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13 February 2005

Sunday 13 February 2005 17:45-18:30 (Radio 3)

Today's programme includes an interview with one of Britain's great conducting talents, Sir Colin Davis, Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Plus a profile of maverick American composer Marc Blitzstein and, 50 years since its invention, a look at the synthesiser, the electronic instrument that transformed pop and classical music.


45 minutes

In this Programme

Sir Colin Davis
Sir Colin Davis
78 this year, Sir Colin Davis has been principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for the past ten years. In that time he has transformed the ensemble by focusing on the music he loves to play: Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner and Berlioz. He was also one the composer, Sir Michael TIppett's closest musical allies and celebrates the Tippett centenary with the LSO later this month. Tom went to Sir Colin's home to talk with him about Beethoven, Tippett and Bach.
Sir Colin Davis's LSO Tippett and Beethoven cycle starts on the 27th of February at the Barbican in London.

Concert Companion
Concert Companion
Now in its twentieth year the Association of British Orchestras' annual conference took the opportunity to reflect on issues past, present and future in Birmingham this weekend. The subject of concert presentation was one of the key concerns. For the past year the electronic gadget, the Concert Companion or 'CoCo' has been undergoing trials in the US. But what is it, and what can it offer that the regular programme can't? Tom talks to the creator of 'CoCo' Roland Valliere and Sara Gee, Director of Communications for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to find out more

The Synthesizer
The RCA Synthesizer courtesy of the Computer Music Center
This year marks 50 years since the unveiling of the RCA synthesiser. In 1955 it filled an entire room with equipment, and produced sounds which today seem banal and primitive. But this was the machine that inspired composers to dream of new possibilities for the future of music. The inventor of the Moog systhesizer Bob Moog, and the composers, Morton Subotnick and Milton Babbit, pioneering heroes of the early days of the synthesiser all reflect on its impact, and Tom interviews Milton Babbit live on the programme.

Marc Blitzstein
Born 100 years ago, Blitzstein belongs to the same generation as Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. In 1927 the 21 year old Orson Welles directed 'The Cradle will Rock' and the controversial subject-matter nearly prevented the premier ever taking place, eventually leading to one of the most notorious musical theatre openings of all time. Blitzstein is probably best known today for his translation of Brecht/Weill's The Threepenny Opera. Since his horrific death in 1964 Blitzstein has slipped from the repertoires of theatres and opera houses. Tom reflects on this and the legacy of Blitzstein with the writer Humphrey Burton

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