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Henry Marsh

Michael Berkeley's guest is neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. His selections include Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti, Bartok, Prokofiev, Beethoven and African music.

Henry Marsh is one of the country's leading neurosurgeons: as a senior consultant at St George's University Hospital in South London, he has pioneered brain surgery for more than 30 years.

These are delicate, microscopic operations to deal with tumours and aneurisms where the least slip can be catastrophic: comparable, he says, to bomb disposal work. Henry Marsh's account of his career, 'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery', has become a best-seller.

In Private Passions, he talks about how his work has given him a heightened awareness of the unpredictability of life, and about the role of music in dealing with stress. He discusses the use of music during operations themselves; he used to listen to music, but after one operation went badly wrong, now feels it is inappropriate. And he gives a neuroscientist's perspective on falling in love.
Music choices include Bach's St Matthew Passion, Mozart's Magic Flute, Scarlatti, Bartok, Prokofiev, Beethoven, and African music which reminds him of time spent teaching in Ghana.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

33 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 Jan 2016 12:00

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Music Played

  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in C sharp minor, Kk247

    Performer: Fou Ts'ong.
  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in C sharp minor, Kk247

    Performer: Fou Ts'ong.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen (St Matthew Passion)

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Otto Klemperer. Singer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Singer: Christa Ludwig. Choir: Philharmonia Chorus.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen (St Matthew Passion)

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Otto Klemperer. Singer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Singer: Christa Ludwig. Choir: Philharmonia Chorus.
  • Béla Bartók

    String Quartet No.3 (Coda: Allegro Molto)

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet.
  • Béla Bartók

    String Quartet No.3 (Coda: Allegro Molto)

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Piano Concerto no.1, Op.10 (excerpt)

    Performer: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Piano Concerto no.1, Op.10 (excerpt)

    Performer: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda.
  • Ali Farka Touré

    Soukora

    Performer: Ali Farka Touré. Performer: Ry Cooder.
  • Ali Farka Touré

    Soukora

    Performer: Ali Farka Touré. Performer: Ry Cooder.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    String Quartet in B flat major, Op.130 (2nd mvt: Presto)

    Ensemble: Quartetto Italiano.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    String Quartet in B flat major, Op.130 (2nd mvt: Presto)

    Ensemble: Quartetto Italiano.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Tamino mein, O welch ein Gluck (Die Zauberflote)

    Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden. Conductor: Colin Davis. Singer: Margaret Price. Singer: Peter Schreier.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Tamino mein, O welch ein Gluck (Die Zauberflote)

    Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden. Conductor: Colin Davis. Singer: Margaret Price. Singer: Peter Schreier.

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