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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Chris Addison

With Rob Cowan. Musical challenge; Music on Location: Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia; Artist of the Week: Claudio Abbado, featured conducting Prokofiev's Symphony No 3.

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 identify the two pieces, played simultaneously?

Rob's guest this week is the comedian, writer and actor, Chris Addison. Chris is well known for appearances in 'The Thick of It', 'Mock the Week', 'Have I Got News for You' and 'Live at the Apollo', as well as producing and directing the American TV series ' Veep'. He also co-wrote and starred in the political satire 'The Department' for BBC Radio 4. Chris's passion for classical music started at a young age, and with his school choir he made recordings with the Hallé Orchestra. More recently, he appeared in a production of Chabrier's opera 'L'Étoile' at the Royal Opera House. As well as discussing his comedy and acting work, Chris shares some of his favourite classical music throughout the week by composers including Chabrier, Britten and Márquez.

Music on Location: The Steppes of Central Asia
Rob explores music by Borodin which is connected with the Steppes of Central Asia. West meets East in Borodin's famous tone poem as a peaceful Russian song meets the sound of horses and camels and the melancholy notes of an oriental melody.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences between two interpretations of the Prelude from Bach Cello Suite No.3, by János Starker and Pierre Fournier.

Artist of the Week: Claudio Abbado
Rob's Artist of the Week is the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado. Abbado is considered one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century and remains one of the few chosen to be Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. After studying in his native Milan, and later Vienna, he won the Koussevitzky Conducting Competition. He also won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Prize which allowed him to assist Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic. He's held major posts at La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic. After Berlin he founded a number of orchestras: the European Union Youth, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Orchestra Mozart, which he led until his death in 2014. Abbado will be long remembered for his conducting, but also for his enterprise and his championing of contemporary music. From a vast discography, Rob has chosen to feature Abbado in Beethoven with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bach and Mozart with Orchestra Mozart, Tchaikovsky with the New Philharmonia, and Prokofiev with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata BWV29, 'Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir': Sinfonia

    Choir: Bach Collegium Japan. Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki.
    • BIS.
  • Maurice Ravel

    Introduction and Allegro

    Performer: Osian Ellis. Ensemble: Melos Ensemble.
    • Decca.
  • Giovanni Gabrieli

    Exultet iam angelica turba

    Singer: Jeremy Budd. Singer: Samuel Boden. Singer: Greg Skidmore. Choir: Ex Cathedra Choir. Ensemble: His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts. Ensemble: Concerto Palatino. Conductor: Jeffrey Skidmore.
  • Luigi Boccherini

    Sonata in A

    Performer: János Starker. Performer: György Sebök.
    • MERCURY.
  • Thomas Arne

    Alfred (Vengeance, O come inspire me!)

    Singer: Iestyn Davies. Ensemble: Arcangelo. Conductor: Jonathan Cohen.
    • Hyperion.
  • Max Bruch

    Romance in F major for viola and orchestra, Op 85

    Performer: Janine Jansen. Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
    • Decca.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Prelude in A minor, Op.28 No.2

    Performer: Evgeny Kissin.
    • RCA.
  • Carl Maria von Weber

    Euryanthe: Overture

    Orchestra: Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Rudolf Kempe.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Michael Torke

    Bright Blue Music

    Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: David Zinman.
    • ARGO.
  • Billy Mayerl

    Railroad Rhythm 

    Performer: Richard Rodney Bennett.
    • EMI.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV230

    Ensemble: La Petite Bande. Conductor: Sigiswald Kuijken.
    • Accent.
  • Alexander Borodin

    In the Steppes of Central Asia

    Orchestra: State Academic Symphony Orchestra of The Russian Federation. Conductor: Evgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cello Suite No.3 in C major, BWV1009: Prelude

    Performer: János Starker.
    • MERCURY.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cello Suite No.3 in C major, BWV1009: Prelude

    Performer: Pierre Fournier.
    • DG.
  • Johann Strauss II

    Kaiser-Walzer Op. 437

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Rudolf Kempe.
    • Testament.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DECCA.
  • Carlos Gardel


    Performer: Carlos Gardel.
    • Recording Arts.
  • Enrique Granados

    Danzas v Op 37; No 4 Villanesca

    Performer: Alicia de Larrocha.
    • SONY.
  • William Walton

    Coronation Te Deum

    Performer: Timothy Byram-Wigfield. Choir: Waynflete Singers. Choir: Winchester Cathedral Choir. Choir: L'Inviti. Choir: Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: David Hill.
    • Argo.


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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