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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

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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: In His Own Words

    Beethoven Unleashed: In His Own Words

    Donald Macleod explores Ludwig van Beethoven's varied and rich correspondence.

    More than 1,770 of Beethoven's letters still survive and, this week, Donald Macleod delves into five different areas of this extensive correspondence. We’ll hear exchanges with some of his closest friends and patrons, a secret admission about his hearing and the details of a petty argument that gets blown out of all proportion. Beethoven’s flirting gets him into trouble; he falls deeply in love and suffers the misery of rejection on more than one occasion. Plus, the composer writes to his idol, Goethe and finds himself embroiled in some shady dealings with his publishers.

    The letters are read by Adrian Lester.

    Music Featured:
    arr. Matiegka: Serenade in D, Op 8
    Overture to Leonore
    Violin Sonata No 3 in E flat major, Op 12 No 3
    String Quartet No 1 in F major, Op 18 No 1
    March for Military Music in F major, WoO 18 'York March'
    Piano Trio No 7 in B flat major, Op 97 'Archduke'
    Cello Sonata No 3 in A major, Op 69
    Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73 'Emperor'
    Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 2
    An die Hoffnung, Op 32
    Piano Sonata No 23 in F minor, Op 57 (Appassionata)
    Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59
    An die Ferne Geliebte
    Piano Sonata No 3 in C major, Op 2 No 3
    Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op 47
    Septet in E flat major, Op 20 (excerpt)
    Cello Sonata in A major, Op 69
    Gesang aus der Ferne, WoO 137
    Adelaide
    Opferlied, Op 121b
    Coriolan Overture
    Kennst du das Land (Goethe)

    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: In His Own Words https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l6lf

    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 tim. 58 min
    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Donald Macleod journeys through Johann Sebastian Bach’s relationship with the organ.

    Johann Sebastian Bach is often acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all time and yet, during his lifetime, he was often more famous as an organist. Bach became very much in demand as a performer and a teacher. He was often asked to advise on the design and renovation of expensive church instruments. He composed a great deal of music for organ and was particularly productive during his twenties and early thirties when working at the court in Weimar. All this week Donald Macleod examines Bach’s life and music through the lens of his life-long fascination with the organ, focusing particularly on his time in Weimar and exploring his role as performer organist, teacher, servant, entrepreneur and composer.


    Music Featured:
    Brandenburg Concerto No 3, BWV 1048 (ohne Satzbezeichnung)
    Sonata No 2 in C minor, BWV 526
    Prelude and Fugue in G major, BWV 550
    Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63
    Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
    Concerto for Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1058
    Cantata No 162 ‘Ach, ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe’, BWV 162
    Concerto in A minor, BWV 593
    Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542
    Concerto for two violins and strings in D minor, BWV 1043
    Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Dorian), BWV 538
    St Matthew Passion, BWV 244
    Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
    Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
    Brandenburg Concerto No 2, BWV 1047
    The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (Prelude and Fugue in C major), BWV 867
    The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (Prelude and Fugue in C minor), BWV 847
    Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996
    Concerto in D minor, BWV 596 (Vivaldi Violin Concerto Op 3 No 11)
    Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (Osanna in excelsis, Agnus Dei, Dona Nobis Pacem)
    Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532


    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 J S Bach https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l1dm

    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
    Beethoven Unleashed: Restless Spirit

    Beethoven Unleashed: Restless Spirit

    Donald Macleod follows Ludwig van Beethoven through the years 1807-1809.

    This week, Donald Macleod explores Ludwig van Beethoven’s life through the years of 1807-1809. This was a period which ended with the traumatic second occupation of Vienna by Napoleon’s forces, and a time when Beethoven himself was feeling increasingly restless in the city after his plans to gain financial stability were thwarted.

