Tom Service meets sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, currently on his final tour of Europe. Plus a reassessment of Rimsky-Korsakov's legacy 100 years after his death, and as a second volume of Prokofiev's diaries is published, Tom looks at the wider phenomenon of composers' diaries and what can be learnt from them.
In this programme
Download the complete programme on this week's Music Matters podcast.*
Sitar player Ravi Shankar is an icon of Indian classical music. Friend of the Beatles; guru for the hippies and star of Woodstock; collaborator with Yehudi Menuhin and Phlip Glass. Shankar has never been out of the public eye. At 88, he has just completed his Farewell Tour to Europe, performing with his daughter, Anoushka, in London last week. Shankar introduced the western world to Indian classical music in the 1930s, performing in his brother's troupe of dancers and musicians in Paris and has continued to transform the world's musical horizons ever since. Tom talks with Shankar about his remarkable life.
2008 marks the centenary of Russian composer Rimksy-Korsakov's death. His influence not only on Russian music, but also internationally has been profound, yet he is rarely recognised for more than a handful of pieces including Sheherazade and The Flight of the Bumblebee. A leading member of the Mighty Handful in Russia, he defined the sound and style of a nation, yet eventually renounced the nationalist label.
To build a clearer picture of Rimsky-Korsakov's legacy, Tom talks to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's chief conductor, Vasily Petrenko, Russian music scholar Marina Frolova-Walker and Rimsky-Korsakov specialist, Stephen Muir.
Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade is the subject of BBC Radio 3's Discovering Music on 6th July 2008 and you can hear many more of his works in Composer of the Week, 7th-11th July 2008 on BBC Radio 3.
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2
Following the recent publication of the second volume of Sergey Prokofiev's diaries, a look at the world of the composer diarist. Prokofiev wrote his diaries assiduously, and they offer a detailed insight into the composer's life and music. Many other composers have also turned to private journals to record their innermost thoughts, but what do these tomes really reveal about their music and the music of their predecessors and contemporaries, and what is the role of the modern day diarist?
Tom is joined by writer and broadcaster, Roderick Swanston, Prokofiev scholar Noelle Mann and composer Julian Anderson, who reveals the content of his own moleskin diary.
Sergey Prokofiev, Diaries 1915-1923: Behind the Mask. Translated and Annotated by Anthony Phillips. Pub. Faber and Faber. h/b. £25