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Arabella Weir

Michael Berkeley's guest is comedian, actress and writer Arabella Weir. Her choices include music by Mozart, Schubert, Verdi and Beethoven, plus Kathleen Ferrier and Alfred Deller.

Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the comedian, actress and writer Arabella Weir, who created the character of Insecure Woman in the hit TV series The Fast Show, and has recently used that character's catch phrase 'Does my bum look big in this?' as the title of an international best-seller, dealing with female insecurity about weight issues. She also starred with Richard E Grant in the 2003 comedy series Posh Nosh, and is often seen on the BBC2 comedy series Grumpy Old Women. She has written other best-selling books, and contributes to newspapers and journals such as The Independent and The Guardian.

Arabella thought about taking up singing as a career, and extracts from Mozart's Don Giovanni (in the Joseph Losey film version, which she loves) and Verdi's La Traviata frame her list of choices . Her ambassador father used to play the piano, and the Scherzo from Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat, D960, recalls for her his impatient efforts, littered with expletives! Her Scottish heritage is reflected in two traditional songs, Kathleen Ferrier singing Blow the wind southerly, and The Skye Boat Song, while she chose Alfred Deller singing 'The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies' as the theme music for Posh Nosh, thinking that it would appeal to the kind of pretentious people she was satirising. Her remaining choices are the opening movement of Beethoven's 'Ghost' Piano Trio, one of the first pieces of pure classical music she came to love, and Claudio Arrau playing the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata in A minor, KV310. At the end of the programme, she gives an unexpected demonstration of her vocal powers, in competition with Montserrat Caballe!

1 hour

Last on

Sun 7 Nov 2010 12:00

Music Played

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Il mio tesoro (from Don Giovanni, Act II) [Joseph Losey film sound track]

    Performers: Kenneth Riegel (Don Ottavio), Paris Opera Orchestra/Lorin Maazel

    • CBS CD 35192/B.
  • Franz Schubert

    Piano Sonata in B flat, D 960 (Scherzo, Allegro vivace con delicatezza)

    Performer: Alfred Brendel (piano)

    • PHILIPS 438 70-2.
  • Trad

    The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies

    Performers: Alfred Deller (counter tenor), Desmond Dupré (guitar)

    • VANGUARD 08 5064.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Trio in D, Op. 70 No 1 (The Ghost) (1st movement, Allegro vivace e con brio)

    Performers: The Beaux Arts Trio

    • Philips 464 683-2.
  • Ayah Marar

    Blow the wind southerly

    Performer: Kathleen Ferrier

    • DECCA 458 270-2.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Piano Sonata in A minor KV 310

    Performer: Claudio Arrau (piano)

    • PHILIPS 416 648-2.
  • Trad

    The Skye Boat Song

    Performers: The Alexander Brothers

    • MUSIC FOR PLEASURE CDMFP 5889.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Sempre libera (La traviata, Act I)

    Performers: Monserrat Caballé (Violetta), Carlo Bergonza (Alfredo), RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra/Georges Pretre

    • RCA RD 61044.

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