With Tom Service.
Fifty years since the death of Ralph Vaughan Williams, journalist Simon Heffer explains the profound influence of war on the composer's music and how it modernised his style of writing, especially in his Sixth Symphony.
Tom talks to German composer Heiner Goebbels about his strongly 'visual' compositions. And organist, harpsichordist and conductor Ton Koopman looks back on his 40-year career.
In this programme
Music Matters: 2008 Sony Award nominee, Speech Programme Award
Download the complete programme on this week's Music Matters podcast.*
Dutch organist, harpsichordist, and conductor Ton Koopman has performed and recorded almost all of Bach's repertoire. He finished his complete set of Bach's Cantatas in 2006 which just won the BBC Music Magazine's Choral Award. As well as conducting the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Koopman works with modern instrument orchestras all over the world, from the Boston Symphony to the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, where he's principal conductor. His wife, Tini Mathot, is also a harpsichordist who often plays alongside Koopman and she joined him to talk with Tom about their shared passion for Bach's music and working together.
Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot will be performing Bach's Concerti for 2, 3 and 4 Harpsichords and Orchestra with the Amsterdam Barqoque Orchestra on 13th May at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and Ton Koopman will be in recital and giving a Masterclass at the same venue on 14th May.
Ralph Vaughan Williams
As Radio 3 marks the 50th Anniversary of the death of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, his biographer Simon Heffer shares his vision of Vaughan Williams' remarkable 6th Symphony. He interprets the music through its war-time context and explains the ways this sets the work apart from Vaughan Williams' other compositions.
Vaughan Williams was born in a sleepy Gloucestershire village called Down Ampney, but soon moved to London and based himself there. However, the ties with his birthplace were never severed for the people of Gloucestershire. Peter Hillier, former chairman of the Gloucester Choral Society, explains the importance of Vaughan Williams and his music to him.
The Gloucester Vaughan Williams in Spring Festival takes place 2nd-5th May.
You can hear Symphonies 5-9 on Afternoon on 3, 14th-18th April; Vaughan Williams archive recordings on Performance on 3, 14th & 15th Aprill; Building a Library on the 6th Symphony on CD Review, 19th April; and an exploration of Vaughan Williams' contribution to choral music in The Choir, 20th April.
German composer Heiner Goebbels writes an unclassifiable brand of new music which has instrumentalists boiling kettles and hitting tennis balls. In his latest work to be staged in Britain, Stifters Dinge (Stifter's Things), he suspends self-playing pianos from the ceiling and there's not a single performer in the piece. Goebbels' work is a special brand of music theatre which fuses text, lighting, stage design, and new music. Tom asks Goebbels about the inspiration behind his unique compositions.
You can hear Heiner Goebbel's Stifters Dinge at P3, Marylebone Road, London,15th-27th April, and his latest commission, I went to the house but did not enter, for the Hilliard Ensemble at this year's Edinburgh Festival, 28th-30th August.