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  • 1970s, Into the Mainstream
    The BBC has had a powerful influence on our musical taste, and in this BBC centenary year, Nicholas Kenyon, a former controller of Radio 3 and director of the Proms, delves into the archives to explore the BBC’s role in reviving the centuries of early music from before the 18th century. In his final essay, Kenyon looks at how in the early 1970s, the popularity of medieval and renaissance music increased hugely with the success of the Early Music Consort led by the dynamic David Munrow. He became a key figure in the BBC’s broadcasting on Radio 3 with his eclectic series of short programmes called Pied Piper, and his colleague Christopher Hogwood presented The Young Idea, similarly mixing new and old. Then the emphasis in the revival of early music shifted from simply rediscovering the music of the past and playing it on modern instruments, to reinventing the ways of playing that music in line with historical evidence. Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music led the way with many broadcasts, and recordings in period style were soon high in the charts with Pavarotti. Early music had entered the mainstream of our musical life. Presented by Nicholas Kenyon Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
    11/4/2022
    13:50
  • 1950s and 60s, Performance in Period Style
    The BBC has had a powerful influence on our musical taste, and in this BBC centenary year, Nicholas Kenyon, a former controller of Radio 3 and director of the Proms, delves into the archives to explore the BBC’s role in reviving the centuries of early music from before the 18th century. Today Kenyon explores how in the creative years of the 1950s and 1960s, the revival of early music had a sense of adventure; new orchestras were established like the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields which explored the repertory in broadcasts and recordings. He highlights the work of three contrasted pioneers: Imogen Holst, who programmed concerts of medieval music at Aldeburgh, promoted by the BBC Transcription Service; Denis Stevens, the musicologist and conductor who broadcast and worked for the BBC Third Programme but became a hugely controversial figure because of his argumentative nature; and William Glock, who became the BBC’s Controller of Music in 1959 and transformed the repertory of the Proms, welcoming in a whole range of earlier music that had never been heard before at the Proms. Presented by Nicholas Kenyon Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
    11/3/2022
    13:58
  • 1940s, New Life for Old Music
    The BBC has had a powerful influence on our musical taste, and in this BBC centenary year, Nicholas Kenyon, a former controller of Radio 3 and director of the Proms, delves into the archives to explore the BBC’s role in reviving the centuries of early music from before the 18th century. In his third essay, Kenyon explores how the launch of the BBC’s cultural Third Programme in 1946 rapidly advanced the revival of early music on the BBC. From Alfred Deller singing Purcell in the opening concert of the network, to huge and difficult undertakings like the History in Sound of European Music, the Third supported the scholarly exploration of earlier repertories. Leading figures on the staff were experts in early music, and worked with a new generation of emerging performers who were interested in performing the music of the past: Julian Bream on the lute and George Malcolm on harpsichord, Neville Marriner on the violin, and Arnold Goldsborough conducting chamber orchestras. In the title of one 1948 series featuring the violinist Norbert Brainin, leader of the Amadeus Quartet, they were creating ‘new life for old music’. Presented by Nicholas Kenyon Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
    11/2/2022
    13:59
  • 1930s, Creating a National Music
    The BBC has had a powerful influence on our musical taste, and in this BBC centenary year, Nicholas Kenyon, a former controller of Radio 3 and director of the Proms, delves into the archives to explore the BBC’s role in reviving the centuries of early music from before the 18th century. In five programmes he looks at the rare repertory which the BBC broadcast, from its small beginnings in the 1920s to its acceptance in the mainstream during the 1970s. Drawing on entertaining and illuminating extracts from the BBC archives, with original music recordings, Kenyon shows the way in which early music and period-style performance gradually became part of our musical consciousness and an essential part of our listening. In his second essay, Kenyon explores how by the 1930s the BBC had become a powerful influence on national taste and there were strong voices urging it to do more for British music. In 1934 it broadcast a 13-week series of English music ‘From plainsong to Purcell’ curated by the scholar, conductor and editor Sir Richard Terry. He argued for ancient music on the grounds that ‘our forefathers were human beings like ourselves. Music which held human appeal for them cannot be devoid of interest for us.’ Terry edited music for broadcast which had never been broadcast before, and some of which, like the sixty secular madrigals of Peter Philips, had never been heard in modern times. Early music came to form a part of national ceremonial like the Coronation of George VI in 1937, with the BBC leading the way in its celebratory concerts. Presented by Nicholas Kenyon Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
    11/1/2022
    13:45
  • 1920s, Reviving Old Ayres
    The BBC has had a powerful influence on our musical taste, and in this BBC centenary year, Nicholas Kenyon, a former controller of Radio 3 and director of the Proms, delves into the archives to explore the BBC’s role in reviving the centuries of early music from before the 18th century. In five programmes he looks at the rare repertory which the BBC broadcast, from its small beginnings in the 1920s to its acceptance in the mainstream during the 1970s. Drawing on entertaining and illuminating extracts from the BBC archives, with original music recordings, Kenyon shows the way in which early music and period-style performance gradually became part of our musical consciousness and an essential part of our listening. In his first essay, Kenyon explores how in the 1920s there was a new approach to performing the music of past, which tried to recreate the scale and sound of the music when it was written. Pioneers on the radio included Percy Warlock (pen-name of the composer Philip Heseltine) who broadcast ‘Old Ayres and Keyboard Music’, and claimed that ‘there is no such thing as progress in music. A good work of 300 years ago is just as perfect now as it was on the day it was written’. The quirky Violet Gordon Woodhouse, who famously lived with four men, was the first to record and broadcast on the harpsichord. The violinist André Mangeot, who was fictionalised in a book by Christopher Isherwood, worked with Warlock to revive viol music of Henry Purcell from 1680. But there were internal BBC controversies as to whether this early music was of real interest to listeners. Presented by Nicholas Kenyon Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
    10/31/2022
    13:59

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