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Tuesday - Rob Cowan with Simon Callow

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music in Time: Brumel's Earthquake Mass; Artist of the Week: Thomas Beecham, featured conducting Sibelius's Symphony No 2.

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: can you remember the television show or film that featured this piece of classical music?

Rob's guest is the actor, writer and director Simon Callow. Sir Laurence Olivier gave Simon his first theatre job - in the box office of the National Theatre - and after that the young Callow soon found his way onto the stage, first coming to prominence playing Mozart in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus. He has since become one of the UK's best-loved actors, not only on the stage, but in TV series such as Chance in a Million, and films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral. Simon is often referred to as a writer who acts, having produced not only books about his own life as an actor, but also biographies of Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Orson Welles and most recently Richard Wagner. During the week Simon discusses all this and more and chooses music by Sibelius, Grainger, Mozart and Wagner.

Music in Time: Renaissance
Rob places Music in Time. Today, he travels back to the Renaissance period to experience music from a monumental work by the French composer Antoine Brumel: his ground-breaking 'Earthquake Mass'. It's the first mass to be written for 12 independent voices, and the effect is scintillating.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two recordings of Rachmaninov's Prelude in G flat major, Op.23 No.10, played by the Brazilian pianist Yara Bernette and by the composer himself.

Artist of the Week: Sir Thomas Beecham
'The Beecham Touch' is an epithet for all that is stylish, delicate, mischievous and spontaneous in conducting. Sir Thomas was the living embodiment of charm, genuine authenticity (in that he conducted from the heart as well as from the head) and a sense of theatre that could leave an audience breathless with excitement. Rob's selection of Beecham recordings ranges from Handel and Haydn to Delius and Sibelius, all of them 'first-loves' for this most charismatic of conductors.

Symphony No.2 in D major
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Thomas Beecham (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Antoine Brumel


    Ensemble: Sour Cream.
    • GLOSSA.
  • Alan Hovhaness

    Prayer of St. Gregory

    Performer: Charles Butler. Orchestra: Seattle Symphony. Conductor: Gerard Schwarz.
    • DELOS.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Pelleas et melisande

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Beecham.
    • EMI.
  • Fritz Kreisler


    Performer: Sergey Rachmaninov. Music Arranger: Sergey Rachmaninov.
    • DECCA.
  • Thomas Linley

    Music for the Tempest: Arise ye spirits of the storm; O bid your Ariel fly

    Performer: Paul Goodwin. Singer: Julia Gooding. Orchestra: The Parley of Instruments Baroque Orchestra and Choir. Director: Paul Nicholson.
    • HELIOS.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Flute Sonata

    Performer: Sharon Bezaly. Performer: Ronald Brautigam.
    • BIS.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Legends Op. 59: No. 6 in C sharp minor

    Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra. Conductor: Iván Fischer.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Legends Op 59: No.10 in B flat minor

    Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra. Conductor: Iván Fischer.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Nocturne in C sharp minor B49

    Performer: Lívia Rév.
  • Simon Callow's Choice No.1

    • Edward Elgar

      Falstaff: Falstaff and Prince Henry

      Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Edward Elgar.
      • EMI.
  • Simon Callow's Choice No.2

    • Johann Strauss II

      Die Fledermaus, Act 2: Finale (from Herr Chevalier)

      Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Otto Ackermann.
      • Classics for Pleasure.
  • Music in Time: Renaissance

    • Antoine Brumel

      Missa 'Et ecce terrae motus' - 'Earthquake' Mass: sanctus

      Ensemble: Huelgas Ensemble. Director: Paul Van Nevel.
  • Double Take

    • Sergey Rachmaninov

      Prelude in G flat, Op.23 No.10

      • RCA.
    • Sergey Rachmaninov

      Prelude in G flat, Op.23 No.10

      Performer: Yara Bernette.
      • DG.
  • Artist of the Week: Thomas Beecham

    • Jean Sibelius

      Symphony No.2 in D

      Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Beecham.
      • BBC MUSIC.
  • Claude Debussy

    Pour le piano (Toccata)

    Performer: Jean‐Yves Thibaudet.
    • Debussy, Preludes etc.: Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
    • Decca.
    • 21.
  • William Byrd

    Fitzwilliam Suite

    Performer: Canadian Brass. Music Arranger: Arthur Frackenpohl.

Musical Challenge: Heard on Screen

The piece played was Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor B49, which features in 'The Pianist' (2002)


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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