iPlayer Radio What's New?
Playing: Orchestral Dance from "Alceste" (1674) by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Image for Portraits Day

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Portraits Day

2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 07 May 2012

As part of Radio 3's Portraits Day, Louise Fryer is joined by acclaimed actress and director Fiona Shaw to explore musical portraits of fictional, mythical and legendary characters: from Shakespeare's doomed monarch King Lear and the Finnish forest spirit Tapi, to mythological Medea and Taras Bulba, Gogol's Ukrainian Cossack. Fiona shares her insights into bringing fictional characters to life and music's ability to portray unique and inspiring individuals, real or imagined.

First performed in December 1953, Shostakovich's Symphony No 10 is a multi-layered portrait - of the composer himself through the use of his self-referencing DSCH motif, of the recently deceased Stalin who is represented in the second movement, and of Elmira Nazirova the student with whom he was in love and whose theme can be heard in the third movement.

Berlioz: King Lear Overture
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Thierry Fischer (conductor)

Sibelius: Tapiola
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov (conductor)

Barber: Medea suite (excerpts)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
conductor Marin Alsop

Janacek: Taras Bulba
BBC Philharmonic
Vassily Sinaisky (conductor)

Shostakovich: Symphony No 10
BBC Philharmonic
Vassily Sinaisky (conductor).

Music Played

5 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Hector Berlioz

    Hector Berlioz Le Roi Lear - overture Op.4

    Conductor: Thierry FISCHER Performer: BBC National Orchestra Of Wales

  • Image for Jean Sibelius

    Jean Sibelius Tapiola - tone poem Op.112

    Conductor: Ilan VOLKOV Performer: BBC Scottish S O

  • Image for Samuel Barber

    Samuel Barber Medea (Cave of the heart) - suite

    Conductor: Marin ALSOP Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra

    NAXOS, 8.-559088

  • Image for Leos Janacek

    Leos Janacek Taras Bulba - rhapsody for orchestra

    Conductor: Jonathan NOTT Performer: Bamberg S O.

    TUDOR, 71-35

  • Image for Dmitri Shostakovich

    Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony no. 10 in E minor Op.93

    Conductor: Vassily SINAISKY Performer: BBC Philharmonic


Free download

  1. Image for Radio 3 Opera Guides

    Radio 3 Opera Guides

    Radio 3 Guide to the Opera

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.