    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:
    Coriolan Overture, Op 62
    Mass in C major, Op 86 (Credo & Agnus Dei)
    Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op 57 “Appassionata” (III. Allegro ma non troppo – Presto)
    Lob auf de Dicken, WoO 100
    Quartet in E minor, Op 59 No 2 “Rasumovsky” (IV. Presto)
    Elegischer Gesang, Op 118
    Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68 “Pastoral Symphony” (1st and 2nd movements)
    Piano trio in D major, Op 70 No 1 “Ghost” (2nd movement)
    Six Goethe Songs, Op 75 No 6 (Der Zufriedene)
    3 Songs, Op 83 No 3 (Mit einem gemalten Band)
    Mass in C major, Op 86 (Gloria)
    Piano Transcription of Violin Concerto, Op 61a (III. Rondo)
    Cello Sonata No 3 in A major, Op 69 (1st movement)
    Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (1st movement)
    In questa tomba oscura, WoO 133
    3 Songs, Op 83 No (Wonne der Wehmut)
    Choral Fantasy, Op 80
    Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (3rd movement)
    Piano Sonata No 24 in F sharp major, Op 78 “à Thérèse”
    Lied aus der ferne, WoO 137
    March for Military Music, WoO 18
    Piano Sonata No 26 in E flat major, Op 81a “Les adieux” (1st movement)
    Incidental Music to Egmont, Op 84 (1. Die Trommel geruhet; 2. Entr’acte I - Andante; 7. Clärchen’s Death; 9. Symphony of Victory)
    Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73 "Emperor” (1st movement)
    Sehnsucht, WoO 134

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Sam Philips 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: Restless Spirit https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000ktd9

    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 tim. 18 min
    Holmes and Duparc

    Holmes and Duparc

    Donald Macleod and Anastasia Belina explore the lives and music of Augusta Holmès and Henri Duparc.

    Imagine creating a grand spectacle that demands 1,200 performers, along with the most lavish sets and costumes. You might think that the figure behind such an extraordinary achievement would have staked a claim on immortality, yet despite achieving considerable fame in her own lifetime, this is not the fate that befell Augusta Holmès. Over the passage of time her name has disappeared into obscurity, whilst that of her direct contemporary, Henri Duparc has grown and prospered. These days he’s regarded as one of the leading figures of French song, yet it’s still the case that relatively little is known about his life.

    In Duparc’s case his is a reputation built on the slenderest of musical means, some seventeen mélodies. By contrast, Holmès’ l’Ode Triomphale, which was written to mark the centenary of France’s 1789 revolution, is the largest of a generous collection of large scale orchestral works, to which you can also add four operas, the last of which was mounted at the Paris Opera in 1895, as well as considerable catalogue of songs.

    To shed light on Holmès' music, several of her works have been recorded by the BBC Performing Groups, as part of the Forgotten Women Composers project, which was developed by the BBC in association with the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Helping Donald Macleod uncover more about the little known Augusta Holmès and Henri Duparc, is Anastasia Belina, a music historian with a particular interest in nineteenth century music and women composers.

    Music Featured:
    Duparc: Chansons triste
    Duparc: Aux étoiles
    Holmès: Trois petites pièces for flute and piano
    Holmès: Rolando Furieux
    Duparc: L’invitation au voyage
    Holmès: Molto lento
    Duparc: Sérénade, Le manoir de Rosemonde,Soupir
    Holmès: À Trianon
    Duparc: Sonata in A minor for cello and piano
    Holmès: Ouverture pour une comèdie
    Holmès: La Haine (excerpt)
    Duparc: La Vague et la cloche
    Holmès: Memento mei deus
    Duparc: Lénore, symphonic poem
    Duparc: Au pays où se fait la guerre
    Holmès: Irlande
    Duparc: Sérénade Florentine
    Duparc: Extase
    Holmès: Pologne
    Duparc: Le Galop, Romance de Mignon
    Holmès: La vision de la Reine
    Duparc: Phidylé
    Holmès: La Nuit et l’Amour (from Ludus pro Patria)
    Duparc: Élégie
    Holmès: Le château du rêve
    Duparc: Danse lente
    Holmès: Andromède
    Duparc: La via antérieure

    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 Holmes & Duparc, where you can also find links to the documents mentioned https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kn8f

    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 tim. 20 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: Private Papers

    Beethoven Unleashed: Private Papers

    Donald Macleod explores Beethoven’s sketches and letters to see what they reveal about his life and music.

