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Wednesday - Sarah Walker, plus Rob Cowan with Alistair McGowan

With Sarah Walker. Including My Favourite Vivaldi Concertos; Music in Time: Honegger's Pacific 231; Artist of the Week: mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, featured in music by Handel.

My favourite... Vivaldi Concertos. Sarah shares her favourite Baroque masterpieces from Vivaldi's impressive range of concertos. With over 600 to choose from, Sarah discovers rarely-heard masterpieces which catch the ear with their unusual instrumental soloists such as the soft velvety tones of the viola d'amore. There are also works with eccentric titles: Proteus or the World Turned Upside Down, and styles range from the dramatic - his late concertos written in Vienna - to the joyful trilling of the Goldfinch. Sarah's line up of leading performers includes Europa Galante with Fabio Biondi, recorder player Maurice Steger with I Barocchisti, and fiery ensemble Zefiro.

Take part in our daily musical challenge: What location is being depicted by this piece of music?

Rob Cowan talks to the actor, comedian, impressionist and writer Alistair McGowan. Alistair appears at the BBC Proms next Monday in a cabaret chamber music concert devoted to the world of the French composer Erik Satie, one of Alistair's musical passions. Alistair's career has continued to diversify since his last appearance on Essential Classics in 2012, showing his culinary skills on the Great Sport Relief Bake Off, playing the title role in the critically-acclaimed 'An Audience With Jimmy Savile', as well as a successful stand-up tour with Jasper Carrott.

Music in Time: Modern
Sarah heads back to the Modern period as she explores the new art movement of Futurism and its relation to Honegger's vivid tone poem Pacific 231.

Sarah's Proms Artist of the Week is Sarah Connolly, who performs at the Proms, this Friday night in Mahler's Symphony No.3. A former member of the BBC Singers, Sarah is one of the UK's most popular mezzo-sopranos, receiving critical acclaim for her performance on stage and on disc. Her breakthrough in Handel's opera Xerxes led to roles at Glyndebourne, ENO and the New York Metropolitan Opera. More recently she has made her name in Romantic and 20th-century masterpieces such as Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Mark-Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie. This week offers the chance to explore the range of Sarah's repertoire as the tragic queen Dido in Purcell's semi-opera, the intimate depiction of a woman's life in Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben, virtuoso arias by Handel from Alcina and Hercules, Elgar's Sea Pictures, and Romantic songs from Hahn and Brahms.

Verdi prati (Alcina)
Where shall I fly (Hercules)
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
The Symphony of Harmony and Invention
Harry Christophers (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Johann Strauss II

    Excursion Train polka, Op.281

    Orchestra: Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Jiři Stárek.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Andante favori

    Performer: Alfred Brendel.
    • PHILIPS.

    • Antonio Vivaldi

      Concerto for viola d'amore and strings in A minor, RV397

      Performer: Rachel Barton Pine. Performer: Hopkinson Smith. Ensemble: Ars Antigua.
      • CEDILLE.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Pange lingua

    Choir: Polyphony. Conductor: Stephen Layton.
    • Bruckner: Mass in E minor/Motets: Polyphony/Britten Sinfonia/Layton.
    • Hyperion.
    • 13.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Piano Trio in F sharp minor, Hob.XV:26

    Ensemble: The Florestan Trio.
    • Haydn: Piano Trios, Vol.1: The Florestan Trio.
    • Hyperion.
    • 7.
  • Malcolm Arnold

    Scottish Dances Op. 59 Nos. 1, 3 & 4

    Orchestra: Philharmonia. Conductor: Bryden Thomson.

    • Erich Wolfgang Korngold

      Marietta's Lied (Die tote Stadt)

      Singer: Renée Fleming. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Jeffrey Tate.
      • DECCA.

    • George Gershwin

      Piano Concerto in F: I. Allegro

      Performer: André Previn. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: André Previn.
      • EMI.

    • Arthur Honegger

      Pacific 231

      Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Charles Dutoit.
      • ERATO.
  • Charles-Valentin Alkan

    Le chemin de fer

    Performer: Laurent Martin.
  • François Devienne

    Flute Quartet in D, Op.66 No.3

    Ensemble: Musica Reale.

    • George Frideric Handel

      Alcina: 'Verdi prati'

      Performer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Orchestra: The Symphony of Harmony and Invention. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Hercules: 'Where shall I fly'

    Performer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Orchestra: The Symphony of Harmony and Invention. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
  • Max Bruch

    Scottish Fantasy, Op.46

    Performer: David Oistrakh. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Jascha Horenstein.
    • DECCA.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    4 Etudes-Tableaux, Op.33 Nos. 6, 9, 8 & 5

    Performer: Mikhail Pletnev.
    • DG.

Mapping the Music

Answer: Scotland

The music played:

Scottish Dance No.2, Op.59 No.2
Bryden Thomson (conductor) 


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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