The first broadcast of Piers Hellawell’s complete songbook, Isabella’s Banquet, performed by the BBC Singers is on Radio 3 In Concert on Tuesday 24 October at 7.30pm.
Taken from their recent concert in St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, the broadcast features choral works setting 19th-century female writers, curated by Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir. The texts for Hellawell’s piece are taken from Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management and deal with not with her celebrated recipes but with the poetic recitation of exotic ingredients – teas, meats, spices etc – as well as the need for good habits such as taking cold baths. The programme also includes music that those writers might have known – Mendelssohn, Stainer, Wesley, along with pieces by Finnissy, Weir, Carter and others. Following broadcast it will be available on the Radio 3
website for a month.