Tales From The Stave

Frances Fyfield, best-selling writer and radio sleuth tracks down the hidden stories of musical creativity locked within the hieroglyphics, scribbles and emendations in manuscripts of three great works of classical music.

Episodes

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20040628

1/3. Over the next three weeks, Frances Fyfield, best-selling writer and radio sleuth tracks down the hidden stories of musical creativity locked within the hieroglyphics, scribbles and emendations in manuscripts of three great works of classical music.

Today we look at Elgar's Violin Concerto.

20040705

2/3. Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony: Writer and radio sleuth Frances Fyfield tracks down the hidden stories in manuscripts of great classical works.

Chopin: Barcarolle20091222

Chopin: Barcarolle20091226
0101Elgar's Violin Concerto2004050420040628

1/3. Over the next three weeks, Frances Fyfield, best-selling writer and radio sleuth tracks down the hidden stories of musical creativity locked within the hieroglyphics, scribbles and emendations in manuscripts of three great works of classical music.

0102Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony2004051120040705

Today it's the turn of the Beethoven sketch book that became the Pastoral Symphony.

2/3. Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony

The second in the series in which best-selling crimewriter Frances Fyfield un-picks the hidden stories of musical creativity amidst the hieroglyphics and scribbles of great works of classical music.

0103 LASTHandel's Jephtha2004051820040712

Frances Fyfield turns the autographed pages of Handel's last major choral work, Jephtha, and discovers a composer tormented by failing sight.

0201Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture2005121320051217

The first of a new series that tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

1/3. Frances Fyfield goes to the Bodleian Library in Oxford to examine the manuscript of Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture for clues of how the 20-year old composer came to dream it up on a boat to the isle of Mull. With conductor Mark Elder.

Frances Fyfield goes to the Bodleian Library in Oxford to examine the manuscript of Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture for clues of how the 20-year old composer came to dream it up on a boat to the isle of Mull.

With conductor Mark Elder

0202My Ladye Neville's Book2005122020051224

Frances Fyfield returns to the British Library's music archive.

In the company of harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock, she delves into the beautifully ornate 16th-century calligraphy and astonishing invention of William Byrd's keyboard collection My Ladye Neville's book.

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

2/3. Frances Fyfield returns to the British Library's music archive. In the company of harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock, she delves into the beautifully ornate 16th-century calligraphy and astonishing invention of William Byrd's keyboard collection My Ladye Neville's book.

0203 LAST20051227

She is joined by pianist Mitsoku Uchida to examine a remarkable manuscript by Mozart.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music. 3/3. She is joined by pianist Mitsoku Uchida to examine a remarkable manuscript by Mozart.

03012007032020070324

A 20th-century Russian classic was thought to have been lost, until very recently.

On the day it officially goes on loan to the British Library, conductor Marin Alsop and critic Geoffrey Norris tell its astonishing story, which includes being stored briefly in a carrier bag.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

1/4. A 20th-century Russian classic was thought to have been lost, until very recently. On the day it officially goes on loan to the British Library, conductor Marin Alsop and critic Geoffrey Norris tell its astonishing story, which includes being stored briefly in a carrier bag.

0301Rachmaninov's Second Symphony2007032020140608

In 2007 the British Library had taken possession of a newly rediscovered manuscript by Sergei Rachmaninov. The composer's handwritten version of his 2nd Symphony had been lost for almost a hundred years. It was on loan to the library where it had been repaired and rebound. Last month the loan period ended with the sale of the manuscript into private hands for over a million pounds.

To mark the event Frances Fyfield revisits the edition of Tales from the Stave that she made about the Symphony back in 2007. Her guests were Marin Alsop, Geoffrey Norris and the handwriting analyst Ruth Rostron.

03022007032720070331

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

2/4. Benjamin Britten's working score for his opera Peter Grimes is in the Britten-Pears library at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Contributors include tenor Philip Langridge, Britten expert Dr John Evans and Dr Paul Banks of the Royal College of Music.

Benjamin Britten's working score for his opera Peter Grimes is in the Britten-Pears library at Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

Contributors include tenor Philip Langridge, Britten expert Dr John Evans and Dr Paul Banks of the Royal College of Music.

030320070403

Henry Purcell was one of Britain's most prolific great composers.

Professor Sir Curtis Price and Dr Edward Higginbottom examine his Anthems and Odes to uncover the secrets of his art.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

3/4. Henry Purcell was one of Britain's most prolific great composers. Professor Sir Curtis Price and Dr Edward Higginbottom examine his Anthems and Odes to uncover the secrets of his art.

0304 LASTBeethoven's Symphony No 9 (choral)20070410

The composer produced two manuscript copies of his last symphony.

One of them, prepared for the then newly-launched Royal Philharmonic Society, is in the British Library.

In addition to Beethoven's notes and revisions, the score reveals the curious story of one of the most famous double bass players of all time.

Bassist Rodney Slatford and conductor and editor Jonathan Del Mar examine this cornerstone of the western classical repertoire.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

4/4. Beethoven's Symphony No 9 (Choral)

The composer produced two manuscript copies of his last symphony. One of them, prepared for the then newly-launched Royal Philharmonic Society, is in the British Library. In addition to Beethoven's notes and revisions, the score reveals the curious story of one of the most famous double bass players of all time.

0401* Iolanthe2008041520080419

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

1/4. Iolanthe

Frances is joined by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, opera singer Richard Suart and Gilbert and Sullivan biographer Michael Ainger to look at the manuscript of the celebrated operetta. The score and prompt book offer a vivid insight into a composer at the height of his theatrical powers and a satirist with a clear vision of the way the work should be delivered.

Frances is joined by Kit Hesketh-harvey, opera singer Richard Suart and Gilbert and Sullivan biographer Michael Ainger to look at the manuscript of the celebrated operetta.

The score and prompt book offer a vivid insight into a composer at the height of his theatrical powers and a satirist with a clear vision of the way the work should be delivered.

0402Pulcinella2008042220080426

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

2/4. Pulcinella

Stravinsky's sketchbook for his ballet score can be found in the British Library. Written shortly after the First World War while he was living in Switzerland, the work marked a dramatic change from the power and rhythm of The Rite of Spring. The booklet shows the composer arranging and modernising a series of themes and arias originally thought to have been written by Pergolesi.

Contributors include conductor Barry Wordsworth, handwriting expert Ruth Rostron and Maureen Carr from the Pennsylvania State University.

Stravinsky's sketchbook for his ballet score can be found in the British Library.

Written shortly after the First World War while he was living in Switzerland, the work marked a dramatic change from the power and rhythm of The Rite of Spring.

The booklet shows the composer arranging and modernising a series of themes and arias originally thought to have been written by Pergolesi.

Contributors include conductor Barry Wordsworth, handwriting expert Ruth Rostron and Maureen Carr from the University of Wisonsin.

0403* Finzi's Clarinet Concerto20080429

Frances is joined by internationally acclaimed clarinettist Emma Johnson as they recall the creation of one of Finzi's most popular and enduring works.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

3/4. Finzi's Clarinet Concerto

0404 LASTThe Marriage Of Figaro20080506

Frances visits Berlin with conductor Jane Glover and Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans for a rare look at Mozart's autograph score of his magnificent comic opera at the Staatsbibliothek.

They have a unique opportunity to explore most of it, but curiously not all, at first hand.

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

4/4. The Marriage of Figaro

Frances visits Berlin with conductor Jane Glover and Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans for a rare look at Mozart's autograph score of his magnificent comic opera at the Staatsbibliothek. They have a unique opportunity to explore most of it, but curiously not all, at first hand.

0501Bach's B-minor Mass20091201
0501Bach's B-minor Mass20091205

Frances Fyfield and guests get closer to Bach's industry and see a glimpse of his humanity

0501Bach's B-minor Mass *2009120120091205

There are very few scores anywhere in the world of more value than Bach's famous Mass.

So fragile is it that the Berlin library where it's kept (the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) allows only a very few people ever to see it, let alone touch it.

Choral conductor Simon Halsey and the Bach soprano Deborah York join Frances at the Library to get closer to the great German composer's extraordinary industry and to catch a glimpse of his humanity.

