7. The Foundations of Music Programmes 1927 – 1930

The Radio Times of 28th October 1927 introduces a series entitled The Foundations of Music.  In the introductory recital James Ching was due to play the first of Bach’s French Suites (D minor) with the other five to follow.  On 3rd and 4th November he was playing the second and third Suites (according to his cuttings book) and the fifth and sixth the following nights.  The following Monday 11th, still under the title The Foundations of Music played by James Ching the programme was Bach’s Art of Fugue numbers 1, 2 and 3.  This was the first time it had been broadcast by any pianist. On 15th November the Daily News critic reports ‘The boom in Bach continues.  This week Mr James Ching is playing ‘The Art of Fugue’… this has never before been played in its entirety to the best of my knowledge.  Mr Ching comes from Leicester and is one of the best Bach pianists of the day…’ This programme continued throughout the week covering the 14 Fugues and 4 Canons. Detailed notes on each Fugue were given to listeners in the Radio Times on both the individual Fugues and again the following week when he played Fugues 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the broadcast.

On 23rd November programme schedule for the day lists the information that ‘Mr James Ching, continuing his programme of Bach at 7.15, will perform two Fugues from ‘The Musical Offering’.

1928  In the March 24th edition of the Evening News a large photo of James Ching heads the broadcast programme selection for that day.  He is the soloist in an orchestral concert given by the Birmingham Studio Symphony Orchestra at 8.30.  The selection of music represents a change from his recent all Bach concerts although he was scheduled to play the D Minor Piano Concerto.  Other music in the programme included ‘Fourth Symphony, the Welsh’ – Sir Frederick Cowen, Five Studies by Chopin, Overture to the Devil’s Country Seat (Schubert) and final movement in the ballet suite  ‘The Men from Prometheus’ (Beethoven).  This concert was relayed from the Birmingham Studio.

The Glasgow Evening Citizen of 21st January 1930 under the heading of Wireless Music reports on one of the Foundations of Music broadcasts. ‘James Ching, one of the younger school of expert pianists, is well worth considering for a few minutes each evening in the Foundation of Music Series.  The Toccata and Fugues of Bach are listed for performances and Mr Ching’s style reminds one of the finger methods advocated by the great master himself. Mr Ching’s phrasing is delightful.  There is no mistaking the reappearance of main tunes, and we feel sure that the player is really enjoying his work, which of course makes for success.’

The Manchester Guardian of 4th January 1933 reports another broadcast in the same series.  The critic writes ‘Mr Ching gave eleven of the three part Inventions (Bach).  Most of these movements, even the florid ones, are reflective in expression, and Mr Ching played them with an intimacy of touch just suited to their quietly flowing tones.’