Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Donald Macleod traces the restless young Wesley's move from Hereford to Exeter Cathedral. Featuring rare works including his competition-winning Glee and the Symphony in C.

Forget Samuel Sebastian Wesley as a pillar of the Anglican Cathedral world - he was an eccentric, inconsistent and irascible character - Donald Macleod marks the bicentenary of Wesley's birth, surveying the composer's life and music.

Wesley was very unhappy at Hereford Cathedral, and sought a new position elsewhere. He eventually moved to Exeter Cathedral, but not before he married the sister of the Dean of Hereford. Once at Exeter, Wesley soon was involved in local organisations such as the Glee Club, and the Devon Madrigal Society.

In today's episode, Donald Macleod introduces a glee, I wish to tune my quiv'ring lyre, which won Wesley a prize from the Manchester Glee Club. Also the anthem Let us lift up our heart, which Wesley composed when he wasn't too busy out fishing, and neglecting his Cathedral duties.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    Andante in D (1846)

    Performer: John Scott Whiteley, organ

    • Guild GMCD7201.
  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    Symphony in C (1834)

    Performers: BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Grant Llewellyn (conductor)

    • BBC Recording.
  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness (1840)

    Performers: Benjamin Ryder (treble), Choir of Worcester Cathedral, Adrian Partington (organ), Donald Hunt (conductor)

    • Hyperion CDA66469.
  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    I wish to tune my quiv'ring lyre (1833)

    Performers: BBC Singers, Paul Brough (conductor)

    • BBC Recording.
  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    Introduction and Fugue in C sharp minor (1835)

    Performers: Margaret Phillips (organ)

    • York CD111.
  • Samuel Sebastian Wesley

    Let us lift up our heart (1836)

    Performers: George Humphreys (baritone), Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, James McVinnie (organ), Christopher Robinson (conductor)

    • Naxos 8.570318.

Broadcast

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.