Howells (1892-1983)


01An Ordinary Englishman20080211

Donald Macleod maps Howells's compositional roots, which stretch back to the music of the Tudors.

There is also a chance to hear the composer himself speaking in the first of a series of archive interviews for the week.

Here is the little door


Stephen Layton (conductor)

Hughes's Ballet; De la Mare's Pavane; Sir Hugh's Galliard (Lambert's Clavichord)

Margaret Fingerhut (piano)


Matthew Souter (viola)

City of London Sinfonia

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Piano Concerto No 2 in C, Op 39

Howard Shelley (piano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra.

02Love And Despair20080212

The loss of his nine-year-old son Michael to a sudden illness in 1935 cast a lifelong shadow across Howells's music.

Donald Macleod explores how music became a release valve for the bereft composer and we also hear Howells's own thoughts on one of the works directly inspired by his son's death.

The Chosen Tune

Margaret Fingerhut (piano)

Sing Lullaby


Stephen Layton (conductor)

Green Ways: Under the greenwood tree; Wanderer's Night Song; On the merry first of May

Yvonne Kenny (soprano)

London Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor)

All my hope on God is founded

John Rutter (descant)

Philip Scriven (organ)

Winchester Cathedral Choir

David Hill (director)

Requiem (1st mvt)

Corydon Singers

Matthew Best (conductor)

De profundis (Psalm Prelude Set 2 No 1)

Stephen Cleobury (organ of King's College, Cambridge)

Concerto for Strings (final mvt)

City of London Sinfonia

Magnificat (St Paul's Service)

Choir of St Paul's Cathedral

Christopher Dearnley (organ)

John Scott (conductor).

03Liquid Architecture|20080213

Buildings, and their acoustic possibilities, were a constant source of inspiration for Howells.

Donald Macleod explores how the composer became a hot property for choral institutions wanting a made-to-measure commission.

Credo (Office for Holy Communion - Collegium Regale)

Choir of St John's College Cambridge

Iain Farrington (organ)

Christopher Robinson (conductor)

Sonata No 2 for clarinet and piano (2nd mvt)

Robert Plane (clarinet)

Sophia Rahman (piano)

Magnificat (Dallas Service)

Choir of Norwich Cathedral

Katherine Dienes (organ)

David Dunnett (director)

Creep Afore ye Gang

The Shadows

BBC Singers

Paul Brough (conductor)

Merry Eye

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Adrian Boult (conductor)

Rhapsody No 3 for organ

Stephen Cleobury (organ of King's College, Cambridge).

04Free Association20080214

'Architecture, Acoustic, Association' was Howells's compositional mantra.

Donald Macleod considers the last of these three As with music inspired by a brass band competition, the Gloucestershire countryside and the assassination of a president.

King's Herald

London Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Magnificat (Gloucester Service)

Christopher Hughes (organ)

Choir of King's College Cambridge

Stephen Cleobury (director)

String Quartet (In Gloucestershire)

Britten Quartet

Take Him Earth for Cherishing.

05 LASTFinal Responses20080215

Despite lying unheard and unseen for over a decade, Hymnus Paradisi came to define Howells's achievements as an artist.

Donald Macleod explores the tortuous gestation of the work and we also hear the composer's own thoughts on the inspiration behind it.

King David

Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano)

Roger Vignoles (piano)

Hymnus Paradisi

Joan Rodgers (soprano)

Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor)

BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor).