William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875)

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01The English Hummel20160411

William Sterndale Bennett makes a name for himself as a concert pianist, and is dubbed the English Hummel, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

With the death of William Sterndale Bennett's parents when he was very young, he went to live with his grandparents in Cambridge where his music lessons progressed. At the age of eight he became a chorister at King's College, and within a few years was sent off to the Royal Academy of Music where his talents impressed his audition panel. Not many of his early works survive, but part of his first symphony he later reworked into a motet, In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust. Bennett was also making a name for himself as a pianist performing concertos by Dussek and Hummel. He composed his first Piano Concerto in D minor at the age of seventeen in 1832. Mendelssohn was so greatly impressed when hearing Bennett perform this work in London, that he invited the younger composer to Germany not as his pupil, but as his friend.

Butterfly, Op 33 No 5 (30 Preludes and Lessons)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Piano Sextet in F Sharp Minor, Op 8 (2nd mvt)

Ilona Prunyi, piano

András Kiss, violin

Ferenc Balogh, violin

László Bársony, viola

Károly Botvay, cello

Péter Kubina, double bass

In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust, WoO 84

BBC Singers

Rupert Jeffcoat, organ

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 1

Malcolm Binns, piano

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Etude No 6, Op 11

Producer Luke Whitlock.

How Bennett made a name for himself as a concert pianist and was dubbed the English Hummel

William Sterndale Bennett makes a name for himself as a concert pianist, and is dubbed the English Hummel, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

With the death of William Sterndale Bennett's parents when he was very young, he went to live with his grandparents in Cambridge where his music lessons progressed. At the age of eight he became a chorister at King's College, and within a few years was sent off to the Royal Academy of Music where his talents impressed his audition panel. Not many of his early works survive, but part of his first symphony he later reworked into a motet, In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust. Bennett was also making a name for himself as a pianist performing concertos by Dussek and Hummel. He composed his first Piano Concerto in D minor at the age of seventeen in 1832. Mendelssohn was so greatly impressed when hearing Bennett perform this work in London, that he invited the younger composer to Germany not as his pupil, but as his friend.

Butterfly, Op 33 No 5 (30 Preludes and Lessons)

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Piano Sextet in F Sharp Minor, Op 8 (2nd mvt)

Ilona Prunyi, piano

András Kiss, violin

Ferenc Balogh, violin

László Bársony, viola

Károly Botvay, cello

Péter Kubina, double bass

In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust, WoO 84

BBC Singers

Rupert Jeffcoat, organ

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 1

Malcolm Binns, piano

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Etude No 6, Op 11

Producer Luke Whitlock.

How Bennett made a name for himself as a concert pianist and was dubbed the English Hummel

02An Angel Musician20160412

02An Angel Musician20160412

9am

My favourite... Mendelssohn choral music. Felix Mendelssohn was probably the keenest promoter of J. S. Bach in the nineteenth century and there can be little doubt that the Cantor of St Thomas's was a significant influence on Mendelssohn's own music, especially the oratorios Elijah, St Paul and the unfinished Christus. Rob's choices include extracts from all three, as well as Hear My Prayer (including 'O for the wings of a dove') and Psalm 98 - elevating works, and a joy to hear.

9.30am

Take part in our daily musical challenge: identify a piece of music played backwards.

10am

Rob's guest this week is the broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Wark. Best known as the long-standing presenter of the BBC's current affairs show Newsnight, Kirsty has presented programmes including the Late Show and The Review Show, as well as election specials. She has conducted interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher and Harold Pinter to Madonna and George Clooney, and has also made cameo appearances in dramas including Doctor Who and Absolutely Fabulous. She recently published her first novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. Kirsty will be sharing a selection of her favourite classical music every day at 10am.

10:30am

Music in Time: Baroque

Rob places Music in Time, visiting Germany in the Baroque era. In 1705, J. S. Bach walked two hundred and eighty miles to hear the great organist Dietrich Buxtehude. The virtuoso footwork of both organ masters is displayed in the magnificent pedal solos of Buxtehude's Prelude, Fugue and Toccata in C, and Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C.

11am

To celebrate the centenary of Lord Menuhin's birth, Rob has mined the vast Menuhin recording archive and come up with a dazzling array of great performances, including the 16-year-old's still unrivalled recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto under the conductor's own direction, the Third Sonata by Yehudi's teacher Enescu, with its gypsy music inflections (Hephzibah Menuhin at the piano), Bach's Double Concerto with fellow Enescu-pupil Christian Ferras, and a virtuoso 1934 recording of Paganini's First Concerto that has to be heard to be believed.

Elgar

Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61

Yehudi Menuhin

London Symphony Orchestra

Edward Elgar (conductor).

