BBC Radio 3 To Celebrate Music Of The British Isles
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Saturday 1-Sunday 30 June 2013
From Parry’s rousing Jerusalem to music from the Court of Mary Queen of Scots and a new jazz commission by Guy Barker, music from the British Isles is to be showcased in all its glory on BBC Radio 3 throughout June (Saturday 1 – Sunday 30 June 2013).
BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast continues its Musical Map of Britain – a year-long online and on-air project designed to provide a snapshot of music making across the British Isles in 2013. With the help of listeners, Radio 3’s Musical Map already has over 800 virtual pins, creating a living picture of the rich musical heritage of Britain, both now and in the past.
Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker will introduce 20 Great Works every weekday in Essential Classics from 9am, showcasing music from some of Britain’s best-loved composers, including Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis’, Purcell’s ‘Dido & Aeneas’, Delius’ ‘Brigg Fair’ and Handel’s ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’.
Composer of the Week (weekdays at 12 and 6.30pm) looks at four leading English composers – Ralph Vaughan Williams (composer of works including ‘The Lark Ascending’ and ‘Fantasia on Greensleeves’), Sir Charles Hubert Parry (‘Jerusalem’ and ‘I Was Glad’), Sir Edward Elgar (‘Pomp and Circumstance Marches’ and ‘The Dream of Gerontius’), and George Lloyd, known chiefly for his symphonic output.
At the heart of the focus is the music of Benjamin Britten in his 100th anniversary year, including two operas; ‘Peter Grimes’ live from Aldeburgh Festival (7 June), and ‘Gloriana’ live from the Royal Opera House (29 June). The BBC Singers present a concert of Benjamin Britten’s music live from Aldeburgh Festival (10 June), while the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform his War Requiem live at St. Paul’s Cathedral (25 June).
The BBC Concert Orchestra presents the world premiere of a BBC/Aldeburgh commission; ‘That Obscure Hurt’ by Guy Barker, the BBC CO’s new Associate Composer. Inspired by Benjamin Britten and the ghost stories of Henry James, the 70-minute suite combines the full forces of the orchestra with the 15-piece Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra, Grammy award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling and actress Janie Dee (Live in Concert; 12 June).
Drama on 3 (30 June, 8.30pm) will present a new play by Mark Ravenhill about the relationship between Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst as they worked together on his opera ‘Gloriana’, to mark the Queen’s coronation. ‘Imo and Ben’ tells the story of how Imogen Holst moved to be near Britten in Aldeburgh to support him as he worked on the score leading up to the Covent Garden premiere in 1953.
There’s also another chance to hear the Radio 3 production of David Pownell’s play ‘Elgar’s Rondo’, which charts the composer's complex feelings in the latter period of his life following the unfavourable response to the premiere of his second symphony. The cast includes David Horovitch, Emma Fielding and Robert Glenister.
Four British poets will discuss their love of music in Private Passions (Sundays at midday) throughout June; Sean O’Brien, (winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize), Carol Ann Duffy (current British Poet Laureate), Paul Muldoon (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) and Gwyneth Lewis (inaugural National Poet of Wales).
Throughout the month Radio 3 will mark the 70th birthdays of four very different British composers – Brian Ferneyhough, Gavin Bryars, Robin Holloway and Roger Smalley – with individual features exploring the formation of their musical crafts and identities throughout the 1960s (Hear and Now, Saturday evenings).
Also in Hear and Now there are commissions and premieres from the recent Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, including ‘Release’ from Scottish composer Martin Suckling, ‘Geek’ from Glasgow-based John deSimone, ‘Silver are the Tears of the Moon’ from Irishman David Fennessy, and ‘The Colours of Jellyfish’ from English composer Frank Denyer. Further highlights include a BBC National Orchestra of Wales concert featuring recent music by Guto Puw, Mark Bowden and Huw Watkins (29 June), and the world premiere of Luke Bedford’s latest composition by the London Sinfonietta (15 June).
As part of the celebration, the Queen’s Coronation anniversary (Sunday 2 June) will be reflected during the month. Related programming includes Composer of the Week, which will broadcast Parry’s ‘I Was Glad’ (performed at the 1953 coronation) as part of its composer focus on Friday 14 June, while The Early Music Show will showcase music associated with the Royal Courts from earlier centuries, followed by an intriguing look at music at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, recorded in Stirling and Holyrood (1 & 2 June, 1pm).
Jazz and World Music tie into the British theme with music from Radio 3 New Generation Jazz Artist, Trish Clowes, recorded at the Derry~Londonderry Jazz Festival, and Northern Ireland’s Linley Hamilton Sextet (Jazz Line-Up, 2nd & 9th June). There’s roots music from all parts of the British Isles (and beyond) recorded at the Shetland Folk Festival (World Routes, 9th & 16th June) as well as a special Maida Vale studio concert featuring Black Top and young trumpeter and composer Laura Jurd (Jazz on 3, 24 June).
Elsewhere on Radio 3 works from across the UK will be featured throughout the station’s evening programming (Scotland: 1-7 June, Wales: 8-14 June, Northern Ireland: 15-21 June) and England: 22-28 June), while a survey of symphonic music will thread its way through Afternoon on 3 each day (weekdays, 2pm), featuring music by Malcolm Arnold and Elizabeth Maconchy. Further highlights include a relay of George Benjamin’s acclaimed opera Written on Skin (Opera on 3, 22 June) and a Building a Library feature on recordings of William Byrd’s Masses (CD Review, 8 June).