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12 May 2007

Saturday 12 May 2007 12:15-13:00 (Radio 3)

Tom Service talks to author Tim Carter about his new book, which offers the first fully documented history of the making of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

He also catches up with one of the world's most sought-after musicians, Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires.


45 minutes

In this programme

Maria Joao Pires
Maria Joao Pires courtesy of Deutsche Grammaphon
The Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires is internationally renowned for her lucid, subtle and intimate performances of Schubert, Chopin and Mozart. However, in her homeland, she dedicated herself to changing the lives of disadvantaged children and professional musicians alike at her unique home and centre for study of the arts - Belgais. Tom caught up with Pires when she was in London for a series of chamber music concerts centred on the music of Schubert at Wigmore Hall to ask her why she has now left Portugal for Brazil. She also explains her problematic relationship with playing in public and her discomfort with the trappings of international concert life.

Maria Joao Pires will be performing Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall on 29th May and London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 31st May.

Training for Primary School Teachers
Recent research by the Institute of Education in London has revealed a crisis of confidence amongst trainee primary school teachers expected to teach music classes as part of the National Curriculum. With some teachers coming through their PGCE training with little, if any, training on music teaching, and teachers already in schools taking on the role of music-coordinator with only the experience of their own schooling to help them - the research showed that 4 out of 5 teachers feel uncomfortable in their ability to lead classes in music. So, what is being done about the situation? Tom visited Bessemer Grange Primary School in South London to find out how one of the class-teachers there is coping and to talk with trainee teacher Jonathan Powles about his concerns. Professor Susan Hallam, who wrote the paper on the research findings, and Leonora Davies, Chair of the Music Education Council, join Tom to discuss the problems and their potential solutions.

Joseph Buloff as Ali Hakim and Celeste Holm as Ado Annie (Graphic House)In 1943, the first Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration received its Broadway premiere and was an instant success. Oklahoma! has entranced audiences all over the world ever since and there are still more than 600 productions of the show every year. In hindsight, Oklahoma! has come to represent a kind of musical hybrid, fusing together the story, costumes, choreography and music to create a consummate production. Tim Carter's new book on the genesis of Oklahoma! charts the collaborations, discussions, and arguments that led up to the show's opening - the author talks to Tom about its remarkable history. Musical theatre critic, Edward Seckerson, and Head of the Southbank Centre's new Voicelab, Mary King, review the book.

Tim Carter: Oklahoma! The Making of an American Musical. Pub. Yale University Press. h/b £20

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