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Andrew McGregor with Kirsten Gibson and Nicholas Kenyon

Building a Library: Kirsten Gibson surveys the recordings of Purcell's King Arthur, and Bach 333, which contains every known note written by J S Bach, 333 years after his birth.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Kirsten Gibson surveys the recordings of Purcell's King Arthur

King Arthur, or The British Worthy is a semi-opera by Henry Purcell with a libretto by John Dryden, first performed at the Queen's Theatre, Dorset Garden, London, in 1691. It is based on the battles between the Britons and the Saxons and contains some of Purcell's most melodic and adventurous music.

Andrew talks to Sir Nicholas Kenyon about Bach 333. Said to be the largest project of its kind in the history of recorded music, Deutsche Grammophon in collaboration with a number of other labels present every known note written by J S Bach 333 years after his birth.

Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week

3 hours, 13 minutes

Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    Violin Concerto in C Hob.VIIa:1 - I. Allegro moderato

    Performer: Amandine Beyer. Ensemble: Gli Incogniti.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
  • Nicola Fago

    Il Faraone sommerso: Aria. Alla gente a Dio diletta

    Singer: Jakub Józef Orlinski. Orchestra: Il Pomo d’Oro. Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev.
    • Erato.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Nocturne on F sharp Op.15 No.2

    Performer: Ingrid Fliter.
    • Linn.
  • Alexander Scriabin

    Symphony No.1, Op.26: V. Allegro

    Orchestra: Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Vasily Petrenko.
    • Lawo.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No.2 in D, Op.36: IV. Allegro molto

    Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker. Conductor: Philippe Jordan.
    • Wiener Symphoniker.
  • Hubert Parry

    Songs of Farewell: V. At the round earth's imagined corners

    Choir: Choir of New College Oxford. Conductor: Robert Quinney.
    • Novum.
  • Kurt Weill

    4 Walt Whitman Songs: II. O Captain! My Captain!

    Performer: Sir Antonio Pappano. Singer: Ian Bostridge.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Ivor Gurney

    By a Bierside

    Orchestrator: Herbert Howells. Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Orchestra: Aurora Orchestra. Conductor: Nigel Short.
    • Signum Classics.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F major, BWV 1047: III. Allegro assai

    Conductor: Reinhard Goebel. Orchestra: Musica Antiqua Köln.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565

    Performer: Helmut Walcha.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata 197. 'Gott ist unsre Zuversicht'

    Singer: Damien Guillon. Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki. Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan. Singer: Peter Kooij. Singer: Hana Blažíková.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata 197. 'Gott ist unsre Zuversicht'

    Choir: Soloists of the Wiener Sangerknaben. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata 134. 'Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss'

    Singer: Daniel Taylor. Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Ensemble: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Singer: James Gilchrist.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225

    Choir: Nederlands Kamerkoor. Conductor: Ton Koopman.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Partita for Solo Violin No.3 in E major, BWV 1006

    Performer: Giuliano Carmignola.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Concerto for 2 violins and strings in D minor, BWV 1043

    Performer: Igor Oistrakh. Performer: David Oistrakh. Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Eugene Goossens.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Partita No.1 in B flat major, BWV 825: Gigue

    Performer: Dinu Lipatti.
    • DG.
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Iphigénie en Tauride: Accompagnato & Aria (after Gigue from Partita BWV 825)

    Singer: Mireille Delunsch. Ensemble: Les Musiciens du Louvre. Conductor: Marc Minkowski.
    • DG.
  • Percy Grainger

    Blilthe Bells

    Performer: Bengt Forsberg.
    • DG.
  • Hazel Scott

    2-Part Invention in A minor

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach. Performer: Hazel Scott.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Der Gerechte kommt um, BWV 1149

    Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • DG.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No.6 in A minor: IV. Sostenuto - Allegro moderato - Allegro energico

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.

Record Review


‘Joseph Haydn: Concerti per Esterhazy’ - Violin Concertos Hob.VIIa:1 & VIIa:4, Cello Concerto, Hob. VIIb:1

Amandine Beyer (violin)
Marco Ceccato (cello)
Gli Incogniti (ensemble)
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902314!/albums/2462

‘Anima Sacra’ – sacred baroque arias for countertenor by Fago, Heinichen, Terradellas, Sarro, Feo, Zelenka, Hasse, Schiassi & Durante
Jakub Józef Orlinski (countertenor)
Il Pomo D’oro (ensemble)
Maxim Emelyanychev (conductor)
Erato 0190295633745,0190295633745/jakub-jozef-orlinski-anima-sacra

Chopin: Nocturnes
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
Linn CKD 565 (2 CDs)

Scriabin: Symphony No.1 & Prometheus: The Poem of Fire
Kirill Gerstein (piano)
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko (conductor)
Lawo LWC1160


9.30am – Building a Library – Kirsten Gibson on Purcell’s King Arthur 

Composer: Henry Purcell
Reviewer: Kirsten Gibson

Recommended Recording:

Sandrine Piau (soprano)
Susannah Waters (soprano, Cupid/Nereid)
Véronique Gens (soprano, Venus)
Claron McFadden (soprano, Philidel/Honour)
Mark Padmore, tenor (Cupid/Nereid)
Iain Paton, tenor (Cupid/Nereid)
François Bazola (bass, Pan)
Petteri Salomaa (bass, Cold Genius/Aeolus/Comus)
Jonathan Best (bass, Grimbald)
Choir and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)
Erato 4509-98535-2 (2 CDs)

Other Recommended Recordings:

DVD Recommendation:

Isabel Rey (soprano)
Barbara Bonney (soprano)
Birgit Remmert (mezzo soprano)
Michael Schade (tenor)
Oliver Widmer (bass baritone)
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (chorus)
Concentus Musicus Wien (orchestra)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt  (conductor)
Jürgen Flimm (director)
Euroarts 2054509 (2 DVDs)


10.20am – New Releases

Beethoven: Symphonies 2 & 7

Wiener Symphoniker
Philippe Jordan (conductor)
Wiener Symphoniker WS015

Hubert Parry: Songs of Farewell and other choral works; Mendelssohn: Sechs Sprüche
Choir of New College Oxford
Robert Quinney (conductor)
Timothy Wakerell (organ)
Novum NCR 1394

‘Requiem, the Pity of War’ – Songs by George Butterworth, Rudi Stephan, Kurt Weill & Gustav Mahler
Ian Bostridge (tenor)
Antonio Pappano (piano)
Warner Classics 0190295661564,0190295661564/bostridge-ian-requiem-the-pity-of-war

‘A Walk with Ivor Gurney’ choral, vocal & orchestra music by Ivor Gurney plus choral works by Vaughan Williams, Howells & Bingham
Sarah Connolly (mezzo soprano)
Aurora Orchestra
Tenebrae (choir)
Nigel Short (conductor)
Simon Callow (narrator)
Signum Classics SIGCD557 (2 CDs)


10.50am New Releases: Nicholas Kenyon on DG’s ‘Bach 333’ Collection

‘Bach 333– The complete works of JS Bach plus interpretations and related works by other composers
DG 479 8000 (222CDs + DVD)


11.45am – Disc of the Week

Mahler: Symphony No.6 (1987 & 2018 recordings)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Simon Rattle (conductor)
Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings BPHR 180231 (2 CDs + BluRay video documentary & digital download)



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