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.

    Beethoven Unleashed: The Drawing Room Demon

    Beethoven Unleashed: The Drawing Room Demon

    Donald Macleod follows Beethoven’s progress as he seeks out wealthy Viennese patrons for his music.

    This week, Donald Macleod follows Beethoven through the years 1796-99, as the young composer learns to negotiate the privileged and moneyed circles of Vienna’s culture-loving aristocracy. Few can resist his extraordinary charisma as a virtuoso pianist but will he also be able to persuade them of his talents as a composer? In this episode, Beethoven undertakes his first international tour, reluctantly accepts piano students, puts his music before a wider public and starts work on his ambitious first symphony.

    Composer of the Week will be 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 5 in C minor, Op 10 No 1
    Piano Trio Op 1 No 1
    March for four hands, Op 45 No 2
    12 Variations on a Russian dance by Wranitzky, WoO 71
    String Quartet op 18 no 6, mvts. III & IV
    Piano Sonata No 5 in C minor, Op 10 No 1
    Sextet Op 71
    Ah! Perfido
    Cello Sonata Op 5 No 1
    Quintet for piano and winds, Op 16
    Piano Sonata No 4, Op 7
    Violin Sonata, Op 12 No 2
    String Quartet, Op 18 No 4
    Piano Trio Op 1 No 1
    Piano Sonata No 7, Op 10 No 3
    Romance in F, Op 50
    Duet for two obbligato eye-glasses, Woo 32
    String Quartet Op 18 No 1
    Violin Sonata, Op 12 No 3
    Piano Sonata No 6 in F, Op 10
    Zärtliche Liebe, WoO 123
    Trio in B flat major, Op 11
    Symphony No 1 in C



    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: The Drawing Room Demon
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gkqk

    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 18 min
    Beethoven Unleashed: At Home

    Beethoven Unleashed: At Home

    Donald Macleod and Erica Buurman examine some of Beethoven’s personal possessions at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn.

    This week, Donald Macleod takes us to Beethoven’s home town of Bonn and the Beethoven-Haus museum which now occupies the building where he was born. Donald is joined by Erica Buurman, director of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, and together they explore some of the everyday objects and household artefacts owned by the composer to see what they can tell us about how he lived. We’ll hear about Beethoven’s hearing aids and the onset of his hearing loss. Next, with his personal cashbox, they talk about his relationship with money and the world of business. We’ll discover Beethoven’s domestic circumstances by inspecting his cut-throat razor, and his walking stick and writing desk shine a light on his everyday processes. Finally, Donald and Erica compare various samples of the composer’s hair.

    Composer of the Week will be 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:
    Bagatelles Op 126, Nos 1 & 6
    Trio for Clarinet, Cello & Piano Op 38
    Overture, The Consecration of the House Op 124
    Wellington’s Victory (Part II)
    Piano Sonata No 9 in E, Op 14 No.1
    Triple Concerto
    Cello Sonata in A, Op 69
    Missa Solemnis (Agnus Dei)
    Sonata No 29 in Bb, Op 106 ‘Hammerklavier’
    Aus Goethes Faust, Op 75, No 3
    Symphony No 6
    String Quintet in Eb Op 4
    Mailied, Op 52 No 4
    String Quartet Op 59 No 2
    Trauerkantate auf den Tod Kaiser Josephs II, No 3 Aria, “Da stiegen die Menschen an’s Licht”
    Grosse Fugue (arr. Piano, 4 hands) Op 134
    Piano Trio Op 1 No 3
    Symphony No 1
    Mass in C (Kyrie)


    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: At Home
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g3l7

    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 41 min
    Florence Price

    Florence Price

    Donald Macleod uncovers the story and prolific output of American composer Florence Price.

    Florence Price became a highly successful classical composer, organist, pianist and teacher of music during the twentieth century in America. She was the first African-American woman to be recognised as a composer of symphonic music, and also the first African-American woman to have her works performed by one of the world’s leading orchestras. In collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, BBC Radio 3 launched the Forgotten Women Composers Project. Championed by the composer and educator Shirley Thompson, Florence Price became a particular focus for the project. Scores by Florence Price were located and recorded by BBC Orchestras and Choirs. It will be the first time Florence Price has been featured on Composer of the Week, and the series is supplemented by many specially recorded works. Over the course of the episode, we’ll hear about the impact racial prejudice and marriage had on her life and career, her battles for recognition, ultimate fame, and her prolific output, despite health issues late in life.

    Music featured:
    The Deserted Garden
    Sonata in E minor (Andante – Allegro)
    Suite for Organ No 1 (Fughetta and Air)
    The Oak
    Violin Concerto No 2
    My Dream
    Cotton Dance
    The Old Boatman
    The Moon Bridge
    My Soul’s been anchored in the Lord
    Symphony No 1 in E minor
    Song for Snow
    Sinner Don’t Let This Harvest Pass
    Poem of Praise
    Piano Concerto in D minor
    Dances in the Canebrakes
    Suite for Organ No 1 (Toccata)
    Sonata in E minor (Andante)
    Sympathy
    The Glory of the day was in her face
    Resignation
    Symphony No 3
    The Goblin and the Mosquito
    Concert Overture No 2
    Five Folksongs in Counterpoint (Drink to me only with thine eyes)
    Night
    My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord
    Violin Concerto No 1 in D major


    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 Florence Price
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fwf0

    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 6 min
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Making His Way

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Making His Way

    Donald Macleod follows Beethoven as he sets himself up in his new home of Vienna.

    All through 2020, 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 21st 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.

