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  1. CC 2014 #11 Cyprus

    Thursday 17 April 2014, 18:38

    Gavin McCollum Gavin McCollum Producer, Commonwealth Connections

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    Ice crystals Ice crystals on the window flying to Larnaca

    Flying to Larnaca, I read that "Cypriots do not use indicators whilst driving - make eye contact at intersections before you pull out". Nervously navigating our hire car from the airport, my first impressions didn’t alleviate my concern; it's hard to gauge whether the men in the cafes are friendly as they rarely look up from their wooden backgammon boards, devilishly strong coffee and water chasers.

    Just such a man greets me as I arrive at his house in Sia Village, south of Nicosia. It's late and the dusky light is sinking behind the carob orchard. Michaelis Terlikkas (below) is stocky, with thick, greying hair, wearing his trademark leather waistcoat and sporting a large bushy moustache that he twists and adjusts all evening. Though not very tall, he is an imposing character.

    Michalis Terlikkas

    We exchange few words as my grasp of Greek is non-existent and I busy myself studying my notes on his songs and music.

    Michaelis then brings out an unmarked bottle and some shot glasses. He, the other musicians and I must drink. It's the rule! The liquid...

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  2. CC 2014 #12 Malawi

    Wednesday 16 April 2014, 16:51

    Laura Metcalfe Laura Metcalfe Producer, Commonwealth Connections

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    John Nyirongo performs Vimbuzu healing dance with Kang'oma cultura troupe
    We’re recording in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, in the cramped back room of a music centre that acts as a focal point for young people and today also functions as a church. In breaks between loud preaching and gospel hymns we record some of the most wonderful, vibrant and inspiring musicians I have heard during our Africa travels.
    Waliko Makhala Waliko Makhala
    Waliko Makhala (above) is our musical guide; he’s an ethnomusicologist working at the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation. He tells me this country is rich with music from the various people that have settled here from across Africa, and that at his last count there were over a hundred different types of dance in the country. I’m not surprised when I hear this - it’s hard to stand still listening to the music that propels itself with constant rolling rhythms.
    Charles Chavamagwede and Avelyn White at Crossroads music centre Malawi Charles Chavala Mkanthama and Avelyn White (above) introduce us to Township Jive, a sort of post-colonial music for Malawi as a self-governing country where dances from the village are brought into the mainstream.
    Nyandoro and the Black Souls Next we meet Nyandoro and the Black souls ...

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  3. Happy 90th Birthday, Sir Neville!

    Wednesday 16 April 2014, 10:46

    Rob Cowan Rob Cowan Presenter, Essential Classics

    My producer this week, Sarah Devonald, makes her blog debut, sharing her thoughts about some of the week’s highlights, including a celebration of Sir Neville Marriner’s 90th birthday.



    Sir Neville Marriner Sir Neville Marriner in Barcelona, 2010 (photo: Araceli Merino)


    We’ve a packed week on Essential Classics, with Sir Neville Marriner celebrating his 90th birthday, a gorgeous CD of Fritz Kreisler violin favourites played by Classical Brit winner Jack Liebeck, and gardening expert Christine Walkden talking about horticulture and music. And the start of a brand new series of Georgian Pleasures at 11 o’clock…


    It’s been hard to know where to start (or end) with choosing music from Sir Neville’s massive discography so Rob and I have decided to showcase not only his work with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, but also recordings with many other orchestras he’s been associated with over his long career. Over the week we’ve Britten from Minnesota, Tchaikovsky from Stuttgart and Haydn from Dresden – the wonderful ‘Nelson’ mass featuring soloists including soprano Margaret Marshall and bass Robert Holl (that’s on Tuesday – Marriner’s birthday). Plus of course a selection...

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  4. CC 2014 #10 Tonga

    Friday 11 April 2014, 15:15

    Sushil K Dade Sushil K Dade Producer, Commonwealth Connections

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    Superstar Tonga DJ

    During our recording trip to Tonga sound engineer Joanna Adams and I experienced an overwhelming generosity of spirit and kindness from the people we met and it's seems clear why Captain Cook dubbed Tonga as 'the friendly islands'.

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    On the way to our recording location, a church hall in the small village of Lapaha, we stopped to pick up local celebrity Niti (in photo above) a breakfast time DJ for a commercial radio station in Tonga who was keen to witness us recording a large choir and...

