THE GREAT PASSION....2017
A fitting play for Easter (R4, Saturday Play, 1430, 15 Apr 17) - by James Runcie. This was about Johann Sebastian Bach, set in 1727, shortly after his appointment as organist, composer and choirmaster at Leipzig. Bach is getting to know the choir and working at great speed to compose his St. Matthew Passion in time to rehearse and perform it on Good Friday. This was an excellent play, full of wonderful music. The baroque singer Joanne Lunn was drafted in for all of the difficult soprano singing, and Melody Grove played the restof Anna Bach's part. Anna, a professional soprano, helps train some of the choir members whilst keeping the rest of J.S.B's life in good order and supplying him with a steady stream of descendants. The play imagines what it was like for J.S. to compose and rehearse the oratorio in time for its performance, contending with family demands, inexperienced musicians and the musical backstabbers with which all musical performers are familiar. Simon Russell Beale was Bach, Melody Grove (as previously mentioned) was Anna, with Al Weaver, Adam Greaves-Neal, Stephen Boxer, David Horovitch and Tom Goodman-Hill. The producers were Eoin O'Callaghan and Marilyn Imrie. (.....ND, Diversity website radio drama review, Sep 17)
GIVE DOTTY A CHANCE....2017
(R4, 1415, 24 Mar 17) by Martin Hesford was a light-hearted look at the last years of the singer Dorothy Squires. Her dates are 1915-98; she was Welsh, she married Roger Moore when he was a knitwear model and aspiring actor. At that time she was one of the most famous female singers in the world, and a well-known personality in Hollywood. When she split up with Moore, it left her emotionally drained and her singing career faded, but there was a revival in the 60s and another one much later on; her songs were liked by the gay community. She was a colourful personality; her Wikipedia page is well worth a look. Dorothy Squires was played by Ruth Madoc, Alan by Arthur Bostrom, Warren by Graeme Hawley and Margaret by Sue Jenkins. The producer was Gary Brown. (.....ND, Diversity website radio drama review, Sep 17)
The Other Wittgenstein....2002
NOT A DRAMA...but worth including here....
(R4, 1330, 14 May 02) ....was an excellent biography of
the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, brother of the famous
philosopher. He lost his right arm in the First World War,
and it seemed that his career was over, but he developed his
left hand technique to such a degree that he was able to
comission some of the world's best composers to write music
which he performed all over the world. Pete Morgan wrote and
presented the programme.
by Douglas Slater.
Directed by Peter Kavanagh.
Broadcast 3rd April 1990, Radio 3.
An ex-virtuoso pianist listens nervously to a performance of
Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme of Corelli that he must
critique. More is revealed than is usual during a master class.
Speaker - Ian Mckellen;
pianist - Graham Scott.
by Ned Sherrin and Caryl Brahms. I think mid-80s. No more
information at the time of writing, though I listened to the recording a couple of years ago. Not sure that the title was "Thomas Beecham". It lasts about an hour and is full of his memorable quotes.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
Asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections
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