Copiously illustrated by excerpts from Verdi's music, this programme tells how the composer rose from humble origins to become the unrivalled master of Italian opera. Living in the time of Italian unification, his music and his life became entwined with politics and patriotism and his melodies were taken up as battle cries in the Italian fight against foreign domination. This programme explores the fertility of his musical imagination and his deep but unconventional religious faith.
"The Verdi One Does Not Know"
This recording contains fully dramatized versions of some the world's best loved classic tales of horror and suspense, complete with sound effects and music.
"An artist should not be troubled by the indifference of his contemporaries. He should go on working and say all that he is predestined to say. He should know that posterity alone can deliver a true and just verdict." So said Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and posterity has delivered its verdict. His music is glorious, uplifting, soulful, humourous and wonderfully melodic. Thchaikovsky regarded music as something to be savoured and shared, and he worked hard and long to that end.
"Imagine a blind painter!" So said Richard Wagner when describing the effect of deafness on a composer. Yet Ludwig van Beethoven was a man with the character to overcome this seemingly incapacitating disability and produce some of the most powerful and beautiful music ever written. This fascinating programme selects the words of Beethoven and his contemporaries, and includes excerpts from his best known and loved works.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is without doubt the most famous of all musical child prodigies. At the age of 6 he enthralled the Austrian Court with his unbelievable virtuosity. Yet he died friendless and in poverty at the age of 36, a victim of jealousy, and vicious intrigue. Mozart's story is a tragedy, but one filled with superb music; for he brought new colour, passion and power to opera, symphony and concerto.
Its opening bars can bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. It is at once the most romantic and sentimental melody ever written. It is of course the The Blue Danube Waltz, composed by the Waltz King, Johann Strauss the Younger. For more than 60 years Strauss captivated audiences with his evocations of Viennese joi de vivre; yet his own life was often sad. This programme makes use of fascinating contemporary writings as well as the wonderful music itself.
One of the best-known and loved storytellers of all time. Like the "Ugly Duckling" of one of his most famous stories, Hans Christian Andersen was an ungainly and clumsy youth. He sought solace in his real and wonderful gift for imaginative writing. This enthralling programme is gripping, romantic, funny, sad, and compelling listening throughout.