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Wednesday - Rob Cowan with Simon Sebag Montefiore

With Rob Cowan. My Favourite Duos; Music in Time: Bach: Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit; Proms Artist of the Day: pianist Martha Argerich, featured in Ravel's Jeux d'eau.

My Favourite... Duos. Rob shares his favourite examples of these works for two musicians, where each artist's response to the other is put under the spotlight, creating what is perhaps the ultimate expression of chamber music. Rob's choices explore a selection of instrumental combinations including duos for strings by Bartók, a duo for pianos by Schubert, and duos for percussion, and guitars.

Take part in our daily musical challenge and identify the place associated with a well-known work.

Rob's guest, historian, writer and television presenter Simon Sebag Montefiore, will be sharing a selection of his favourite classical music, including works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky that link to his writing on Russia, every day at 10am. Simon's acclaimed history books have been published in over 45 languages and include Jerusalem: The Biography, Catherine the Great and Potemkin and Young Stalin. His latest book, The Romanovs 1613-1918, chronicles the stories of twenty tsars and tsarinas, and is already a bestseller in the UK, Australia and the USA. Simon has also won literary prizes for his fiction work. He has written the first two instalments of a trilogy of thriller-love-stories set in Russia. The second in the series, 'One Night in Winter', won the Best Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Music in Time: Baroque
Rob places Music in Time. He heads back to the Baroque period to explore the unique instrumental colour that Bach brought to his sacred works, focusing on his early funeral cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV106, 'God's time is the very best time', also known as Actus Tragicus.

Rob's Proms artist of the day is the pianist Martha Argerich, who will be performing Liszt's Piano Concerto No.1, with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim at tonight's BBC Prom. This morning Rob features her in Ravel's Jeux d'eau, a euphoric depiction of water fountains, inspired by a piece by Franz Liszt.

Jeux d'eau
Martha Argerich (piano).

2 hours

Music Played

  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Prelude in D flat major, Op.34 No.15

    Performer: Artur Pizarro.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Overture for Wind Instruments, Op.24

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.

    • Béla Bartók

      Violin Duos (selection)

      Performer: André Gertler. Performer: Josef Suk.
      • SUPRAPHON.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Chaconne and Variations in G major, HWV 435

    Performer: Murray Perahia.
    • Murray Perahia plays Handel and Scarlatti.
    • Sony Classical.
    • 5.
  • François Couperin

    Nouveaux Concerts, 'Les Gouts reunis': Concerto No.7 in G minor

    Performer: Thomas Brandis. Performer: Josef Ulsamer. Performer: Christiane Jaccottet.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Trad.

    The Shooting of his Dear (Six Norfolk Folk Songs, No.5)

    Composer: Ernest Moeran. Performer: David Willison. Singer: Benjamin Luxon.
    • CHANDOS.

    • Dmitry Shostakovich

      Suite for jazz band (Waltz 2)

      Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
      • Shostakovich: The Jazz Album - Brautigam, Masseurs.
      • Decca.
      • 13.

    • Sergei Prokofiev

      Romeo and Juliet, Act I: Arrival of the Guests; Masks; Dance of the Knights

      Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Valery Gergiev.
      • LSO LIVE.
  • Music in Time: Baroque

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      Cantata: Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, 'Actus Tragicus', BWV106

      Singer: Hertha Töpper. Singer: Ernst Haefliger. Singer: Theo Adam. Choir: Munich Bach Choir. Orchestra: Munich Bach Orchestra. Conductor: Karl Richter.
      • DG.

    • Maurice Ravel

      Jeux d’eau

      Performer: Martha Argerich.
      • DG.

Mapping the Music

Answer: Norfolk

The music played:

Vaughan Williams 
Norfolk Rhapsody No.1 in E minor 
London Philharmonic Orchestra 
Bryden Thomson (conductor) 


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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