02An Angel Musician20160412

Donald Macleod discusses Bennett's visit to Germany and the time he performed for Schumann

02An Angel Musician20160412

Donald Macleod discusses Bennett's visit to Germany and the time he performed for Schumann

9am

My favourite... Mendelssohn choral music. Felix Mendelssohn was probably the keenest promoter of J. S. Bach in the nineteenth century and there can be little doubt that the Cantor of St Thomas's was a significant influence on Mendelssohn's own music, especially the oratorios Elijah, St Paul and the unfinished Christus. Rob's choices include extracts from all three, as well as Hear My Prayer (including 'O for the wings of a dove') and Psalm 98 - elevating works, and a joy to hear.

9.30am

Take part in our daily musical challenge: identify a piece of music played backwards.

10am

Rob's guest this week is the broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Wark. Best known as the long-standing presenter of the BBC's current affairs show Newsnight, Kirsty has presented programmes including the Late Show and The Review Show, as well as election specials. She has conducted interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher and Harold Pinter to Madonna and George Clooney, and has also made cameo appearances in dramas including Doctor Who and Absolutely Fabulous. She recently published her first novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. Kirsty will be sharing a selection of her favourite classical music every day at 10am.

10:30am

Music in Time: Baroque

Rob places Music in Time, visiting Germany in the Baroque era. In 1705, J. S. Bach walked two hundred and eighty miles to hear the great organist Dietrich Buxtehude. The virtuoso footwork of both organ masters is displayed in the magnificent pedal solos of Buxtehude's Prelude, Fugue and Toccata in C, and Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C.

11am

To celebrate the centenary of Lord Menuhin's birth, Rob has mined the vast Menuhin recording archive and come up with a dazzling array of great performances, including the 16-year-old's still unrivalled recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto under the conductor's own direction, the Third Sonata by Yehudi's teacher Enescu, with its gypsy music inflections (Hephzibah Menuhin at the piano), Bach's Double Concerto with fellow Enescu-pupil Christian Ferras, and a virtuoso 1934 recording of Paganini's First Concerto that has to be heard to be believed.

Elgar

Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61

Yehudi Menuhin

London Symphony Orchestra

Edward Elgar (conductor).

03Honoured by Mendelssohn20160413

03Honoured by Mendelssohn20160413

Donald Macleod focuses on Bennett's friendships with Schumann and Mendelssohn.

03Honoured By Mendelssohn20160413

Sterndale Bennett becomes the first person to hear Mendelssohn's just completed Scottish Symphony, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

Sterndale Bennett made a number of visits to Germany during his early career, where his friendship with both Mendelssohn and Schumann flourished. Schumann upon hearing Bennett's Caprice in E major, described it as a lovely flower bouquet, fresh and fragrant, beautifully coloured. He was even more generous upon hearing Bennett's overture The Wood Nymphs, rating it above similar works by Mendelssohn, Spohr, and Weber. Mendelssohn too also greatly honoured Bennett, treating him to a private play through of his Scottish Symphony completed that very day. It was during this period that the young Englishman made his debut with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, performing his own third Piano Concerto, whilst back on these shores he became engaged, and married Miss Mary Wood.

Caprice in E major, Op 22

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor

The Wood Nymphs Overture, Op 20

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Two Characteristic Studies, Op 29

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Come, live with me, WoO 47

David James, countertenor

Paul Elliott, tenor

Leigh Nixon, tenor

Paul Hillier, bass

Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 9 (3rd mvt)

Malcolm Binns, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Bennett's friendships with Schumann and Mendelssohn.

03Honoured by Mendelssohn20160413

Sterndale Bennett becomes the first person to hear Mendelssohn's just completed Scottish Symphony, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

Sterndale Bennett made a number of visits to Germany during his early career, where his friendship with both Mendelssohn and Schumann flourished. Schumann upon hearing Bennett's Caprice in E major, described it as a lovely flower bouquet, fresh and fragrant, beautifully coloured. He was even more generous upon hearing Bennett's overture The Wood Nymphs, rating it above similar works by Mendelssohn, Spohr, and Weber. Mendelssohn too also greatly honoured Bennett, treating him to a private play through of his Scottish Symphony completed that very day. It was during this period that the young Englishman made his debut with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, performing his own third Piano Concerto, whilst back on these shores he became engaged, and married Miss Mary Wood.

Caprice in E major, Op 22

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor

The Wood Nymphs Overture, Op 20

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Two Characteristic Studies, Op 29

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Come, live with me, WoO 47

David James, countertenor

Paul Elliott, tenor

Leigh Nixon, tenor

Paul Hillier, bass

Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 9 (3rd mvt)

Malcolm Binns, piano

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

04Bennett and Moscheles20160414

04Bennett and Moscheles20160414

How Bennett became firmly established as a teacher, performer and composer in London.

04Bennett and Moscheles20160414

Sterndale Bennett becomes firmly established as a teacher, performer and composer in London, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

With the departure of Moscheles from the London music scene, and students now looking for a new piano teacher, Sterndale Bennett was able to develop his own career further. He was given the honour of conducting at Moscheles's farewell concert, and dedicated his own Piano Concerto No 4 in F minor to Moscheles. In the late 1840s Bennett received the sad news that his friend Mendelssohn had died. He wrote to a fellow musician, that he'd lost the dearest and kindest friend he'd ever had. Around this same time came a disagreement with the conductor Michael Costa, which was to have ramifications for the rest of Bennett's life. On top of those sad events, combined with the many hours teaching Bennett undertook daily, he did manage to continue composing.

