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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Ed Balls

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music in Time: Renaissance; Artist of the Week: Georg Solti, featured conducting the conclusion of Wagner's Das Rheingold.

Rob sets the tone and mood of the day's programme with a range of music to intrigue, surprise and entertain.

Take part in today's musical challenge: trace the classical theme behind a track from the world of pop music.

Rob's guest this week is the former front-bench politician, Ed Balls. After leaving a promising career in journalism, Ed became a Labour MP in 2005. He went on to be Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families under Gordon Brown and Shadow Chancellor under Ed Miliband. Since leaving politics Ed has found fame as a dancer on Strictly Come Dancing (remaining in the competition much longer than most expected!) and he's recently brought out an autobiography, Speaking Out, a record of a life in politics and a window into the world of Westminster. He played the violin for 15 years and in adult life became a keen pianist, working publicly through grade exams and other performance milestones. Throughout the week Ed will be sharing some of his favourite classical music, including pieces by Handel, Bruch and George Dyson.

Music in Time: Renaissance
Today, Rob's in the Renaissance period, exploring collections of music published in the late 1500s for performance during the season of the Venice Carnival.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two recordings of a piano piece by Chopin.

Artist of the Week
Rob's artist of the week is the conductor Sir Georg Solti. Solti was one of the twentieth century's leading musicians, leaving a vast legacy of over 250 studio recordings, including 45 complete operas. Born in Hungary he studied under Béla Bartók and worked at the Hungarian State Opera as a répétiteur. After leading a number of German opera houses, Solti took the helm at London's Covent Garden and was later director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the 1950s and early 1960s Solti was a powerhouse rostrum presence, as the rather melodramatic photos of him in action would suggest, but a good deal more than that. Solti could bring gravitas to Beethoven, warmth to Mendelssohn, and a dramatic impulse to Wagner, adapting his approach to suit the style and mood of the music. Throughout the week Rob shares recordings from early in Solti's career including symphonies by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Mahler, ballet by Offenbach and the conclusion to Wagner's Das Rheingold.

Rheingold (conclusion)
Kirsten Flagstad (soprano)
Claire Watson (soprano)
Oda Balsborg (soprano)
Jean Madeira (mezzo soprano)
Hetty Plümacher (contralto)
Waldemar Kmentt (tenor)
Set Svanholm (tenor)
George London (baritone)
Eberhard Wächter (baritone)
Kurt Böhme (bass)
Walter Kreppel (bass)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Georg Solti (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Frédéric Chopin

    Waltz No.6 in D flat Op.64 No.1

    Performer: Samson François.
    • EMI.
  • Josef Strauss

    Delirien Walzer

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
    • DG.
  • Kala Ramnath

    Aalap and Tarana

    Performer: Hilary Hahn.
    • DG.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Zefiro torna, e' I bel tempo rimena

    Choir: I Fagiolini. Director: Robert Hollingworth.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    String Symphony No.3 in E minor

    Orchestra: The Hanover Band. Conductor: Roy Goodman.
    • RCA.
  • Peter Warlock

    An Old Song for small orchestra

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Adrian Boult.
    • LYRITA.
  • Dieterich Buxtehude

    Prelude and Fugue in E minor for organ BuxWv 142

    Performer: Helmut Walcha.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Hungarian Dance No.5

    Ensemble: Empire Brass.
    • TELARC.
  • Claude Debussy

    Pagodes (Estampes)

    Music Arranger: Percy Grainger. Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • EMI.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude No.1 in C major

    Performer: Sir András Schiff.
    • DECCA.
  • Robert Schumann

    Kinderszenen: No.13 Der Dichter Spricht

    Performer: Martha Argerich.
    • DG.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Intermezzo in A major Op.118 No.2

    Performer: Stephen Kovacevich.
    • PHILIPS.
  • John Foulds

    Le Cabaret, Op. 72a

    Orchestra: BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Conductor: Rumon Gamba.
    • Overture from the British Isles, Vol.2.
    • Chandos.
    • 10.
  • Giovanni Croce

    Mascarate piacevoli et ridicolose per il carnevale

    Choir: I Fagiolini.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Polonaise in A flat major Op.53 'Héroïque'

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
    • RCA.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53 'Heroique'

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
    • DG.
  • Henry Purcell

    Fantazia No.8 (Z.739) in D minor for 4 instruments

    Ensemble: Fretwork.
    • Henry Purcell The Complete Fantazias Fretwork.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • 8.
  • Richard Wagner

    Das Rheingold: conclusion of Act 4

    Conductor: Georg Solti. Singer: Kirsten Flagstad. Singer: Claire Watson. Singer: Oda Balsborg. Singer: Jean Madeira. Singer: Hetty Plümacher. Singer: Waldemar Kmentt. Singer: Set Svanholm. Singer: George London. Singer: Kurt Böhme. Singer: Walter Kreppel. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • DECCA.
  • Muzio Clementi

    Capriccio in B flat major Op.17

    Performer: Howard Shelley.
    • Clementi: Capriccios & Variations.
    • Hyperion.
    • 1.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No.96 in D major

    Orchestra: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Conductor: Frans Brüggen.
    • DECCA.

Musical Challenge: Classical Roots

The answer to today's challenge was Johannes Brahms, whose Hungarian dance No.5 provided the tune for 'Rap City' by the Ventures.


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