Alexander Mackenzie (1847-1935)

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01Studying In Germany20170206

Presented by Donald Macleod. Young Alexander Mackenzie is left by himself to study in Germany.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

Alexander Mackenzie was born in 1847 in Edinburgh, where his father performed as a violinist in the Theatre Royal. In the light of his own deteriorating health, Mackenzie senior wanted to make provision for his son's musical education and so took him to Germany, where he studied at a young age with Kappelmeister Eduard Stein, and played violin in the Weimar ducal orchestra. Aged fifteen, young Alick, as he was known, returned to Britain and took up further studies at the Royal Academy of Music, earning his keep by playing in theatre orchestras in London. He started writing music at this time and when he returned to live in Edinburgh in 1865, he was instrumental in setting up regular chamber music concerts there, along with founding a string quartet which gave the premiere of his own Quartet in G major.

Benedictus, Op 37 No 3

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

The Bonnie Banks o'Loch Lomond

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

April Weather (Spring Songs, Op 44 No 5)

Valse sérieuse (Trois Morceaux, Op 15 No 1)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

String Quartet in G

Edinburgh Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Mackenzie's time in Germany, where he studied and performed.

Donald Macleod focuses on Mackenzie's time in Germany, where he studied and performed.

Presented by Donald Macleod. Young Alexander Mackenzie is left by himself to study in Germany.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

Alexander Mackenzie was born in 1847 in Edinburgh, where his father performed as a violinist in the Theatre Royal. In the light of his own deteriorating health, Mackenzie senior wanted to make provision for his son's musical education and so took him to Germany, where he studied at a young age with Kappelmeister Eduard Stein, and played violin in the Weimar ducal orchestra. Aged fifteen, young Alick, as he was known, returned to Britain and took up further studies at the Royal Academy of Music, earning his keep by playing in theatre orchestras in London. He started writing music at this time and when he returned to live in Edinburgh in 1865, he was instrumental in setting up regular chamber music concerts there, along with founding a string quartet which gave the premiere of his own Quartet in G major.

Benedictus, Op 37 No 3

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

The Bonnie Banks o'Loch Lomond

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

April Weather (Spring Songs, Op 44 No 5)

Valse sérieuse (Trois Morceaux, Op 15 No 1)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

String Quartet in G

Edinburgh Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock.

02A Mother's Wrath20170207

Donald Macleod focuses on Alexander Mackenzie's disobeying his mother in marriage.

Alexander Mackenzie disobeys his mother in marriage, presented by Donald Macleod

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

By 1865 Alexander Mackenzie had returned to Edinburgh and was busy as a music teacher, and also conducting a number of choral groups as well. Whilst in Scotland he composed a number of works for the voice, including songs and partsongs. He was also active as a violinist, playing in a quartet he'd founded, and taking on work in Birmingham for Michael Costa's orchestra. Newly composed chamber works such as his Piano Quartet Op 11 were proving popular, not only in Scotland but in London as well. Much to the annoyance of his family, in 1874 he married Mary Malina Burnside, and the newlyweds moved to Darnaway Street in Edinburgh. A few years later under doctor's orders, Mackenzie was forced to take a break from his heavy workload, and so he moved with his wife and child to Florence. It was here that a commission came for his Second Scottish Rhapsody.

Harvest Home (Rustic Scenes, Op 9)

Murray McLachlan, piano

Piano Quartet in E flat, Op 11 (Canzonetta con variazioni)

The Ames Piano Quartet

It is This; The Day of Love; When Spring Begems the Dewy Scene (Seven Partsongs, Op 8)

BBC Singers

Martin Fitzpatrick, conductor

The First Spring; When I am dead (Three Songs, Op 17)

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

Burns (Scottish Rhapsody No 2), Op 24

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Alexander Mackenzie's disobeying his mother in marriage.

Alexander Mackenzie disobeys his mother in marriage, presented by Donald Macleod

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

By 1865 Alexander Mackenzie had returned to Edinburgh and was busy as a music teacher, and also conducting a number of choral groups as well. Whilst in Scotland he composed a number of works for the voice, including songs and partsongs. He was also active as a violinist, playing in a quartet he'd founded, and taking on work in Birmingham for Michael Costa's orchestra. Newly composed chamber works such as his Piano Quartet Op 11 were proving popular, not only in Scotland but in London as well. Much to the annoyance of his family, in 1874 he married Mary Malina Burnside, and the newlyweds moved to Darnaway Street in Edinburgh. A few years later under doctor's orders, Mackenzie was forced to take a break from his heavy workload, and so he moved with his wife and child to Florence. It was here that a commission came for his Second Scottish Rhapsody.

