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Episode 1

With Katie Derham. Verdi: Overture (The Force of Destiny). Elgar: The Wand of Youth (Suite No 1). Schubert: Psalm 23. Haydn: The Creation (excerpts). Bruckner: Motets.

Some of the world's most famous composers came from extremely poor backgrounds. This week's Composer of the Week, Carl Nielsen, grew up with 11 siblings in a cottage with just a few rooms. Franz Schubert, born in a single-room apartment, was one of 14 children, nine of whom died in infancy. Edward Elgar left school at 15 to earn his living, and - as a working-class boy made good - never felt at ease in the upper echelons of society to which his music gained him access; perhaps that's precisely why he cultivated his image as an English country gentleman.

This week Katie Derham presents the BBC's orchestras and BBC Singers in music by composers who struggled against extreme adversity to make their way in the world by the force of their musical talent - even genius. There's music by Elgar on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and a special focus on composers born in the Czech lands on both Tuesday and Thursday - with country boys Dvorak, Janacek, Mahler and Martinu developing the rich folk music culture of their native land. And among the music in this first programme is a special new recording of perhaps the greatest symphony by a Swedish composer born on the other side of the tracks exactly 100 years ago today: Allan Pettersson.

2 hours, 30 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Sep 2011 14:00

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Music Played

  • Giuseppe Verdi

    'Overture' from La Forza del destino

    Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda Performer: BBC Philharmonic

  • Edward Elgar

    The Wand of youth - suite no. 1

    Conductor: Rumon Gamba Performer: BBC Philharmonic

  • Franz Schubert

    Psalm 23 (Gott ist mein Hirt)

    Conductor: Stephen Cleobury Performer: BBC Singers

  • Havergal Brian

    The Tigers from Symphonic Variations on 'Has anybody here seen Kelly?'

    Conductor: Garry Walker Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

  • Joseph Haydn

    'With verdure clad' and 'On Mighty Pens Uplifted' from The Creation

    Conductor: Nicholas Collon Performer: Malin Christensson (soprano) Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

  • Edward Elgar

    The Wand of youth - suite no. 2

    Conductor: Nicholas Mcgegan Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

  • Anton Bruckner

    Ave Maria

    Conductor: Stephen Cleobury Performer: BBC Singers

  • Anton Bruckner

    Christus factus est

    Conductor: Stephen Cleobury Performer: BBC Singers

  • Anton Bruckner

    Os justi

    Conductor: Stephen Cleobury Performer: BBC Singers

  • Allan Pettersson

    Symphony no. 7

    Conductor: Stephen Bell Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Broadcast