Listen
Thomas Arne (1710-1778) - 5. A Lost Legacy
Image for Wandering Minstrels

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Wandering Minstrels

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 18 August 2012

Sarah Walker uncovers the forgotten story of one of the best known orchestras in Britain in the late 1800s: The Wandering Minstrels - a bunch of aristocrats and middle-class dilettantes who claimed to be the only purely amateur orchestra in Europe. They gave the first ever concert in the Royal Albert Hall, they raised the equivalent of millions of pounds for charity through their performances - and they really put the professionals' backs up.

And if their name seems familiar, you're probably thinking of the Gilbert & Sullivan song 'A wandering minstrel I' from The Mikado. No, the orchestra didn't name themselves after the song: the song was a tongue-in-cheek homage to the then-famous orchestra. Sullivan was good mates with the orchestra's founder, Seymour Egerton (later the Fourth Earl of Wilton), and Nanki-Poo, who sings the song, is - like the orchestra's players - a member of the nobility roughing it as an itinerant musician.

First broadcast in August 2012.

  • For more information about the Wandering Minstrels...

    ... visit www.wanderingminstrels.org

Broadcasts

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.