Just a few minutes into another brilliant episode of Discovering Music (7 November, 8.20pm) about Vaughan William’s seventh symphony, Sinfonia Antartica, and the presenter Stephen Johnson is in his stride, speaking in a way that is hard to render on the page but that sounds incredibly natural and yet also like every other word is italicised.
Stephen Johnson's Discovering Music series alone is worth the licence fee.
Man Booker Prize-Winner 2005
SJ conveys knowledge and passion in fascinating language
Just heard the riveting 90 minutes of Stephen Johnson on Ravel. I'm not a pianist,
but SJ made me see Ravel as a major piano technician, as an innovator,
as a genius. All credit to Johnson's persuasive and utterly unpretentious
manner, analytic skills, and sheer quietly infectious enthusiasm without
histrionics or self-promotion. Some lovely playing too by Cedric Tiberghien
of Gaspard de la Nuit in particular.
Marvellous knowledge, fluency, musicianship, vocabulary, enthusiasm, generosity...
SJ really knows his stuff and everything he puts together is immaculately
researched and INTERESTING. Very much "Old School" Radio 3 and
thank goodness he is still around...
Gives insight into literature as well
Hermes - it is funny you should say that about getting SJ presenting
the Proms, because the very same thought went through my mind too. He's
articulate, he knows concert protocol (no gushing interjections from him
a millisecond after the conductor puts down his arms,) and umm... he isn't
bad on the eyes either.
May I second the praise for Stephen Johnson, a terrific asset for R3
and an object lesson in modest and self-effacing presentation skills underpinned
by a first rate understanding and love of his subject.
11/1 Nottingham: Royal Concert Hall, 7.30
Discovering Music: Shostakovich Symphony No 8
With Nicholas Collin and BBC Philharmonic
14/1 BBC Radio 3: Record Review
Building a Library: Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 127
22/1 London: Royal Festival Hall. 6.00
Pre-concert talk: Bruckner Symphony No 9
26/1 New York: Aspect Foundation for Music & Arts, 7.30
Concert-Lecture on Romantic Vienna
5/2 London: LSO St Luke’s
LSO Discovery Day: Carl Nielsen
17/2 Bristol Concert Hall, 7.30
22/2 London: Royal Festival Hall, 6.15
Talk: Belief and Beyond Belief, ‘Memory of an Angel’ - Berg & Shostakovich
19/3 Glasgow: City Halls, 2.00
Discovering Music: The music of Rued Langgaard
With Thomas Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
26/4 London: Royal Festival Hall, 6.15
Talk: Belief & Beyond Belief, ‘Heaven and Earth’ - Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and the German tradition
1/5 Oxford: Oxford May Music
9/5 Bristol: Colton Hall, 7.30
10/5 Birmingham: Symphony Hall, 7.30
Pre-concert talk: Vaughan Williams & Bax
11/5-12/5 Worcester - Malvern
Conducted Elgar Walks, for The Musical Brain