How were the great composers inspired by their mothers?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, Sunday 15 March 2014, 9pm.

Anna-Maria Mozart mother

It's Mothering Sunday today, and Catherine Bott has another musical question to answer: "How were the great composers inspired by mothers - especially their own?"


After Brahms’s mother passed away in February 1865, the composer descended into grief and set about writing A German Requiem. We'll hear a particularly poignant moment tonight. 

Catherine also features beautiful tender moments from Ravel ’s Mother Goose and Dvorak ’s Songs My Mother Taught Me .

There's pure musical cheese too: Neapolitan song 'Mamma' , sung by Luciano Pavarotti , and the Vienna Boys Choir singing 'My mother was a Viennese'

Paul Carr’s much more recent Requiem for an Angel was also written for his mother, and Mozart ’s Piano Sonata in A minor was written during one of the most tragic times of the composer’s life - shortly after the passing of his own mother (pictured). Mozart poured his torment into this dark piece, being the first of only two sonatas he wrote in a minor key.