Patriot or Traitor
The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh
Walter Ralegh’s virtues led to him captaining an Atlantic voyage, winning a commission in the English army, and catching Queen Elizabeth’s eye before the age of 30, but his flaws included the monstrous egotism that led to some disastrous enterprises and to his final downfall. Anna Beer’s biography reveals both sides of the man who inspired many myths; a talented writer, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer.
Sounds and Sweet Airs
The Forgotten Women of Classical Music
For centuries female composers have been unjustly ignored and patronized, since they worked within a male-dominated musical culture that sought to exclude them, even to the extent of questioning their music’s authorship. The eight composers profiled here all challenged this prejudice with courage and pragmatism, from Francesca Caccini, who manipulated the gender politics of the Medici court, to Vaughan Williams’ pupil Elizabeth Maconchy, who fought back against sexism by working with ‘rigid self-discipline’.