Please note that exact dates will be confirmed closer to transmission.
Our Classical Century
Episode two - 1936-53: Suzy Klein and John Simpson BBC Four, February 2019
This second episode explores classical music’s important role in the nation’s resistance and resilience during the perilous years of the Second World War.
Suzy Klein and John Simpson explore rare archive footage of morale-boosting wartime National Gallery concerts by pianist Myra Hess, as well as the dramatic arrival of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony and its first performance at the BBC Proms.
The programme also features performances of some of the important repertoire of the day, including by world-class tenor Stuart Skelton singing part of Benjamin’s Britten’s opera Peter Grimes and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performing part of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
This film looks at how classical music came to the nation’s aid in difficult times and how it flourished, and was renewed and revived, in the years following the war.
Producer/Director: James Giles
Executive Producers: Steve Condie, Richard Bradley
A Lion Television Production for BBC Four
Discovering… Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
BBC Four, February 2019
In the second discovery concert of the series, Katie Derham presents a concert featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945), conducted by Moritz Gnann.
Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is one of the most frequently performed works by any British composer, and is a piece which has introduced and enlivened the interest of whole generations of children to the instruments of the orchestra.
Following the performance, orchestral musicians will explain to Katie how Britten drew on the past for themes and techniques, and reapplied them in a twentieth-century context in order to showcase each orchestral instrument in such a captivating fashion. The history behind the work is also uncovered; Katie learns how the piece was commissioned for a Ministry of Education film which aimed to fill a post-war Britain with the optimism and promise of building a new world.
Producer/Director: Mathew Tucker
Executive Producer: Richard Bradley
A Lion Television production for BBC Four
Britten’s War Requiem
BBC Four, February 2019
‘My subject is war and the pity of war, The poetry is in the pity, All a poet can do today is warn.’
Wilfred Owen’s words were the inspiration for Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, first performed in 1962. It was the same starting point that English National Opera’s Artistic Director Daniel Kramer used today in order to stage the first-ever operatic rendering of this timeless masterpiece in the UK.
Filmed over twelve months, this programme follows the English National Opera staff as they lift the curtain on a debut performance of Britten’s War Requiem, staged to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice in November 2018.
A Speakit Films production for BBC Four
Essential Classics: Top 100 Countdown (26-50)
BBC Radio 3, February-March 2019
In this second instalment, BBC Radio 3 identifies more key moments in classical music from 1918 to the present day.
Presented as part of its popular morning programme, Essential Classics, this next segment looks at the years from 1936-1953. Presenters Kate Molleson, Kate Romano and Gillian Moore continue to build the Top 100 classical music moments from the last century.