A Passion 4 Radio – Who is Jesus?
A retired tax-collector, a travelling preacher, a literary doctor and a visionary teacher tell their versions of the last 24 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth - from the Last Supper in an upper room in Jerusalem to the hurried burial in a tomb guarded by the occupying forces in 1st-century Israel. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each add to a complex historical account of Christ’s Passion, evoking the meaning-laden locations of Gethsemane, Gabbatha and Golgotha; interweaving themes of tradition and betrayal, blasphemy and justice, rejection and sacrifice; and inspiring music from Byzantine chant via J.S.Bach to Harrison Birtwistle. But who is this Jesus, the source of so much reaction and revolution? Echoing down the centuries from the original witnesses – the followers, the political and religious Establishment, the crowds and the soldiers – the question lives on.
A Wireless Revelation
At the back of the Bible hides perhaps the most misunderstood but profoundly influential little book of them all: the Apocalypse of St John, also known as the Book of Revelation. The Apocalypse – which means “unveiling” – is a breathless and intense sequence of visions given to the exiled John on the Aegean island of Patmos, 70 miles or so from Ephesus in what is now Turkey, at the end of the first century of the Christian era. Although it’s well-known for being a challenging read, Revelation compensates right from the start with an explicit blessing on both reader and listener. Thereafter its twenty-two chapters are packed full of pictures and patterns that have inspired artists and composers (not to mention scientists, kings, and politicians) down the nineteen centuries since it was written: seven seals and seven trumpets, a beast with seven heads and ten horns, a woman with a crown of twelve stars on her head, and a…
Bach and the Art of Beekeeping
On first hearing Arvo Pärt and J.S.Bach appear to write very different music: one distilled to the point of crystalization, the other fizzing with richly-hued life. But both have the same notion of order in the universe, of a harmony greater than the musical expressions they give to it. In this patchwork narrative singer Kathryn Knight uncovers the common denominators and extramusical connections between these two iconic figures – from the art of fugue via quantum mechanics and the honeycomb to the technique of tintinnabulation. With Alan Walker, John Crook, Guy Denning, and Konrad Volker. Written and produced by Antony Pitts.
Lessons with Mozart
Jeremy Summerly eavesdrops on Thomas Attwood’s composition lessons with Mozart. Study strict counterpoint for a year, said Mozart to the young Englishman freshly arrived in Vienna in 1785, and then we’ll talk about fugues... Remarkably, the manuscripts from their lessons over the next year and a half survive, as does the study in Mozart’s luxury apartment near St Stephen’s Cathedral in the centre of Vienna; they provide a unique glimpse of a great composer setting out the tools and techniques of his trade. Also listening in to the master and pupil scribbling notes and wisecracks side by side are the Mozarthaus director Gerhard Vitek, composer and teacher Antony Pitts, and the British Library’s curator of music manuscripts, Nicolas Bell. With the voices of Nicholas Dixon, Kathryn Knight, and Toby Scholz, and students from the Royal Academy of Music.
Not In My Name
A tragic memory, a fantastic dream, and a decisive moment: half a lifetime ago an anonymous source was a little forward with the truth; not long from now an old BBC voice will ask questions about the very small, very mad world; meanwhile an author struggles to finish the beginning of her story. Featuring John Crook, Christopher Gunness, and Sally Phillips. Written and composed by Antony Pitts and Gary Watt.
The Eurovision Cadence Contest
The melodic arch and the harmonic full stop of the so-called English Cadence make a devastating couple – they tell two sides of a story that stretches back into mediaeval France and converges under the piercing gaze of today’s analytical age. But, hey, what’s an English Cadence anyway? Most musical dictionaries won’t tell you and most musicians aren’t quite sure, but it’s got something to do with sharps and flats. There’s an inherent musical contradiction in the English Cadence to do with the ancient system of modes and their gradual erosion into the major/minor keys. This ambiguity has acquired an emotional significance defying traditional notions of historical progress to resonate on the heartstrings of most musicians, especially English ones. In this rollercoaster ride through over 500 years of high and low notes, black and white notes, gut-wrenching blue notes and plain old wrong notes, Jeremy Summerly exposes the English Cadence for what…
The most fascinating beautiful little piece in all of music
“I always said the most fascinating beautiful little piece in all of music is a hymn by Orlando Gibbons, by the name Thus Angels Sang.”, said 20th-century icon Glenn Gould. “I couldn’t count the times I’ve let these bars wander through my mind or how often I’ve played them on the piano”. Kathryn Knight talks to Alexander L’Estrange and Antony Pitts about the new TONUS PEREGRINUS album and hymnbook Hymns and Songs of the Church,