Harvest Home (Rustic Scenes, Op 9)

Murray McLachlan, piano

Piano Quartet in E flat, Op 11 (Canzonetta con variazioni)

The Ames Piano Quartet

It is This; The Day of Love; When Spring Begems the Dewy Scene (Seven Partsongs, Op 8)

BBC Singers

Martin Fitzpatrick, conductor

The First Spring; When I am dead (Three Songs, Op 17)

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

Burns (Scottish Rhapsody No 2), Op 24

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

03Collaborating With Carl Rosa20170208

Mackenzie's opera Colomba is a huge success in London and abroad. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

Alexander Mackenzie was now permanently settled in Florence with his wife and child, but he did make occasional return visits to London and Edinburgh. It was on one of these trips in 1882, that he was startled to find a letter waiting for him offering a commission to write a new opera for the Carl Rosa Opera Company. Mackenzie accepted and the outcome was Colomba, which was premiered a year later with the composer conducting at Drury Lane. It was a great success, and Mackenzie not only found himself being invited to breakfast at 10 Downing Street, but he also conducted another performance in Darmstadt at the court theatre where he was presented with a gold medal by the Grand Duke. Commissions were now regularly coming Mackenzie's way including an oratorio for Norwich, The Rose of Sharon, and for another choral work for Birmingham, although Mackenzie delivered on that occasion a violin concerto instead, which was premiered by Sarasate.

Colomba, Op 28 (Prelude)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Douglas Bostock, conductor

The Lord is My Shepherd - excerpt (The Rose of Sharon, Op 30)

Patricia MacMahon, soprano

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Alan Hazeldine, conductor

Violin Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 32

Malcolm Stewart, violin

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Vernon Handley, conductor

Piano Quartet in E flat, Op 11 (Finale: Allegro molto e con brio)

The Ames Piano Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on the international success of Mackenzie's opera Colomba.

Mackenzie's opera Colomba is a huge success in London and abroad. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

Alexander Mackenzie was now permanently settled in Florence with his wife and child, but he did make occasional return visits to London and Edinburgh. It was on one of these trips in 1882, that he was startled to find a letter waiting for him offering a commission to write a new opera for the Carl Rosa Opera Company. Mackenzie accepted and the outcome was Colomba, which was premiered a year later with the composer conducting at Drury Lane. It was a great success, and Mackenzie not only found himself being invited to breakfast at 10 Downing Street, but he also conducted another performance in Darmstadt at the court theatre where he was presented with a gold medal by the Grand Duke. Commissions were now regularly coming Mackenzie's way including an oratorio for Norwich, The Rose of Sharon, and for another choral work for Birmingham, although Mackenzie delivered on that occasion a violin concerto instead, which was premiered by Sarasate.

Colomba, Op 28 (Prelude)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Douglas Bostock, conductor

The Lord is My Shepherd - excerpt (The Rose of Sharon, Op 30)

Patricia MacMahon, soprano

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Alan Hazeldine, conductor

Violin Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 32

Malcolm Stewart, violin

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Vernon Handley, conductor

Piano Quartet in E flat, Op 11 (Finale: Allegro molto e con brio)

The Ames Piano Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on the international success of Mackenzie's opera Colomba.

04The Royal Academy Of Music20170209

Donald Macleod on Mackenzie's being appointed principal of the Royal Academy of Music.

Alexander Mackenzie is appointed Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Presented by Donald Macleod

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

By 1885, Alexander Mackenzie was living in London, where he'd taken on conducting a series of concerts promoted by the Novello publishing firm. Through his concert work, he came into contact with other composers such as Dvorak. Commissions were continuing to come Mackenzie's way including for another opera, called Troubadour; however he soon tired of London and returned to Italy. Mackenzie didn't remain there for long. In 1888 he was appointed Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, where he made quite a stir instituting changes - such as insisting that he should have his own office. Despite his now busy workload back in London, he continued to compose. His Pibroch Suite was premiered in 1889 and just a few years later came Britannia, a Nautical Overture, composed to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Royal Academy of Music.