It is often half-jokingly said that, to his fans, Bach is not so much a composer as a religion; but here, in his neat hand, are the crossings out and re-workings of a man still seeking to perfect music, much of which was written earlier in his life.

Simon Halsey has described the B-Minor Mass as 'Bach's greatest hits', since in many ways it is a compilation of pieces he had composed over a number of years.

The Berlin score isn't simply a fair copy of this assembly, but shows Bach still hard at work, changing his mind, rewriting - a phrase shifted here, a key modulated there - introducing new instrumentation and striving for something better.

There is also an incredible technological story to tell.

Bach's pages are literally thick with music - so thick that in many places the ink has actually burned through the paper, leaving it almost impossible to read.

So the Library has had to split the single pages open and insert a protective sheet to stabilise the ink-burn.

Frances Fyfield and guests get closer to Bach's industry and see a glimpse of his humanity

0502Tippett: A Child Of Our Time20091208

0502Tippett: A Child Of Our Time20091212
0502Tippett: A Child Of Our Time * *2009120820091212

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

Using the pencil-written score and private notebooks and letters, Frances unpacks the creative story behind Sir Michael Tippett's oratorio, A Child of Our Time.

With its Spiritual Choruses mixed with the stark modernity of its forbidding message, it stands now as one of the most powerful statements about man's potential for inhumanity to man.

As the letters and notes reveal, the inspiration for the peace was the shooting in 1938 of a German diplomat in Paris by an enraged 17-year-old Jewish boy, powerless to stop the Nazi attrocities against his family in Germany.

His actions, twisted by Nazi propoganda, provoked Kristalnacht: a rising against Jewish people and property which resulted in the burning of synagogues and Jewish shops and houses.

already a passionate political thinker, Tippett tried to express his feelings through a three-part oratorio that described the way a man, the child of the title, can be coralled into an act of self-destruction.

And set against this dark journey are the spirituals, one of which - 'Steal away to Jesue' - he had heard and been inspired by on a radio broadcast.

Like Bach's chorales, they remain a way into the piece for many listeners, commenting on the moods and reflecting on the anger, despair and resignation of the child's journey.

As well as revealing Tippett's workings and worryings over the music, the British Library's archive also throws light on the way the libretto developed, being sent for improvement to the poet Ts Eliot, who promptly sent it back advising the composer that he was managing quite well on his own.

Joing Frances are the singer Sarah Walker, who sang the vital mezzo soprano role in a recording made in 1991 with the composer himself conducting, the music scholar and writer Paul Banks and the graphologist Ruth Rostron.

Frances Fyfield and her team explore Tippett's pre-war masterpiece, A Child Of Our Time.

0503Holst: The Planets20091215
0503Holst: The Planets20091219

Frances Fyfield and guests pore over the pages of the manuscript of Holst's The Planets.

0503Holst: The Planets * *2009121520091219

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

Holst apparently hated the popularity of The Planets.

He sat down to compose it in 1914 and it had its first performance in 1918.

Given that English audiences were used to Elgar, this massive 'modern' orchestral work came as a huge surprise to concert goers, and they loved it.

From the opening 5/4 tempo of the first movement of Mars, this could be considered one of the first great pieces of 20th-century English music.

Holst had recently heard the revolutionary compositions of Schoenberg and Stravinsky and in The Planets, he mixes harmonies and rhythms in the most dramatic way.

Not all of the score is in his own hand, as he suffered from neuritis, so he sometimes used copyists to help with his composition.

Frances' guests select their favourite movements from the score, which is held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and they are joined by the curator Martin Holmes, who looks after the precious manuscripts there.

The seven movements don't include Pluto; that was only discovered in 1930, four years before his death.

The success of The Planets overshadowed Holst's other compositions, which are quite different in style from his astrological depictions.

While the piece is still popular in concert halls around the UK, its also familiar to film fans as it is frequently used in movies.

What would Holst have made of its enduring popularity, 75 years after his death, and what would he have made of its use in computer games?

Frances Fyfield and guests pore over the pages of the manuscript of Holst's The Planets.

0504 LASTChopin: Barcarolle *2009122220091226

Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.

Frances is joined by Chopin expert Adam Zamoyski and pianist Stephen Hough at the British Library to look at the autographed score of Chopin's Barcarolle.

The library is holding a major exhibition in 2010 to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.

The greater part of Chopin's professional career was spent outside his native Poland - most of it in Paris, where he established himself as a fashionable teacher and performer in the houses of the wealthy.

With a background of Venetian gondoliers' songs combined with Polish references, the Barcacolle for solo piano was completed in 1846 and meant so much to Chopin that he included it in the programme of a concert he gave in Paris in February 1848.

It was to be his last public appearance in his beloved adopted city.

His body succumbed to lifelong ill health a year later at the age of 39.

Frances Fyfield visits the British Library to look at the Chopin's piano score, Barcarolle

060120110118

When making plans to celebrate his fiftieth year as a conductor in 1938, the proms founder Sir Henry Wood called on the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams to compose a piece for a special anniversary concert.

The resulting 'Serenade to Music' using sixteen of the finest British singers of the day took its place alongside pieces by Bax, Elgar, Wagner and a special guest appearance from the Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninov.

A setting of lines from Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' it moved both the great Russian composer and the audience to such a degree that rather than being an occasional piece it worked its way into the concert repertoire.

It's now one of the highlights of the Vaughan Williams canon and the autograph manuscript resides with Sir Henry Wood's other musical treasures in the library of the Royal Academy of Music.

Frances Fyfield is joined at the RAM by the music writer and friend of Vaughan Williams, Michael Kennedy, the mezzo-Soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers who has twice been selected to record the piece over the last few years, and the Royal Academy's own Jeremy Summerly to examine the hand-written score, complete with the markings of Sir Henry Wood himself, who not only conducted the first performance but recorded it only a few days later at Abbey Road studios.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield returns with her forensic exploration of great classical music manuscripts

060220110125

Frances Fyfield and her guests examine the Eric Coates' manuscript score of The London Suite for this week's Tales From the Stave. With Frances in the Royal College of Music library are the conductor and orchestrator, John Wilson, music presenter, Rob Cowan and handwriting expert, Ruth Rostron. Librarian Peter Horton keeps careful watch over the manuscript.

Eric Coates began his music career by playing the viola professionally. He excelled at the Royal Academy of Music and eked out a living perfoming in various orchestras. His first love though was composition and his desire was to write popular music enjoyed by all. A founding member of the Performing Rights Society which collects revenues on behalf of composers and others, he eventually became one of best loved popular light music composers and earned a very good living from his writing. His gift for melody leaves a legacy of tunes which are instantly recognisable today. Perhaps his best known piece for Radio 4 listeners is 'By the Sleepy Lagoon' which is the theme tune for 'Desert Island Discs'.

Yet he did not always enjoy a positive relationship with the BBC, and later in his career he felt the organisation was discriminating against his music when programming the Proms. He wrote "I think (and many musicians agree with me) that the BBC is absolutely wrong in its attitude towards the best in light music, for it is fostering an insidious from of musical snobbery amonth listeners, teaching them to despise melody."

Join Frances and her guests as they look at the craft of Coates, his skill and excellence and assess The London Suite.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Frances Fyfield and guests pore over Eric Coates' manuscript score of his London Suite.

Frances Fyfield and her guests examine the Eric Coates' manuscript score of The London Suite for this week's Tales From the Stave.

With Frances in the Royal College of Music library are the conductor and orchestrator, John Wilson, music presenter, Rob Cowan and handwriting expert, Ruth Rostron.

Librarian Peter Horton keeps careful watch over the manuscript.

Eric Coates began his music career by playing the viola professionally.

He excelled at the Royal Academy of Music and eked out a living perfoming in various orchestras.

His first love though was composition and his desire was to write popular music enjoyed by all.

A founding member of the Performing Rights Society which collects revenues on behalf of composers and others, he eventually became one of best loved popular light music composers and earned a very good living from his writing.

His gift for melody leaves a legacy of tunes which are instantly recognisable today.

Perhaps his best known piece for Radio 4 listeners is 'By the Sleepy Lagoon' which is the theme tune for 'Desert Island Discs'.

