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Lady Natasha Spender

Lady Natasha Spender

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 07 Jan 2007

Pianist

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician Lady Natasha Spender. She was born at the end of the First World War and has spent her life immersed in the arts. Gifted with perfect pitch, she studied under Clifford Curzon and enjoyed a highly successful career as a concert pianist. In the months after the end of the Second World War she gave a concert at Belsen to inmates who were recovering in its hospital wing and, a couple of years later, she was chosen to be the soloist in the world's first ever televised concert for the BBC.

She was also one half of a cultural 'it' couple - for more than 50 years she was married to the poet Sir Stephen Spender. They had met at a literary lunch he was hosting and became friends after Natasha stayed behind to help him with the washing up. They were friends with many of the greats of the past century, including T S Eliot, Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. She is now the executor to Sir Stephen's very considerable estate and is writing her own memoirs.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Johann Sebastian Bach

1.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Partita for Keyboard No. 1 in B flat major - 3rd movement

Soloist: Andras Schiff

Others who chose this artist

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

2.

Castaway's favourite

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

String Quintet No. 4 in G minor - 1st movement

Soloist: Cecil Aronowitz Orchestra: Amadeus Quartet

Others who chose this artist

Carl Maria von Weber

3.

Carl Maria von Weber

Unde ob die Wolke (from Der Freisch├╝tz)

Soloist: Tiana Lemnitz

Others who chose this artist

Ludwig van Beethoven

4.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Prisoners' Chorus (from Fidelio)

Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Conductor: Arturo Toscanini

Others who chose this artist

Ludwig van Beethoven

5.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major

Soloist: Natasha Litvin (Spender) Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Basil Cameron

Others who chose this artist

Leonard Bernstein

6.

Leonard Bernstein

Gee, Officer Krupke (from West Side Story)

Artist: The original Broadway Cast recording

Others who chose this artist

Samuel Barber

7.

Samuel Barber

Piano Sonata - 1st movement

Soloist: Vladimir Horowitz

Others who chose this artist

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

8.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Clarinet Quintet in A major

Soloist: Gervase de Peyer Orchestra: Melos Ensemble of London

Others who chose this artist

Book

Desert Islands: An Anthology by Walter de la Mare

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Her grand piano

Others who chose a similar luxury

Occupations

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