Carnival of the Animals (12) Camille Saint-Saens
Catherine Bott delves into history to see how dictators dictated what composers did.
This week, Catherine Bott asks, "What impact did historical figures have on music?"
Her discoveries range from operas for which Catherine the Great wrote the libretti, through flute music composed by Frederick the Great (pictured), to operas that Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned.
Then there was the favourite pianist of Joseph Stalin who dared to criticise him, and remarkably lived to tell the tale.
Discover: One amazing pianist dared to criticise Joseph Stalin – and remarkably lived to tell the tale >
And the story of Mascagni, composer of Cavalleria Rusticana, who had close ties to Mussolini’s regime and manipulated huge sums out of the government in exchange for almost nothing!