In this Programme
Dutch recorder player turned conductor Frans Bruggen has made a decisive impact on the early music scene with his Orchestra of the 18th Century. He has developed a technically and musically dazzling approach to classical and early romantic repertoire. However, recent programming has included Stravinsky's Concerto in D. Tom asks Frans Bruggen about the significance of incorporating this work in his repertoire, and learns about a unique encounter Bruggen had with the composer.
Music for Memorial
This week the BBC commemorates the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Its horrors live on in the memories of survivors and their families but can music ever approach the enormity of human suffering? Tom talks to Steve Reich, John Adams, Judith Bingham and James Whitbourn about their own response to composing for human tragedies and discusses the ethics of writing musical memorials with Robert Saxton and James MacMillan.
Extracts from James Whitbourn's new choral work Annelies, based on The Diary of Anne Frank will be broadcast on BBC Two on 27 January as part of the National Holocaust Memorial and will be performed in full by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in early April.
This week Tom caught up with one of the world's most virtuosic new music groups, Germany based Ensemble Modern. They were in London this week performing a new piece by Steve Reich. For the players there's no problem in playing minimalism one week and hard-core modernism the next: they're as at home in Frank Zappa as they are in the music of Helmut Lachenmann. But, how do the players cope with the challenges of the contemporary repertoire? Conductor Stefan Asbury reveals his side of the Ensemble Modern story, and composers George Benjamin and Steve Reich tell Tom about their experiences of working with the Ensemble.
Roots of the Classical
The western classical music tradition brings to mind images of alabaster busts and powdered periwigs but its origins in oriental, folk, and traditional music reveal a less elite beginning. In his new book Peter Van der Merwe traces the popular roots of classical music back to its Arabian, Oriental and Islamic sources. Tom talks to the author about why these roots have been forgotten.
Roots of the Classical by Peter Van der Merwe,
Published by Oxford University Press
Out now £100 Hard Back