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Cecil Balmond

Michael Berkeley is joined by structural engineer Cecil Balmond. He selects music by Bach, Chopin, Paganini, Benny Goodman's Quartet, Brahms, Beethoven and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Structural engineer Cecil Balmond, deputy chairman of Ove Arup, has collaborated with some of the world's leading architects and artists on some of the most daring and celebrated contemporary projects. A frequent collaborator, Anish Kapoor, describes him as 'the world's greatest engineer', and he has worked with Kapoor on the 2002 Tate Modern installation Marsyas, the Tees Valley Giants, and on the 155m-high ArcelorMittal Orbit for the 2012 London Olympics. He has also partnered the Japanese architect Toyo Ito on the 2002 Serpentine Pavilion. In 2006 Balmond made his own debut as an architect, designing a footbridge in Coimbra, Portugal.

His musical tastes, as discussed with Michael Berkeley, reveal fascinating links between his own work and music. He expounds on the idea of architecture as 'frozen music', especially in the music of Bach, represented here by movements from the Cello Suite No.1 in G. His mother was a piano teacher, and he was brought up with the music of Chopin, his chosen example today being the Fantaisie-Impromptu No.4 in C sharp minor, played by Artur Rubinstein. He himself plays classical guitar, and was introduced to John Williams while at university, so another of his choices is Paganini's Grand Sonata in A major, played by Williams. He loves jazz, and has chosen the Benny Goodman Quartet playing 'Runnin' Wild', followed by part of the opening movement of Brahms's Clarinet Quintet in B minor. He loves Beethoven, especially the symphonies, the piano sonatas and the late quartets, but today has chosen a song (Adelaide), which he feels is both heartfelt and also light relief from the great structures Beethoven set in motion. Finally there's a choral piece from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which reminds him of time spent in Nigeria.

First broadcast in June 2010.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 26 Aug 2012 12:00

Music Played

  • Frédéric Chopin - Fantaisie Impromptu no 4 in C sharp minor Op 66

    Performer: Arthur Rubenstein (piano)

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Menuetto I & II from Cello Suite no 1 in G major

    Performer: Pablo Casals (cello)

    • EMI CHS7610272.
  • Nicolò Paganini

    1st mvt from Grand Sonata in A major

    Performer: John Williams (Guitar)

  • The Benny Goodman Quartet

    Runnin' Wild

    Performers: Benny Goodman Quartet: Benny Goodman (clarinet), Teddy Wilson (piano), Gene Krupa (drums), Lionel Hampton (vibes)

    • Classics 1936-7.
  • Johannes Brahms

    1st mvt from Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op115 (Excerpt)

    Performers: Karl Leister (clarinet), Amadeus Quartet

    • DG 4496112.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    'Adelaide' (from 7 Lieder) op 46

    Performers: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Jörg Demus (piano)

    • DG 4151892.
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo


    Performer: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

    • WARNER 9255822.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op.66

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Sarabande and Minuets (Cello Suite No.1 in G)

  • Nicolò Paganini

    Grand Sonata in A (1st mvt)

  • A H Gibbs

    Runnin' Wild

  • Johannes Brahms

    Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115 (1st mvt, excerpt)

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Adelaide, Op.46

  • Shabalala



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