Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Friday - Rob Cowan, plus Sarah Walker with John Lithgow

With Rob Cowan. Including Five Reasons to Love Operetta; Musical challenge; Artist of the week: the Vienna Philharmonic, featured in Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54.

A selection of music including '5 reasons to love... operetta'. Throughout the week Rob makes the case for this sometimes overlooked genre, showcasing some personal favourites that demonstrate the many delights of light opera: charm, wonderful tunes, great singers and quirky and amusing storylines. You may not hear operetta in quite the same way again!

Take part in our daily musical challenge: listen to the music and see if you can trace the classical inspiration.

This week Sarah interviews the stage and screen actor John Lithgow. John has appeared on Broadway 22 times, winning Tony Awards for The Changing Room and Sweet Smell of Success. He received back-to-back Academy Award nominations for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment and is well known for his Emmy Award-winning performances in the television series 3rd Rock From the Sun and Dexter. Most recently he has starred in Love is Strange, Interstellar and The Homesman. John shares a selection of his favourite classical music and tells Sarah about catching the acting bug performing in Gilbert and Sullivan, how he appeared as the elephant in a ballet of Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals and why Yo-Yo Ma once gave him a private performance of Bach.

Vintage Proms 1915 - music inspired by a Prom from 100 years ago
During the BBC Proms 2015 Rob takes a look at the Proms season from a century ago and plays music that reflects a time when concert programmes were quite different from those of today. This week Rob showcases highlights including two Elgar rarities, Carillon and Polonia, Parry's Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy and Mendelssohn's Rondo brillant in E flat major, all of which received their Proms premiere during the 1915 season.

Rob's artist of the week is one of the world's finest orchestras, the Vienna Philharmonic. Since its foundation in 1842 the orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the greats, making top recordings stretching back to 1905 and performing over a hundred concerts every season. Throughout the week Rob shares the Vienna Philharmonic's interpretations of works by composers including Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, under the batons of maestros such as Karl Böhm, Claudio Abbado and Fritz Reiner.

Tod und Verklärung
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Fritz Reiner (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Johannes Brahms

    Hungarian Dance No 7

    Performer: Jascha Heifetz. Orchestra: Los Angeles Philharmonic. Conductor: Alfred Wallenstein.
    • SONY.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Grande valse brillante in E flat major, Op 18

    Performer: Georges Cziffra.

    • Johann Strauss II

      'Herr Chevalier, ich grusse Sie!' (Die Fledermaus)

      Singer: Waldemar Kmentt. Singer: Hilde Güden. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Choir: Chor der Wiener Staatsoper. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
      • DECCA.
  • Sibelius

    Pelléas et Mélisande: The Castle Gate; Mélisande; By the sea

    Composer: Jean Sibelius. Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
    • DG.
  • Edward Elgar

    Elegy Op.58

    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis.
    • WARNER.
  • Anon.

    Trinkt und singt

    Choir: Orlando Consort.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Passacaglia from Peter Grimes, Op 33b

    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis.
    • TELDEC.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Theme and Variations (arr. of string sextet No.1 in B flat major Op.18, 2nd mvt)

    Performer: Imogen Cooper.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Dieterich Buxtehude

    Canzona in C major for organ, BuxWV 166

    Performer: Christopher Herrick.
    • The Complete Organ Works - 2, Christopher Herrick, Organ of Nidaros Cathedral,.
    • Hyperion.
    • 2.

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (4th mvt)

      Ensemble: Takács Quartet.
      • DECCA.

    • Aaron Copland

      Nature, the gentlest mother (12 poems of Emily Dickinson)

      Performer: André Previn. Singer: Barbara Bonney.
      • DECCA.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Academic Festival Overture

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Pierre Monteux.
    • DECCA.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Pictures at an Exhibition

    Orchestrator: Henry Wood. Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Nicholas Braithwaite.
    • LYRITA.
  • Thomas Tallis

    O nata lux de lumine

    Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • SDG.

    • Robert Schumann

      Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54

      Performer: Evgeny Kissin. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini.
      • SONY.
  • Anon.

    I know a stronghold in heaven

    Ensemble: Trio Mediæval.
    • ECM.
  • Henri Vieuxtemps

    Violin Concerto No.5

    Performer: Jascha Heifetz. Orchestra: New Symphony Orchestra of London. Conductor: Malcolm Sargent.
    • RCA.
  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in F minor K.519

    Performer: George Malcolm.

Mystery Place

Answer: Snape Maltings


Our Classical Century

Our Classical Century

Radio 3 explores 100 key musical moments that shaped us, from 1918 to the present day.

Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough presents quirky tales gathered from the corners of history.