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Honoured by Royalty

Donald Macleod focuses on Stevens's being made a fellow of the Royal College of Music in 1966 by the Queen Mother.

Bernard Stevens in honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, presented by Donald Macleod

The music of Bernard Stevens has largely been forgotten today, and yet he was rated by some as equal to Benjamin Britten. Stevens shot to fame when he won the Daily Express competition for a victory symphony, a work he'd largely composed in his evenings during the Blitz. With this public acclaim he soon found himself writing for films starring Dirk Bogarde and James Mason, but gave up this career in the film industry later taking up the post of Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music where he remained for over thirty years. Public success was short-lived for Stevens partly due to his Communist ideals, and partly because he wasn't interested in self-promotion. He continued composing until his death in 1983 and left a substantial portfolio of works including symphonies, concertos, chamber and solo piano music, and also opera. Throughout the week his daughter Catherine Stevens joins Donald Macleod to lift the veil over her father's life and music.

During the 1960s Bernard Stevens was very active as Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music. One of his students at this time was a young Michael Finnissy. Stevens was also very busy as an examiner which took him abroad to South Africa and the Far East. In recognition of his services to music he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. During this same period he was still composing prolifically, including his Second Symphony, and also his Trio for horn, violin and piano.

Mass for Double Choir (5th mvt)
The Finzi Singers
Paul Spicer, director

Symphony No 2, Op 35
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Edward Downes, conductor

Trio for horn, violin and piano, Op 38 (3rd mvt)
Kenneth Sillito, violin
Timothy Brown, horn
Hamish Milne, piano

Ballad No 2, Op 42
Florian Uhlig, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Bernard George Stevens

    Mass - Agnus Dei

    Conductor: Paul Spicer. Choir: Finzi Singers.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-9021.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 16.
  • Bernard George Stevens

    Symphony No. 2

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Edward Downes.
    • Meridian: CDE84174.
    • Meridian.
    • 3.
  • Bernard George Stevens

    Horn Trio Op 38 (Allegro)

    Performer: Kenneth Sillito. Performer: Timothy Brown. Performer: Hamish Milne.
    • Albany: TROY572.
    • Albany.
    • 7.
  • Bernard George Stevens

    Ballad no 2

    Performer: Florian Uhlig.
    • Dutton: CDLX7160.
    • Dutton.
    • 9.

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