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The week ahead on Essential Classics - Ton Koopman and Debbie Wiseman

Friday 20 September 2013, 11:05

Alex Anderson Alex Anderson Producer, Essential Classics

Hello and welcome to our new Essential Classics blog - a quick look ahead to the forthcoming week. With true BBC values we’ll endeavour to educate, inform and entertain, but we will limit the number of pictures of Sarah’s cat Basil. Meanwhile, Rob has been busy in his shed ensuring we educate and inform. No-one from the team has actually seen this mythical shed but we imagine it to look something like this:

Rob Cowan's shed Rob's shed

This week we’re highlighting three things that we hope you’ll enjoy:

  • CD of the Week
  • Artist of the Week
  • Guest Interview

If you’d like to get in touch please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch via email or Twitter:

Email: essentialclassics@bbc.co.uk

Twitter: #essentialclassics 

CD of the Week

In Rob’s words, our disc this week is a 'real smasher'. It’s called Old Czech Marches and Dances and features the great Czech conductor Václav Neumann and the CPO in rousing music by various composers with unpronounceable surnames such as Julius Fucik Hercegovac and Larel Pospisil. We’ll play a track each day between 9.00 and 9.30.

We’ve also tracked down a fascinating clip of Neumann from a documentary called Václav Neumann - Life of a Conductor

Artist of the Week

One of our favourite parts of Essential Classics is our weekly Artist of the Week slot between 9.30 and 10.30. So how do we decide which artists to feature? Normally it starts with Rob coming up with lots of arcane suggestions, many of which no-one else has ever heard of. Having got that out of the way, we then simply try to ensure a good spread of well-loved artists both past and present from a varied range of instrumentalists and conductors. This week it’s the turn of the Dutch early music maestro Ton Koopman. We’ve selected some real gems including:

  • Haydn: Symphony No.98 in B flat
  • Bach: Cantata BWV120 ‘Gott, Man Lobet Dich in der Stille’
  • Handel: Organ Concerto in B flat major Op.7 No.1
  • Boccherini: Cello Concerto in D
  • C.P.E. Bach: Sinfonia in G Wq 182 No.1
  • Buxtehude: Trio Sonata Op.1 No.2 in G
  • Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV565

Ton Koopman Ton Koopman. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Guest Interview

As part of Sound of Cinema Season on the BBC, Rob’s guest on Essential Classics from Monday 20th September is the film and TV composer Debbie Wiseman. She has written scores for over 200 titles ranging from Judge John Deed, to the comedy horror Lesbian Vampire Killers, a score for which she is rather proud. There should be some interesting conversation in the pipeline every day from 10.30.

Watch a clip from a BBC Breakfast interview about Debbie’s 2011 album 'Piano Stories'




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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It is good to see you dumbing up, Alex! Keep up the good work! c;4)

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Arcane? The cheek of it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Thanks Charlie - I'll take that as a compliment... The idea is to provide a quick snapshot of the week ahead with a mix of (hopefully) interesting links, some nuts and bolts, and a few quirky bits and pieces. Posts will come from a mix of Rob, Sarah, producers, assistant producers etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    It was great to play that Heifetz Rozsa concerto recording this morning, a playing style that set the standard for so many Hollywood film soundtracks. And there's plenty more where that came from. The Korngold, of course, and the Louis Gruenberg, not to mention the Conus Concerto and Sinding Suite. That irresistible combination of pulsing emotion and jet-powered virtuosity has you on the edge of you seat. Always happy to receive recommendations, not only for Heifetz recordings but of other great artists of the past and present. That fine conductor Paavo Berglund, lost to us recently, is the subject of a new EMI Icon box which I'm featuring as a CD set of the week very soon. Some wonderful recordings there, principally from Bournemouth and Helsinki. Rob C.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Hi - great to see our blog off the ground! Have been listening to Rob this week & enjoying the interviews with Debbie Wiseman. Interesting to hear about Debbie's own take on Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - would love to hear that! Feeling v. jealous of Rob's amazing shed. That photo is real, isn't it?;-) Hang on though, what's this about restricting photos of Basil? BLOGMEISTER WILL FACE THE WRATH OF BASIL!! Now, back to work (though it's not really work), reading books by Julian Barnes - soon to be my guest on the programme. Looking forward to that...and tuning in to Rob on Monday. Sarah W

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Well, I think that Rob ought to invite his fellow presenter, Sarah, and his peerless production team around for an impromptu party in his legendary shed in deepest North London, Alex, although maybe mixing work and pleasure is not 'de rigeur' at the BBC! As for a blog for Essential Classics, I sense that it is rather tricky for Radio 3 to embrace new ways of communication, because listeners with long memories, including many of the inimitable Friends or Fiends of Radio 3 (FoR3), prefer the more formal broadcasting style championed by 'The Third'. As the Friends' online nemesis, I would agree that Twitter is largely for twits, although message boards and discussion fora tend to become surprisingly controversial. Anyway, Debbie Wiseman was a joy last week on Essential Classics, and it is not only Rob who has become a broadcasting genius over the decades. Sarah Walker, too, is now a master interviewer on the BBC. So good luck with the blog, Alex! My original comment about dumbing down is at the heart of the Friends' critique of Radio 3, so dumbing up is my quip to outsmart them, hence my choice of language. All the best! c;4)

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    OK - how about artists who flashed across the firmament like a comet and then vanished, having distinguished themselves with only a single superb recording? For example, Otto Gerdes, Karajan's bottle-washer who, I seem to remember, stepped in for his master and made a single recording of, I think, the New World Symphony, which, I seem to remember, was highly rated. Then there was Daniel Revenaugh, who conducted Ogdon's searing Busoni Piano Concerto; also Hans Bauer, who recorded my eponymous hero's symphony and Franz Schmidt's Variations on a Hussar Song and Emil Gimpel, who made several recordings, admittedly, but a masterly Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. I'm sure that there are others...

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I'm trying to find out what was playing on Radio 3 yesterday, Saturday 5th October, at around lunchtime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Sorry, that was probably the wrong place to post anything but I can't find anything that gives me yesterday's play list.


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