Yet he did not always enjoy a positive relationship with the BBC, and later in his career he felt the organisation was discriminating against his music when programming the Proms.

He wrote "I think (and many musicians agree with me) that the BBC is absolutely wrong in its attitude towards the best in light music, for it is fostering an insidious from of musical snobbery amonth listeners, teaching them to despise melody."

0603Bizet's Carmen20110201

In the last programme of the series telling the stories of famous pieces of music through the hand-written

manuscripts on which they were first created, Frances Fyfield is at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France - the French National Library.

Her subject is the score and rehearsal material for Bizet's Carmen. It has become one of the most popular

operas in the repertoire but the story in the manuscript belies the ebullience and self-confidence of the

many tunes now embedded in our culture.

Frances finds out about the struggles at the Opera Comique as this ultimately tragic story threatened the

gentility and bonhomie of the clientele. 'Please' said one of the managers at the time 'don't let Carmen die'.

Sadly for him, fortunately for posterity, Bizet and his librettists stuck to their guns and to the word of the

original Prosper Mérimée story on which the opera was based. Carmen dies, and has gone on dying ever since.

Frances is joined by the singer Bea Robein and the music writer and editor Richard Langham Smith.

Producer: Tom Alban.

0603 LASTBizet's Carmen20110201

In the last programme of the series telling the stories of famous pieces of music through the hand-written

manuscripts on which they were first created, Frances Fyfield is at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France - the French National Library.

Her subject is the score and rehearsal material for Bizet's Carmen. It has become one of the most popular

operas in the repertoire but the story in the manuscript belies the ebullience and self-confidence of the

many tunes now embedded in our culture.

Frances finds out about the struggles at the Opera Comique as this ultimately tragic story threatened the

gentility and bonhomie of the clientele. 'Please' said one of the managers at the time 'don't let Carmen die'.

Sadly for him, fortunately for posterity, Bizet and his librettists stuck to their guns and to the word of the

original Prosper Mrime story on which the opera was based. Carmen dies, and has gone on dying ever since.

Frances is joined by the singer Bea Robein and the music writer and editor Richard Langham Smith.

Producer: Tom Alban.

For the last in the series, Frances Fyfield explores the score of Bizet's Opera Carmen.

Her subject is the score and rehearsal material for Bizet's Carmen.

It has become one of the most popular

gentility and bonhomie of the clientele.

'Please' said one of the managers at the time 'don't let Carmen die'.

original Prosper Mrime story on which the opera was based.

Carmen dies, and has gone on dying ever since.

07012011101820111022

Returning for a seventh season, crime writer Frances Fyfield once again leads off her series exploring the tales and tribulations revealed in the hand-written music manuscripts of some of the greatest works of classical music.

The opening programme of the series takes us to Paris where a beautifully crafted wooden box made in London in the mid 19th century houses Mozart's handwritten score of 'Don Giovanni'.

The Mozart expert and renowned conductor Jane Glover and arguably the world's finest living singer of the title role, Simon Keenlyside join Frances at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France as guests of their head of music manuscripts Elisabeth Giuliani.

How the score came to be in Paris after a spell in London, what secrets it reveals of Mozart's rush to complete it for a premiere in Prague and why one of the boldest lines in his entire operatic output should have been crossed out with a clear intent for it to be put back as soon as the censor's back was turned, will be revealed.

It's also a chance to be astonished by the sheer detail of Mozart's musical invention, his professionalism as he adapts the odd line or the shaping of a phrase to fit the singers he was writing for, and blotches and coffee stains which give a vivid sense of the speed at which he was working.

All that plus the story of Giovanni's ruthless seductions, hell-raising lifestyle and some of the most celebrated music ever composed for the operatic stage - in Tales from the Stave.

Producer: Tom Alban

Also featured in the series: Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Frances Fyfield's series of forensic musical discovery returns with Mozart's Don Giovanni.

070120111022
07022011102520111029

Frances Fyfield and a team of musical experts look at the scores of one of Sir Hubert Parry's best known works: his anthem 'I Was Glad'.

'Dear Parry,

The King wishes you to write something for the Coronation Service and I am desired to propose this to you in His Majesty's Name. Your know already how much I hope you will write an anthem ' I was glad'.

The Director of Music for the forthcoming coronation of King Edward VII contacted Parry with this request and Parry's resulting setting of Psalm 122 remains one of the great pieces of Anglican ceremonial music. It's been a favourite at Coronations and it was played at Westminster Abbey earlier this year when Catherine Middleton processed up the aisle to meet Prince William.

Frances Fyfield is joined by Parry expert, Jeremy Dibble, Peter Wright, director of music at Southwark Cathedral, custodian of the score, Royal College of Music librarian Peter Horton and handwriting expert, Ruth Rostron.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Frances Fyfield's forensic musical discovery continues with Parry's anthem I Was Glad.

The King wishes you to write something for the Coronation Service and I am desired to propose this to you in His Majesty's Name.

Your know already how much I hope you will write an anthem ' I was glad'.

The Director of Music for the forthcoming coronation of King Edward VII contacted Parry with this request and Parry's resulting setting of Psalm 122 remains one of the great pieces of Anglican ceremonial music.

It's been a favourite at Coronations and it was played at Westminster Abbey earlier this year when Catherine Middleton processed up the aisle to meet Prince William.

070220111029
0703Handel's Firework Suite2011110120111105

'The Peace is signed between us, France, and Holland, but does not give the least joy; the stocks do not rise, and the merchants are unsatisfied.in short, there has not been the least symptom of public rejoicing; but the government is to give a magnificent firework.

(Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 24 October 1748)'

Handel was commissioned by King George II to compose an orchestral work to accompany a lavish firework display to celebrate the end of Austrian War of Succession.

It was the most spectular display of fireworks ever seen and crowds queued for hours to enter the park. The festivities went on for nine hours with part of the pavillion catching fire.

Christopher Hogwood, Graham Sheen, Ruth Rostron and Nicolas Bell join Frances Fyfield around the maunscript to look at Handel's original intentions in one of his most popular orchestral works. Included with the artefacts is a pamplet detailing the order of the firework display. It makes the millenium firework celebrations look puny by comparison!

Frances Fyfield's forensic musical discovery continues with Handel's Firework Suite score.

It was the most spectular display of fireworks ever seen and crowds queued for hours to enter the park.

The festivities went on for nine hours with part of the pavillion catching fire.

Christopher Hogwood, Graham Sheen, Ruth Rostron and Nicolas Bell join Frances Fyfield around the maunscript to look at Handel's original intentions in one of his most popular orchestral works.

Included with the artefacts is a pamplet detailing the order of the firework display.

It makes the millenium firework celebrations look puny by comparison!

0703Handel's Firework Suite20111105
0704 LAST2011110820111112

Written when he was still little more than an aspiring composer, driven by the image of a woman with whom he had fallen passionately in love from afar, and breaking new ground in the drama of concert performance, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique is one of the most important manuscripts held at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

With the help of the conductor Nigel Simeone, the Berlioz scholar Professor Peter Bloom and the music curator Cecile Reynaud, Frances Fyfield discovers the youthful energy of the handwritten score that Berlioz kept with him for fourteen years before delivering it to the publishers. In that time there were rewrites, extra parts written in for extraordinary circumstances and all the usual tweaks and refinements you'd expect of a composer working towards his imaginative ambitions. But the score also comes complete with the composer's dedications to Harriet Smithson, the Anglo-Irish actress whose image became the famous 'idee fixe' of the symphony. This simple melody returns again and again throughout the five movements.

The programme also uses extracts from Berlioz programme notes for the Symphony and from his Memoirs written later while in England. Extracts translated by Michel Austin.

There are also printed programme notes created for the first audiences, notes describing the 'story' of a young man taking opium and having a sequence of dreams and imaginings about his love, his jealousy, his death at the scaffold and the witches' sabbath thereafter.

As well as evidence of extraordinary musical imagination the manuscript score also displays bizarre gothic doodles alongside the fourth movement, complete with ravens, chains and helmets. This, the famous March to the Scafford was actually lifted from one of the composer's earlier operas that doesn't survive. To make it work in the symphony, Berlioz felt it needed the inclusion of the 'idee fixe', and there, on the last page, in the dying breath of the hero as he awaits the guillotine's blade, it appears wistfully played by the clarinet.

