, building a picture of Beethoven the man, the composer, the interpretation of his music since his death, the times he lived in, and what he means to us today.

    Composer of the Week has been 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:

    Mass in C, Op 86 - Sanctus
    Piano Concerto No 4 in G, Op 58 (Andante con moto & Rondo vivace)
    Violin Sonata No 5 in F, Op 24 “Spring” (4th movement: Rondo)
    Piano Sonata No 27, Op 90
    Maigesang, Op 52 No 4
    Piano Sonata No 4 in E flat, Op 7 (2nd movement: Largo, com gran espressione)
    Violin Concerto in D, Op 61 (1st movement)
    String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 (4th movement: Grave, ma non troppo tratto)
    Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 37 (2nd movement: Largo)
    Fidelio Act 2 Nr 14 & Nr 15
    String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 (3rd movement: Lento assai, cantate e tranquillo)
    Sonata No 26 in E flat, Op 81A “Les adieux” (The Absence & The Reunion)
    Wind Octet in E flat, Op 103(1st movement: Allegro & 2nd movement: Andante)
    Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur, Op 48 No 4 (The Heavens are Telling)
    Symphony No 3 in E flat, Op 55 “Eroica” (2nd movement: Marcia funebre. Adagio assai)
    Piano Trio Op 1 No 3 in C minor (4th movement: Prestissimo)
    11 Bagatelles, Op 119 No 3 in D major (A l’Allemande)
    String Quartet Op.130 (I.Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro)
    Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op.109 (1st movement: Vivace ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo)
    Symphony No 4 in B flat, OP 60 - 4th movement: Allegro ma non troppo
    Fidelio Act 1 - Finale


    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 Beethoven Unleashed: In Perspective https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000q853

    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 44 min
    George Benjamin (b 1960)

    George Benjamin (b 1960)

    Donald Macleod is joined by Sir George Benjamin to discuss his musical influences

    Composer of the Week marks the sixtieth birthday of the celebrated British composer Sir George Benjamin. This week, Benjamin joins Donald Macleod in the studio to provide listeners with personal insights into his music and distinguished career. They discuss the composer's musical connections, his inspirations, his interest in collaboration, the compositional process, and his work as a pianist, conductor and teacher.


    Music Featured:

    Viola, Viola
    Piano Sonata (Vivace)
    Palimpsests
    Written on Skin (XIV & XV The Protector of Agnès & The Boy / Angel 1)
    Panorama
    Tape
    A Mind of Winter
    Dance Figures
    Dream of the Song
    Piano Figures
    At First Light
    Written on Skin (VIII The Protector of Agnès)
    Upon Silence
    Ringed by the Flat Horizon
    Into the Little Hill (Scene VI & VII)
    Lessons in Love and Violence (Sc.3 Please everyone be seated)
    Sometime Voices
    Three Inventions for Chamber Orchestra
    Shadowlines
    Lessons in Love and Violence (Sc.1 Not when you grip my neck)
    Duet for Piano and Orchestra

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

    Photo credit: Matthew Lloyd


    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 George Benjamin https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000q36p

    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 16 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: Pain and Persistence

    Beethoven Unleashed: Pain and Persistence

    This week, Donald Macleod reaches the final chapters of his year-long biography of Beethoven. The composer’s remaining years, 1825-1827, were marred by failing health and a traumatic family crisis but also saw Beethoven pushing resolutely forward in his art. He continued to surprise and astonish, producing a series of extraordinary late string quartets.

    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. 29 Op.106 ‘Hammerklavier’ (I. Allegro)
    String Quartet in E flat, Op.127 (III. Scherzando vivace)
    String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 (III. Molto Adagio)
    Kühl, nicht lau, WoO.191
    Ars Longa, vita brevis, WoO.192
    Piano Concerto No. 4 in G (II. Andante con moto)
    Piano Trio in D, Op. 70 No. 1 ‘Ghost’ (I. Allegro vivace e con brio)
    String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 (II. Allegro ma non tanto)
    Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ (I. Allegro Assai)
    Grosse Fugue, Op. 133
    String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130 (IV. Alla danza tedesca )
    String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 (V. Allegro appassionato)
    String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130 (II. Presto & III. Andante con moto ma non troppo)
    Septet, Op. 20 (I. Adagio – Allegro con brio)
    String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131 (I. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto expressive)
    String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131 (mvts. V-VII)
    String Quartet in E flat Op. 127 (IV. Finale, Allegro)
    Piano Trio in D, Op. 70 No. 1 ‘Ghost’ (III. Presto)
    String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130 (V. Cavatina & VI. Finale)
    Mass in C, Op. 86, I. Kyrie
    String Quartet in F, Op. 135 (I. Allegretto & II. Vivace)
    String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 (I. Assai sostenunto – Allegro)
    Andante maestoso in C major, WoO.62
    Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat (II. Adagio)
    Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’ (I. Andante sostenuto)
    Beethoven. Symphony No. 5 in C minor (IV. Allegro)


    Presented by Donald Mcleod
    Produced by Chris Taylor


    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: Pain and Persistence https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pw2z

    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 34 min
    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

    • 1 hr 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

    • 1 hr

Top Podcasts In Music

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by BBC