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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Al Murray

With Rob Cowan. My Favourite Piano Duos; Music in Time: Wagner: Tannhauser (excerpt); Artists of the Week: Academy of St Martin in the Fields, featured in Mozart's Symphony No 38.

My favourite... piano duos. If three's a crowd, two's definitely company, and when it comes to piano duos - whether for two pianos or for four hands at a single instrument - that company can be richly rewarding. Rob's favourite piano duos include works by Mozart, Schubert, Bartók and Lutoslawski, as well as a magical vintage recording of a waltz by Arensky - definitely not to be missed!

Take part in our daily musical challenge. Two pieces of music are played together. Can you identify them?

Rob's guest this week is the stand-up comedian Al Murray. Best known for his alter-ego 'The Pub Landlord', Al has performed sell-out shows around the world, as well as making television appearances at The Royal Variety Performance and Live at the Apollo. Al has written books in his pub landlord persona, including The Pub Landlord's Book of British Common Sense and Let's Re-Great Britain. Outside of his pub landlord character, Al has presented Al Murray's Road to Berlin, about the last phase of the Second World War, for the Discovery Channel and Al Murray's German Adventure for BBC Four. He is currently touring his new show 'Let's Go Backwards Together'. Al shares a selection of his favourite classical music, including works by Bach, Handel and Orff, and talks about playing percussion, and reminisces about his performance on the triangle in Dvorák's New World Symphony, every day at 10am.

Power of Three - The next episode in a 70-part daily series of pioneering sounds from the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 archives presented by David Hendy.

Music in Time: Romantic
Rob places Music in Time. Today the focus is on the Romantic era and a thrilling bacchanale that Wagner added to his opera Tannhäuser for the Paris première in 1861, to satisfy the French requirement that Grand Opera should include an extended ballet sequence. Wagner placed his ballet not, as was then the custom, in the second act, but in the first, as a glowing tail to the overture. Incensed by the break with tradition, members of the high-society Jockey Club mounted a series of increasingly noisy and disruptive protests during performances, which brought the opera's run to an end after just three evenings.

Rob's artists of the week are the late Sir Neville Marriner's orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, a superb gathering of players who can turn their hands to virtually any repertoire and make a handsome job of it. We'll hear them in masterpieces from Bach to Bartók, dropping in on Mozart, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky along the way.

Symphony No. 38 in D, K504 ('Prague')
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Neville Marriner, conductor.

3 hours

Music Played

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Divertimento in E flat major, K.252: IV. Presto Assai

    Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
    • DG.
  • Lili Boulanger

    D'un matin de printemps

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Yan Pascal Tortelier.
    • Boulanger: Faust Et Helene Etc. - Soloists/CBSC/BBC Phil./Tortelier.
    • Chandos.
    • 4.

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Andante and Variations in G major, K.501

      Performer: Christoph Eschenbach. Performer: Justus Frantz.
      • Mozart: Music for Piano Duet: Justus Frantz, Christoph Eschenbach.
      • DG.
      • 10.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Othello Overture, Op.93

    Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Rafael Kubelík.
    • DG.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Concerto in C major for two violins, RV505

    Performer: Giuliano Carmignola. Performer: Amandine Beyer. Ensemble: Gli Incogniti.
  • Percy Grainger

    Marching Song of Democracy

    Orchestra: Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra. Conductor: Clark Rundell.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Trad.

    She moved through the fair

    Performer: Edin Karamoazov. Performer: Stacey Shames. Singer: Andreas Scholl.
    • DECCA.

    • Leonard Bernstein

      West Side Story: America

      Singer: Rita Moreno. Singer: George Chakiris. Orchestra: Studio Orchestra. Conductor: Johnny Green.
      • CBS.

    • Steve Reich

      Different Trains (America, Before the War)

      Ensemble: Kronos Quartet.
      • NONESUCH.
  • Susan H. Dyer

    Florida Night Song

    Performer: Jascha Heifetz, violin. Performer: Emmanuel Bay, piano.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Improvisation on Pathetique

    Performer: Stefan Grapelli, violin. Performer: Django Reinhardt, guitar.
  • Music in Time: Romantic

    • Richard Wagner

      Tannhauser: Overture and Venusberg Music

      Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Antal Doráti.
      • MERCURY.

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Symphony No.38 in D major 'Prague', K.504

      Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
      • EMI.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Fatum, op. 77

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Yuri Temirkanov.
  • George Gershwin

    Love walked in arr Grainger

    Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor. Music Arranger: Percy Grainger.
    • Saint-Saëns/Ravel/Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue: Benjamin Grosvenor.
    • Decca.
    • 10.

Imperfect Harmony

The music played:

Das Lied von der Erde: Der Abschied
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Yannick Nezet-Seguin (conductor)
She moved through the fair
Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor)
Edin Karamoazov (lute)
Stacey Shames (harp)


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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