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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.

Composer of the Week BBC

    • Muziek

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.

    Karol Szymanowski

    Karol Szymanowski

    Donald Macleod explores the myriad influences on the life’s work of Karol Szymanowski.

    The reshaping of Europe at the end of the First World War had a defining effect on Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. As Europe was being reapportioned, the comfortable world he’d known up to that point disappeared for good. His family’s comfortable and cultured life disappeared, their assets wiped out by the October Revolution. From that point on, Szymanowski ceased to be a man of some privilege, able to compose in the relative seclusion of his family’s estate in what was then part of Ukraine. He needed to support himself and his mother and sisters but he found himself ill-equipped temperamentally to deal with this dramatic change in his lifestyle. He became increasingly weighed down by illness, quite probably tuberculosis. That, coupled with a chain-smoking habit and struggles with alcoholism, were to take their toll. He died in poverty at the age of just 54 in 1937.

    Across the week, Donald Macleod explores five distinct influences on Szymanowski’s music, starting with his formative years growing up in a family with a passion for the arts. As a young student, his studies in Warsaw led him towards the language of Richard Strauss and Max Reger, while his love of travel directed him towards impressionism, the ancient world and the Orient. Meeting Stravinsky in Paris and hearing the Ballets Russe was another turning point, as was in his later years in particular, his commitment to establishing a national musical voice for the newly formed country of Poland.

    Music featured:
    Study in G flat major, Op 4 No 2
    The Swan, Op 7
    L’île des sirènes (Métopes, Op 29)
    Violin Concerto No 1, Op 35
    Songs of a Fairytale Princess, Op 31
    Mazurka, Op 50 No 11
    Desires; The infatuated east wind; Dance (Love Songs of Hafiz, Op 26)
    Concert Overture in E major, Op 12
    Piano Sonata No 2 in A major, Op 21 (2nd movement)
    Symphony No 2 in B flat, Op 19 (1st movement)
    La fontaine d’Aréthuse (Mythes, Op 30)
    Sérénade de Don Juan (Masques, Op 34)
    Demeter, Op 37b
    String Quartet No 1 in C major, Op 37 (3rd movement)
    Symphony No 3, Op 27: The Song of the Night
    Study in B flat minor, Op 4 No 3
    Penthesilea, Op 18
    Thème varié 'Caprice No 24' (Three Paganini Caprices, Op 40)
    King Roger, Act 1 (excerpt)
    King Roger Act 2 (excerpt)
    Mazurkas, Op 50 Nos 1, 3, 6
    Wanda, Op 46b No 5
    Whip on the horse, Op 58 No 4
    String Quartet No 2 (2nd movement)
    Harnasie, Op 55 (Tableau 1: In the mountain pasture)
    Symphony No 4, Op 60, 'Sinfonie concertante' (1st movement)
    Stabat Mater (excerpt)
    Mazurka, Op 62 No 1


    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 Karol Szymanowski
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dj02

    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 u.
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Why Beethoven?

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Why Beethoven?

    Donald Macleod asks conductor Marin Alsop and historian Simon Schama why Beethoven's life and work still matter today.

    All through 2020, as part of Radio 3's Beethoven Unleashed season, Donald Macleod takes an unprecedented deep dive into the compelling story and extraordinary music of Ludwig van Beethoven. In this uniquely ambitious series, told across 125 episodes of Composer of the Week, Donald puts us inside Beethoven’s world and explores his hopes, struggles and perseverance in all the colourful detail this amazing narrative deserves. Alongside this in-depth biography, Donald will also be meeting and talking to Beethoven enthusiasts and experts from across the world to discover how his music continues to speak to us in the twenty-first century. Through story and sound, the series builds into a vivid new portrait of this composer, born 250 years ago this year, who made art that changed how people saw themselves and understood the world.

    Music featured:
    Bagatelle in A minor (Fur Elise), WoO 59
    String Quartet No 10, Op 74 (Harp) (3rd movement)
    Symphony No 3 in E flat major (Eroica) (3rd movement)
    Grosse Fuge, Op 133
    Symphony No 5 in C minor (1st and 2nd movements)
    Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (2nd movement)
    Sonata in A major, Op 30 No 1 for violin and piano
    Leonore Overture No 3
    Piano Sonata No 27 in E minor, Op 90 (2nd movement)
    Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (2nd movement)
    Piano Sonata No 13 in E flat major, Op 27 No 1 (2nd movement)
    Symphony No 3 in E flat major (Eroica), Op 55 (2nd movement)
    The Creatures of Prometheus: Overture
    Fidelio: Act II finale
    Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (1st movement)
    Piano Sonata No 14 (Moonlight), Op 27 No 2 (1st movement)
    String Quartet in F minor, Op 95 (1st movement)
    Egmont Overture, Op 84
    Symphony No 9 in D major (Choral), Op 125
    String Quartet in A minor, Op 132 (5th movement)
    String Quartet in E flat major, Op 127 (1st movement)
    Bagatelle in E flat major, Op 126 No 6
    Mass in D major (Missa Solemnis), Op 123 (Kyrie)
    Coriolan Overture, Op 62
    String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (5th movement)

    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 Beethoven: Why Beethoven?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d7zg

    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 u. 23 min.
    George Walker

    George Walker

    Donald Macleod explores the life and music of George Walker, in conversation with his son Gregory.

