Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Thursday - Sarah Walker, plus Rob Cowan with Alistair McGowan

With Sarah Walker. My Favourite Vivaldi Concertos; Music in Time: the partsong Sumer is icumen in; Artist of the Week: Sarah Connolly, featured in Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben.

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 today's challenge: listen to the clues and identify the mystery music-related place.

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: Medieval
The focus is on the Medieval period and the oldest known surviving English partsong: Sumer is icumen in.

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.

Frauenliebe und -leben, Op.42
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
Eugene Asti (piano).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Nathaniel Gow

    Miss Sally Hunter of Thurston Jig

    Performer: Jordi Savall. Performer: Frank McGuire.
    • ALIA VOX.
  • Edgar Bainton

    And I saw a new Heaven

    Choir: The Sixteen. Performer: Robert Quinney. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • A New Heaven, The Sixteen.
    • UCJ.
    • 9.

    • Antonio Vivaldi

      Concerto in C major for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets & strings, RV559

      Performer: Paolo Grazzi. Performer: Lorenzo Coppola. Performer: Daniele Latini. Performer: Alfredo Bernardini. Orchestra: Zefiro. Director: Alfredo Bernardini.
      • NAÏVE.
  • Pedro Elías Gutiérrez

    Alma Llanera

    Performer: John Williams. Performer: Alfonso Montes.
  • Antonio Lauro


    Performer: John Williams.
  • Antonio Lauro


    Performer: John Williams. Performer: Alfonso Montes.
  • Pietro Mascagni

    L'Amico Fritz: Intermezzo from Act III

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Rudolf Kempe.
  • Bernhard Crusell


    Performer: Christopher O'Neal. Ensemble: Fibonacci Sequence.
  • Scott Joplin

    Pine Apple Rag

    Performer: Joshua Rifkin.
    • EMI.
  • Frederick Delius

    Summer Evening

    Music Arranger: Thomas Beecham. Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Beecham.
    • EMI.

    • John Field

      Nocturne No.10 in E minor

      Performer: Benjamin Frith.
      • NAXOS.

    • Ralph Vaughan Williams

      Symphony No.6: I. Allegro

      Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis.
      • TELDEC.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Romance No.1 in G major, Op.40

    Performer: Gil Shaham. Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
    • DG.
  • MUSIC IN TIME: Medieval

    • Anon.

      Sumer is icumen in

      Choir: The Hilliard Ensemble.
  • anon.

    Pange melos lacrimosum

    Choir: Gothic Voices. Director: Christopher Page.
    • HELIOS.
  • Muzio Clementi

    Piano Sonata in A major Op. 10 No. 1

    Performer: Howard Shelley.
  • Engelbert Humperdinck

    Hänsel und Gretel (Overture)

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
    • German Operetta Overtures: Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Marriner.
    • Philips.
    • 5.

    • Robert Schumann

      Frauenliebe und -leben, Op.42

      Performer: Eugene Asti. Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly.
      • CHANDOS.
  • Einojuhani Rautavaara


    Performer: Hilary Hahn. Performer: Cory Smythe.
    • DG.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Seven Dolls’ Dances: Lyrical Waltz

    Performer: Lisa Batiashvili. Orchestrator: Batiashvili. Orchestrator: Tamas. Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
    • DG.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony no. 98 (H.1.98) in B flat major [complete]

    Orchestra: Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenobles. Conductor: Marc Minkowski.
    • Haydn, 12 London Symphonies: Marc Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenobles.
    • Naive.
    • 5.

Mystery Place

Answer: Wigmore Hall


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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