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Playing: Scherzo no. 2 in B flat minor Op.31 for piano by Frédéric Chopin
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Tuesday - Sarah Walker

3 hours
First broadcast:
Tuesday 25 December 2012

with Sarah Walker and her guest, comedian and impressionist Alistair McGowan.

A selection of music, including the Essential CD of the Week: Grieg Choral Music - The Norwegian Soloists' Choir, BIS-SACD-1661

A Christmas feature where listeners to Essential Classics set the daily brainteaser, and performances by the Artists of the Week, Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert.

Sarah's guest this Christmas week is the comedian and impressionist Alistair McGowan. Alistair's most recent show is You Cannot Be Serious! on ITV, and he is perhaps best known for the BBC1 top-rating comedy programme The Big Impression, which won numerous awards, including a BAFTA. He provided the voices for many of the characters in the political puppet comedy Spitting Image, and has been a regular on Radio 4 comedy shows including Weekending and The Harpoon, as well as The Game's Up on Radio Five Live.

In 2010, his first play, Timing, received a nomination for Best New Comedy in the whatsonstage.com awards. As an actor Alistair has played the title role in the quirky detective show Mayo (co-writing several later episodes), Mr Kenge in Bleak House and Spock in Tim Firth's award-winning Preston Front. He has hosted Have I Got News For You?, was one of the grumpy old men in Grumpy Guides, and has appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? He is co-author of A Matter of Life and Death: How To Wean A Man Off Football.

Sarah's Essential Choice

Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Charles Dutoit (conductor)
DECCA 444 322-2.

Music Played

19 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Georges Bizet

    Georges Bizet Galop from Jeux d'enfants

    Performers: Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    PHILIPS 416 437 2

  • Image for Joseph Haydn

    Joseph Haydn Piano Trio in A Hob. XV No. 35

    Performers: Beaux Arts Trio

    PHILIPS 432 064 2

  • 9.16: Sarah's Essential CD of the Week

    • Image for Edvard Grieg

      Edvard Grieg Jesus Kristus er opfaren (Jesus Christ Our Lord is Risen), 4 Psalms Op. 74 No. 3

      Performers: Soloist: Bård Bratlie, The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, Grete Pedersen (conductor)

      BIS SACD 1661

  • Image for Louis Moreau Gottschalk

    Louis Moreau Gottschalk Le Banjo – fantaisie grotesque Op. 15

    Performers: Cecile Licad (piano)

    NAXOS 8559145

  • 9.30:

    • Image for Today's Brainteaser

      Today's Brainteaser Who am I?

      Performers: The answer is 'Wenceslas'

  • 9.31: Artists of the Week - Trevor Pinnock & The English Concert

    • Image for Johann Friedrich Fasch

      Johann Friedrich Fasch Concerto in C minor for bassoon, 2 oboes and strings L:c2

      Performers: Alberto Grazzi (bassoon), Paul Goodwin & Lorraine Wood (oboes), The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord/director)

      ARCHIV 449 210 2

  • Image for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Overture: Marriage of Figaro

    Performers: Dresden Staatskapelle, Colin Davis (conductor)

    RCA 56698

  • Image for Edward Elgar

    Edward Elgar Sospiri, Op. 70

    Performers: London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox (conductor)


  • Image for [anonymous]

    [anonymous] Tempus Adest Florium (Spring Carol)

    Performers: Female voices of Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerley (conductor)

    NAXOS 8553578

  • Image for Franz Schubert

    Franz Schubert Moment musical in A flat, D.780 No. 6

    Performers: Maria João Pires (piano)

    PHILIPS 456 928 2

  • Image for Percy Grainger

    Percy Grainger Colonial Song

    Performers: Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Timothy Reynish (conductor)

    CHANDOS CHAN 10638

  • 10.10: Artists of the Week - Trevor Pinnock & The English Concert

    • Image for George Frideric Handel

      George Frideric Handel Messiah: Part I (conclusion)

      Performers: Arleen Auger (soprano), Anne Sofie von Otter (alto), The English Concert Choir, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord/director)

      ARCHIV 423 631 2

  • 10.30: Alistair McGowan's Choices

    • Image for Erik Satie

      Erik Satie Gnossienne No. 4

      Performers: Roland Pöntinen (piano)

      BIS CD 317

  • Image for Maurice Ravel

    Maurice Ravel Maurice Ravel - Pavane pour une infante défunte

    Performers: Pascal Roge (piano)

    DECCA 440 836-2

  • Image for Sullivan

    Sullivan "When you're lying awake…" (Nightmare song from Iolanthe)

    Performers: Steven Page (baritone), Czech Symphony Orchestra, John Landor (conductor)


  • Image for Jean-Philippe Rameau

    Jean-Philippe Rameau La Triomphante

    Performers: John Kitchen (harpsichord)

    DELPHIAN DCD 34112

  • Image for Eller

    Eller Cantando espressivo (from Five Pieces)

    Performers: Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

    CHANDOS CHAN 241-44

  • Sarah's Essential Choice

    • Image for Zoltán Kodály

      Zoltán Kodály Hary Janos Suite

      Performers: Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit (conductor)

      DECCA 444 322 2

  • Image for Johann Nepomuk Hummel

    Johann Nepomuk Hummel Septet Op. 74

    Performers: Nash Ensemble

    CRD 3344

  • Today's Brainteaser Answer

    Who am I? Answer: Wenceslas the 1st, duke of Bohemia and subject of the well-loved Christmas carol, Good King Wencelas. He was assassinated in the year 935, and after his martyrdom he developed a reputation for heroic goodness, and was seen as the patron saint of the Czech state.


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