Check BBC iPlayer on BBC4 for episode
1 Brahms and Bruckner
2 Faure and Poulenc
and next week
3 Part and Gorecki.
Just watched Faure and Poulenc and if you can put your own gloss on the Catholicism and ignore what I call the, 'Was Schubert gay?' school of musicology, (that was a rhetorical question, as I say to my pupils, often with great haste, and therefore requires no answer,) the music and the locations are great.
The gloss on Catholicism is funny, because just how do you explain the fact that all this lovely music was created for a religion we are all supposed to despise?
PS some of the Faure sounds just like the Cesar Franck symphony I was rehearsing this pm. But then the Rutter Requiem sounds like Star Wars. Say that to a Rutter fan and watch the twitch of recognition flicker across their face. You know it's true!
Also, in a claim to fame, the lady horn player in the Symphony of Invention or whatever Harry Christophers calls his band has given me a few lessons and is excellent!
I saw the Brahms and Bruckner programme and was disapponted. The presenter appeared to have little to say beyond Brahms was "very personal" and Bruckner was "very Catholic"- and it wasn't terribly clear what that was supposed to mean. A far cry, in my opinion, from the sheer quality of the Howard Goodall series of a few years ago. There the presenter knew his subject and was well able to communicate both his interest and some genuinely worthwhile knowledge.
I agree. Although the title is Sacred Music, because it is approached from that middle-of-the-road-vaguely-Anglican-but-more-agnostic perspective, the power of the music is rendered essentially mystifying.
However, I do think that the quality of the musical performances is very high and it's always interesting to see where composers worked.
I just have very low expectations - cf The Early Music Show's treatment of the music Dufay wrote to be sung as he died. The presenter thought that very amusing.
I'm still undecided about this series compared with the first one, though I agree the performances are super. As for claims to fame re Harry C. I did have dinner with him once at a restaurant in York, but that's only because I know his sister-in-law! Does that count? ;-)
Impressed. Never had dinner with Harry C, nor met him. Have met a few famous musicians, but am usually hopeless talking to them...too shy.
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