Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1945)



Donald Macleod is joined by musicologist Lewis Foreman to explore the career of Sir Granville Bantock, described by his contemporary Elgar as having 'the most fertile musical brain of our time'. Despite his father's career aspirations for him to join the Indian Civil Service, Bantock became one of the most prolific and successful composers, conductors and educators of the early 20th Century.

Sappho (Peer of Gods He Seems)

Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)

Pierrot of the Minute

Celtic Symphony

Sappho (The Moon has set)

Sappho (Muse of the Golden Throne)


After an illustrious career as the Royal Academy of Music's star pupil, Bantock was reintroduced to poet Helena von Schweitzer and their relationship blossomed into a creative and romantic partnership. The newlyweds embarked on the next stage of their lives at the holiday resort of The Tower, New Brighton, on the Mersey, with Bantock as its musical director.

Donald Macleod is joined by Lewis Foreman.

Processional (No 1 of 2 Orchestral Scenes)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)

A Feast of Lanterns (Chinese Songs)

Invocation to the Nile (No 1 from Songs of Egypt)

Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)

David Owen Norris (piano)

Jester Songs (Serenade)

Peter Savidge (baritone)

Helena Variations

The wilderness and a solitary place

Elizabeth Connell (soprano)


On Elgar's recommendation, Bantock entered academia in the musical hub of Birmingham. Some of his best works were written in this period, including his epic choral and orchestral masterpiece Omar Khayyam. This programme features a new recording, and music specially recorded by the BBC Singers.

Donald Macleod is joined by musicologist Lewis Foreman.

The Witch of Atlas (Tone Poem for Orchestra No 5)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)


The Tyger (Words: Blake)

To the Evening Star (Words: Blake)

BBC Singers

Paul Brough (conductor)

Omar Khayyam (Part I from XLVII 'When you and I behind the veil are past' to the end)

Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)

Toby Spence (tenor)

Roderick Williams (baritone)

BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra


Donald Macleod is joined by Lewis Foreman to discuss Bantock's amazing zest for life, and the composer's physical energy extended beyond academic walls. But the Great War was to have a profound effect on the Bantock family.

Song of Songs (The Third Day)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)

Fifine at the Fair

Thomas Beecham (conductor)

Song of Songs (The Fifth Day)

Elizabeth Connell (soprano)

Kim Begley (tenor)

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Donald Macleod is joined for last time by Bantock enthusiast Lewis Foreman to discuss the composer. Bantock was knighted in 1930, but the popularity of his music had by then waned. In his final years, he moved to London to join the staff at Trinity College as an examiner. Bantock also recorded some of his own music on the Paxton label.

Violin Sonata No 2 (1st mvt)

Lorraine McAslan (violin)

Michael Dussek (piano)

Processional (King Solomon)

London Promenade Orchestra

Granville Bantock (conductor)

A Hebridean Symphony

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)