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Moeran's Last Symphony

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 26 November 2010

Written by Martyn Wade.

A dramatic portrait of the last weeks in the life of the English composer E.J. Moeran [1894-1950]. After the triumphant reception of his First Symphony, a second was commissioned by the prestigious Halle Orchestra. Tortured by the end of his marriage to the cellist Peers Coetmore and by residual pain from injuries received in the Great War, he hoped that Kenmare in Ireland - a place of previous inspiration - would provide the right setting for creativity. But this was to prove the biggest battle of his life.

E.J. Moeran, acclaimed as one of the greatest unsung heroes of English composition, wrote works of exceptional, beautiful lyricism including a stunning Cello Concerto. But his personal life was a disaster. An early dependence on alcohol, partly to relieve the pain from a bad shrapnel wound to the head, led to his wife leaving him as he was struggling to fulfil this exciting new commission. In Kenmare he is befriended by a new pupil, Patrick, who is touchingly encouraging and their relationship becomes important to them both, but ultimately it cannot save him from his dramatic and extraordinary death.

Tim McInnerny, who plays Moeran, is well known from his numerous TV appearances including Blackadder and his role in the film Notting Hill. Author Martyn Wade has written many critically acclaimed radio plays, including an award-winning portrait of the life of composer Percy Grainger, and Classic Serial dramatisations of the Trollope novels.

Directed and Produced by Cherry Cookson
Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.


Tim McInnerny
Mrs Donnell
Kate Binchy
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Peter Warlock
Nicholas Boulton
Geoffrey Whitehead



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