And just to cap it all there are the many exotic instruments Berlioz called upon, including the magnificent brass ophycleide.

It's all in the last of this series of Tales from the Stave.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield's musical discoveries conclude with Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

With the help of the conductor Nigel Simeone, the Berlioz scholar Professor Peter Bloom and the music curator Cecile Reynaud, Frances Fyfield discovers the youthful energy of the handwritten score that Berlioz kept with him for fourteen years before delivering it to the publishers.

In that time there were rewrites, extra parts written in for extraordinary circumstances and all the usual tweaks and refinements you'd expect of a composer working towards his imaginative ambitions.

But the score also comes complete with the composer's dedications to Harriet Smithson, the Anglo-Irish actress whose image became the famous 'idee fixe' of the symphony.

This simple melody returns again and again throughout the five movements.

The programme also uses extracts from Berlioz programme notes for the Symphony and from his Memoirs written later while in England.

Extracts translated by Michel Austin.

As well as evidence of extraordinary musical imagination the manuscript score also displays bizarre gothic doodles alongside the fourth movement, complete with ravens, chains and helmets.

This, the famous March to the Scafford was actually lifted from one of the composer's earlier operas that doesn't survive.

To make it work in the symphony, Berlioz felt it needed the inclusion of the 'idee fixe', and there, on the last page, in the dying breath of the hero as he awaits the guillotine's blade, it appears wistfully played by the clarinet.

0704 LAST20111112

Frances Fyfield's musical discoveries conclude with Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

0801Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra2012051520120519

When Benjamin Britten was asked to contribute to an educational film about the symphony orchestra, he turned to a theme by that other great British composer, Henry Purcell.

The resulting theme and variations - a 'Young Person's Guide' - has become, over the years, a staple of concerts for young and old alike - such as its appearance in the most recent BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2011.

But the composing manuscript on which Britten worked out his brilliant and buoyant series of instrumental illustrations was given to a young lady working on the projec,t while Britten turned his attention to a full orchestral score.

It's only in the past few months that the manuscript showing the composer at work came to light and was saved from overseas sale by the British Library.

Frances Fyfield is joined by conductor and friend of Benjamin Britten, Steuart Bedford, as well as the young musician and scholar Christopher Milton and hand-writing analyst Ruth Rostron to decipher the composer's working out of a piece - as familiar now as it has ever been.

Rather than a tidy, fair-copy this is the composer in full creative flight. All the more surprising then that it isn't punctuated by the scrubbings and editing of uncertainty. Instead, it's full of confidence and suggests a man at work on a lifelong project - making his music accessible to the ears and minds of the young.

And Frances also gets to meet the lady who looked after the score for half a century, with little idea of what it might be worth.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Episode 01 of 03

0802Hummel's Trumpet Concerto2012052220120526

Johann Hummel was a hugely important figure in the musical landscape of the early 19th century. He worked alongside Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, had a love-hate relationship with Beethoven. He taught and inspired the likes of Felix Mendelssohn and was both a celebrated pianist and composer. But today he's best known for composing one of the two great trumpet concertos of the Classical age. Along with the Haydn, composed a couple of years earlier in 1801, Hummel's Trumpet concerto was a response to the new technology being pioneered by the instrument designer and player Anton Weidinger.

There are many challenges throughout the modern trumpet repertoire but the Hummel is still a proving ground and Alison Balsom is one of those to have mastered it. She joins Frances Fyfield and the musicologist Thomas Schmidt to find out how the original manuscript differs from the version performed today which benefits from the later development of the valved, rather than the keyed, trumpet.

Nicolas Bell of the British Library reveals how Hummel's concerto came to be housed here and, with her trumpet on hand to illustrate, Alison Balsom explains the finer points of 'double-tonguing' a technique vital to the performance of the concerto's dazzling third movement.

Above all else the easy, dancing music Hummel created for the newly versatile Trumpet of the 19th century is given a welcome celebration.

Producer: Tom Alban.

0803 LASTVivaldi's Flute Concerto2012052920120602
20120602 (R4)

In a special edition of Tales from the Stave Frances Fyfield heads to Edinburgh to tell the story of what was thought to be a lost Vivaldi Flute Concerto.

It's a rare and thrilling moment for a classical music researcher to unearth a manuscript that has been hidden for centuries. But that was the lot of Andrew Woolley when he found, nestling in the Marquesses of Lothian's family papers at the National archives in Edinburgh, a Flute concerto by Antonio Vivaldi.

In this Tales from the Stave Special, Frances follows the research, cross checking and confirmation that followed Andrew's discovery and lead, very quickly, to the first recording and first recorded performance of the concerto known as Il Gran Mogol.

The manuscript, copied out from a lost original and probably sold to Lord Robert Kerr during a continental journey, tells the story of Vivaldi's composing methods and the cross fertilization of Southern European creativity and the Scottish Enlightenment. Andrew Woolley and the Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot help tell the concerto's story.

Producer: Tom Alban.

A lost Vivaldi flute concerto ends Frances Fyfield's series of forensic musical inquiry.

0901Appalachian Spring2013061120130615

Frances Fyfield is back with a new series of Tales from the Stave which begins in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The manuscript being examined is Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" - written for the Martha Graham Dance company during the Second World War. The Ballet was first performed in the Library itself, and joining Frances is the current Martha Graham Company director of music Aaron Sherber, the former dancer and now Director of the Martha Graham center of Contemporary Dance Janet Eilber and the Library of Congress librarian Loras Schissel.

As well as Copland's beautifully presented pencil-written sketches and score, including the famous shaker tune 'A gift to be simple' there are also the letters written to Copland by Martha Graham in which she outlined her initial ideas about a ballet that has become an American classic. And while charting a close partnership between choreographer and composer, the score also reveals performance secrets such as the changes made to incorporate the desires of a guest performer - Rudolf Nureyev.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield examines Copland's ballet score at the Library of Congress, Washington DC.

Frances Fyfield is back with a new series of Tales from the Stave which begins in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The manuscript being examined is Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" - written for the Martha Graham Dance company during the Second World War. The Ballet was first performed in the Library itself, and joining Frances is the current Martha Graham Company director of music Aaron Sherber, the former dancer and now Director of the Martha Graham center of Contemporary Dance Janet Eilber and the Library of Congress librarian Loras Schissel.

As well as Copeland's beautifully presented pencil-written sketches and score, including the famous shaker tune 'A gift to be simple' there are also the letters written to Copeland by Martha Graham in which she outlined her initial ideas about a ballet that has become an American classic. And while charting a close partnership between choreographer and composer, the score also reveals performance secrets such as the changes made to incorporate the desires of a guest performer - Rudolf Nureyev.

0902George Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad2013061820130622

Frances Fyfield visits two locations in today's Tales from the Stave as she continues her forensic musical enquiries in search of the life and work of George Butterworth. She begins at Eton College where Butterworth was a pupil. He donated the manuscript of his song settings of A 'Shropshire Lad' to the library and Michael Meredith shows Frances and baritone Roderick Williams the manuscript and some rather special editions of A.E. Houseman's poems. They are joined by the conductor, Adrian Davis and handwriting expert, Ruth Rostron.

They continue the Butterworth trail to Oxford where Butterworth was a student. Bodleian librarian Martin Holmes and Peter Ward Jones then show Frances, Adrian, Roderick and Ruth the orchestral manuscript of Butterworth's Orchestral Rhapsody, A Shropshire Lad. Alongside the manuscript there is also a chance to look at the scrapbook which Butterworth's father compiled after his son's untimely death, serving as a soldier in World War 1.

Butterworth was at the forefront of folk music collecting and was admired by those around him. Contained in the scrapbook are letters from Ralph Vaughan Williams, written from his posting in France 1916, to Butterworth senior, expressing his sadness upon hearing the news of his son's death. George Butterworth was only 31 years old when he was killed by a sniper's bullet. Who knows what else he may have gone on to compose.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

0903 LASTPorgy And Bess2013062520130630

Frances Fyfield and friends explore the score of Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.

