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Terry Gilliam, Shostakovich Quartets, 60 Years of British Folk, Music and Technology

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 07 May 2011

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch. Terry Gilliam on his production of Faust, Shostakovich's string quartets, how British folk music has changed since the Festival of Britain in 1951.

  • Terry Gilliam

    Terry Gilliam

    Terry Gilliam - former “Python”, cartoonist and film director – is one of the world’s most vivid creative minds. As a member of the legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus, his unique animations defined the iconic look of some of the most celebrated comedy ever created. Later, the sheer scale and ambition of Gilliam’s cinematic vision gave birth to film classics like Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the Oscar-nominated Twelve Monkeys, among many others. This month sees his operatic directorial debut at English National Opera with a production of Berlioz’ The Damnation of Faust.

    Sara Mohr-Pietsch met him after the dress rehearsal at the Coliseum and finds out that irony is the key word in setting his Faust in Nazi Germany.

  • Shostakovich String Quartets

    Shostakovich String Quartets

    A new book by American writer Wendy Lesser examines Shostakovich’s fifteen string quartets – thought by many to be the least ironic, and the most honest and authentic of the composer’s works. Described by his widow as ‘the story of his soul’, the quartets reflect the personal, political, and professional events that shaped Shostakovich's singular, emblematic twentieth-century life.

    Wendy explains how the quartets shed new light on Shostakovich, the man and musician, plus renowned interpreters violinist Eugene Drucker of the Emerson Quartet and violist Alan George of the Fitzwilliam Quartet – who worked with the composer in the early 70’s -give a musician’s perspective.

  • 60 Years of Folk

    60 Years of Folk

    1951 saw a major celebration of English folk music at St Pancras Town Hall in the shape of the Festival of Britain Singing Englishmen concert.

    Named after a 1944 text on folk music by singer and song collector A.L ‘Bert’ Lloyd, the concert was the Workers’ Musical Association’s contribution to the official festival programme. In tribute to the event today’s folk stars are performing some of the great folk songs from the last 60 years this weekend at the Southbank Centre.

    Sara talks to Dave Arthur, biographer of Lloyd, about folk music in post-war Britain and Lloyd’s contribution to the revival of the time. Plus we meet up with Andy Mellon and Dave Flood of supergroup Bellowhead and fiddler Lisa Knapp, to reflect on British folk music today.

  • Computer Music

    Computer Music

    The Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at the University of Plymouth is a world-leader in the development of music technology and a pioneer of evolutionary computer music. Current research includes developing systems that simulate musical intelligence and computer interfaces that allow people with severe disabilities to control musical instruments.

    Professor Eduardo Miranda explains what drives the work of ICCMR and Research Fellow and composer Alexis Kirke demonstrates one of his latest works - a piece for saxophone and artificially intelligent whale schools.



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