John Suchet presents Classic FM's flagship morning program in England. Before turning to classical music, John was one of the England’s most respected television journalists. As a reporter he covered world events, including the Iran revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Philippines revolution. John has been honored for both roles. In 1986 he was voted Television Journalist of the Year, in 1996 Television Newscaster of the Year, and in 2008 the Royal Television Society awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Royal Academy of Music has awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his work on Beethoven, having written six books on the composer, including the highly acclaimed Beethoven: The Man Revealed. His bestselling biography of the Strauss family, The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna, was published in 2015.
New York City native and gifted pianist George Gershwin blossomed as an accompanist before his talent as a songwriter opened the way to Broadway, where he fashioned his own brand of American music. He composed a long run of musical comedies, many with his brother Ira as lyricist, but his aspirations reached beyond commercial success.
A lifetime learner, Gershwin was able to appeal to listeners on both sides of the purported popular-classical divide. In 1924—when he was just twenty-five—he bridged that gap with his first instrumental composition, Rhapsody in Blue, an instant classic premiered by Paul Whiteman’s jazz orchestra, as the anchor of a concert entitled “An Experiment in Modern Music.”
From that time forward his work as a composer, pianist, and citizen of the Jazz Age made him in some circles a leader on America’s musical scene. The late1920s found him extending the range of the shows he scored to include the United Kingdom, and he published several articles to reveal his thinking about a range of musical matters. Moreover, having polished his skills as an orchestrator, he pushed boundaries again in 1935 with the groundbreaking folk opera, Porgy and Bess—his magnum opus.
Gershwin’s talent and warmth made him a presence in New York’s musical and social circles (and linked him romantically with pianist-composer Kay Swift). In 1936 he and Ira moved west to write songs for Hollywood. Their work was cut short, however, when George developed a brain tumor and died at thirty-eight, a beloved American artist.
Drawing extensively from letters and contemporaneous accounts, acclaimed music historian Richard Crawford traces the arc of Gershwin’s remarkable life, seamlessly blending colorful anecdotes with a discussion of Gershwin’s unforgettable oeuvre. His days on earth were limited to the summertime of life. But the spirit and inventive vitality of the music he left behind lives on.
'Jane Glover has pulled off a coup des livres with her fresh take on Mozart's life and work’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Readable, informative and moving...Her passion for the music shines through this touching, vividly told story' Sunday Times
Giuseppe Verdi remains the greatest operatic composer that Italy, the home of opera, has ever produced. Yet throughout his lifetime he claimed to detest composing and repeatedly rejected it. He was a landowner, a farmer, a politician and symbol of Italian independence; but his music tells a different story.
An obsessive perfectionist, Verdi drove collaborators to despair but his works lauded from the start as dazzling feats of composition and characterization. From Rigoletto to Otello, La Traviatato to Aida, Verdi’s canon encompassed the full range of human emotion. His private life was no less complex: he suffered great loss, and went out of his way to antagonize supporters and his own family. An outspoken advocate of Italian independence and a sharp critic of the church, he was often at odds with nineteenth-century society.
In Verdi: The Man Revealed, John Suchet attempts to get under the skin of perhaps the most private composer who ever lived. Unraveling his protestations, his deliberate embellishments and disavowals, Suchet reveals the true character of this great artist—and the art for which he will be forever known.
The phrase "full of noises," from Caliban's speech in The Tempest, refers both to the sounds "swirling around" Adès's head that are transmuted into music and to the vast array of his musical influences—from Sephardic folk music, to 1980s electronica, to Adès's passion for Beethoven and Janácek and his equally visceral dislike of Wagner. It also suggests "the creative friction" essential to any authentic dialogue. As readers of these "wilfully brilliant" conversations will quickly discover, Thomas Adès: Full of Noises brings us into the "revelatory kaleidoscope" of Adès's world.
For John it was love at first sight. For many years he had admired Bonnie from afar, hoping and dreaming one day she would feel the same way. Nearly a decade after they first met, their passionate and romantic love affair began. They married in 1985 – head over heels in love – and have enjoyed over 20 years of love and laughter; both had been married before (she had two children and he had three) but both felt, the day they married, they finally joined their other half.
In March 2004 John began to notice strange quirks in Bonnie's behaviour. She underwent her first set of neurological tests in March 2005, which brought back no definite results. Then, in February 2006, following a second set of tests, she was diagnosed with Dementia.
For three years John personally cared for his beloved wife, keeping her condition secret from all but family and close friends. But in the middle of September this year, over 26 years after his life with Bonnie began, John made the agonising decision to move his wife to a full-time care home.
Written in passionate and vivid prose, that captures both the warmth of the good times and the utter despair of the bad times, John weaves together a series of moving and heartfelt stories. In this combination of present day descriptions of life with Bonnie, as her carer, and memories of the romantic years they shared together, John gives a unique – and at times stark – insight into the pain of witnessing a loved one lose their memory.
This is a story of pain and despair, and anger and guilt. But above all that it is a story of love; a story of devotion and dedication, and the pleasure that those little moments of recognition, those glimmers of joy, can give – even in the hardest times.