Thursday, June 07, 2007

Charles Hazlewood on BBC Radio 2

7 June 2007

I recently discovered the Charles Hazlewood show on BBC Radio 2 which is broadcast on Wednesday evenings at 10 pm. Hazlewood is a conductor and enthusiastic advocate of classical music. In his Radio 3 Saturday afternoon programme ‘Discovering Music’ he performs a fascinating and accessible dissection and analysis of popular orchestral works, finishing by conducting a full live performance of the work in question. Earlier this year his TV drama/documentaries on Tchaikowsky demonstrated his excitement and infectious enthusiasm in front of the camera. His weekly Radio 2 show is a wonderful example of breaking down genre barriers and appreciating good music without worrying about how it is labeled. From the barn at his home in Somerset he plays a variety of recordings from pop to country to contemporary classical to early music and discusses them with a guest musician. His guest then performs a couple of live numbers (often with Hazlewood accompanying or adding some percussion etc) before they improvise something completely new together. The result is intriguing, enjoyable and accessible whilst still resolutely musically serious – without a hint of ‘dumbing down’. Last week’s guest was Fyfe Dangerfield from The Guillemots – a band I’ve not listened to, but having heard his performances from Hazelwood’s barn I am keen to seek them out.

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