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Wednesday - Sarah Walker with Zoe Wanamaker

With Sarah Walker. Includes Musical challenge; Music on Location: Italy. Mendelssohn's Symphony No 4; Artist of the Week: Jorge Bolet, featured in Franck's Prelude, Aria and Finale.

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: listen to the clues and identify a mystery object.

Sarah's guest this week is the award-winning actress Zoë Wanamaker. Zoë is best known for her roles in the BBC series My Family, which ran for eleven series, and as Madam Hooch in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Zoë was immersed in the world of acting from a young age: her mother was an actress and radio star and her father was Sam Wanamaker, who drove the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe on London's South Bank. Zoë was the first person to perform on the stage when it was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the '70s and '80s. As well as discussing her life's work, Zoë shares her passion for classical music, choosing a selection of her favourite works.

Music on Location: Italy
Continuing our new feature on Essential Classics, where Sarah explores music connected with a specific location: today Italy with Mendelssohn. "This is Italy...and I am loving it!" wrote Felix Mendelssohn in a letter to his parents during a tour of the country that included Rome, Naples and Venice. Inspired by the colour and atmosphere of Italy, he began sketches for one of his most popular works, his Symphony No.4 'Italian'.

Artist of the Week: Jorge Bolet
Sarah's Artist of the Week is the Cuban-born American pianist, Jorge Bolet. Born in Havana in 1914, he was praised in particular for his interpretations of Liszt, and his recorded legacy mainly focuses on the romantic tradition. His career was unusual in that he did not achieve international recognition until he was in his sixties. Bolet championed pieces that were out of fashion at the time, such as the piano music of Franck and Godowsky's fiendishly difficult arrangements of Chopin's Etudes, both of which feature this week on Essential Classics, as well as his recordings of Debussy's Preludes, works by Liszt and Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, where Bolet is joined by the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ivan Fischer.

Prelude, Aria and Finale
Jorge Bolet (piano).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Don Giovanni, K 527: Overture

    Orchestra: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: René Jacobs.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Barcarolle, Op 108

    Performer: Cristina Ortiz. Ensemble: Fine Arts Quartet.
    • NAXOS.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Lemminkainen's return (Lemminkainen Suite Op.22)

    Orchestra: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Hannu Lintu.
    • ONDINE : ODE-1262-5.
    • ONDINE.
    • 004.
  • John Dowland

    La Mia Barbara

    Performer: Paul O’Dette.
  • Edward Elgar

    La Capricieuse, Op.17

    Performer: Leonidas Kavakos. Performer: Enrico Pace.
    • DECCA.
  • Nicolaus Hermanni

    Rosa Rorans Bonitatem (St Birgitta's Hymn)

    Performer: Arve Henriksen. Ensemble: Trio Mediæval.
    • ECM.
  • Bohuslav Martinu


    Performer: Julian Bliss. Performer: Julien Quentin.
    • EMI.
  • Emmanuel Chabrier


    Orchestra: Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Paul Paray.
  • Zoe Wanamaker's First Choice

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Don Giovanni, K 527: Act 1 scene 3: Aria. 'Dalla sua pace'

      Singer: Keith Lewis. Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Bernard Haitink.
      • EMI.
  • Zoe Wanamaker's Second Choice

    • Clara Schumann

      Er ist gekommen, Op.12'1

      Singer: Barbara Bonney. Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
      • DECCA.
  • Zoe Wanamaker's Third Choice

    • Giuseppe Verdi

      Requiem: Dies Irae; Tuba mirum; Mors stupebit; Liber scriptus

      Singer: Renée Fleming. Singer: Olga Borodina. Singer: Andrea Bocelli. Singer: Ildebrando d’Arcangelo. Orchestra: Mariinsky Orchestra. Choir: Mariinsky Chorus. Conductor: Valery Gergiev.
      • Verdi Requiem.
      • PHILIPS.
  • Music on Location: Italy

    • Felix Mendelssohn

      Symphony no. 4 in A major Op.90 (Italian)

      Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
      • Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4.
      • LSO LIVE.
      • 006.
  • Artist of the Week: Jorge Bolet

    • César Franck

      Prelude, aria and finale M.23 for piano

      Performer: Jorge Bolet.
      • DECCA.
  • Gerald Finzi

    Romance for string orchestra, Op. 11

    Orchestra: Aurora Orchestra. Conductor: Nicholas Collon.
    • Introit: The Music of Gerald Finzi.
    • Decca.
    • 12.
  • John Taverner

    Gloria (Western Wind Mass)

    Choir: Tallis Scholars. Director: Peter Phillips.
    • GIMELL.
  • Uri Smilansky

    Cantus firmus 'The Western Wynde'

    • AVIE: AV2352.
    • Avie.
    • 1.
  • Igor Alexandrovich Frolov

    Concert Fantasy on themes from Porgy & Bess

    Performer: Joo Yeon Sir. Performer: Irina Andrievsky.
    • RUBICON.

Mystery Object: Microphone

The Mystery Object being described was the microphone.


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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