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Donald Macleod explores the wrangling that dogged Schuman after becoming president of the Lincoln Center. Plus the BBC Radio 3 premiere of Concerto on Old English Rounds.

In 1961, William Schuman became President of New York's young Lincoln Center - and arguably the most powerful man in the arts in America. Yet it was to prove a turbulent experience.

Donald Macleod introduces the political machinations and wrangling that dogged Schuman's attempts to forge a new musical America. We'll also hear the work bearing Schuman's name that features most in concert halls across the world - his sparkling orchestration of Charles Ives' "Variations on 'America'".

The bulk of the programme is devoted to a Radio 3 premiere - of a truly unusual piece: the composer's "Concerto On Old English Rounds", for viola, women's chorus and orchestra. Written in 1974 (but sounding like it was written half a century earlier) and performed in this recording by Leonard Bernstein, it's hauntingly eerie - and utterly unique.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Leonard Bernstein

    7 Anniversaries for piano

    Performer: James TOCCO - Piano

    • Pro Arte.
    • CDD109.
    • -7.
  • Charles Ives

    Variations on 'America', orch. William Schuman [orig. for organ]

    Conductor: Gerard SCHWARTZ Performer: Seattle S O

    • Delos.
    • DE3115.
    • -1.
  • William Schuman

    Concerto on old English rounds for viola, female chorus and orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard BERNSTEIN Performer: Donald MCINNES - Viola Performer: New York Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Camerata Singers

    • COLUMBIA.
    • M-35101.

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