Music for Monarchy with Debbie Wiseman, Sundays 9pm-10pm
Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence Debbie Wiseman returns with a new series to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s 95th birthday.
Debbie will dedicate six Sunday evenings to showcasing the very best in regal music; both the world famous anthems used for coronations and great state occasions, and works composed for royalty that deserve to be better known.
Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence, Debbie Wiseman, continues her exploration of the musical world of Kings and Queens, and the musical passions of British monarchs.
This week, Debbie discovers how Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks did not debut as planned thanks to inclement weather, technical hiccups and eighteenth century traffic jams. She also explains why a fight broke out between two singers during a royal performance of a Handel work. Handel retained their services, evidently concluding that there was no such thing as bad publicity.
Debbie also reveals how the patronage of King George III created the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, and plays March for the Royal Society of Musicians written by Haydn for a society fundraiser. Finally, Dame Helen Mirren introduces a new work of Debbie’s that pays tribute to our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Sunday 25 April
Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence, Debbie Wiseman, continues her series exploring the musical world of royalty, by focusing this week on those kings and queens who played or composed music themselves.
Debbie features Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves; the English composer's take on a melody that first appeared during the time of King Henry VIII, and which – according to legend – may have even been written by him.
Debbie also reveals how Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, was a proficient keyboard player and was even visited by a young Mozart, who dedicated his Violin Sonata No.10 to the Queen. Then, Debbie discovers that King George IV was considered a "very superior" cello player. She selects a performance of Hubert Parry's Piano Quartet in A flat, that features English cellist Gemma Rosefield playing the very cello once owned by the King; an instrument described as possessing “a living quality which changes with the light, the season, and the time of day”.
Finally, Dame Helen Mirren introduces Debbie's new theme for Queen Anne, a monarch who so loved music, as a child her father arranged for her to have guitar, harpsichord and singing lessons.
Sunday 2 May
Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence, Debbie Wiseman, continues her series celebrating music connected to kings and queens with a programme dedicated to pieces composed for glittering, grand royal occasions.
She begins with a work composed by Handel for a concert on the Thames requested by King George I; a performance described as “as fine as could be desired for this occasion”. Debbie plays the Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music Suite No.1.
Debbie also explores the patriotic roots of Thomas Arne’s Rule Britannia, and reveals that the Director of Music at the 1902 coronation of Edward VII misjudged his timings for the first performance of Hubert Parry’s I Was Glad, meaning the organist was forced to improvise before the king arrived.
There’s also Crown Imperial, William Walton’s anthem written for the coronation of George VI, after the king’s elder brother sensationally abdicated, and Debbie unveils her new theme for that particular monarch, introduced by Damian Lewis.