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The Death of Klinghoffer, Charles Munch, Christopher Fox

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 04 February 2012

With Tom Service. Including John Adams's opera The Death of Klinghoffer, composers Christopher Fox and Edward Wickham's linguistic experiments and Antonio Pappano on conductor Charles Munch.

  • John Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer

    John Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer

    John Adams's 1991 opera The Death of Klinghoffer is based on the hijacking of the cruise ship the Achille Lauro and murder of the Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer . The piece has proved highly controversial – it’s been accused of being anti-semitic and has been heavily criticised by Klinghoffer's surviving family. It's only now receiving its first production in London. John Adams and Alice Goodman, the opera’s librettist, tell Tom Service their intention was to view the horrifying events on the Achille Lauro from both sides . Director Tom Morris and conductor Baldur Brönniman share with Tom their vision for Klinghoffer in its new production at English National Opera which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 later this year.

    Photo: Death of Klinghoffer © ENO

    More information: The Death of Klinghoffer at ENO
  • Roger Go To Yellow Three…

    Roger Go To Yellow Three…

    Roger Go To Yellow Three… is a new piece by Christopher Fox, written for the Clerk’s Group, which pushes the boundaries of musical perception - drawing on neuroscience, too. Edward Wickham, conductor of the Clerk’s, has conceived a project to find out how much audiences actually hear and understand of the words sung by his group in performance - and how much they pick up of words and music in general when there's more than one line of music and text to follow. Audience members at performances of Roger Go To Yellow Three... will be asked to follow one of the six characters that Edward's text and Christopher's music creates, as they appear in different scenarios from a wine bar conversation to an argument, from military-style speech to madrigal-like serenity, and report back on how much they took in. The results will contribute to scientific research!

    Photo: DigiText Air Traffic Control tower interior and controller new computerised control centre at West Drayton © BBC;

    More information: The Clerk's Group
  • Charles Munch

    Charles Munch

    Charles Munch is one of those mid-century maestros whose recordings and whose reputation is part of the history of the gramophone -especially in music by Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel, Brahms and Honegger yet he’s not had the same posthumous glory attributed to his music-making as have Toscanini, Furtwängler, or Karajan. D. Kern Holoman has recently published the first biography of Munch, whose life in music took him from Strasbourg and leading the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, to taking up the baton in his early 40s, where he alchemised orchestras in France, and above all, in Boston. Tom talks to the author of the book and the music director of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano reviews it. Pappano is a huge Munch fan and believes he was a conductor who embodied the essential magic of the maestro, and whose life and attitude to his players is a continuing inspiration.

    Photo: Charles Munch (Carlyle Studios Inc. Courtesy of BSO Archives)

    More information: Charles Munch by D. Kern Holoman



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