Composer of the Week
Monday 22-Friday 26 June 12 noon-1pm, repeated 10-11pm, Radio 3
In 1939 Igor Stravinsky moved to the US, for the second time. Presenter Donald Macleod takes a look at the impact America had on the Russian composer’s life and music. Beginning with a look at the last music he wrote on European soil, including the Symphony of Psalms, Macleod then turns to Stravinsky’s attempt to put down roots in Los Angeles, and his friendship with the young conductor Robert Craft. The week’s programmes round off with an account of his emotional return to Russia.
Performance on 3
Wednesday 24 June, 7-9.15pm, Radio 3
It’s French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s first year as director of the Aldeburgh Festival. And here’s a chance to hear him at the keyboard, performing the UK premiere of George Benjamin’s Duet for piano and orchestra and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand. The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin also perform Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Julian Anderson’s Fantasias, and Elliott Carter’s Three Occasions.
Tuesday 23 June, 1.30-2pm, Radio 4
In his own time the composer Gian Carlo Menotti was a star – he partied at the White House with the Kennedys and sailed on yachts with Maria Callas. But over the years his music has been largely forgotten. Music writer Michael White explores Menotti’s life story through music, memories, Menotti’s own words, interviews with musicologists and singers who worked with him and asks why his music has fallen out of favour.
Mendelssohn, the Nazis and Me
Friday 26 June, 8-9pm, repeated 2-3am, BBC Four
The composer Felix Mendelssohn held strong Christian beliefs, but he was born a Jew. In this new documentary, the composer’s great great great great-niece Sheila Hayman, a filmmaker, investigates Mendelssohn’s religious identity during his lifetime. The film soon turns to murkier matters, as Hayman first looks at the effect of an anti-semitic polemic written by Wagner, and then the banning of his music by the Nazis.
The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies
Monday 22 June, 9-10pm, Channel 4
16-year-old child prodigy Alexander Prior is composing a new concerto. And to play the new work Prior has been hand-picking soloists from among the world’s best young instrumentalists. The piece is given its premiere this week at The Sage Gateshead, but the young composer receives mixed feedback from the performers.