    This week, Donald Macleod’s focus is on Beethoven’s first months and years in Vienna, following his move there from his home town of Bonn. The young composer was still in his early twenties, low on cash, and had only a handful of works to his name. He was going to have to work hard to find success in the imperial capital, where audiences had grown up on the music of Mozart and Haydn.

    Music featured:
    La Partenza, WoO 124
    String Quartet in A minor, Op 132 (II. Allegro ma non tanto)
    Piano Concerto No 2 (III. Rondo)
    Trio in G major, Op 1 No 2
    Bagatelle, Op 33 No 7 (Presto)
    String Trio, Op 3 in E flat major ( I. Allegro con brio)
    Piano Sonata No 2, Op 2 No 2 (3rd and 4th movements)
    Symphony No 8, (2nd and 3rd movements)
    String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 (3rd and 4th movements)
    Sextet for horns and string quartet, Op 81b
    Symphony No 2 (1st movement)
    Quartet in E flat major, Op 127 (3rd and 4th movements)
    Piano Sonata No 12 in A flat, Op 26
    Piano Sonata No 3 in C, Op 2 No 3 (3rd movement)
    Piano Sonata No 1, Op 2 No 1 (final movement)
    Violin Sonata, Op 30 No 2 (3rd movement)
    ‘Adelaide’, Op 46
    String Trio Op 3 in E flat major (4th, 5th and 6th movements)
    12 Minuets, WoO 7, No 1
    Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15 (1st movement)
    Piano Trio Op 1 No 3 (1st and 2nd movements)
    12 Minuets WoO 7, Nos. 7 & 11
    Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15 (3rd 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: Making His Way
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fmt0

    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 13 min
    Claudio Monteverdi

    Claudio Monteverdi

    Donald Macleod looks at five themes in Claudio Monteverdi's life through the letters he wrote.

    Claudio Monteverdi’s compositions range from the secular to the sacred. He is a composer whose work spans the Renaissance and Baroque periods of musical history, and is known as a pioneer of the development of opera in Italy throughout the early 17th century. Throughout the week, Donald looks at five themes in Monteverdi’s life through the letters he wrote. Using Denis Stevens’ translations from the 1970s, we look at the excuses given by Monteverdi – a perpetually busy man – for not finishing compositions on time, the politics and hierarchy of life in the Italian Courts and Church, the financial struggles faced by Monteverdi, the illnesses that plagued his life and the lives of his close family and the importance of his family throughout his life.

    Across the episode, we’ll hear stories of Monteverdi’s penchant for procrastination, his revered opinions of singers, many financial struggles, tempestuous heath and the lengths he went to in order to support his family.

    Music featured:
    Chiome d’oro
    Cantai un tempo, & se fu dolc’il canto
    L’Orfeo: Prologue and Act I
    Dixit Dominus
    Lamento d’Arianna a voce sola
    Cantate Domino
    Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo
    Con che soavità
    L’Incoronazione di Poppea: Act II: Amici, è giunta l’hora
    Ballo delle ingrate
    ‘Batto’, qui pianse Ergasto
    L’incoronazione di Poppea: Prologue and Act I:
    Lamento d’Arianna a 5
    Adoramus te
    Zefiro torna
    Quel sguardo sdegnosetto
    L’Orfeo: Toccata
    Lamento della Ninfa
    Missa In illo tempore
    Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria: Act V: O dolor, o martir
    L’incoronazione di Poppea: Act III: Pur ti miro
    Damigella tutta bella
    L’Orfeo: Act V: Extracts
    Tirsi e Clori
    Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria: Act I
    Magnificat a 7



    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Eleri Llian Rees 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 Claudio Monteverdi
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000ffwm

    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 9 min
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Conversations with Friends

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Conversations with Friends

    Donald Macleod is joined by Raphael Wallfisch and Sara Bitlloch to discuss Beethoven’s early chamber music.

    All through 2020, 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 21st 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.

    This week, cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

    Music featured:
    String Trio No 3 in G major: Op 9, No 1 (3rd movement - excerpt; 4th movement)
    Cello Sonata in F major Op 5 No 1 (Allegro)
    Piano Trio in C minor Op 1 No 3 (4th movement)
    String quartet in F major Op 18 No 1 (2nd movement)
    Violin Sonata in D major Op 12 No 1 (1st movement)
    Sonatina in C major for mandolin and piano WoO44 No 1
    String Quartet in C minor Op 18 No 4 (3rd movement)
    Violin Sonata in A major Op 30 No 1 (3rd movement)
    Serenade in D major Op 8 (1st and 2nd movements)
    Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor Op 5 (1st movement)
    String Quintet in C major Op 29 (4th movement)
    Piano Trio Op 121a, “Kakadu Variations”
    String Quartet in F major No 7, Op 59 (“Razumovsky”) (4th movement)
    Violin Sonata in A major No. 9 Op 47 ("Kreutzer") (1st movement)
    Septet in E flat major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass Op 20 (2nd movement)
    String Quartet in C major Op 59 No 3 (“Razumovsky”) (1st movement)
    Piano Trio No 5 in D major Op 70 No 1 ("Ghost") (2nd movement)
    Violin Sonata No 5 in F major Op 24 ("Spring") (1st and 4th movements)
    String Quartet in E flat Op 74 (“Harp”) (1st movement)
    String Trio in C minor Op 9 No 3 (1st mvt)
    String Quartet in F minor (“Serioso”) Op 95 (1st and 4th mvts)
    Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major Op 69 (1st mvt)
    Piano Trio in B flat ("Archduke") Op 97 (1st mvt)

    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Produced by Iain Chambers 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: Conversations with Friends
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f5mp

    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 10 min

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