Presenter Simon Callow journeys to Paris, where Debussy studied and performed, and also to Montfort-l'Amaury, just west of Paris, the home town of Maurice Ravel.
Over the years, this series has visited many of the major European cities and, in this very special episode, Aled guides us through some of the most important music festivals that take place in them each year.
We discover the eccentric world of Percy Grainger and his place of birth, Melbourne. We follow his life through his music, his relationships with other great composers of the time, his innovative and inventive spirit.
Aled take the series to Australia and the harbour city of Sydney. He takes us on a guided tour behind the scenes of the iconic Sydney Opera House. We also explore the musical world of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra with its emerging artists program. A stunning experience visually and musically.
Aled takes us cruising again and, along the way, we visit the gateway to the Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim and then sail through the stunning gorge with its famous steep vineyards and brilliant castles. It's an area that inspired both Wagner and Robert Schumann in their music. Then we travel on to Bonn, the birthplace of Beethoven, and Cologne to visit its magnificent Gothic cathedral. To complete our musical journey, Aled finishes this remarkable cruise from Budapest in the great canal city of Amsterdam.
After a short recap in Nuremburg, we travel to the idyllic Bavarian town of Bayreuth where Aled looks at the tumultuous life of Richard Wagner, his scandalous love affairs, his stunning Opera House and, 50 years later, the disturbing musical ties with Hitler. We explore how Wagner came to actually build his opera theatre in Bayreuth, largely funded by a royal admirer and the history of his famous Opera festival.
We cruise through to Nuremburg via a brief visit to the Czech Republic and then on to the medieval town of Regensburg to experience the great German beer and a famous historic sausage kitchen. Further downstream we visit Bamberg and Rothenburg with their stunning architecture, and all with their own part to play in classical music history. In Nuremburg Aled looks at the city's part in the dramatic events of the Second World War and explores the influence of Wagner's music on Hitler and the Nazis.
Aled tours the captivating city of Salzburg with its grand palaces and famous music festival. He explores the early life of the child prodigy, Mozart, the phenomenal music he created and, finally, his tragically premature end. We then cruise onto the German city of Passau across the Austrian border.
We follow the great Danube River as it carves its way from Budapest in Hungary to Vienna via Bratislava. The dramatic history of Budapest reveals the works of the immensely talented Franz Liszt and those who came after him Zoltan Kodaly and Bela Bartok. All shared a desire to create music with a distinctively Hungarian flavour. We finish with an overview of Vienna set to Beethoven.
We start in the heart of Europe, Hamburg then onto Vienna - unfolding the lives and music of two of the greats - Brahms and Mahler. We unveil first classical music's great romantic, Johannes Brahms, both in his birth home of Hamburg and his adopted home of Vienna, featuring his long relationship with Clara Schumann. We then explore Vienna through Mahler and visit two of the composing huts in the Austrian countryside where he wrote many of his magnificent symphonies.
Aled starts the series in Wales and he takes us on an overview of the series throughout Europe and Australia. He then explores his Welsh homeland and his musical inspirations as a child. We then delve into the strong Welsh musical traditions and their love for music featuring the life of the most noted classical Welsh composer, William Matthias.
The careers of Bach and Mendelssohn reached their height in Leipzig. Niki performs part of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and we visit the publishers Schott in the city of Mainz to learn the craft of music engraving and look at the original manuscript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
The young JS Bach's career path though eastern Germany from his birthplace in Eisenach to Arnstadt and Weimar. In the Wartburg castle we learn about Martin Luther and the birth of the Reformation.
Once again we return to London and the English countryside, exploring the lives of two great English composers, Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. We also travel to the delightful village of Thaxted where he spent many years. This episode is a true picture postcard of the traditional English countryside.
Explore Europe's most fascinating cities and the classical music composed there. Welsh singer Aled Jones detours to Sydney, where he goes backstage at the Sydney Opera House and meets local symphonies and orchestras.
Explore Europe's most fascinating cities and the classical music composed there. Welsh singer Aled Jones takes us cruising along The Rhine river, an area that inspired Wagner and Schumann.
Explore Europe's most fascinating cities and the classical music composed there. Aled Jones encounters the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Bruckner all set against the scenery of the Danube River.
Explore Europe's most spectacular cities and landscapes while luxuriating in the great classical music composed within their precincts. Presented by renowned actor, writer and classical music specialist Simon Callow.
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