Piano stool Beethovens

A BBC Radio 4 Feature presented by Ian McMillan and produced by Michael Surcombe, broadcast on 16 February 2010

The poet Ian McMillan sets out on the trail of a forgotten Yorkshire musician, one of countless composers whose work lies buried under the bottoms of amateur pianists to this day. Enthusing about the neglected Victorian hymns and parlour ballads he finds, he also discovers the passions and preoccupations of the everyday people who played and sang these pieces more than a century ago. Arthur Hervey and G.H. Clutsam are among the better-known composers he finds. One song in particular, Laban Solomon's 'Land without a Storm', tickles his imagination. McMillan tracks Laban down to a graveyard in south Yorkshire, where his body rests under a monumental stone angel as earnestly sentimental as the music he left behind.

Leanne explains the important function that thousands of parlour songs once served, and the appeal of writing them even if you weren't a Beethoven. Other contributors include Georgina Boyes and Derek Scott.

'another valued appearance!'

Michael Surcombe, BBC producer

'a very astute contribution'

George Biddlecombe, musicologist

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