Tales From The Stave

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Max Bruch's Violin Concerto20191010

Clemency Burton Hill is the new presenter of Tales from the Stave which begins its latest run in The Morgan Library in New York City. A violinist herself, Clemency explores one of the library's most valuable manuscripts, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch. With her is the internationally acclaimed Violinist Joshua Bell and the music scholar Michael Beckerman of New York University, along with the Morgan's head of Music Manuscripts Fran Barulich.

The Bruch is often coupled with the Mendelssohn concerto as the two stalwarts of the 19th century Violin repertoire.
As well as telling the story of Bruch's working relationship with the celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim and the detailed striving towards perfection of a composer still uncertain of his powers, Clemency also discovers the sorry tale of Bruch's attempts, later in his life, to sell the manuscript with the help of two American sisters who effectively defrauded him.
Joshua Bell has been playing the piece since he was eleven years old and he's fascinated to see evidence of Bruch's corrections and additions in this late stage of the pieces development. There are several examples of the composer taking advice from Joachim while seeking to perfect his first solo work for the Violin. By contrast, the glorious second movement Adagio appears almost pristine, suggesting that this was the essence of Bruch who was later to be frustrated by the astonishing success of his first Concerto and the limited impact of the rest of his output.

Producer: Tom Alban

Clemency Burton Hill presents the series celebrating priceless music manuscripts.

Series that tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music

02The Pirates Of Penzance By Gilbert And Sullivan20191017

In the second programme of the new series of Tales from the Stave Clemency Burton-Hill is back in the Morgan Library in New York to examine the manuscript and several bits of theatrical memorabilia that tell the story of the official debut of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.
The story of their decision to open in New York and so tackle the American copyright 'Pirates' in their own back yard is a familiar one, but with the help of singers and scholars including Dan Kravetz, the President of the New York G & S society and sopranos Helen Donaldson and Sarah Caldwell Smith, as well as G & S scholar Marc Shepherd, we get a sense of the rush towards the opening night on 31st December 1879 and the way familiar hits like 'Poor Wandering One' and 'The Modern Major General' first saw the light of day. And given that it's Gilbert and Sullivan there's space for a rousing finale and a chance to hear a chorus cut from the show at the last minute. It's a programme that provides vivid insights into the ingenuity and effort that go into making a hit show full of frivolity and joy.

Producer: Tom Alban

Clemency Burton Hill presents the series celebrating priceless music manuscripts.

Series that tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music

03Robert Schumann - Frauenliebe Und Leben20191024

Robert Schumann's setting of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso, Frauenliebe und Leben, is a controversial concert choice in a post 'me-too' era. A male poet and male composer giving voice to a female narrator who describes her adulation for a man, her blossoming love, sex and ultimately sense of abject loss is tricky for any self-respecting female performer. But the craft and skill of the composing, the relationship Schumann had with his brilliant young wife Clara and the way that is reflected in the manuscript and the music is at the heart of this episode of Tales from the Stave.
Clemency is joined by Sopranos Naomi Louisa O'Connell and Alla Kravchuk along with pianist Brent Funderburk and the Juilliard professor Michael Griffel who explore the corrected copyists manuscript and the more extraordinary sketches made over two days, in which Schumann set down a clear vision of the full eight song cycle..

Producer: Tom Alban

Clemency Burton Hill presents the series celebrating priceless music manuscripts.

Series that tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music