Elizabeth Maconchy - BBC Radio 3 Composer of the week

Elizabeth Maconchy - BBC Radio 3 Composer of the week

This week, from May 13-17, BBC Radio 3 will focus on the work of Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-1994). The week will include five episodes in which Maconchy's biographer, Erica Siegel, joins Kate Molleson to explore the life and works of this key figure in Britain and Ireland's musical story.

Across the week, Kate and Erica set out to show us why Maconchy deserves much more of our attention. We’ll hear stories of personal crises, public apathy and outrageous institutional sexism, and how Maconchy met each challenge with characteristic grace and perseverance. Her works fizz with invention and purpose and she described her own music as “impassioned argument”.



Destined for Greatness
Monday May 13, 16.00

Maconchy explodes onto Britain’s musical landscape, dazzling teachers, contemporaries and some influential gatekeepers. With Kate Molleson.


Clarinet Quintet: III. Lento, IV. Allegro molto
Thea King, clarinet
The Britten String Quartet

Four Shakespeare Songs: No 1, Come Away, Death
James Geer, tenor; Ronald Woodley, piano


Rising Star
Tuesday May 14, 16.00

Maconchy faces some harsh realities as she leaves college and seeks to launch her career. With Kate Molleson.


Oboe Quintet
George Caird, Oboe; Simon Blendis, violin; Alison Dods, violin; Louise Williams, viola; Jane Salmon, cello


Digging for Britain
Wednesday May 15, 16.00

Maconchy is forced to shift her priorities from music to the war effort. With Kate Molleson.


Thursday May 15, 16.00

Depressed and disenchanted, Maconchy is forced to contemplate her artistic choices and decide if it’s time to make a change.


The Sofa (excerpts)
Nicholas Sharratt, tenor (Dominic); Sarah Tynan, soprano (Monique); George von Bergen, baritone (Edward); Independent Opera; Independent Opera Ensemble, conducted by Dominic Wheeler

The Departure 
Louise Poole, mezzo-soprano (Julia); Håkon Vramsmo, baritone (Mark); Independent Opera; Independent Opera Ensemble, conducted by Dominic Wheeler

Serenata Concertante
Manoug Parikian, violin; London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Vernon Handley


No Escape 
Friday May 17, 16.00 

As she reaches retirement age, Maconchy admits that 'composing is a life sentence'. With Kate Molleson.

There is no rose
Choir of St John's College Cambridge, directed by Andrew Nethsingha

The Sheba Sound

Raphael Wallfisch, Cello
South-west German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, conducted by William Boughton

Morning, Noon and Night
Lucy Wakeford, harp

String Quartet No 13 'Quartetto Corto'
Mistry Quartet


Find out more about the programmes here

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