Main content

Morton Subotnick, The Lives of George Frideric Handel, Scottish Opera, Ilan Volkov

Tom Service talks to the composer Morton Subotnick, plus Scottish Opera, Ilan Volkov, and a new book by David Hunter.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Mon 18 Jan 2016 22:00


  • The Lives of George Frideric Handel

    Duration: 11:24

  • The Devil Inside

    Duration: 09:19

  • SOAPBOX: Ilan Volkov

    Duration: 04:30

  • Morton Subotnick

    Duration: 17:15

The Lives of George Frideric Handel

The Lives of George Frideric Handel

A new book by David Hunter, The Lives of George Frideric Handel, attempts to untangle the untruths and mythical storytelling surrounding arguably the greatest composer ever to live and work in Britain. The aspects of Handel’s life which Hunter explores include the social status of the audience attending performances of his works during his lifetime, the composer’s professional and personal relationships, and his financial investments, including evidence of links with the slave trade in the 18th century which Hunter believes music history has largely glossed over.

Tom asks David Hunter what his book reveals about Handel, the man and the musician, and why despite, or because of, the way his story has been told, the composer retains his importance for audiences today.

More information:
The Lives of George Frideric Handel – Boydell & Brewer
Radio 3 Sunday Feature – Liquid Assets: Tracing Handel’s Thousands

The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside

Music Matters visits Scottish Opera during rehearsals for The Devil Inside, a new opera by the acclaimed Scottish composer Stuart MacRae and the novelist Louise Welsh inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's magical short story The Bottle Imp. A co-production between Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, the opera is conducted by Michael Rafferty and opens in Glasgow this month before touring the UK

MacRae and Welsh, along with the director Matthew Richardson, and singers Rachel Kelly, Nicholas Sharratt and Ben McAteer, explain why they believe the The Devil Inside’s tale of greed, compulsion and redeeming love will resonate with audiences.

More information:
Scottish Opera: The Devil Inside
Music Theatre Wales: The Devil Inside

Soapbox: Ilan Volkov

Soapbox: Ilan Volkov

Ilan Volkov, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, and curator of the Tectonics new music festival, takes to the Music Matters Soapbox.

Let us know what you think about the issues raised on the Soapbox – email

More information:
Tectonics Festival
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Hear and Now: BBC SSO
Music Matters Soapbox collection

Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick

Tom encounters the experimental American composer Morton Subotnick. Born in 1933 in Los Angeles, Subotnick was one of the founding members of the California Institute of the Arts and the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Known primarily for his pioneering work with electronics, his realisation in the 1960s that recording technology would revolutionise the creation and consumption of music led to the developing of the Buchla synthesiser, and works like Silver Apples of the Moon.

Subotnick predicted half a century ago that his technology would lead to a new sort of avant garde in music – Tom asks him if that prediction has come true, and discovers how he’s still looking into the future and inspiring the next generation of composers.

More information:
Morton Subotnick
Morton Subotnick’s Pitch Painter
Music Matters Interviews collection


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Morton Subotnick
Interviewed Guest David Hunter
Interviewed Guest Ilan Volkov


Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Steel and concrete can't beat good old wood to produce the best sounds for music.

The evolution of video game music

The evolution of video game music

Tom Service traces the rise of an exciting new genre, from bleeps to responsive scores.

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Try our psychoacoustic experiment to see how tempo can affect your timekeeping abilities.