In the last of the current series of Tales from the Stave Frances Fyfield returns to the Library of Congress in Washington to see one of their most treasured possessions. George Gershwin's Opera Porgy and Bess still provokes debate today from those uneasy at the work of three white men, George, his brother Ira and the lyricist Dubose Heyward, in depicting the world of what amounts to a black Ghetto in early 20th century South Carolina. However, the brilliance of the music, and the complexity and craft of Gershwin's score is beyond dispute.

Frances is joined by the conductor and writer Nigel Simeone, the library's expert Raymond White and most important of all by Solomon Howard of the Washington National Opera. Solomon, who's sung the role of Porgy and has himself experienced life at the bottom end of American society, is given the chance to perform from Gershwin's original manuscript. In doing so he finds small but vital changes from the texts he's used to, as well as evidence of the detailed but vital changes George Gershwin made to the lyrics delivered to him by Heyward - lyrics including famous hits like 'Summertime'.

As well as a full orchestral score there are also the fragments and sketches Gershwin made while living in Carolina where he sought inspiration for this, his most ambitious work.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1001West Side Story2014052020140615

Frances Fyfield is joined by Conductor Marin Alsop, writer Nigel Simeone and Librarian Mark Horowitz to explore the boxes full of scores and sketches from Leonard Bernstein's 1957 Broadway smash - West Side Story. They're the proud property of the Library of Congress in Washington DC where the musical was first tried in an 'out-of-town' run before hitting Broadway.

It was something of a tortured collaboration between writer Arthur Laurents, choreographer and director Jerome Robbins and Bernstein himself along with a young Stephen Sondheim. The manuscripts tell the story of Bernstein's ambitions for an operatic score thwarted according to the composer or channelled and controlled according to history. Time and again numbers are cut back, honed, re-worked and refined until we reach the familiar show hits 'Somewhere', 'America', 'Tonight' and 'Somethings coming' which are so familiar today.

Librarian Horowitz also reveals the examples of music Bernstein culled from earlier works and other bits that were composed for the show but ended up in his later Chichester Psalms.

The writing is always neat but increasingly hectic as the rehearsals start in the summer of 1957.

The programme is intercut with extracts from Bernstein's letters to his wife in which he divulged his frustration at what was happening to 'my poor little score'. In the event he rejoiced with his team when the reviews were beyond their wildest dreams.

And there are gems beyond the musical scores. Bernstein's audition books reveal that Warren Beatty was amongst those who tried out for a part. 'Charming as hell' according to the composer but ultimately not quite right.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1002Elgar's Salut D'amour2014052720140531

In this tenth series of Tales from the Stave Frances Fyfield takes her musical investigation of the handwritten manuscripts of our greatest composers back to the birthplace of the man who was the subject of the first ever programme. The cottage in which Edward Elgar was born in Lower Broadheath, near Worcester, is now a museum in his honour, and amongst the rich archive of his life and that of his wife Alice is the piece that confirmed their relationship.

Salut D'Amour was Elgar's response to a poem 'Love's Grace' that Alice had written to him in 1888. The museum has both the original poem and the careful perfection of Elgar's autograph score of Salut D'Amour which was sent to the publisher Schott. It has all the hallmarks of Elgar's elegant hand, complete with detailed corrections pasted over the manuscript and the composers confident list of potential versions of the piece for piano and violin, piano solo and orchestra. Originally called Liebesgruss - or love's greeting, it was translated into French on the advice of the publisher. Elgar and Alice both spoke good German but French, they suggested, would sell better. Sell it certainly did. In Elgar's lifetime it was one of his most famous compositions.

Frances is joined at the Birthplace museum by Pianist Lucy Parham, Violinist and scholar Rupert Marshall Luck who has been working on a new edition of the piece, and handwriting analyst Ruth Rostron.

The museum supervisor Chris Bennett invites Frances' guests to play the piece from the score in the composers own hand, a unique and moving moment for both.

But it's the importance of Alice Elgar in the life of the composer that sings through this tiny musical gem. It's a piece often dismissed by those who would only have Elgar as the grandest of grand artists, as mere Salon music. However as Frances discovers it contains the very best of him for the very best of her, and in spite of rumours of friction and distance in later married life, the bond between them remained solid. It was cemented first in Salut D'Amour.

1003 LASTSousa's The Stars And Stripes For Ever2014060320140622

It's 'ere we go, ere we go, ere we go' for the last in the current series of Tales from the Stave, Frances Fyfield's exploration of the handwritten manuscripts of our greatest composers. However, rather than a football stadium Frances is in the Library of Congress, Washington DC along with two US Marine Bandsmen Michael Ressler and Ryan Nowlin. They've come to see the marches of John Philip Sousa and most importantly The national march of the United States - The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Sousa's neat scores and his sketch books are far more than just interesting research fodder for these men who have marched to Sousa's beat for a lifetime.

There's fascination in his working methods, many of them explained by a third bandsman and member of the Library staff, Loras Schissel. Sousa never wrote at the piano and rarely put pen to paper before working much of his material out in his head. Melody, harmony, rhythms; these were all in place before he started sharing his composition.

And while his music is full of boisterous confidence, Sousa himself was a modest figure. A violinist and son of immigrant parents he always gave the impression that fortune was kind to him, belying the sheer effort and labour which saw him create his own touring band who were on the road for the majority of the year.

The programme tells the story of how he came to write 'The Stars and Stripes for Ever', the impact it had and Sousa's place in US musical history.

The musical highlight is the moment that our three bandsmen, imitating piccolo, trombone and cornet, perform Sousa's famous trio tune (borrowed by football fans all over the world) in glorious three part harmony.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1003 LASTSousa's The Stars And Stripes Forever2014060320140816

It's 'ere we go, ere we go, ere we go' for the last in the current series of Tales from the Stave, Frances Fyfield's exploration of the handwritten manuscripts of our greatest composers. However, rather than a football stadium Frances is in the Library of Congress, Washington DC along with two US Marine Bandsmen Michael Ressler and Ryan Nowlin. They've come to see the marches of John Philip Sousa and most importantly The national march of the United States - The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Sousa's neat scores and his sketch books are far more than just interesting research fodder for these men who have marched to Sousa's beat for a lifetime.

There's fascination in his working methods, many of them explained by a third bandsman and member of the Library staff, Loras Schissel. Sousa never wrote at the piano and rarely put pen to paper before working much of his material out in his head. Melody, harmony, rhythms; these were all in place before he started sharing his composition.

And while his music is full of boisterous confidence, Sousa himself was a modest figure. A violinist and son of immigrant parents he always gave the impression that fortune was kind to him, belying the sheer effort and labour which saw him create his own touring band who were on the road for the majority of the year.

The programme tells the story of how he came to write 'The Stars and Stripes Forever', the impact it had and Sousa's place in US musical history.

The musical highlight is the moment that our three bandsmen, imitating piccolo, trombone and cornet, perform Sousa's famous trio tune (borrowed by football fans all over the world) in glorious three part harmony.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1101Mozart's Requiem2015021720150221 (R4)

The manuscript of Mozart's Requiem Mass may have had a starring role in the film Amadeus but in this opening programme of a new series of Tales from the Stave, Frances Fyfield and her guests reveal the equally extraordinary true stories behind the composer's final, unfinished, composition.

The film played fast and loose with the role of Salieri in the decline and death of the composer. In fact his role is relatively minor. But the score - or rather the scores, for Mozart's wife Constanza over-saw work on two separate volumes - tells of contributions, additions, edits and completions by at least two composers and probably more. And yet through these layers of development, a masterpiece of dramatic composition still manages to emerge.

Frances is joined by the music scholar Nigel Simeone, the Viennese conductor Manfred Huss and Jette Engelke, a member of the Wiener Singakademie choir. They help to unpick what is and what isn't in Mozart's own hand and why they believe the completed work is so close to a structure conceived by the composer.

The team is indebted to the host at the Austrian National Library, Dr Thomas Leibnitz, who allows few to see this extraordinarily valuable manuscript. "It is" he points out laconically "quite simply the most valuable piece in our entire collection".

Producer: Tom Alban.

