The Birth of British Music is a series of BBC 2 programmes (scheduled for broadcast in May 2009), presented by Charles Hazlewood, which trace the birth of Britain’s modern concert life through the lives and music of four towering figures, all of whom have major anniversaries this year: Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel, Joseph Haydn and Felix Mendelssohn. This series will show how, as the concept of Great Britain was formed, the concept of British music was forged.
Read full details of the plans for Birth of British Music here.
The Birth of British Music series of documentaries is complemented by extended videos and interviews specially shot and edited for the website.
Click to view the extra videos for The Birth of British Music - Episode 4 (Mendelssohn).
Purcell: The Londoner Through his exploration of Purcell's life and times, Charles Hazlewood discovers how this groundbreaking composer stepped outside the confines of church and court into the expanding arena of Restoration theatre, taking music on a journey towards new audiences and creating a benchmark for generations of British composers since.
Handel: The Conquering Hero This is the story of how a brilliant young German composer arrived in a foreign land to become a British musical icon. Handel's influence came to dominate every aspect of British musical life and his music reached previously unknown levels of national pride and identity.
Haydn: The Celebrity This programme investigates the role music played within the ideals of an increasingly powerful British nation. Charles discovers how the extended time that Haydn spent in London during his final years was crucial to the development of the highly valued concert culture we have today.
Mendelssohn: The Prophet The composer became a respected friend of Queen Victoria on his frequent visits to Britain and his music embodies the sound and ideals of the Victorian age. Charles investigates how Mendelssohn played a vital role in this final stage of the journey of British music from servant of the aristocracy to massed public event.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.