Piano Sextet in F Sharp Minor, Op 8 (3rd mvt)

Ilona Prunyi, piano

András Kiss, violin

Ferenc Balogh, violin

László Bársony, viola

Károly Botvay, cello

Péter Kubina, double bass

Piano Concerto No 4 in F minor, Op 19

BBC Scottish Symphony

Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor

Remember now thy creator, WoO 54

Emma Tring, soprano

Rebecca Lodge, soprano

BBC Singers

Rupert Jeffcoat, organ

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

February, WoO 56

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock.

04Bennett And Moscheles20160414

Sterndale Bennett becomes firmly established as a teacher, performer and composer in London, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

With the departure of Moscheles from the London music scene, and students now looking for a new piano teacher, Sterndale Bennett was able to develop his own career further. He was given the honour of conducting at Moscheles's farewell concert, and dedicated his own Piano Concerto No 4 in F minor to Moscheles. In the late 1840s Bennett received the sad news that his friend Mendelssohn had died. He wrote to a fellow musician, that he'd lost the dearest and kindest friend he'd ever had. Around this same time came a disagreement with the conductor Michael Costa, which was to have ramifications for the rest of Bennett's life. On top of those sad events, combined with the many hours teaching Bennett undertook daily, he did manage to continue composing.

Piano Sextet in F Sharp Minor, Op 8 (3rd mvt)

Ilona Prunyi, piano

András Kiss, violin

Ferenc Balogh, violin

László Bársony, viola

Károly Botvay, cello

Péter Kubina, double bass

Piano Concerto No 4 in F minor, Op 19

BBC Scottish Symphony

Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor

Remember now thy creator, WoO 54

Emma Tring, soprano

Rebecca Lodge, soprano

BBC Singers

Rupert Jeffcoat, organ

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

February, WoO 56

Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock.

How Bennett became firmly established as a teacher, performer and composer in London.

05Buried Near Purcell20160415

05Buried Near Purcell20160415

Donald Macleod focuses on Bennett's successful final years.

05Buried Near Purcell20160415

Sterndale Bennett with appointments in Cambridge and London becomes a national treasure, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

William Sterndale Bennett had made it to the pinnacle of musical society in England. Appointed professor of music in Cambridge, he soon also found himself principal of the Royal Academy of Music. He still continued to compose in the last twenty years of his life, including a commission for his overture The May Queen, to celebrate the opening of Leeds Town Hall by Queen Victoria. Also, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Philharmonic Society Bennett wrote a programmatic work, his fantasy overture Paradise and the Peri. When Sir William Sterndale Bennett died in 1875, his status in the land was such that he was buried in Westminster Abbey, not far from Purcell.

The May Queen, Op 39 (Overture)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

James Feddeck, conductor

Paradise and the Peri Fantasy Overture, Op 42

BBC Symphony Orchestra

James Feddeck, conductor

God is a Spirit, Op 44 (The Woman of Samaria)

BBC Singers

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

Lord, to thee our song we raise, WoO 70

BBC Singers

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

The Maid of Orleans, Sonata in A flat major, Op 46 (1st and 2nd mvt)

Ian Hobson, piano

Symphony in G minor, Op 43 (4th mvt)

Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra

Douglas Bostock, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

05 LASTBuried Near Purcell20160415

Sterndale Bennett with appointments in Cambridge and London becomes a national treasure, presented by Donald Macleod.

Reckoned by some as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett first made a significant name for himself in Germany as a composer and concert pianist. He became close friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann, and once his career started to develop back in England, he rose to become one of the country's most eminent musicians teaching at Cambridge, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Director of the Philharmonic Society. Dr Peter Horton discusses the importance of Sterndale Bennett's piano music, whilst the composer's great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett introduces the listener to scores, letters and diaries held at the Bodleian Library.

William Sterndale Bennett had made it to the pinnacle of musical society in England. Appointed professor of music in Cambridge, he soon also found himself principal of the Royal Academy of Music. He still continued to compose in the last twenty years of his life, including a commission for his overture The May Queen, to celebrate the opening of Leeds Town Hall by Queen Victoria. Also, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Philharmonic Society Bennett wrote a programmatic work, his fantasy overture Paradise and the Peri. When Sir William Sterndale Bennett died in 1875, his status in the land was such that he was buried in Westminster Abbey, not far from Purcell.

The May Queen, Op 39 (Overture)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

James Feddeck, conductor

Paradise and the Peri Fantasy Overture, Op 42

God is a Spirit, Op 44 (The Woman of Samaria)

BBC Singers

Stephen Cleobury, conductor

Lord, to thee our song we raise, WoO 70

The Maid of Orleans, Sonata in A flat major, Op 46 (1st and 2nd mvt)

Ian Hobson, piano

Symphony in G minor, Op 43 (4th mvt)

Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra

Douglas Bostock, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Bennett's successful final years.