Michael Berkeley's guest is historian Stella Tillyard. Her musical choices include pieces by Schubert, Bach, Gluck, Beethoven, Weill, Bartok and John Hardy.
Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the historian Stella Tillyard, who has just published her first novel, 'Tides of War', set in England and Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Her PhD on 20th-century art criticism was published in 1987 as 'The Impact of Modernism', and she has taught English Literature and art history at Harvard and UCLA. 'Aristocrats', her biography of the 18th-century Lennox sisters, was published in 1994, won many awards, and was made into a TV series. Her subsequent books include a biography of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and 'A Royal Affair', about George III and his siblings. Stella Tillyard lives in London and Florence, and has taught at Queen Mary, University of London.
Her musical passions reflect her interest in the contrast between light and darkness. They include the first movement of Schubert's Piano Trio in B flat, which she loves for its lyricism and structure as well as its emotional power; the Gigue from Bach's First Suite for solo cello, played by Pablo Casals; the famous aria 'Che faro senza Euridice' from Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice, which symbolizes the transition from darkness to light, as does the prisoners' chorus from Beethoven's opera 'Fidelio', a favourite of her father's; Weill's 'Alabama Song' from 'The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny' - she played trumpet in a production of this while she was a student at Oxford,, also in a performance of Bartok's Second Violin Concerto, under Hugh McDonald. There's also an old Yiddish ballad, and an extract from 'Gloria tibi Trinitas' by the contemporary composer John Hardy.