    This week Donald Macleod is joined by Beethoven scholar, Erica Buurman and biographer, Jan Swafford to investigate some the many documents and papers that Beethoven left behind after his death, which are now scattered in archives and collections across the world. Donald and his guests explore high-quality, digital facsimiles of Beethoven’s most personal records including his letters, notebooks and journals; scouring them for clues to his relationships, his work and his everyday life.

    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:
    String Quartet Op.18 No 2 (4th movement)
    Piano Sonata No 8, Op 13 ‘Pathétique’
    Violin Sonata Op 30 No 2 (4th movement)
    Symphony No 3 ‘Eroica’(4th movement)
    Violin Sonata No 5, Op 24 (2nd movement)
    Piano Sonata No 24, Op 78 (2nd movement)
    Andante Favori, WoO 57
    Diabelli Variations, Op 120 (Vars. 18-24)
    Missa Solemnis: Credo
    Piano Sonata No 16, Op 31 No 1 (1st movement)
    Violin Sonata No 8, Op 30 No 3 III (3rd movement)
    Symphony No 2 (2nd movement)
    Variations for Piano, ‘Eroica’, Op 35
    Sonata for Cello and Piano Op 69 (2nd movement)
    Fidelio: Act I No 1‘Jetzt, Schätzchen, jetzt sind wir allein‘
    Piano Trio, Op 97 ‘Archduke’ (3rd movement)
    Triple Concerto, Op 56 (1st movement)
    String Quintet Op 29 (3rd movement)
    Trio in Bb, WoO 39
    Symphony No 7 (4th movement)
    Piano Sonata No 16, Op 31 No 1 (2nd movement)
    String Quartet, Op 59 No 3 (1st movement)

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Chris Taylor 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: Private Papers, where you can also find links to the documents mentioned https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kfjc

    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 tim. 31 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: Hero

    Beethoven Unleashed: Hero

    Donald Macleod explores the triumphs, friends and foes of Beethoven’s ‘heroic’ phase.

    This week, Donald Macleod follows Ludwig van Beethoven through the years of 1804-1806; the beginning of what many commentators have called his ‘heroic’ phase. Having weathered a profound psychological crisis, triggered by his failing hearing, Beethoven now throws himself into his composing with renewed energy and strength of spirit. However, that same passionate nature also leads to frequent conflicts.
    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:
    Variations on an original theme, Op 35 ‘Eroica Variations’
    Symphony No 3 'Eroica'
    String Quartet, Op 59 No 1, 'Rasumovsky',
    Violin Sonata in A major, Op 47 ‘Kreutzer’
    Romance in F, Op 50
    Piano Sonata No 13, Op 27 No 1
    An die Hoffnung, Op 32
    Piano Sonata No 15, Op 28 ‘Pastorale’
    Piano Concerto No 4
    Leonore (1806 version) Act 1, “O wär ich schon mit dir vereint”
    Piano Sonata No 22 in F, Op 54
    Leonore (1806 version) Act II, Quartet “Er sterbe!”
    Violin Sonata Op 12 No 1, II. Tema con variazioni: Andante con moto
    Leonore (1806 version) Act II, Duet “O namenlose Freude!”
    Leonore Overture No 3, Op 72b
    Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op 102 No 1
    Bagatelle in B minor, Op 126 No 4
    String Quartet in F, Op 59 No 1
    Piano Sonata No 23, Op 57 ‘Appassionata’
    Violin Concerto, Op 61
    6 Ecossaises, WoO 83
    Piano Concerto No 3,
    String Quartet Op 59 No 3

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Chris Taylor 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: Hero https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k28m

    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 tim. 22 min

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