In this programme
British composer Judith Weir is the focus of this year's BBC Symphony Orchestra January Composer Weekend at the Barbican in London.
The Composer Weekend was initiated in 1988 and has since included such distinguished alumni as Harrison Birtwistle, Hans Werner Henze, Mark Antony Turnage, Elliott Carter, James MacMillan and John Adams. Judith Weir's music is distinctive not only for its clarity, but also for its international and even universal scope. Her compositions draw on everything from Nordic myth and Chinese poetry to Scottish folk stories and it is this aspect of her inspiration which is celebrated in the title of the weekend - Telling the Tale. Tom asks Judith just how appropriate this title is.
Judith Weir: Telling the Tale, 18th-20th January 2008 at the Barbican, London & on BBC Radio 3.
Philosophers on Music
Since Plato, philosophers have been fascinated by music, whether it's the cosmological theory of the music of the spheres or simply the question of how it is that music affects us. In a new collection of essays, today's philosophers give their own perspectives on aspects of music which have both perplexed and puzzled them. Tom is joined by one of the contributors, Roger Scruton, composer Christopher Fox, and writer and philosopher A.C. Grayling, to discuss how philosophy can help us to understand music.
Philosophers on Music: Experience, Meaning, and Work. Ed. Kathleen Stock, published by Oxford University Press, hardback, £35.00.
Polish pianist Artur Rubinstein died 25 years ago and is widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time. To find out just what it is that marked Rubinstein out as such a remarkable musician, Tom talks to his widow, Lady Annabelle Weidenfeld, his last protegee, Janina Fialkowska, and his record producer, Max Wilcox. With archive of Daniel Barenboim sharing his thoughts on a pianist he revered, and Rubinstein himself speaking about his own outlook on life in 1971.
Remembering Rubinstein takes place on Tuesday January 22nd at 8.30pm at the Royal Academy of Music.
In 1962, composer Ronald Stevenson began an epic work based on an 18th-century poem by Duncan Ban MacIntyre - In Praise of Ben Dorain. Over 45 years later, the work is finally complete and will receive its premiere on 19th January with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and chorus assembled by Scottish Opera at Glasgow City Halls. Born in Lancashire, Stevenson has been living in Scotland since the late 1950s and has concentrated his work on creating a consciously Scottish music. However, it is a universal kind of Scottishness, in which the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid or the folk tunes of the Outer Hebrides become part of a larger expressive world. Tom went to meet Stevenson and musicologist John Purser at the foot of Ben Dorain in the Highlands to find out just how Scottish a composer Stevenson really is.