Playwright and Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw first came to the public’s attention as a music critic. Perceptive, informed and occasionally ruthless, his mission was to banish the mediocre and complacent from art and music making and to celebrate ‘the noblest beauty of sight, sound and action that rages within.’ He became in W.H. Auden’s words, ‘simply the best music critic ever.’ When Shaw turned from criticism to drama, music would remain at the heart of his writing informing the cadence and underpinning the structure of his works. He retained his passion for music and continued to attend musical events and to provide support to some of the most distinguished composers of his time. In this three-part series, Michael McCaffery looks at Shaw’s long life and times through the music he loved and occasionally loathed.
In episode one, Shaw takes refuge from his ‘devil of a childhood, rich only in dreams’ by teaching himself to play Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
(First broadcast October 2006)
RTÉ lyric fm, Sunday 10th December, 6pm-7pm