The rediscovered Romantic composer Leokadiya Kashperova is under the spotlight on BBC Radio 3 as Composer of the Week between 12 and 16 December, ending her 150th anniversary year. A new web video exploring Kashperova's Symphony in B minor is also released in December.
This year's celebrations for the birth of Leokadiya Kashperova 150 years ago reach a final flourish with a major BBC radio feature devoted to her music in the Composer of the Week series. The five hour-long radio programmes, detailing her life and extant works, are broadcast daily between 12 and 16 December on BBC Radio 3 and will also be available on BBC Sounds. Donald Macleod hosts the programmes with guest Dr Graham Griffiths, whose researches have done so much to rediscover the lost composer's music and prepare it for publication in the Boosey & Hawkes Kashperova Edition.
The BBC series features many specially made recordings and UK premieres including the first modern performance of Kashperova's Piano Concerto. Performers include the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers, pianists Alexandra Dariescu and Mengjie Han, singers Claire Booth and Ruby Hughes, conductors Jane Glover and Chris Hopkins and the Gould Piano Trio. The series is completed with music by Leokadiya's cousin, Elizaveta Kashperova, receiving its first BBC broadcast.
> Listen to Composer of the Week on BBC Sounds
Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) was one of the most talented composers and pianists of her generation, described as ‘a most welcome phenomenon of St Petersburg’s musical life’. She studied composition with Nikolay Solovyov and piano with Anton Rubinstein. Both Glazunov and Balakirev favoured Kashperova in the interpretation of their music and she travelled internationally as a soloist to destinations such as Berlin and London. She also often performed her own compositions. Prior to 1917 most of Kashperova’s works were published and heard, but the arrival of the Russian Revolution caused her voice to be silenced. Public performances of Kashperova’s music stopped altogether because of her connections with the gentry. Private performances were rare. She continued to compose but now without any hope of hearing it played.
The Boosey & Hawkes Kashperova Edition was launched in 2021 with the publication of the composer’s Cello Sonatas Nos.1 and 2 and the piano suite In the Midst of Nature. Further releases in 2022 included the Piano Trio in A minor and the choral work Evening and Night. Forthcoming publications in the coming months complete this phase of the edition including scores of the Piano Concerto in A minor, Symphony in B minor and the Songs of Love: 12 Romances.
> View the Kashperova Edition
Boosey & Hawkes has collaborated with Dr Graham Griffiths and leading performers to produce a series of five documentary video shorts about Kashperova, which were released weekly from 16 May 2022, the date of the composer's 150th birthday.
> Watch the Kashperova video series
Timed with the BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week series is a new web documentary from Boosey & Hawkes focusing on Kashperova's Symphony in B minor. The film follows rehearsals of the symphony in April 2022 (the US premiere of Boosey's new critical edition materials), performed by the New York Repertory Orchestra under conductor David Leibowitz. This 10-minute documentary film, titled Unveiling a Forgotten Masterpiece, is released on the Boosey & Hawkes YouTube channel on 12 December.
> View the Symphony web documentary on the B&H website
BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week
Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940)
produced by Luke Whitlock
12 December 2022
Episode 1: Tutored by Rubinstein
Donald Macleod follows Kashperova’s ascent to become a highly celebrated pianist and composer and explores her relationship with her world-famous tutor Rubinstein.
Music includes excerpts from the Symphony and Evening and Night.
13 December 2022
Episode 2: Teaching Igor Stravinsky
Donald Macleod delves into Kashperova’s early career as a pianist, performing her own piano concerto and explores her impact on her pupil Igor Stravinsky.
Music includes excerpts from the Piano Concerto and Piano Trio.
14 December 2022
Episode 3: Journeys outside Russia
Donald Macleod explores Kashperova’s visit to Estonia when, despite her reputation, she becomes a student again and trips to Berlin and London.
Music includes excerpts from the Symphony and Cello Sonata No.1.
15 December 2022
Episode 4: Disagreements with Balakirev
Donald Macleod explores Kashperova's relationship with fellow composer Balakirev and features an early recording of her performing Balakirev's music in 1910.
Music includes excerpts from the Piano Concerto and Cello Sonata No.2.
16 December 2022
Episode 5: Marriage to a revolutionary
Donald Macleod explores Kashperova’s life and music during the Russian Revolution, including her marriage to a revolutionary, and how in her final years her music was silenced.
Music includes the Piano Trio and the finale of the Symphony.
> Further information on Work: Piano Concerto in A minor
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