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Friday - Sarah Walker with Leanne Benjamin

With Sarah Walker. Including Five Reasons to Love British Film Music; Mystery Composer; Artist of the Week: Emma Kirkby; Sarah's Essential Choice: Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No 2.

Discover definitive recordings of the greatest classical music with your trusted guide, Sarah Walker. She's joined by former principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet Leanne Benjamin

A selection of music including '5 Reasons to Love'...British film music. This week Sarah champions an art form that has seen contributions from leading and neglected British composers of the 20th century, from Vaughan Williams to William Walton. It's a genre that often struggles to be taken seriously, perhaps because in its most perfect form it's hidden from view, the audience not noticing that it brings colour to a black-and-white classic, or highlights emotional moods and landscapes, surreptitiously setting the scene.

Mystery Composer. Take part in today's music-related challenge: listen to the clues and identify the mystery composer.

Sarah's guest this week is Leanne Benjamin, former principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet. Leanne shares a selection of the music she danced to during her career, discussing her memories of choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and offering a personal insight into the world of a ballet dancer.

This week Sarah's featured artist is Emma Kirkby, one of the world's most renowned early music specialists, noted for her pure, crystal-like tone and vocal agility. Sarah showcases her repertoire including Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate, Purcell's Evening Hymn and Dowland's songs.

Sarah's Essential Choice
String Quartet No.2 in F major, Op.22.

3 hours

Music Played

  • Jean Sibelius

    Musical Box, Op.76 No.9

    Performer: Annette Servadei.
    • REGIS.
  • Georges Bizet

    Jeux d’enfants

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini.
  • Beethoven

    32 Variations on an original theme in C minor, WoO80

    Performer: Mihaela Ursuleasa.
  • 5 reasons to love... British film music

    • Eric Coates

      ‘March’ from The Dambusters

      Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Rumon Gamba.
      • CHANDOS.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Fantasia on Greensleeves

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Bryden Thomson.
  • Artist of the Week: Emma Kirkby

    • John Dowland

      Now cease my wandering eyes; Me, me and none but me

      Performer: Emma Kirkby (soprano). Performer: Anthony Rooley (orpharion & lute).
  • Rosza

    The Market Scene (The Thief of Baghdad)

    Orchestra: City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Kenneth Alwyn.
    • Silva Screen.
  • Anna Amelia of Prussia

    Sonata for flute and continuo in F major

    Performer: Trevor Pinnock. Performer: Emmanuel Pahud.
    • EMI.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Elegy, Op 3 No 1

    Performer: Andrei Gavrilov.
    • EMI.
  • Leanne Benjamin's Choice No. 1

    • Gabriel Fauré

      Pie Jesu (Requiem)

      Performer: John Scott. Conductor: John Rutter. Ensemble: The Cambridge Singers. Singer: Caroline Ashton. Orchestra: City of London Sinfonia.
  • Leanne Benjamin's Choice No. 2

    • Josef Suk

      Love Song

      Performer: Margaret Fingerhut.
      • CHANDOS.
  • Turlough O'Carolan

    Planxty Irwin

    Performer: Jordi Savall. Performer: Andrew Lawrence‐King.
    • Alia Vox.
  • Nathaniel Gow

    Miss Sally Hunter of Thurston Jig

    Performer: Jordi Savall. Performer: Andrew Lawrence‐King. Performer: Frank McGuire.
    • The Celtic Viol 2: Savall/Lawrence-King/McGuire.
    • Alia Vox.
    • 5.
  • Artist of the Week: Emma Kirkby

    • Antonio Vivaldi


      Singer: David Thomas. Singer: Judith Nelson. Singer: Carolyn Watkinson. Singer: Emma Kirkby. Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music. Singer: Paul Elliott. Choir: The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral. Conductor: Simon Preston.
      • L’OISEAU LYRE.
  • Pyotr Tchaikovsky

    String Quartet No 2 in F major, Op 22

    Ensemble: Borodin Quartet.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor

    Performer: Emil Grigoryevich Gilels. Conductor: André Cluytens. Orchestra: Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.
    • EMI.

Mystery Composer



I was once described by Stravinsky as the ‘six-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl.’
After the disastrous debut of my First Symphony in 1897, I fell into a deep depression and visited a hypnotist, who repeated to me ‘You will write your concerto…you will write your concerto.’ 
My music was banned from my home country for several years, after I was declared a ‘violent enemy’ of the state.

The answer:


Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)


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