Hours, days, millennia

Another feast of wonderful programmes to explore on BBC Radio 3 for International Women’s Day—women composers deserving wider attention, like those of Renaissance Ferrara; Fanny Mendelssohn, Ethel Smyth; and young composers right now. Loads more on the website—like this playlist including Amy Beach, Sofia Gubaidulina, Carole King, Sally Beamish, Joan Baez, Judith Weir, Chen Yi, Elisabeth Maconchy, Tineke Postma, Louise Farrenc… or this one, with 34 composers from Hildegard von Bingen right down to today.

And then there are all the great women singer-songwriters in pop and punk.

Hmm, one hour a day for Woman’s Hour, one day a year for Women’s Day. I do realise that they’re not entirely bound within these little cages, but still…Hey-ho. Somehow this day seems more significant this year, given the need to fight the misogyny of the current White House.

The “PC gone mad” brigade, with bees in their dainty little bonnets, may throw their toys out of the pram yet again. The often-cited riposte to the Neanderthals who bleat “Why can’t we have a Men’s Hour, eh?” is that that’s basically what all the other hours are.


While I’m about it, there’s nothing you can possibly play after Turangalîla, or even after its infinitely growing long final chord—but at the National Youth Orchestra’s Prom in 2012, they did manage to find a wonderful encore that somehow matches the spirit of Turangalîla, channelling its mood, both hieratic and exhilarating:

It’s even moving when the band gets back to clapping the composer as she comes on stage to acknowledge the audience’s clapping…

6 thoughts on “Hours, days, millennia

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