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Building a Library: Bellini's Norma

With Andrew McGregor. Including Building a Library: Bellini's Norma; David Nice reviews Stravinsky reissues on the Deutsche Grammophon and Sony labels; Disc of the Week.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Roger Parker compares recordings of Bellini's great opera, Norma. The story of love, jealousy and betrayal is set to music that is at once lyrical, passionate and dramatic.

David Nice joins Andrew to discuss a couple of sets of Stravinsky reissues on DG and Sony - including some material that has never been out on CD before.

Andrew chooses an outstanding recording for his Disc of the Week.

3 hours, 12 minutes


Music Played

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    A Midsummer Night's Dream, Incedental Music Op.61

    Singer: Camilla Tilling. Singer: Magdalena Rosberg. Choir: Radiokören. Orchestra: Orebro Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Dausgaard.
    • BIS-2166.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Franz Schubert

    Theme and Variations on Trockne Blumen, D 802

    Performer: Pieter Wispelwey. Performer: Paolo Giacometti.
    • 1.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Piano Concerto No. 2 In G Minor Op.16 - iii. Intermezzo

    Performer: Beatrice Rana. Orchestra: Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia, Rome. Conductor: Sir Antonio Pappano.
    • WARNER CLASSICS: 082564009091.
    • 3.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Si dolce è il tormento

    Singer: Arianna Savall. Singer: Petter Udland Johansen. Ensemble: Hirundo Maris.
    • Carpe Diem Records: 16307.
    • Carpe Diem Records.
    • 8.
  • John Tavener

    O, Do Not Move

    Music Arranger: Ralph Allwood. Choir: Rodolfus Choir.
    • Signum Classics: SIGCD445.
    • Signum Classics.
    • 1.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Thou Wast, O God, and Thou Wast Blest

    Choir: Rodolfus Choir. Conductor: Ralph Allwood.
    • Signum Classics: SIGCD445.
    • Signum Classics.
    • 2.
  • Gérard Scronx

    Echo In F

    • Divine Art DDA 25134.
    • Divine Art.
    • 16.
  • Georg Muffat

    Florilegium Primum, Fasciculus VI: Blanditiae

    Ensemble: Salzburg Baroque Ensemble.
    • Challenge Classics CC72678.
    • Challenge Classics.
    • 39.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Queen of Spades (Act 3, Sc 1-2)

    Performer: Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Singer: Misha Didyk. Singer: Tatiana Serjan. Singer: Larissa Diadkova. Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik: 900129.
    • BR Klassik.
    • 1.


Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream

MENDELSSOHN: The Fair Melusine Overture Op. 32; A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music Op. 61; Hebrides Overture Op. 26

Magdalena Risberg (soprano), Camilla Tilling (soprano), Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Choir, Thomas Dausgaard (conductor)

BIS BIS2166 (Hybrid SACD)


SCHUBERT / BRAHMS: The Complete Duos / Trockne Blumen

SCHUBERT: Introduction and Variations on Trockne Blumen D.802, Op.160; Sonatine in A minor D.385, Op.137/2

BRAHMS: Sonata 1 in E minor Op.38

Pieter Wispelwey (cello), Paolo Giacometti (piano)



Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos

PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op. 16

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 23

Beatrice Rana (piano), Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano (conductor)


9.30am Building a Library

Roger Parker compares recordings of Bellini’s Norma and makes a personal recommendation.


Top Recommendation (1954, mono):



Maria Callas (Norma), Mario Filippeschi (Pollione), Ebe Stignani (Adalgisa), Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (Oroveso), Paolo Caroli (Flavio), Rina Cavallari (Clotilde), Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala Milan, Tullio Serafin (conductor)

WARNER CLASSICS 2564634111 (3CD budget)


Recommendation in stereo (on period instruments):



Cecilia Bartoli (Norma), Sumi Jo (Adalgisa), John Osborn (Pollione), Michele Pertusi (Oroveso), Liliana Nikiteanu (Clotilde), Reinaldo Macias (Flavio), Orchestra La Scintilla, International Chamber Vocalists, Giovanni Antonini (conductor)

DECCA 4783517 (2CD)

10.30am Early/Baroque new releases

Il Viaggio d’Amore

Arianna Savall (vocals, harp), Hirundo Maris



Time and its Passing

BACH, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232: Et incarnatus est

BYRD: Diliges Dominum

CRUFT: These Hours

FINZI: Haste on, my joys! (No. 6 from Seven Partsongs - Poems by Robert Bridges Op. 17)

GIBBONS, O: What is our life?

HOWELLS: Even such is time

JACKSON, GABRIEL: To Morning 'O holy virgin! clad in purest white'

KODALY: Esti dal

LEY: A Prayer of King Henry VI

PARRY: Music, when soft voices die

PART: Nunc dimittis; ... which was the son of ...

RECKNELL: Ozymandias

ROWARTH: The Evening Watch

TALLIS: Thou wast, O God; Miserere nostri, motet for 7 voices, P. 207

TAVENER: O, do not move; The Three Ravens

VICTORIA: Lux aeterna

Rodolfus, Ralph Allwood (conductor)



Mersenne’s Clavichord

ANGLEBERT: Prelude en re mineur; Prelude sur chacun ton; Longtemps y a que je vis en espoire; Dance: La Bounette; Preludes (4)

BARRE, P: Tu crois, o Beau Soleil

CELLIER, J: Pavane

CHAMBONNIERES: Sarabande in A minor

COSTELEY: Prelude - Fantasie

FEVIN: Sancta Trinitas

GARDANE: Gamba Gagliarda - Moneghina Gagliarda (attr.)

GIGAULT: Recit a trois

GOMBERT: Hors envyeux

LEBEGUE: Laissez paistre vos Bestes

MEGNIER: Prelude


RACQUET: Fantaisie

SCRONX: Echo in F

SWEELINCK: Toccata in C

Terence Charlston (clavichord)



MUFFAT, GEORG: Florilegium primum

Jochen Gruner (violin), Kathrin Troger (violin), Clarissa Miller (viola), Lothar Haass (viola), Gunter Holzhausen (bass viol), Veronika Brass (harpsichord), Ensemble Salzburg Barock


10.45am Reissues: David Nice on Stravinsky boxes

Critic David Nice joins Andrew live to discuss two recent box sets featuring reissued recordings of music by Igor Stravinsky.


Stravinsky Complete Edition

Comprising ballets, operas, oratorio, orchestral, choral, solo vocal, chamber and piano music, and including new recordings of four miniatures.

Performed by an array of Stravinsky interpreters including Abbado, Bernstein, Boulez, Chailly, Craft, Gardiner, Knussen, Levine, Maisky, Mutter, Pletnev, Pollini and Terfel.

DG 4794650 (30CD budget)


Igor Stravinsky - The Complete Columbia Album Collection

Including ballets, operas, oratorio, orchestral, choral, solo vocal, chamber and piano music by Stravinsky as well as works by Arensky, Babin, Bernstein, Bloch, Copland, Gesualdo, Gould, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schoenberg and Tchaikovsky.

Performed by a host of Stravinsky interpreters including the composer himself and his assistant, the late Robert Craft.

SONY 88875026162 (56CD + DVD Video budget)

11.45am Disc of the Week


Misha Didyk (Herman), Tatiana Serjan (Lisa), Larissa Diadkova (Countess), Alexey Shishlyaev (Tomskij and Plutus), Alexey Markov (Yeletzki), Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons (conductor)

BR KLASSIK 900129 (3CD mid-price)


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