01 July 2010

BBC - The History of British Music pt 1

I missed this four part series on its previous showings, but it's started magnificently, with the first truly great British composer, Henry Purcell. It's the BBC at its phenomenal best. Conductor Charles Hazlewood takes us through the music, palaces, and even pubs, with some brilliant performances.  The programme started with familiar works, but then Sir John Tomlinson sang a piece I'd never heard "They that go down to the sea in ships" and later "Cold Genius" from King Arthur.  He was superb, as was Elin Manahan Thomas, who performed Dido's Lament, and later "Fairest Isle", also from King Arthur.  And thank you to the Band of the Grenadier Guards, for their dramatic performance of the Funeral Music for Queen Mary (and for Purcell himself).

This wonderful programme was first shown on BBC4 on Saturday 9th May 2009, most recently on 26th June at 03:00 and now is only available on BBC iPlayer until 20:59 pm Friday 2nd July 2010. Link here. Catch it if you can!

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