Composers In The Countryside

Simon Halsey presents a series on how composers were inspired by different parts of the country.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
200608051/5. Elgar's Caractacus: Elgar wrote Caractacus when his mother gave him the idea while they were walking in the Malverns. Simon Halsey visits British Camp to discover the story behind the piece.
200608122/5. Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes: Simon Halsey visits Aldeburgh in Suffolk to find out the inspiration behind Britten's opera and how we can hear the sea in Britten's music.
200608193/5. Vaughn Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

In September 1910, Ralph Vaughn Williams conducted the premiere of this piece in Gloucester Cathedral. Simon Halsey finds out how we can hear the cathedral, and surrounding landscape, in the music.

04Gustav Holst's Egdon Heath20060826In 1927 Thomas Hardy took Gustav Holst to the heathland behind Hardy's childhood cottage in Dorset, known in his novels as Edgon Heath.

Simon Halsey visits the heath and discovers what inspired Holst to write the piece and how we can hear the landscape in the music.

4/5. Gustav Holst's Egdon Heath

05 LASTHerbert Howells' In Gloucestershire20060902Simon Halsey visits Chosen Hill in Gloucestershire, where the young Howells used to walk, and discovers how we can hear the landscape in the music.

5/5. Herbert Howells' In Gloucestershire: Simon Halsey visits Chosen Hill in Gloucestershire, where the young Howells used to walk, and discovers how we can hear the landscape in the music.

0101Elgar's Caractacus2005112020060805Elgar's mother suggested that he write a piece based on the Iron Age hill fort at British Camp at The Malverns.

Although he demurred at first, Elgar did write it, living, during the time of the composition, in a cottage where he could see the hills in the distance.

Legend has it that Caractacus was a British chieftain who fought off the Romans, but was eventually captured and went to Rome, where he so impressed the Emperor that he was allowed to live.

Simon Halsey walks the Malverns, talks to Elgar scholar Michael Foster and discovers how the landscape of the Malvern hills, and surrounding woodland, can be heard in the music.

1/5. Elgar - Caractacus

Elgar's mother suggested that he write a piece based on the Iron Age hill fort at British Camp at The Malverns. Although he demurred at first, Elgar did write it, living, during the time of the composition, in a cottage where he could see the hills in the distance.

0102Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes2005112720060812Simon visits Aldeburgh in Suffolk to find out the inspiration behind Britten's opera and to discover how we can hear the sea in Britten's music.

Produced by Sara Conkey.

Simon Halsey visits Aldeburgh in Suffolk to find out the inspiration behind Britten's opera and how we can hear the sea in Britten's music.

0103Vaughan Williams' Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis2005120420060819In September 1910, Ralph Vaughn Williams conducted the premiere of this piece in Gloucester Cathedral.

Simon Halsey finds out how we can hear the cathedral, and surrounding landscape, in the music.

Inspired by a hymn taken from a psalm that Vaughan Williams discovered when he was putting together the English Hymnal, this inspirational piece went back to the Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis.

When, aged almost 40, he unveiled this piece by conducting it himself at the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral, it was considered a quintessentially English work.

Simon Halsey returns to the place of its premiere, Gloucester Cathedral, and talks to music critic Stephen Johnson.

Producer Sara Conkey.

Simon Halsey presents a series on how composers were inspired by different parts of the country.

3/5. Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Inspired by a hymn taken from a psalm that Vaughan Williams discovered when he was putting together the English Hymnal, this inspirational piece went back to the Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis. When, aged almost 40, he unveiled this piece by conducting it himself at the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral, it was considered a quintessentially English work.

0104Gustav Holst's Egdon Heath20051211Holst was a big fan of Thomas Hardy and the two men met in August 1927, a few months before Hardy died.

Hardy took him in the car to what remained of Egdon Heath - made famous in Hardy's novel Return of the Native.

Holst returned to the heath at night, at Hardy's suggestion, to get further inspiration.

Simon Halsey visits Hardy's Cottage and Rainbarrow on the heath, talks to composer Colin Matthews and Hardy scholar Furse Swann, and discovers the reality of what you can hear of the heath in Holst's music.

Simon Halsey presents a series on how composers were inspired by different parts of the country.

4/5. Gustav Holst's Egdon Heath

Holst was a big fan of Thomas Hardy and the two men met in August 1927, a few months before Hardy died. Hardy took him in the car to what remained of Egdon Heath - made famous in Hardy's novel Return of the Native. Holst returned to the heath at night, at Hardy's suggestion, to get further inspiration.

0105 LASTHerbert Howells' In Gloucestershire20051218Simon Halsey visits Chosen Hill in Gloucestershire where the young Herbert Howells used to walk, and discovers how we can hear the landscape in the music.

Simon Halsey presents a series on how composers were inspired by different parts of the country.

5/5. Herbert Howells' In Gloucestershire