1102Der Rosenkavalier2015022420151130 (R4)

When Der Rosenkavalier made its British premier in 1913 there was heated debate about the appearance of the on-stage bed in the first scene, not to mention the hot-blooded music that accompanied the antics thereupon! However the manuscript of Richard Strauss' most popular opera is more about extraordinary precision and detail than passionate abandon.

The huge volumes held by the Austrian National Library were actually a part payment for a Viennese house Strauss was in the process of acquiring but their appeal to one of the world's leading Strauss conductors, Simone Young is the discipline and imagination of the score's contents. Also joining Frances Fyfield to see this huge work is the Viennese Baritone Clemens Unterreiner who, as the elderly Faninal finds himself performing the part of a character who comes from the same area of the city has he does.

The opera is perhaps most famous for its three central female characters, the Marschallin, her lover Octavian, usually sung by a Mezzo-soprano, and Sophie who eventually tears Octavian away from his initial relationship. Simone's Young's insights into this triangle and how Strauss evokes it in the score in some of the most visceral romantic music of the 20th century is a highlight of this quintessentially Viennese edition of Tales from the Stave.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1103Smetana - Ma Vlast2015030320151207 (R4)

When the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana set about his famous symphonic cycle Ma Vlast - My Country or My Land, in the early 1870s, he was tapping into a national tradition surviving under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His evocations of historic landmarks like the rocky fortress of Vysehrad which overlooks another subject, the Vltava (Moldau) river have become familiar far beyond his Bohemian homeland.

Frances Fyfield is joined by the leading young Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa and the Czech Philharmonic orchestra violinist Magdalena Maslanova to unpick the handwritten manuscripts of his tone poems. They tell a story of a brilliant orchestral imagination which was still making alterations in this final version of one of his most celebrated works. But the autographs, with their agonisingly personal marginal notes also tell of a man who was losing his hearing.

To what extent this new isolation unleashed a passionate and vivid musical imagination is open to debate. Be that as it may the scores are treated with reverence by all Czech musicians for whom Smetana was an immense figure. The music sweeps all nationalities along in its familiar currents.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1104Beethoven's Spring Sonata2015031020151214 (R4)

Although the Austrian National Library has a spectacular array of autographed classical music manuscripts by Bruckner, Brahms, Schubert, Mozart and Richard Strauss, the choice for this final programme in the latest series of Tales from the Stave comes from the Librarian Dr Thomas Leibnitz.

Beethoven's Spring Sonata of 1801 might lack the grandeur of his 7th or 9th Symphony but it was commissioned by the same Viennese banker as the former. It's not even his most taxing Violin sonata. That accolade usually goes to the Kreutzer. However the manuscript, complete with a relatively young Beethoven's grumblings about his copyist, is full of examples of detailed reworking and careful crafting that give a vivid insight into a man with far more than a sense of Sturm und Drang, gravity and drama.

Violinist Florian Zwiauer and pianist Jan Jiracek von Arnim join Dr Leibnitz as they work through the three manuscript movements of a work which was eventually published in four.

As well as trying to establish where the missing movement has gone they examine the unusually neat handwriting which makes it equally unusually clear how the composer set about his work and sought to refine it and deliver a meticulous score for the publisher.

While the opening theme was later described, and more importantly marketed by 19th century publishers, as an evocation of Spring, Florian Zwiauer believes it's the slow and reverential second movement that should have given the piece an altogether more anglophile name - the Evensong sonata.

Producer: Tom Alban.

12Die Fledermaus20151027

Frances Fyfield explores the handwritten manuscript of the famous Operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II. It's held in the Wienbibliotek and the library host is Dr Thomas Aigner. Joining him is the conductor Gerrit Priessnitz, Stephanie Houtzel who sings Orlovsky at the Wiener Staatsoper and Anja-Nina Bahrmann who performs the role of Adele with the Vienna Volksoper.

12Dvorak's New World Symphony20151013

Frances Fyfield begins a new series of Tales from the Stave with one of the most popular Symphonies ever written. Dvorak's Symphony 'From the New World' was composed during his time working in American in the 1890's. There have been claims and counter-claims about his use of spirituals and native American music but the manuscript, held at the Czech National Museum of Music in Prague, and the accompanying sketchbooks, tell a story of both inspiration and craft.

Frances is joined by the world renowned Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek, the American music historian David Beveridge and, given the famous tune from the second movement, the Cor Anglais player Vladislav Borovka. To Vladislav and most Czechs it's difficult to imagine this melody having anything to do with 'bread' (let alone Hovis!) but so it is for British audiences.

However, the sketchbooks reveal a fascinating evolution of both this tune and several others that make this work so beloved of audiences the world over. The first movement, for example, was originally conceived in a major key. 'How strange' as an American songwriter was to opine some time later 'the change from Major to Minor.'

Producer: Tom Alban.

12Janacek - Glagolitic Mass20151020

Leos Janacek wasn't an obvious candidate for a setting of the Mass, but the suggestion from Archbishop Precan and his own profound sense of Czech Nationalism was enough to inspire him. In 1926, during a damp holiday at the Czech spa town of Luhacovice, he began work on his famous Glagolitic Mass. There was also inspiration in the form of his muse, Kamila Stösslová. Hundreds of letters to Kamila tell of his infatuation with her. The truth is that both she, and her husband, were somewhat bewildered by the attention of this relatively elderly man. However, he insisted to her that the Mass might be heard as an imagined wedding celebration. If that was purely a figment of his imagination it matters little. The piece is a dazzling dramatisation of the mass ordinarium with spell-binding music.

In this programme Frances Fyfield is joined by Janacek specialists Nigel Simeone along with Jan Spacek from the Janacek museum and archive and members of the Philharmonic choir of Brno, Hana Skarkova and Tomas Suchomel. The score they examine is fragmentary. Leaves of A4 sized paper scribbled out by the composer in a way that few could make head nor tail of. It was left to his copyists to piece together this astonishing material.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1301The Dream Of Gerontius - Elgar2016061420160618 (R4)

When Elgar was commissioned to write a new work for the Birmingham Music Festival of 1900 he eventually lighted on a poem by the late Cardinal John Henry Newman, The Dream of Gerontius. The resulting piece, neither Oratorio nor Cantata, has remained a favourite in this country for over a century in spite of a disastrous first performance.

When Novello's eventually decided to print the orchestral score Elgar presented his handwritten manuscript, which had been used to conduct the work for two years, to Cardinal Newman's library at the Birmingham Oratory.

Frances Fyfield and her guests, the internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano and singer of the role of the Angel, Sarah Connelly, the choral conductor and head of music at Gloucester Cathedral, Adrian Partington and the music scholar and conductor Nigel Simeone make the pilgrimage to Birmingham to see this extraordinary work which Elgar himself declared in the score was 'the best of me'.

As ever the musician's eye is drawn to the details, the nuances, the refinements in the composer's own hand, and they're not disappointed. Although the famous conductor Hans Richter used the score to conduct the work in Birmingham and elsewhere, Elgar's neat markings mean there's little more than the composer's hand on display.

There are, however, tell-tale additions by Elgar's publisher August Jaeger (The Nimrod of the Enigma Variations) and just occasionally Richter does call upon the chorus and orchestra not to rush.

The setting of Cardinal Newman's Library, the sheer beauty and complexity of the music and the sense of a composer working at the very peak of his powers make this a compelling manuscript with a moving response from the musicians lucky enough to see it.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield sees the handwritten score of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius.

1302Haydn's Drum Roll Symphony No 1032016062120160625 (R4)

Josef Haydn's two visits to London produced the final flourish of his symphonic writing. His fame, established in the Esterhazy Court in the Austro-Hungarian Empire had travelled before him and once in the UK he was something of a celebrity. But on his final departure in 1795 he took most of his music with him. The fact that the handwritten manuscript of the Drumroll Symphony, his 103rd and penultimate, is in the hands of the British Library is due to its journey by way of the French composer Luigi Cherubini.

Frances is joined by the British Library's Richard Chesser, Percussionist Mick Doran, Co-leader of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Maggie Faultless and music scholar David Wynn Jones to tell the story of that journey. They're also inspired by the careful and clear penmanship of the composer, the small but telling instructions to players and the brilliance of his creativity under the pressure of the London celebrity spotlight.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield and team explore the handwritten manuscript of Haydn's Drum Roll Symphony.

