Treelady Studios assisted BBC Radio 2 by digitizing rare audio assets for a upcoming special on the life of Pennsylvania’s Stephen Foster. The two part segement, called “Hard Times: The Short, Sad Life of Stephen Foster” features rarely heard Foster recordings, including 1930’s era Japanese renditions of the composer’s works.
BBC Radio’s Michael Feinstein pays tribute to the first great American songwriter Stephen Foster. Stephen (1826 – 1864) was the first songwriter to earn his living solely through his music rather than subsisting, as other songwriters did at the time, by teaching or performing. His life marks the start of popular music as we recognize it today.
The assets are part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center For American Music. The Center manages Foster’s assets, including various recordings made of his compositions. Director of the Center, Deane Root, was interviewed for the piece. Biographer Ken Emerson talked about the key aspects of Foster’s personal life and Deane L Root, musicologist and director of the Center for American Music explained the musical context of the time and why what Foster was attempting to do was so groundbreaking.
Episode one airs 15 December 2009.