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Friday - Sarah Walker with Simon Russell Beale

With Sarah Walker. Including Five Reasons to Love the Countertenor Voice; Musical challenge; Artist of the Week: Simon Preston, featured conducting Haydn's Missa Sanctae Caeciliae.

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 today's musical challenge: trace the classical theme behind a well-known song.

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.

Missa Sanctae Caeciliae
The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The Academy of Ancient Music
Simon Preston (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Leroy Anderson

    Plink Plank Plunk

    Orchestra: The New London Orchestra. Conductor: Ronald Corp.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Seven Variations on 'Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen', WoO 46

    Performer: Mischa Maisky. Performer: Martha Argerich.
    • DG.
  • anon

    Lord Randall

    Performer: Andreas Martin. Singer: Andreas Scholl.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Flute Concerto in G minor, RV 439, 'La notte'

    Performer: Sébastien Marq. Ensemble: Ensemble Matheus. Director: Jean‐Christophe Spinosi.
    • Naive.
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

    Nuit sur le Mount Triglav (Mlada Act III)

    Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev. Orchestra: Russian National Orchestra.
    • Pentatone.
  • Howard Cable

    The Brothers Gershwin - medley for organ

    Performer: Simon Preston.
    • Royal Albert Hall Organ Restored: Simon Preston.
    • Signum Classics.
    • 9.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Polonaise in A flat major, Op 53, 'Eroica'

    Performer: Maurizio Pollini.
    • Chopin: Polonaises: Maurizio Pollini.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Richard Rodgers

    'Come home', from Allegro

    Performer: Orchestra of Opera North. Singer: Bryn Terfel. Conductor: Paul Daniel.
    • DG.
  • Robert Schumann

    Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23; 2nd mvt, Langsam

    Performer: Joshua Bell. Conductor: Christoph von Dohnányi. Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra.
    • DECCA.
  • Claude Debussy

    Estampes - La soiree dans Grenade

    Performer: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
    • Chandos.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Oboe Concerto in C major, K 314

    Performer: Alexei Ogrintchouk. Orchestra: Lietuvos kamerinis orkestras.
    • BIS.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov


    Ensemble: Leipziger Streichquartett.
    • MDG.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Missa Sanctae Caeciliae - Gloria

    Singer: David Thomas. Singer: Judith Nelson. Singer: Martyn Hill. Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music. Singer: Margaret Cable. Choir: The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral. Conductor: Simon Preston.
  • Aaron Copland

    The Red Pony Suite: Morning on the Ranch; Walk to the Bunkhouse

    Orchestra: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: JoAnn Falletta.
    • NAXOS.
  • George Frideric Handel

    My heart is inditing, HWV 261

    Choir: Choir of Westminster Abbey. Orchestra: The English Concert. Conductor: Simon Preston.
    • Archiv.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV565

    Performer: Simon Preston.
    • DG.

Classical Roots


Till the end of time  

Perry Como (singer) 

with Orchestra 



Polonaise No. 6 in A flat, Op. 53 ‘Heroique’ 

Maurizio Poliini (piano) 


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