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).