    When Rosa King Walker announced to her five-year-old son George that, like it or not, he was going to have piano lessons, she can scarcely have been aware that she was dispatching him on a lifelong journey in music. He made his concerto début at the age of 23 playing Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the great Eugene Ormandy. A stellar career on the concert platform surely beckoned, but in the event, things were not so straightforward. We’ll hear how Walker began to turn his back on the idea of a solo career, gravitating instead towards a life in teaching – and, increasingly, composition. Donald and Gregory discuss Walker’s studies with the formidable Nadia Boulanger, the relief when his commissions started rolling in, and the far reaches of his stylistic ambition. Walker won the epic Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996 for his piece Lilacs, a career-defining moment, which makes what happened next in Walker’s career all the more surprising. “I got probably more publicity nationwide than perhaps any other Pulitzer Prize-winner,” he recalled in 2015. “But not a single orchestra approached me about doing the piece or any piece. It materialized in nothing.” In this emotional look back at the life and work of his father, Gregory discusses identity, representation and perseverance, ending with the story of his swansong, Visions, inspired by the tragedy of the Charleston church massacre.

    Music featured:
    Response
    String Quartet No 1
    Lyric for Strings
    Piano Sonata No 1
    Cello Sonata
    Trombone Concerto
    The Bereaved Maid
    Sonata No 1 for violin and piano
    Spatials
    Variations for Orchestra
    Five Fancies for clarinet and piano four hands (Theme and 5 variations)
    Piano Concerto
    Music for Brass (Sacred and Profane)
    Cantata
    Piano Sonata No 4
    Sinfonia No 1
    Hey Nonny No (anon)
    Poème for violin and orchestra
    In Time of Silver Rain
    Mother Goose (Circa 2054)
    Lilacs
    Modus
    Icarus in Orbit
    Piano Sonata No 5
    Da Camera, for piano trio, harp, celesta, string orchestra and percussion
    Violin Concerto
    Bleu
    Sinfonia No 5 (‘Visions’)

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Chris Barstow 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 George Walker https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cz2q

    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 u. 12 min.
    Arcangelo Corelli

    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 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

    • 1 u. 4 min.
    Johannes Brahms

    Johannes Brahms

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Johannes Brahms through his close relationships.

    Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

    We’ll hear about Brahms’s doomed early romance with a young singer, Agathe von Siebold, plus his lifelong friendships with Robert, and particularly Clara Schumann - probably the person he was closest to in his life. Donald explores the music written for some of the women he knew intimately, and why he sought solitude and how it came to influence his music. Throughout his life, there was a great expectation placed on Brahms’s shoulders. We end by looking at how that shaped his character and music.


    Music featured:
    Sonata No 3 in F minor, Op 5 (4th movement)
    Lieder & Romanzen, Op 14 (No 4, Ein Sonett & No 7, Ständchen)
    Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 15 (1st movement)
    Ave Maria, Op 12
    String Sextet No 2 in G, Op 36 (1. Allegro non troppo)
    2 Gavottes, WoO 3 (Nos 1 and 2)
    Piano Sonata No 1 in C major, Op 1 (1. Allegro)
    6 Songs, Op 3 (Nos 2 and 3)
    Piano Quartet, Op 25 (3rd and 4th movements)
    String Sextet No 1in B flat major, Op 18 (2nd movement)
    Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34A (1st movement)
    Rhapsody in B minor, Op 79 No 1
    6 Songs, Op 7 (Nos 2 -5)
    Variations in E flat on a Theme by Schumann (Nos 8-11)
    Alto Rhapsody, Op 53
    16 Waltzes, Op 39 (Nos 1-4)
    Cello Sonata No 1 in E minor, Op 38 (3rd movement - Allegro)
    Klavierstücke, Op 76 (No 7 - Intermezzo in A major; No 8 - Capriccio in C major)
    Violin Sonata No 2, Op 100 (1st movement: Allegro amabile)
    Nanie, Op 82
    Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 83 (3rd movement - Andante)
    Serenade No 1 in D major, Op 11 (2nd movement)
    Piano Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor, Op 2 (4th movement)
    Vier ernste Gesänge, Op 121 (Nos 3 and 4)
    Ein Deutsches Requiem [A German Requiem], Op 45 (2nd and 3rd movements)


    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Glyn Tansley 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 Johannes Brahms. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cb1x

    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 u. 8 min.
    Percy Grainger

    Percy Grainger

    Donald Macleod surveys the life, music and quirks of Australian composer, Percy Grainger

    Donald Macleod begins this week episode about Percy Grainger by tracing the composer's ambivalent relationship with his primary musical instrument, the piano, and the ever-present influence of his mother. He then follows Grainger to London, where his composing took second place to performing, leading to concert tours of Scandinavia, South Africa, New Zealand and back home to Australia. We’ll also hear about his enthusiastic and sometimes controversial role in the folksong revival of the 1900s, away from starchy drawing rooms and concert halls. Donald keeps up with Grainger during an anxiety-ridden move to America during the First World War. To end, he explores some of the composer's more unsavoury views and his quest for musical 'freedom'.

    Music featured:
    Mowgli's Song Against People
    Molly on the Shore
    Walking Tune
    Tribute to Foster
    Marching Song of Democracy
    Hill-Song 1 and 2
    Handel in the Strand
    English Dance
    Colonial Song
    Scotch Strathspey and Reel
    The Warriors
    Brigg Fair
    Creeping Jane
    I'm Seventeen Come Sunday
    Four Settings from 'Songs of the North'
    Green Bushes
    Lincolnshire Posy
    Country Garden
    Suite: In a Nutshell
    The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart
    Irish Tune from County Derry
    The Bride's Tragedy
    Shepherd's Hey
    The Power of Love
    Jutish Melody (Danish Folk Song Suite)
    To a Nordic Princess
    Immovable Do
    Free Music
    Free Music No 2
    The Jungle Book (excerpts)


    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 Percy Grainger. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000c4kf

    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 u. 11 min.

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