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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 18 October 2008

Petroc Trelawny talks to leading American composer John Adams about his new musical memoir Hallelujah Junction, and how he has been blacklisted by US security for the perceived morality of his political stage works. Authors David Huckvale, Peter Dickinson and Adrian Wright review each other's recent books on the composers Lord Berners and William Alwyn and about the British composers who composed music for Hammer horror films. And as a rare Stradivarius cello, expected to fetch over one million pounds, is about to be auctioned online, Petroc investigates the phenomenal prices such instruments command and asks who is buying them.

  • John Adams

    Petroc Trelawny meets American composer John Adams whose musical autobiography ‘Hallelujah Junction’ is published this month. Adams talks about his belief that, thanks to his controversial opera ‘ The Death of Klinghoffer’, he is now on a US homeland security list, meaning that he is taken away and questioned every time he checks in at an airport. He also discusses collaborators, (including Peter Sellars), his battles with the musical avante garde, and his journey from the east coast of his childhood, to the blue seas of the west.

  • Three Book Review

    David Huckvale, Peter Dickinson and Adrian Wright meet in the Music Matters studio to review each other’s books and discuss their own subjects. Huckvale has written a study of the musical radicals who wrote for the Hammer horror film studio; Adrian Wright is author of the first biography of William Alwyn, the prolific, successful, but ultimately bitter English composer - and Peter Dickinson’s subject is the flamboyant, eccentric writer, painter and composer Lord Berners.

  • The Strad

    Petroc comes face to face with the Amaryllis Fleming Stradivarius cello. It is auctioned at the end of the month and is expected to fetch around £1 million - but who will buy it ? In these troubled financial times, musical instruments by the great makers seem to be pretty safe bets for investors. Petroc meets Nigel Brown, a businessman who sets up syndicates which allow great players to get their hands on these historic instruments; and Natalie Clein performs on the Amaryllis Fleming, named after the celebrated English cellist who once owned it.



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