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Thursday - Sarah Walker with Simon Russell Beale

With Sarah Walker. Five Reasons to Love the Countertenor Voice; Artist of the Week: Simon Preston, featured in Handel's Organ Concerto in B flat and Mendelssohn's St Paul Overture.

Discover definitive recordings of the greatest classical music with your trusted guide, Sarah Walker. Her guest this week is the actor Simon Russell Beale.

A selection of music including '5 reasons to love... the countertenor voice'. As part of Radio 3's Classical Voice season, Sarah offers a selection of music that showcases the qualities of the countertenor voice. She shares works that display its virtuosity and lyrical, plangent beauty, courtesy of countertenors including Philippe Jaroussky, Andreas Scholl and Alfred Deller.

Take part in our daily musical challenge: identify a piece of music played backwards.

Sarah's guest this week is the actor Simon Russell Beale. One of the greatest talents of British theatre, Simon has taken on roles including Shakespeare's King Lear and Timon of Athens at the National Theatre, and is currently starring in Steve Water's Temple at the Donmar Warehouse. He has also received accolades for his work in television and film, including the popular spy drama Spooks. As part of Radio 3's Classical Voice season, Simon talks to Sarah about his early life as a chorister and shares a selection of his favourite classical music, every day at 10am.

The organist and conductor Simon Preston is Sarah's artist of the week. Preston is widely renowned as a virtuoso organist, as well as being an acclaimed conductor specialising in sacred choral music. Sarah will be sharing a selection of his finest recordings for organ across the week, ranging from Bach to Charles Ives, as well as performances that showcase Preston conducting choral works by composers including Purcell, Palestrina and Haydn.

Organ Concerto in B flat Op.7 No.1
Simon Preston (organ)
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock (conductor)

Overture to St Paul (arr. WT Best)
Simon Preston (organ).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Fritz Kreisler

    Marche miniature viennoise

    Performer: Midori. Performer: Robert McDonald.
    • SONY.
  • Francesco Geminiani

    Concerto grosso in D minor, after Corelli's Op 5 No. 12

    Performer: Mahan Esfahani. Ensemble: Concerto Köln.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Rondo in D major K.382 for piano and orchestra

    Performer: Murray Perahia. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra.
    • SONY.
  • Richard Wagner

    Siegfried's Rhine Journey (Götterdämmerung)

    Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Charles Munch.
    • RCA.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Sonata No.2 in D minor BWV526

    Performer: Simon Preston.
    • DG.
  • Franz Schubert

    Die Forelle, D 550

    Performer: Rudolf Jansen. Singer: Elly Ameling.
    • PHILIPS.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Orlando HWV31: Act III, Sinfonia

    Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music. Conductor: Christopher Hogwood.
    • L'Oiseau-Lyre.
  • Handel and Haydn Society, Harry Christophers & Morten Lauridsen

    O magnum mysterium

    • CORO.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Une larme

    Performer: Margaret Fingerhut.
    • Russian Piano Music: Margaret Fingerhut.
    • Chandos.
    • 4.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No.6

    Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony. Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt.
    • DECCA.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Organ Concerto in B flat Op.7 No.1

    Performer: Simon Preston. Orchestra: The English Concert. Conductor: Trevor Pinnock.
    • DG.
  • Gerald Finzi

    Eclogue for piano and strings

    Performer: Piers Lane. Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Vernon Handley.
    • EMI.
  • Arnold Bax

    The Garden of Fand

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Vernon Handley.
    • Chandos.
  • Giles Farnaby

    The Old Spagnoletta

    Performer: Pieter-Jan Belder.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Overture to St Paul (arr. William Best)

    Performer: Simon Preston. Music Arranger: Best, William.
    • SIGNUM.

Recording Rewind


Die Forelle 

Elly Ameling (soprano) 

Rudolf Jansen (piano)


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