The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters
Renaud Capuçon, Cecilia McDowall, Michael Spitzer
Photo credit Simon Fowler
Tom Service speaks to the French violinist Renaud Capuçon about his new recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto, made during lockdown last year with Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra who premiered the work back in 1910.
The musicologist Michael Spitzer Joins Tom to talk about his new book, The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth, which explores the relationship between music and the human species, and tells the story of music from the dawn of time to the present. Music psychologist Victoria Williamson and musicologist Morag Grant share their expert views on the book.
We hear from the composer Cecilia McDowall, who celebrates her 70th birthday this year, as a new album of her sacred choral music, performed by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, is released this weekend.
And Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James's, Piccadilly, in London, celebrates Easter 2021 - as a time of hope for the church and for music.
Music under threat in Kabul
Kate Molleson is joined by musicians in Kabul to discuss the new restrictions on women singing - the ban, from the Afghan Ministry of Education, has caused concern that the Taliban is increasing its influence in the Afghan government as western forces prepare to pull out of the country. With contributions from Ahmad Sarmast, Director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and pianist Maram Abdullah.
Following the death earlier this month of the conductor James Levine, Kate hears from the American music critic Anne Midgette and conductor Kenneth Woods as they discuss the moral questions surrounding Levine’s recorded legacy in the light of the controversy over his personal life.
Ahead of World Autism Awareness Week, Kate talks to Adam Ockleford, who has worked extensively in the field of autism and music, and to Joe Stollery, a composer who regards his own autism as both a help and a hindrance in his musical life.
And, the broadcaster Jennifer Lucy Allan speaks about her new book 'The Foghorn's Lament', which documents the role this coastal 'music' has played in our life and culture.
The fierce joys of Spring
Photo credit: Dario Acosta
As the Countdown to Spring reaches zero, Tom Service hears from the South African soprano Golda Schultz as she looks back on a year where the few musical performances that have taken place have assumed a special importance, including her memorable appearance at the 2020 Last Night of the Proms, as well as last month's live stream of Weber's Der Freischutz from Munich. And she optimistically predicts a new flourishing of arts and music after the pandemic.
The sound artist Jez riley French introduces us to a range of alternative spring sounds as heard by species much tinier than ourselves: the creaks and groans of a tree as it bends in the wind and fills anew with sap; the sound of an apricot begin eaten from the perspective of an ant; and the remarkable noise made by pond weed photosynthesising.
And, one of the most charismatic of violinists around today, Gil Shaham joins the programme from New York to talk about his new recording of the Beethoven and Brahms Concertos with The Knights – a chamber orchestra collective who bring a fresh approach to these two familiar works. Gil describes the links and the contrasts between the two works with live demonstrations on his fiddle.
Celebrating a century of Astor Piazzolla
Tom Service commemorates the centenary of the birth of Astor Piazzolla with a portrait of the great Argentine bandoneon player and tango composer, and explores his revolutionary style which changed the genre for ever. He also questions his legacy in today's Argentina.
We hear from Piazzolla himself in rare BBC archive material, as well as his widow Laura Escalada Piazzolla; his grandsons Daniel Villaflor Piazzolla, who runs the 'Fundación Piazzolla' and Daniel 'Pipi' Piazzolla, drummer in jazz band 'Escalandrum'. There are contributions, too, from the critic Fernando González, who translated Piazzolla's Memoirs into English and interviewed him for international publications; the pianist Pablo Ziegler, who performed with Piazzolla for 11 years in one of his Quintets; and amongst others, the singers Amelita Baltar, who premiered many of Piazzolla’s songs, and Elena Roger, who offers a new take of Piazzolla's music.
Also in the programme, the violinist Isabelle Faust describes her recent experience of travelling to Japan where she was able to perform to sold-out concert hall audiences. She shares her thoughts about the future of touring the world as soloist, how things may look in a post-COVID world, and the role of music for her during the pandemic.
Producer: Juan Carlos Jaramillo
Sandrine Piau, Geraldine Mucha, Steven Isserlis
Tom Service presents the latest news from across the classical music industry. He speaks with the French soprano Sandrine Piau about her new CDs of music by Handel, Haydn and Strauss, and to cellist Steven Isserlis about his latest projects, including CDs of music by John Tavener and the music of Proust's salons. Tom also profiles Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha, who lived most of her life in Prague, with contributions from Mucha's son John, Chris Vinz of the Geraldine Mucha Archive, and Prague-based American pianist Patricia Goodson, who has played many of Mucha's works. Plus, a preview of the 2021 conference of the Association of British Orchestras this week with its Director Mark Pemberton, Vanessa Reed of New Music USA on programming new and underrepresented voices, and Sarah Derbyshire, Chief Executive of Orchestras Live, on a new UK report Orchestras in Healthcare.
How music sculpts memory
Tom Service is joined by the artist Edmund de Waal and composer Martin Suckling as they discuss the relationships between the crafts of porcelain and contemporary composition. We hear how Edmund’s book, The White Road, and his work as a master potter, inspired Martin to pen his flute concerto.
The American composer, John Corigliano, speaks to Tom about writing music which chronicled the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and looks forward to his new opera, The Lord of Cries.
Ahead of a year-long festival at Kings Place, London, the journalist, broadcaster and author Kevin Le Gendre, and the historian and writer Leanne Langley share their perspectives on the way migration has shaped music making in the capital city.
And the soprano Anna Prohaska tells Tom how, as well as making space for four recording projects during lockdown, she’s found room to concentrate on projects she might not otherwise have had time for.