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Wednesday - Sarah Walker with Ian Mortimer

With Sarah Walker. Including Musical challenge; Music in Time: works by Purcell and Morley; Artists of the Week: Belcea Quartet, featured performing Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht.

Sarah 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 name the television show or film that featured this piece of classical music? 

As Radio 3 celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Sarah Walker is joined by the historian Ian Mortimer to explore the momentous changes that the Reformation brought to music and the arts.
Ian is best-known for his book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval History, which became a Sunday Times Bestseller. After completing his PhD he worked for several major research institutions including the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts and the universities of Exeter and Reading, all of which gave him a hands-on experience of history. He has also written poetry and a series of historical fiction novels under the pseudonym James Forrester. Ian believes that history is about people, not the past, and in his Time Traveller's Guide series he immerses readers in the real-life, everyday practicalities and concerns of men and women living in the Medieval era, the Restoration period, or Elizabethan England. Throughout the week Ian and Sarah will discover how music was shaped by the events, personalities and societies of these times.

Music in Time: Baroque Reformation Reflections
Sarah travels back to the Baroque period, and to the funeral of Queen Mary II of England held on 5th March, 1695. The funeral featured music composed by Henry Purcell and Thomas Morley, and included deeply moving settings of the Anglican burial service.

Sarah's Artist of the Weeks are the Belcea Quartet, which was formed under the leadership of violinist Corina Belcea in 1994, when the original members were still students at the Royal Academy of Music. Five years later they were one of the first groups selected to participate in Radio 3's New Generation Artists Scheme, and in 2001 they won the Gramophone Award for best debut recording. They have gone on to make acclaimed recordings of the core quartet repertoire, ranging from Mozart to Schoenberg, as well as collaborations with the tenor Ian Bostridge and bass, Jonathan Lemalu. The quartet combines technical brilliance with emotional intensity as we'll hear through the week in their recordings of quartets by Debussy, Schoenberg, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert.

Verklärte Nacht, Op.4 
Belcea Quartet
with Nicolas Bone (violin) and Antonio Meneses (cello).

3 hours

Music Played

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Musical Challenge: Heard on Screen

The music we heard was the Waltz from Gounod's 'Faust', which was featured in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus in which Michael Palin as Mr. Pither embarks upon a cycling tour around Cornwall, eventually ending up in Moscow and Smolensk.

Breaking Free – Martin Luther’s Revolution

Find out more here about 'Breaking Free – Martin Luther’s Revolution’


Time Travellers: the podcast

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

The Essential Classics Playlist

Refresh your day with a great selection of classical music, picked by listeners.