Shall I compare thee (Three of Shakespeare's Sonnets, Op 50)

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

Pibroch, Suite for violin and orchestra, Op 42

Rachel Barton Pine, violin

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Alexander Platt, conductor

Britannia, A Nautical Overture, Op 52 (excerpt)

New Queen's Hall Light Orchestra

Alexander Mackenzie, conductor

Britannia, A Nautical Overture, Op 52

English Northern Philharmonia

David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

Scottish Concerto, Op 55 (2nd movt. Molto lento)

Steven Osborne, piano

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Is the Moon Tired; A Motherless Soft Lambkin

Producer Luke Whitlock.

05Touring Canada20170210

Sir Alexander Mackenzie promotes British music in Canada and Europe. Presented by Donald Macleod

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

In 1903, Sir Alexander Mackenzie accepted an invitation to tour Canada, introducing British repertoire to new audiences. He travelled the country working with fourteen choirs, and orchestras. During these travels Mackenzie became interested in Canadian folksong, which became the inspiration for an orchestral work, his Canadian Rhapsody. A few years later, in 1910, after much hard work in his role as Principal, a new building was at last built for the Royal Academy of Music in London. Among the music performed at the laying of the foundation stone, was Mackenzie's partsong My Soul Would Drink Those Echoes. Mackenzie remained Principal of the RAM until the early 1920s, when he decided to retire. He was still actively composing though, including two a cappella grace settings, written in 1931. A few years later, in 1935, Sir Alexander Mackenzie died, aged 87. He'd been a pivotal figure in British music-making for many decades. His funeral took place in the church of St Marylebone, just along the road from the Royal Academy of Music, and it was followed by a memorial service held at St Paul's Cathedral.

The Sound of the Drum

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

Canadian Rhapsody, Op 67

BBC Concert Orchestra

John Andrews, conductor

My Soul Would Drink Those Echoes (Four Partsongs, Op 71)

BBC Singers

Martin Fitzpatrick, conductor

Revery; Ariel (Varying Moods, Op 88)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Some hae meat and canna eat; O Thou in whom we live and move (Two Graces, Op 92)

The Cricket on the Hearth, Op 62 (Overture)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Mackenzie's promotion of British music in Canada and Europe.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie promotes British music in Canada and Europe. Presented by Donald Macleod

Sir Alexander Mackenzie rose from humble beginnings in Edinburgh, to become not only a celebrated and international composer, but also the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Along with Parry and Stanford he was a significant player in the renaissance of British music, and was pivotal in establishing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. During his career commissions regularly came his way, including concertos, oratorios and operas. He eventually returned to London, after further spells in Edinburgh and Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, composing and managing the RAM. He was honoured by Queen Victoria for his services to music, and he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society. During his long career his music was premiered by the likes of Sarasate and the Carl Rosa opera company. W.S Gilbert and Lewis Carroll both approached Mackenzie with collaborative projects in mind, and as a conductor he worked with Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Liszt, and Saint-Saëns to name only a few.

In 1903, Sir Alexander Mackenzie accepted an invitation to tour Canada, introducing British repertoire to new audiences. He travelled the country working with fourteen choirs, and orchestras. During these travels Mackenzie became interested in Canadian folksong, which became the inspiration for an orchestral work, his Canadian Rhapsody. A few years later, in 1910, after much hard work in his role as Principal, a new building was at last built for the Royal Academy of Music in London. Among the music performed at the laying of the foundation stone, was Mackenzie's partsong My Soul Would Drink Those Echoes. Mackenzie remained Principal of the RAM until the early 1920s, when he decided to retire. He was still actively composing though, including two a cappella grace settings, written in 1931. A few years later, in 1935, Sir Alexander Mackenzie died, aged 87. He'd been a pivotal figure in British music-making for many decades. His funeral took place in the church of St Marylebone, just along the road from the Royal Academy of Music, and it was followed by a memorial service held at St Paul's Cathedral.

The Sound of the Drum

Kathryn Rudge, mezzo-soprano

James Baillieu, piano

Canadian Rhapsody, Op 67

BBC Concert Orchestra

John Andrews, conductor

My Soul Would Drink Those Echoes (Four Partsongs, Op 71)

BBC Singers

Martin Fitzpatrick, conductor

Revery; Ariel (Varying Moods, Op 88)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Some hae meat and canna eat; O Thou in whom we live and move (Two Graces, Op 92)

The Cricket on the Hearth, Op 62 (Overture)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Mackenzie's promotion of British music in Canada and Europe.