How were the great composers inspired by their mothers?

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

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. 

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