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Friday - Sarah Walker, plus Rob Cowan with Alistair McGowan

With Sarah Walker. Including Music in Time: Borodin: The Steppes of Central Asia; Artist of the Week: mezzo Sarah Connolly, featured in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (final scene).

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 and identify the two pieces which have been laid on top of each other.

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: Romantic
The spotlight is on the Romantic period and the fascination many composers were starting to have with the world east of Europe, for example the 'Steppes of Central Asia' as depicted by the Russian Alexander Borodin

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.

Dido and Aeneas: Final scene
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Elizabeth Kenny and Steven Devine (directors).

3 hours

Music Played

  • George Frideric Handel

    Matelot (Sailor’s Dance from Rodrigo)

    Orchestra: The Parley of Instruments. Director: Peter Holman.
    • HELIOS.
  • My favourite... Vivaldi concertos

    • Antonio Vivaldi

      Vioiln Concerto in E minor, RV273

      Performer: Fabio Biondi. Orchestra: Europa Galante. Director: Fabio Biondi.
      • GLOSSA.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone

    Performer: Alan Civil. Performer: John Wilbraham. Performer: John Iveson.
    • EMI.
  • Zdenek Fibich

    At Twilight

    Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic. Conductor: Václav Neumann.
  • Amy Beach

    Three Shakespeare Songs, Op 37

    Singer: Emma Kirkby. Performer: James Lisney.
    • BIS.
  • Christian Cannabich

    Sinfonia No 57 in E flat major

    Orchestra: Concerto Köln.
    • Teldec.
  • Arvo Pärt

    Spiegel im Spiegel

    Performer: Tasmin Little. Performer: Martin Roscoe.
    • Arvo Part: Fratres; Tabula Rasa; Spiegel im Spiegel; Summa; Festina Lente; Cantu.
    • EMI.
    • 4.
  • Alistair McGowan's Choice No. 1

    • Federico Mompou

      Impresiones intimas: VII. Cuna

      Performer: Artur Pizarro.
      • COLLINS.
  • Alistair McGowan's Choice No. 2

    • Claude Debussy

      Children’s Corner: The Snow is Dancing

      Performer: Pascal Rogé.
      • DECCA.
  • Rob's choice for Alistair McGowan

    • Béla Bartók

      String Quartet No.6: 3rd movement

      Ensemble: Juilliard String Quartet.
      • SONY.
  • Percy Grainger

    Walking Tune

    • Percy Grainger plays Grainger.
    • Nimbus.
    • 19.
  • Music in Time: Romantic

    • Alexander Borodin

      In the Steppes of Central Asia

      Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Conductor: Ernest Ansermet.
      • Decca.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Firebird Suite

    Orchestra: Philharmonia. Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini.
    • Warner.

    • Henry Purcell

      Dido and Aeneas: excerpt from Act One

      Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Singer: Lucy Crowe. Singer: Sarah Tynan. Choir: Choir of the Age of Enlightenment. Orchestra: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Director: Elizabeth Kenny. Director: Steven Devine.
      • CHANDOS.
  • Claude Debussy

    String Quartet in G minor, Op 10

    Ensemble: Quatuor Ébène.
    • Virgin.
  • Charles-Valentin Alkan

    Esquisses, 48 Motifs for Piano, Suite No 3 (Nos 25-29)

    Performer: Steven Osborne.
    • Alkan: 48 Esquisses, Op.43.
    • 25-29.

Imperfect Harmony

The music played:

Images, Set I No.1: Reflets dans l’eau
Zoltan Kocsis (piano)
Spiegel im Spiegel
Nicola Benedetti (violin)
Alexei Grynyuk (piano)


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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