In This Programme
Purcell and Dryden's semi-opera King Arthur is currently undergoing a drastic but elegant reworking in the hands of Mark Morris at ENO . Based on texts by Dryden, the piece was first performed in 1691 at the Queen's Theatre, London , but was less an opera in the conventional sense, than a play with music. Tom Service talks to director and choreographer Mark Morris and conductor Jane Glover about how they have controversially stripped away the spoken texts to leave ninety minutes of Purcell's music, and on what it's like to work with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Robert Craft and Schoenberg
A man most commonly mentioned in the same breath as Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft was also a great admirer of Arnold Schoenberg: both the man and the music. In fact it was Craft who finally aroused Stravinsky's interest in Schoenberg late in his life. Having spent his life admiring two antithetical composers, Craft is currently filling the gaps in his Schoenberg back catalogue by recording works for Naxos who are also reissuing his previous recordings in the Robert Craft series. Tom asks him how he came to terms with both Stravinsky and Schoenberg and what it was like to be close to two of the greatest names in 20th Century music.
Down a Path of Wonder by Robert Craft will be published by Naxos in October 2006
Schoenberg and Kandinsky
The painting of Wassily Kandinsky, with its vibrant colours and chaotic structures is unmistakable. Less so is that of Arnold Schoenberg, but it was upon hearing Schoenberg's atonal masterpiece the 2 nd String Quartet in 1912 that Kandinsky became convinced of the possibility of abstract art. The painter and composer struck up a lively correspondence, and a close relationship, only to end in 1925 when they fell out over anti-semitic comments made by Kandinsky. As a new exhibition of Kandinsky's work opens at Tate Modern , Tom talks to curator Sean Rainbird and music writer Adrian Jack about these two giants of 20th Century art.
After Eckbert kills his friend Walter on a hunting expedition in the Harz Mountains , he descends into the fairy-tale world of his wife's childhood accompanied by a singing bird. Such is the plot of Judith Weir's opera Blond Eckbert that she has just re-versioned for the Opera Company's current tour . Weir's setting of the 19 th Century fairy tale is direct and intense, and having seen the work, Tom talks to Judith about her philosophy of music, and how it should work in today's society.