Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Tuesday - Rob Cowan with Tony Robinson

With Rob Cowan. My Favourite Bach for Advent; Music in Time: Beethoven: String Quartet in C; Artist of the Week: Charles Munch, featured conducting Stravinsky's Jeu de cartes.

My favourite... Bach for Advent. Rob explores the range of music that Bach wrote for performance during the season of Advent. From cantatas to chorale preludes, Rob chooses a selection of his favourite choruses, arias and organ works.

Take part in today's musical challenge: identify a piece of music played backwards.

Rob's guest is the actor, comedian, writer and broadcaster, Sir Tony Robinson. Well known for his cunning plans as Baldrick in the hit series Blackadder and for writing and starring in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, Sir Tony also presented Time Team for twenty years and has written a series of history books for children. Sir Tony shares some of his favourite pieces of classical music throughout the week, including Fauré's Dolly Suite, which he remembers as the theme tune to Listen with Mother, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Handel's Messiah, which he sang as a schoolboy.

Music in Time: Classical
Rob places Music in Time, heading back to the Classical period and Beethoven's String Quartet in C major, Op.59 No.3, which reflects the growing freedom of the cello within the string group.

Rob's artist of the week is the conductor Charles Munch. Born in Strasbourg when it was still annexed to the German Empire, Munch gained a unique insight into both the French and German repertoire by serving as concertmaster under Wilhelm Fürtwangler, and Bruno Walter, and from conducting French orchestras including the Lamoureux and Orchestre Symphonique de Paris. As a conductor, Munch brought flair, panache and imagination to a whole host of varied masterpieces including Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet and Stravinsky's Jeu de Cartes, as well as symphonies by Dvorak and Mendelssohn, all of which are featured during the week.

Jeu de Cartes
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Charles Munch (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Lord Berners

    Triumph of Neptune: Schottische

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Beecham.
    • EMI.
  • Henri Vieuxtemps

    Elegie Op.30

    Performer: Tabea Zimmermann. Performer: Thomas Hoppe.
  • My favourite... Bach at Advent

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      Cantata 36, Schwingt freudig euch empor (excerpts)

      Singer: Sibylla Rubens. Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Singer: Christoph Prégardien. Ensemble: Collegium Vocale Gent. Conductor: Philippe Herreweghe.
  • Robert Schumann

    Fantasiestücke, Op.73

    Performer: Dionysis Grammenos. Performer: Anneleen Lenaerts.
  • Jacques Offenbach

    Les Belles Américaines

    Orchestra: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Erich Kunzel.
    • TELARC.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Theme and Variations in F major, Op.19 No.6

    Performer: Sir András Schiff.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    The Barber of Seville (Largo al factotum)

    Singer: Hermann Prey. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • Decca.
  • Tony Robinson's Choice No.1

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (1st mvt)

      Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
      • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565: Toccata

    Performer: Albert Schweitzer.
    • EMI.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565

    Performer: Ton Koopman.
    • NOVALIS.
  • Thomas Lupo

    Fantasy air a 4 No.7

    Performer: Judy Tarling. Performer: Theresa Caudle. Performer: Paul Denley. Performer: Mark Caudle. Performer: Peter Holman. Ensemble: The Parley of Instruments. Director: Peter Holman.
    • Music for Prince Charles: The Parley of Instruments/Holman.
    • Hyperion.
    • 11.
  • Music in Time: Classical

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      String Quartet in C major, Op.59 No.3

      Ensemble: Busch Quartet.
      • EMI.
  • Artist of the Week: Charles Munch

    • Igor Stravinsky

      Jeu de Cartes

      Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Charles Munch.
      • RCA.
  • Leroy Anderson

    Sleigh Ride

    Orchestra: Boston Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Arthur Fiedler.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Piano Sonata No 50 in D

    Performer: Alexis Weissenberg.
  • Claude Debussy


    Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony.
  • César Franck

    Vieux Noel. Maestoso [No.6 from L'Organiste]

    Performer: Nicholas Danby.
    • The Organ: Cesar Franck: Nicholas Danby.
    • Virgin Classics.
    • 4.

Recording Rewind

The music played:

Barber of Seville: Largo al factotum
Hermann Prey (baritone)
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado (conductor)


Our Classical Century

Our Classical Century

Radio 3 explores 100 key musical moments that shaped us, from 1918 to the present day.

Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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