Leo Black:
BBC Music in the Glock Era and After
A Memoir

edited by Christopher Wintle with Kate Hopkins
drawings by Milein Cosman
London, Plumbago, 2010

Published with support from the The Cosman Keller Art and Music Trust

Buy online at Boydell & Brewer:
Paperback (£17.99) or Hardback (£40)

Working under the guidance of Leo Black at the BBC was a seminal time in my musical development. Leo guided me through the epiphanies and thickets of Romantic Lieder, from the long and often Gothic landscapes of Schubert, through the beautiful, nostalgic reminiscences of Brahms, to the terse, neurotic, brilliant stutters of Wolf. Together, with the intellectual and visionary playing of Viola Tunnard, we three tried to discover the blue flower of Novalis. And we almost did.

Robert Tear

BBC Music thrived in the golden and now controversial era from 1959-72 when Sir William Glock was Controller, Radio 3. Leo Black’s memoir is not just a well-placed insider’s ‘factual account of how the Music Programmes Department was organized’ at this time and after, but also an astute and witty study of key personalities such as Paul Hamburger, Hans Keller, Robert Simpson and Glock himself. It contains moving character sketches of composers, especially Luigi Dallapiccola, Roberto Gerhard and Hugh Wood, and vignettes of outstanding performers including Heather Harper, Elizabeth Harwood, Janet Baker, Margaret Price, Norma Burrowes, Walter Goehr, John Shirley Quirk, Michael Langdon, Robert Tear, Alfredo Campoli, André Tchaikovsky and others. It ends with a poignant autobiographical essay. For those who want to understand the history of the BBC in the post-war years through the eyes of a sensitive and articulate musician, this is a key document, as readable as it is informative.

Leo Black

Leo Black was born in London in 1932 and educated at Wadham College, Oxford. Between 1960 and 1988 he was successively producer, chief producer and executive producer for BBC Radio Music. Since then he has written a series of essays on Schubert for The Musical Times (1997) and Opera Quarterly (1998) and a book, Schubert: Music and Belief (2003), for the Boydell Press. He paid tribute to a former Oxford tutor with his recent study of Edmund Rubbra, Symphonist (Boydell, 2008).

Christopher Wintle (Editor) is a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London. His monograph on Benjamin Britten, All the Gods, was published in 2006 (Plumbago), and he has edited four volumes of writings by Hans Keller and a further two by Hugh Wood and Bayan Northcott respectively.

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