Main content

Mother Country

In the final part of the series, Eleanor Alberga touches on the impact of colonialism and immigration on classical music and considers the history of black composers in the UK.

In the final part of this series, Eleanor Alberga touches on the impact of colonialism and immigration on classical music and considers the history of black composers in the UK.

European imperialism afforded huge cultural influences on great swathes of the world, and as a result, western classical music was often enthusiastically adopted by different peoples as a means of expression to make their own. Black composers emerged from colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and beyond. As Eleanor says, “certainly, in the West Indies, I grew up with England being known affectionately as ‘the Mother Country’.”

This programme begins with music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who was born in London, but whose father was from Sierra Leone. It foregrounds the music of composers such as Fela Sowade from Nigeria and Abu Bakr Khairat from Eygypt. From the area around the Caribbean we have music by Ludovic Lamothe and Oswald Russell, and also from a new generation of composers, living in the UK, but with roots in the Caribbean.

“But in a programme that is looking at colonialism and immigration, I cannot ignore composers from other non-white cultures that share similar experiences.” Eleanor also looks at the contribution made to the classical music life of this country by composers who just happen to have links to India, the Middle-East and Asia. The programme features the music of Shirley J Thompson, Errollyn Wallen, Hannah Kendall, Param Vir, Nitin Sahwney, Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour, Raymond Yiu, Daniel Kidane and by Eleanor herself.

(photo credit: Ben Ealovega)

22 days left to listen

59 minutes

Last on

Last Sunday 23:00

More episodes

Next

You are at the last episode

See all episodes from A History of Black Classical Music

Music Played

  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

    Hiawatha's Wedding Feast - introduction and opening chorus

    Choir: Welsh National Opera Chorus. Orchestra: Welsh National Opera Orchestra. Conductor: Kenneth Alwyn.
    • ARGO.
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

    Clarinet Quintet (2nd movement - Larghetto)

    Ensemble: Nash Ensemble.
    • Hyperion.
  • Fęlá Şowándé

    African Suite for harp and strings (1st movement - "Joyful Day")

    Performer: Fęlá Şowándé.
    • Naxos.
  • Fęlá Şowándé

    The Negro in Sacred Idiom: no.5 - Obangiji

    Performer: Fęlá Şowándé.
    • Naxos.
  • Abu Bakr Khairat

    Symphony no 2 in G minor, "Folklorique Symphony": 1st movement

    Orchestra: Belgrade Philharmonic. Conductor: Gika Zdravkovitch.
    • PRISM.
  • Ludovic Lamothe

    Album Leaf in F sharp minor

    Performer: Charles P Phillips.
    • Ifa Music Records.
  • Oswald Russell

    Three Jamaican Dances - dance no.3

    Performer: William Chapman Nyaho.
    • MSR Classics.
  • Shirley Thompson

    A 21st Century Symphony 'New Nation Rising': 2 - "Location, Location, Location"

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Shirley Thompson. Conductor: Shirley Thompson. Conductor: Shirley Thompson. Conductor: Shirley Thompson.
    • RPO RECORDS.
  • Errollyn Wallen

    Horseplay: 4. Dark and Mysterious - Presto

    Ensemble: Ensemble X. Ensemble: The Continuum Ensemble. Conductor: mike henry.
    • AVIE.
  • Hannah Kendall

    Regina Caeli

    Choir: Merton College Oxford Choir. Conductor: Benjamin Nicholas.
    • DELPHIAN.
  • Ravi Shankar

    Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra: 3rd movement

    Performer: Terence Emery. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: André Previn.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Param Vir

    White Light Chorale

    Performer: Thalia Myers.
    • METRONOME.
  • Nitin Sawhney

    Music for the film "The Lodger": Titles

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Stephen Hussey.
    • Network Distributing.
  • Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour

    Concerto for Harp and Orchestra ("Persian Echoes"): 3rd movement (Allegro)

    Performer: Gabriella Dall'Olio. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Alexander Rahbari.
    • Naxos.
  • Raymond Yiu

    Panufnik Variations - Variation 8

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: François‐Xavier Roth.
    • NMC.
  • Daniel Kidane

    Woke

    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sakari Oramo.
  • Eleanor Alberga

    String Quartet no 3: 4th movement (Allegro)

    Ensemble: Ensemble Arcadiana.
    • Navona.

Broadcast

  • Last Sunday 23:00