Comedian Rik Mayall died suddenly on 9 June 2014. Mayall's blend of rocket-fuelled physical comedy, surrealism, subversive satire and pompous punk wit left a body of work that spanned four decades. Mayall's characters include the Black Country's investigative nerd Kevin Turvey, Felicity Kendal-adoring student and 'People's Poet' Rik in The Young Ones, ruthless MP Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman, seedy loser Richie in Bottom and larger-than-life characters Robin Hood and flying ace Lord Flashheart from Blackadder. Narrated by Simon Callow, this programme salutes Rik Mayall and celebrates his part in the UK's comedy history using rare and unseen archive footage. It also features contributions from people who knew or admired him, including Michael Palin, Simon Pegg, Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle, Christopher Ryan, Tim McInnerny, Jools Holland, Ruby Wax and Greg Davies.
DIETMAR BONNEN: It starts in a time when I stopped my classical education and said: "Now I want to play in bands and improvise and play rock music". And then I've heard, for me, the first Zappa CD, "Apostrophe", and I was very impressed about the percussion parts and the parts that sounded like academic contemporary music, but played by rock musicians. And I said: "If they can do that I want to do that too". You can combine different styles.
Two books of Debussy’s piano preludes were composed in 1910 and 1913, respectively. Unlike similar opuses by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and others, they had no tonal sequence, and each piece was conceived as an individual work. In whole, the cycle is a sort of concise encyclopedia of the great French composer’s music with its fanciful and sophisticated, but so imperceptibly attractive combination of romanticism and impressionism, centuries-old traditions of piano music and cultural paradoxes of the 20th century. The titles Debussy gave to each of the preludes (they are sooner poetic metaphors) are put in the end rather than in the beginning of the notes and not intended to impose a certain character on the listener. Instead, they seem to ask riddles as if they check whether the mood of a piece is caught correctly. Debussy’s preludes found a fine and thoughtful interpreter in the person of Alexei Lyubimov.
Debussy is closer to the expressionism of Schoenberg than to the chiselled sonorities of a Chopin or the extravagant virtuosity of a Liszt, even if his refined art can still be seen in the line of tradition of 19th-century music. This is frequently forgotten in the interpretation as well as the assessment of his oeuvre. Debussy himself decried the concept of musical impressionism because he feared, rightly, that superficial refinement would degenerate into musical mist, concealing the subtleties of a new musical idiom and its structural logic. Thus, for example, instead of heading his 24 “Préludes” in two books with programmatic titles in his autograph score, he appended them at the bottom of the individual pieces.