Music in the Great War on Radio 3
Producer, Radio 3
In Radio 3’s two week season 'Music in the Great War' 3 from 23 June – 6 July we are following the story of World War One through the music and culture of the time and considering the immediate and wider impact of the war on the international classical music world.
For two weeks starting in Breakfast, Radio 3’s schedule will be a showcase for the musical and cultural experience of one of the major participants. Each day at 8.30am, the author of the evening Essay will talk about their chosen WW1 subject, and we’ll hear music from the era, including a song each day from Radio 3 New Generation Artist tenor Robin Tritschler, with pianist Malcolm Martineau.
In Essential Classics from 23rd June, Sarah Walker’s guest is Dr Kate Kennedy, expert in the music and literature of the First World War. Rob Cowan’s guest from 30 June is the American cultural historian Jay Winter, who takes the long view on the conflict.
Composer of the Week from 23rd June is Elgar in the war years, and from 30th June Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Ivor Gurney, with Kate Kennedy.
In Afternoon on 3 we hear music from each country, including specially recorded works by William Denis Browne (with the BBC Philharmonic) and Charles Villiers Stanford (with the Ulster Orchestra). The Thursday matinee operas are Mark Anthony Turnage’s ‘The Silver Tassie’ (26 June) and Rudi Stephan’s rarely heard ‘Die Ersten Menschen’ (3 July).
Each day on In Tune (with Sean Rafferty from 23 June and Suzy Klein from 30 June) there will be live guests discussing and playing music from World War One, and at 5.30 each weekday we’ll hear one of David Owen Norris’s WW1 Musical Stories, which will be available to download.
From 24 – 29 June Radio 3 In Concert brings concerts from across the UK and from Sarajevo. On 24 June the tenor James Gilchrist, pianist Iain Burnside and actor Matthew Cammelle give a concert of songs and poetry from William Denis Browne, FS Kelly and Rupert Brooke from the City of London Festival; On 25 June the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform works by Ives, Ravel and Shostakovich live from Orkney; on 26 June the BBC Concert Orchestra live from Watford perform works heard in the civilian internment camps at Alexandra Palace in London and Ruhleben near Berlin, on 27 June the BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform works from England, Wales and Belgium, reflecting on the Belgian musicians who took reguge in the UK, , and on 29 June the BBC Singers perform British choral works from the First World War.
On 28 June the Vienna Philharmonic gives an historic concert with the Opera Choir of the National Theatre of Sarajevo, in a gesture of international peace and friendship, broadcast live across Europe from the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly the City Hall, newly reconstructed after the 1992 Siege of Sarajevo.
On 6 July the final Live in Concert of the season is a concert in partnership with the National Trust from St Lawrences Church, Shaw’s Corner, with the New Generation Artists Elena Urioste (violin) and Zhang Zhuo (piano) alongside the tenor Benjamin Hulett and the pianist Christopher Glynn with song settings of AE Houseman, music by Ivor Gurney and Elgar’s Violin Sonata.
The Essay each day the series Minds at War paints ten portraits of the revolutionary change brought about by the war on leading thinkers from the arts and sciences. Contributors include BBC Correspondents Allan Little on painter CWR Nevinson and Lyse Doucet on novelist Edith Wharton; cartoonist Martin Rowson on artist Otto Dix, biographer Sarah Lefanu on writer and war-time nurse Rose Macaulay, Ruth Padel on sculptor Kathe Kollwitz, Ian Christie on film director Sergei Eisenstein and Santanu Das on poet Sarojini Naidu.
Ian Macmillan hosts The Verb at Batemans, the former home of Rudyard Kipling, who lost his son in the war (4 July). In Sound of Cinema Matthew Sweet introduces music from the vast range of films inspired by the First World War (28 June).
CD Review surveys recordings of Elgar’s Cello concerto and Ravel’s La valse in Building a Library (21 & 28 June). Music Matters looks at the effects of WW1 on the course of musical history in the 1920s and 30s (28 June).
In the Sunday Feature World War One: Alyn Shipton, presenter of Jazz Record Requests, argues that the war was the unintended mid-wife to the birth of Jazz – sending African American troops across the USA and Europe and with them, their ground-breaking music (6 July).
John Keane, former official British war artist, is Michael Berkeley’s guest on Private Passions (29 June).
In Drama on 3, playwright Angela de Angelis adapts Greece’s most famous novel about the conflict, Life in the Tomb for a brand new radio version, bringing to life a lesser-known picture of the Great War, far from the Western Front (6th July). And to support this Balkan theme, in the Sunday Feature Maria Margaronis searches for the real Gavrilo Princip, assassin of Sarajevo (28 June).
Words and Music takes a thematic journey through the war across the fortnight – with three programme of readings and music on the theme of Outbreak (22nd June), Displacement (29th June) and Aftermath (6 July).
In The Choir Sara Mohr-Pietsch considers some of the newly newly commissioned WW1 memorial music, including a joint commission by the Three Choirs Festival and the Staedische Theater Chemnitz which brings together British and German elements in ‘A Foreign Field’, by German composer Torsten Rasch. (29 June)
In Jazz Record Requests (28 June) Alyn Shipton includes WW1 recordings, and in Jazz line-Up (28 June) Julian Joseph talks to Bob Sinfield about the jazz favourites of the WW1 generation. Late Junction with Max Reinhardt includes a fascinating exploration of the field recordings of British prisoners of war and colonial troops held as prisoners of war made by the German sound pioneer, Wilhelm Doegen.