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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Stephen Fry

With Rob Cowan. CD of the Week: Dances - Benjamin Grosvenor; Brainteaser: Who Am I?; Proms Artist of the Week: Andrew Litton; Rob's Essential Choice: Bach orch Mahler: Suite.

Rob Cowan's guest this week is the writer, actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry.

A selection of music, including the Essential CD of the Week: Dances, Benjamin Grosvenor, DECCA. We also have our daily brainteaser at 9.30.

Proms Artist of the Week: Andrew Litton.

Rob's guest this week is the writer, actor, and broadcaster Stephen Fry.

Stephen admits that beneath the puckish and jovial exterior there lies a miasma of contradictions. He strives for bold authenticity and truth, but is known for his modest self-effacement and insecurities. Early success in series such as Blackadder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster, led to film roles (Wilde; Gosford Park ; Alice in Wonderland; The Hobbit), novels (The Liar and The Hippopotamus to name but two) autobiographical memoirs (Moab Is My Washpot; More Fool Me, published this month) and a series of challenging and critically-acclaimed documentaries including Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, in which he discusses his bipolar disorder; Stephen Fry: Wagner and Me, on the stain of Nazism on the reputation of Wagner; Stephen Fry: Out There, in which he explores attitudes to homosexuality and the lives of gay people in different parts of the globe. Currently the host of the popular quiz show QI, Stephen has appeared on popular panel games such as Just a Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Stephen's music choices include classic recordings of Wilhelm Kempff performing Beethoven and Glenn Gould performing Bach, as well as great opera recordings of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro conducted by Georg Solti, Verdi's Rigoletto featuring Luciano Pavarotti and Dame Joan Sutherland, and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler.

Rob's Essential Choice
Bach orch. Mahler
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly (conductor)

2 hours, 58 minutes

Music Played

  • Giovanni Gabrieli

    Canzon No. 14 a 10

    Conductor: Paul McCreesh. Ensemble: Gabrieli Players.
    • Archiv.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Concerto grosso Op. 6 No. 1 in G major

    Orchestra: Il Giardino Armonico. Director: Giovanni Antonini.
    • L'Oiseau-Lyre.
  • Alexander Scriabin

    Valse in A flat major

    Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor.
    • Decca.
  • Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov

    Village Scene by the Inn

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Vassily Sinaisky.
    • Chandos.
  • Thad Jones

    A Child is Born

    Performer: Andrew Litton. Music Arranger: Oscar Peterson.
    • BIS.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Barcorolle in F major, Op. 108

    Performer: Cristina Ortiz. Ensemble: Fine Arts Quartet.
    • Naxos.
  • Jonathan Dove

    Seek Him that maketh the seven stars

    Choir: Wells Cathedral Choir. Performer: Jonathan Vaughn. Conductor: Matthew Owens.
    • Hyperion.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Un bel di vedremo (Madame Butterfly)

    Singer: Victoria de los Ángeles. Orchestra: Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Conductor: Gabriele Santini.
    • Alto.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Piano Concerto No. 2

    Performer: Marc-André Hamelin. Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • Hyperion.
  • Boyce

    Symphony No. 5 in D major

    Performer: The English Concert. Performer: Trevor Pinnock (conductor).
    • ARCHIV.
  • Charles-Valentin Alkan

    La chanson de la folle au bord de la mer (Prelude Op. 31 No.8)

    Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • Hyperion.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Adagio Cantabile (Piano Sonata in C minor, 'Pathetique', op. 13)

    Performer: Wilhelm Kempff.
    • DG.
  • Henry Purcell

    The Virtuous Wife or Luck at Last: Song Tune - Slow Air - Air

    Performer: Academy of Ancient Music. Performer: Christopher Hogwood (conductor).
    • DECCA.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach


    Orchestrator: Gustav Mahler. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly. Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
    • Decca.
  • Frederick Delius


    Performer: Hallé. Performer: Vernon Handley (conductor).
    • EMI.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Violin Concerto in D

    Performer: Arthur Grumiaux (violin). Performer: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Performer: Ernest Bour (conductor).
    • PHILIPS.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BWV 418

    Performer: Amsterdam Baroque Choir. Performer: Ton Koopman (conductor).
    • TELDEC.

Today's Brainteaser Answer - Who am I?

Cio-Cio-San (Madam Butterfly), the heroine of Puccini’s opera. She commits suicide after being abandoned and betrayed by her husband, a lieutenant in the US navy.


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