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  5. The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

    Wednesday 9 April 2014, 10:20

    Rob Cowan Rob Cowan Presenter, Essential Classics

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    Jascha Heifetz Jascha Heifetz




    Jascha Heifetz - just the name is enough to evoke the fondest memories, but more than that I have an instant recall of the sort of tonal perfection, pure yet burningly expressive, that no other violinist even approaches. No wonder that the day after the 19-year-old Heifetz’s London debut, George Bernard Shaw wrote him a now legendary letter. “If you provoke a jealous God by playing with such super­human perfection,” Shaw warned, “you will die young. I earnestly advise you to play something badly every night before going to bed, instead of saying your prayers....

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  6. BBC Scottish SO in India - Mark Tully reports

    Saturday 5 April 2014, 00:05

    Sir Mark Tully Sir Mark Tully Journalist and Broadcaster

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    Mark Tully with tuba Mark Tully with tuba The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is currently on tour in India. They have been joined by journalist and broadcaster Sir Mark Tully …

    Delhi audiences are accustomed to Indian classical music concerts where they shout their approval at particularly moving moments in recitals. On Thursday night (3 April) 1800 people crowded into a cavernous auditorium and observed the Western Classical tradition by sitting in pin-drop silence to hear the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra play Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave), Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 5 and Tchaikovsky...

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  7. Opening of the doors of the Composers' Rooms

    Thursday 3 April 2014, 19:06

    Sara Mohr-Pietsch Sara Mohr-Pietsch Radio 3 Presenter

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    Oliver Knusssen and Sara Mohr-Pietsch Oliver Knusssen and Sara Mohr-Pietsch

    On Saturday, Hear & Now launches a major new weekly series, Composers’ Rooms, with Sara Mohr-Pietsch. Each week you’ll be able to hear a short radio portrait of a composer in their space. Sara explains how the project came about …

    A few years ago, I had a conversation with a young composer who told me he’d written a great deal of his new opera on aeroplanes. It was a practical solution to a hectic, transatlantic lifestyle, but I was shocked. It seemed so at odds with our Beethovenian image of composer-in-garret, locked in nocturnal silence, creating...

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  8. CC 2014 #9 Rwanda

    Thursday 3 April 2014, 16:55

    Roger Short Roger Short Producer, Commonwealth Connections

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    Hôtel des Mille Collines


    The Milles Collines Hotel in Kigali is known around the world as the ‘Hotel Rwanda’ of the 2004 film. The powerful story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than a thousand refugees from the genocide - it all happened here. Now, like the rest of Kigali, the hotel is beautifully restored, thanks to generous international aid from a guilty world. The hotel is now far too posh for the likes of a BBC producer to stay in, but offering a fine poolside bar to relax...

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  9. Meeting Herbie Goldberg and Uta Frith

    Wednesday 2 April 2014, 09:48

    Sarah Walker Sarah Walker Presenter, Essential Classics

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    Meeting Herbie...


    Sarah meets the one and only Herbie Goldberg at London’s Southbank Centre Sarah meets the one and only Herbie Goldberg at London’s Southbank Centre


    It feels strange being back in the yellow studio after a week spent in the pop up studio at South Bank Centre – quiet, and a bit enclosed. I'm missing having the listeners around me. I bet Rob feels the same. The bit I enjoyed most was doing the brainteaser - if the listeners knew the answer they would laugh out loud; if they were stuck, I'd hear groans and sighs. Brainteaser legend Herbie Goldberg was there - I was thrilled to meet this fount of musical knowledge (and a very modest person...

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  10. CC 2014 #8 St Lucia

    Friday 28 March 2014, 17:31

    Lindsay Pell Lindsay Pell Senior Producer, Commonwealth Connections

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    St Lucia

    Millionaires yachts and cruise liners moored in Castries’ main bay contrast with some fairly rustic local houses and fishing jetties down the west coast. The people we met were gentle quietly spoken people and this struck me as a peaceful place. Manmay La Kay, a five piece folk group is part of a folk revival trying to keep alive the local Creole traditions and they treated us to our very own Caribbean ceilidh in the Folk Research Centre. Again, the roots of this music took us straight...

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Go behind the scenes at BBC Radio 3, with insights from editors, producers, contributors, performers and Controller Roger Wright.

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