1303 LASTThe Lark Ascending - Vaughan Williams2016062820160702 (R4)

Frances Fyfield is joined by former BBC Young Musician of the Year Jennifer Pike, her father Jeremy, head of Composition at Cheetham's school of music in Manchester, and composer David Matthews to examine the only manuscript of Ralph Vaughan Williams' enduringly popular British Classic - 'The Lark Ascending'.

The score for Orchestra and Violin has been lost but the British Library have the manuscript for piano and violin, the form in which the piece was first heard at Shirehampton, near Bristol with the Violinist Marie Hall. Her autograph appears on the score but not the composer's.

There's debate about whether the manuscript is in the hand of the composer or a copyist. The guests agree that it's probably a copyist but there are so many corrections, paste-overs and rewrites that the composer's penmanship makes up almost half the score.

The beauty of the piece, a response in 1914 to George Meredith's Poem 'The Lark Ascending', is undisputed. What surprises and intrigues the team is just how much work went into what appears a very fluid, easy depiction of the Lark high above a landscape rich in Vaughan Williams folk inspired melodies. He'd put it aside over the war years and it was only in 1920, while staying near Bristol that he worked on it again. It's thought that Marie Hall was alongside him in that process of refinement and, as many people agree, perfection. Jennifer plays detailed passages that have been crossed out and, occasionally re-introduced into the score.

And there's a discovery concerning the cover leaf that it appears might go some way to explaining why the orchestral score has been lost and might yet be found.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Frances Fyfield explores the manuscript of an enduringly popular classical music hit.

1401Rossini's The Barber Of Seville2016112920161203 (R4)

The series celebrating music manuscripts returns with Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Frances Fyfield is in Italy to launch a new run of her series exploring and celebrating the handwritten manuscripts of some of classical music's greatest hits. In a series that includes works by Vivaldi and Puccini she begins with one of the most popular staples of Opera Houses across the globe, Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

The manuscript is housed in the music museum of Bologna, the city where Rossini was brought up and trained. Written at break-neck speed, and facing comparison with another version of the story of Count Almaviva, his trusted accomplice Figaro and the subject of his passion, Rosina, The Barber of Seville has been in the repertoire since its stumbling debut two hundred years ago. Joining Frances is the Bass Baritone Simone Alberghini, the Rossini scholars Daniela Macchione and Stefano Castelvecchi and the museum curator Enrico Tabellini.

Such was the urgency of the writing that many of the numbers, not least Figaro's famous opening aria 'Largo Al Factotum', are clearly composed into the score without any preliminary sketches. Busy corrections and hasty orchestration reflect both the energy of the music and the urgency of the composer. He didn't have time for the recitatives which were completed, for the most part, by a collaborator and if a rethink was required ink smudges and scratching of the paper suggest they were done straight away. As with the Opera itself the team find the energy fizzes and bubbles off the page and there are plenty of surprises for the singer Simone who discovers that age-old Figaro performing traditions have nothing to do with what Rossini wrote in the score.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1402Puccini's Madame Butterfly2016120620161218 (R4)

When Madame Butterfly opened at La Scala, Milan on February 14th 1904 it lasted one night. The audience reaction forced Puccini and his publisher Ricordi to pull the Opera and set about a series of rewrites. But in Milan's Archivio Storico Ricordi is the manuscript of that first performance with all the later markings, crossings out and additions which were to see the work become hugely popular over the years that followed. Un Bel Di and the Humming chorus are now familiar to audiences all over the world and the sweep and passion of Puccini's music ensure it's enduring popularity.

However, La Scala have decided to go back to the composer's earliest version, bringing the autographed manuscript with all its hidden material, to life.

Thanks to the generosity of the Archivio Storico Ricordi Frances Fyfield has been allowed to examine the score along with the conductor Julian Smith, the scholar Nigel Simeone and the star of La Scala's revival Maria José Siri. What they discover is a markedly different shape to the Opera which tells the story of the young Japanese girl's sham wedding to the American naval lieutenant Pinkerton and her subsequent refusal to give up on him.

Maria José gets the chance to see the material she's been rehearsing in the composer's own hand and Julian Smith explains why Puccini made the changes he made, raising many of the dilemmas that come from looking to original source material for the final word on what the composer wanted, or thought he wanted.

What's for sure is that the feverish and sometimes frantic hand are a vivid testament to a composer at the height of his powers and with an astonishing attention to minute musical detail.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1403 LASTVivaldi's Gloria2016121320161217 (R4)

The series celebrating original manuscripts ends with Antonio Vivaldi's joyous Gloria.

Antonio Vivaldi's reputation in the early years of the 20th century rested on a limited amount of printed material, largely for the violin, some of it made popular by arrangements by Bach. That was all to change in the 1920's and 30's with the discovery of the composer's own archive which had been hidden from public view for over two hundred years.

Now housed in the National Library of Turin, this new discovery propelled Vivaldi into the front rank of Baroque composers and in this country one of his most popular and appealing pieces is the choral classic the Gloria. It's thought that it was composed to mark a Venetian victory against the Turks exactly three hundred years ago in 1716.

Frances Fyfield and her team, Nigel Simeone, the local scholar Corrado Rollin and the Soprano Francesca Lanza get the chance to explore the Vivaldi archive and find the Gloria bound in with a slew of other pieces. The Gloria itself with its high energy opening, its beautiful choral writing and the borrowings from other composers in the later movements underlines Vivaldi's ability to compose for the forces at his disposal in Venice's convent, orphanage and music school the Ospedale della Pietà.

It also allows for the celebration of Dr Alberto Gentili, the Turin archivist who fell foul of Mussolini's anti-Semitic laws before his discovery of the Vivaldi archive was first heard in a special concert in 1939 - reviewed enthusiastically by, amongst others, the American poet Ezra Pound.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1501La Traviata20170502

Frances Fyfield music series returns with a look at the manuscript of Verdi's La Traviata.

Frances Fyfield is joined by the Soprano Irina Lungu and the musicologist and conductor Nigel Simeone to explore the Manuscript of Verdi's enduringly successful Opera La Traviata. The handwritten score telling the tale of Violetta's noble humility amidst the conventions and hypocrisy of 19th century Paris is held by the Ricordi Archive in Milan. With the kind permission of the Archive and their leading expert Gabriele Dotto, the team get to see the precision and brilliance of a score that contains some of the most familiar music ever to grace an Opera stage. There are also surprising omissions and examples of the striving of a perfectionist.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1502Respighi's Roman Trilogy20170509

Frances Fyfield and her team explore the manuscript of Ottorino Respighi's Roman Trilogy.

Amongst the welter of manuscripts by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Donizetti, the Ricordi Archive in Milan has several musical treasures outside the Operatic repertoire. In today's 'Tales from the Stave' the Archive's Director Pierluigi Ledda hosts Frances Fyfield and a team including musicologist Nigel Simeone and the young Italian Conductor Francesco Cilluffo as they explore the manuscript of Ottorino Respighi's Roman Trilogy. The three Symphonic Poems, The Pines, The Fountains and The Festivals of Rome are by far Respighi's most famous works. Written in the early decades of the 20th century they are full of thrilling Orchestral colours and a smattering of the very latest technology, including what may well be the first use of a Gramophone record.
They describe three quintessentially Roman scenes and events, capturing and celebrating the city's ancient heritage in a brilliant 20th century light.
The careful, neat hand of the manuscripts tells of the Respighi's influences which range from the Northern Europeans like Rimsky-Korsakov and Richard Strauss to the early Italian composers he also sought to celebrate throughout his life.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1503 LASTPuccini's La Boheme20170516

Frances Fyfield's latest series of musical explorations concludes with Puccini's La Boheme

Puccini's La Boheme is the subject of the last in the current series of Frances Fyfield's manuscript explorations, Tales from the Stave. Working their way through the often feverish handwriting of Puccini's fourth and arguably most popular opera are the internationally acclaimed conductor Gianandrea Noseda, the soprano Eleonora Buratto and the Ricordi archives leading authority Gabriele Dotto.
What they uncover is the work of a composer still honing and perfecting even as he completed the final manuscript version of his masterpiece in time for performance at the Teatro Regio in Turin. The score is cluttered with tweaks, re-thinks and a sense of urgent emphasis, as well as some of the most familiar and beautiful music of the Romantic Opera repertoire. The vibrant, unbridled characters of the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 19th century come fizzing to life in the score which makes the tragic final Act all the more poignant, something reflected dramatically on the manuscript itself at the point at which the heroine, Mimi, dies.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1601Mendelssohn's Elijah20171226

The series celebrating music manuscripts returns with Mendelssohn's Oratorio Elijah.

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

Frances Fyfield begins a new series of her celebrations of the handwritten manuscripts of famous pieces of classical music with a piece that was first heard in Birmingham. Mendelssohn's Oratorio 'Elijah' was commissioned by the Birmingham Music Festival for a first performance in 1846. The manuscript used at that first midday concert by the organist H J Gauntlet is held by the Library of Birmingham. It's the work of a German Copyist but contains amendments by the composer and organist and examples of material later removed or replaced by Mendelssohn in time for repeat performances the following year. Frances looks at the score with Simon Halsey, the current chorus master of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Choir. But the two of them are then joined by one of Britain's greatest singers, the Bass/Baritone Sir Thomas Allen, at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It's there that Mendelssohn's revised vocal score, one which he began working on within weeks of the first performance, is housed.
The reworking of choruses and solos, including the famous trio 'Lift thine Eyes', the beautiful hand and the evidence of partnership between Mendelssohn and his English translator William Bartholomew are in evidence throughout the manuscript. Sir Thomas, who sang the role of Elijah many times during his career, has a special fondness for the piece which resonates with the non-conformist background of his Grand-parents and the days of massed regional Choral Societies for whom this was a favourite from its first rapturous reception at Birmingham Town Hall, during which several of the movements were encored. And yet, today it appears to have fallen out of favour, a situation that Sir Thomas and Simon Halsey are keen to reverse.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1602Puccini's Turandot2018010220180310 (R4)

Frances Fyfield is in Milan to explore the manuscript of Puccini's last opera Turandot.

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

Frances Fyfield continues her series celebrating the handwritten scores of great pieces of classical music with another visit to the Ricordi Archive in Milan. This time she and the South African soprano Golda Schultz are allowed the rare chance to explore the huge orchestral manuscript of Puccini's final and unfinished opera 'Turandot'. At this stage in his career Puccini was the star of the Ricordi music publishing establishment, as evidenced by the specially monogrammed manuscript paper and the sheer scale of orchestra with which he was encouraged to work. With the guidance of the archival scholar Gabriele Dotto, Frances, Golda and the musicologist Nigel Simeone explore the score's many operatic highlights including the death of the slave girl Liu and the famous tenor aria Nessun Dorma, beloved of opera and football fans alike. Ricordi have also preserved the sketch material for the final, unfinished Act, left behind at the time of Puccini's untimely death. We know how he intended the piece to end, and a version with the icy Princess Turandot melting in the face of the love of Prince Calaf is familiar to many opera goers. However, Gabriele Dotto believes that the sketches and the state of the Opera as he left it suggest Puccini might have had second thoughts.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1603 LASTDelius - On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring20180109

Frances Fyfield and her team explore Delius's On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.

Frances Fyfield ends this series of Tales from the Stave with a look forward to the new year in the form of Delius' orchestral favourite 'On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring'. Now one of the most popular pieces in the British music repertoire it began life as one of two pieces for small orchestra. The melody has its origins in a Norwegian Folk song set by Delius' friend Edvard Grieg. All that we have left of Delius manuscript is a few pages of detailed sketch material. The final manuscript was sent to Germany for publication in Germany in 1912 and was lost. Frances is joined by the conductor Alice Farnham, the scholar Nigel Simeone and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Clarinettist Joanna Patton.

Producer: Tom Alban.

17Debussy: La Mer2018062620180630 (R4)

Frances Fyfield's team explore the astonishing manuscript of Debussy's La Mer.

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

Claude Debussy, who died a hundred years ago, has often been described as an impressionist composer. If that label has any validity then it's best applied to his orchestral masterpiece La Mer. Completed in 1905 it's three movements are the composer's attempt to capture the impact of the shifting power of the sea. The minutely detailed and busy manuscripts are held at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and Frances Fyfield and her team including the leading French conductors Francois Xavier Roth and Brian Schembri, along with Professor Barbara Kelly are given the chance to see it by the library's head of music Mathias Auclair.
The astonishing precision of the penmanship and the attention to detail which goes into creating the sweep and impressionistic sensations of waves, wind and spray are alive on every page.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1701Gabriel Faur\u00e9: Requiem2018061220180616 (R4)

Frances Fyfield's music series returns with the original score of Faure's Requiem.

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

Gabriel Faure's gentle and life-affirming Requiem is the subject for the first in the latest series of Tales from the Stave. Frances Fyfield is joined by the choral composer and former King's Singer Bob Chilcott who, as a young treble sang the Pie Jesu on a 1967 recording with Sir David Willcocks. Alongside him is the Fauré biographer Jessica Duchen and the host at the Biblioteque de France, Mathias Auclair.

The Requiem, completed in 1888 is one of Faure's few large scale choral works, but the manuscript pages are kept in modest library folders. Although the handwriting is careful and clear these are working documents with extravagant and curiously beautiful crossings out and re-workings. Much of that process is towards simplicity and clarity, a far remove from the drama of Requiems by Verdi or Mozart. Faure himself referred to it as something more like a lullaby of death. The 'sleep of death' he envisaged doesn't seem to give him pause. Instead it's full of light and optimism.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1702Ethel Smyth: The Wreckers2018061920180623 (R4)

Frances Fyfield celebrates the music manuscripts of Ethel Smyth's opera The Wreckers.

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

Ethel Smyth's Opera The Wreckers was first performed in Leipzig in 1906 before a limited number of productions in pre First World War Britain. However, the Overture was a perennial favourite at the BBC proms from 1913 to well after the 2nd World War.

The handwritten manuscript of the Opera, in three handsome volumes, is held at the British Library and Frances Fyfield is joined there by conductor Odaline de la Martinez and tenor Justin Lavender, both of whom performed the Opera at a BBC Prom performance in 1994. With them is the scholar Dr Sophie Fuller and the British Library's head of Music Manuscripts Richard Chesser.
Unlike many of the manuscripts that have appeared on Tales from the Stave over the years, Smyth's Opera has not had the benefit of a final critical edition which gathers all her thoughts over the years of composition and initial performance. There's a fair amount of detective work to be done in working out how many changes she made to the score after the first performance in Leipzig and the subsequent ones in London, but what is abundantly clear from the busy hand and heavily worked pages, is that this was a work written with passion and confidence and the notes at the end, clearly a response to hearing it, are evidence of a figure who was striving against the odds.

As well as the boisterous, seascape inspired music and the gentler folk melodies, there's material which may well have inspired later works by Benjamin Britten.
Ethel Smyth's life and the decline in her music making as her hearing failed may have much to do with the limited attention her music gets today. However for her champions there is ample evidence in the British Library Archive to suggest that people should look, and more importantly hear again the work of this pioneering figure.

Producer: Tom Alban.

1703 LASTDebussy: La Mer2018062620180630 (R4)

Frances Fyfield's team explore the astonishing manuscript of Debussy's La Mer.

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

Claude Debussy, who died a hundred years ago, has often been described as an impressionist composer. If that label has any validity then it's best applied to his orchestral masterpiece La Mer. Completed in 1905 it's three movements are the composer's attempt to capture the impact of the shifting power of the sea. The minutely detailed and busy manuscripts are held at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and Frances Fyfield and her team including the leading French conductors Francois Xavier Roth and Brian Schembri, along with Professor Barbara Kelly are given the chance to see it by the library's head of music Mathias Auclair.
The astonishing precision of the penmanship and the attention to detail which goes into creating the sweep and impressionistic sensations of waves, wind and spray are alive on every page.

Producer: Tom Alban.