Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Delibes's opera Lakmé in Building a Library with Flora Willson and Andrew McGregor

A round-up of of the best new classical releases, and in Building a Library Flora Wilson recommends a recording of Delibes's opera Lakmé.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library
Another chance to hear Flora Wilson discussing her favourite recordings of Delibes's opera Lakmé and making a recommendation.

Written in the early 1880s and set in the British India of the mid-19th century, Lakmé is based on the novel Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti. The opera includes the ever-popular Flower Duet sung by Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika. It's most famous aria is the Bell Song in Act 2. Like other French operas of the 19th Century, Lakmé projects a view of the Orient seen through Western eyes. However, as a piece of well-crafted escapism with gorgeous tunes and lavish scenic backdrop it is an opera well worth discovering.

Jeremy Sams shares some new releases of mainly French music.

Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

2 hours, 46 minutes

Music Played

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K191 (1st mvt)

    Performer: Bram van Sambeek. Orchestra: Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Alexei Ogrintchouk.
    • Mozart, Weber & Du Puy: Bassoon Concertos.
    • BIS.
    • 1.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    String Trio in C Minor, Op 9 No 3 (4th mvt)

    Ensemble: Trio Boccherini.
    • Beethoven: String Trios, Op. 9 Nos. 1-3.
    • Genuin.
    • 12.
  • Eric Coates

    First meeting for viola and piano

    Performer: Tasmin Little. Performer: Piers Lane.
    • Chandos.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Flute Concerto in F major RV.433, Op.10`1 'La Tempesta di mare'

    Performer: Giovanni Antonini. Ensemble: Il Giardino Armonico.
    • Alpha.
  • Clara Schumann

    Piano Trio in G minor, Op 17 (3rd mvt)

    Ensemble: Nash Ensemble.
    • Hyperion.
  • Alex Woolf


    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Geoffrey Paterson.
    • Composers' Academy, Vol. 3 (Live).
    • NMC Recordings.
    • 2.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder (An die ferne Geliebte, Op 98 No 6)

    Performer: Iain Burnside. Singer: Roderick Williams.
    • Chandos.
  • Gerald Barry


    Singer: Mark Stone. Orchestra: Britten Sinfonia. Conductor: Thomas Adès.
    • Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 – Barry: Beethoven, Piano Concerto.
    • Signum Classics.
    • 9.
  • George Antheil

    Dreams: No. 3, Polka

    Conductor: Fawzi Haimor. Orchestra: Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen.
    • Antheil: Orchestral Works.
    • CPO.
    • 403.
  • George Antheil

    Serenade No. 1 for String Orchestra, W. 189: II. Andante

    Conductor: Fawzi Haimor. Orchestra: Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen.
    • Antheil: Orchestral Works.
    • CPO.
    • 102.
  • Albéric Magnard

    Hymne à la justice, Op. 14

    Conductor: Fabrice Bollon. Orchestra: Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg.
    • Magnard: Orchestral Works.
    • Naxos.
    • 301.
  • César Franck

    Ce qu on entend sur la montagne

    Conductor: Mikko Franck. Orchestra: Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France.
    • Alpha.
  • Gabriel Fauré

    La lune blanche luit dans les bois (La Bonne Chanson, Op. 61 No. 3)

    Singer: Véronique Gens. Ensemble: I Giardini.
    • ALPHA.
  • Nadia Boulanger

    Trois pieces pour violoncelle et piano: No. 3 Vite et nerveusement rythme

    Performer: Isang Enders. Performer: Sun-Wook Kim.
    • Berlin Classics.
  • Claude Debussy

    Beau soir

    Performer: Isang Enders. Performer: Sun-Wook Kim.
    • Berlin Classics.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat, Op 73 'Emperor' (1st mvt)

    Performer: Stephen Hough. Orchestra: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Hannu Lintu.
    • Hyperion.

Record Review

9.00am <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Mozart, Du Puy & Weber: Bassoon Concertos

Bram van Sambeek (bassoon)

Swedish Chamber Orchestra

Alexei Ogrintchouk (conductor)

BIS BIS-2467 (Hybrid SACD)


Beethoven: String Trios Op. 9 Nos. 1-3

Trio Boccherini

Genuin GEN20699


British Violin Sonatas Vol. 3: Bowen, Ireland, Alwyn, Brown, Coates

Tasmin Little (violin)

Piers Lane (piano)

Chandos CHAN20133


Vivaldi: Concerti per Flauto

Giovanni Antonini (recorder/director)

Il Giardino Armonico

Alpha ALPHA364



9.30am – Building a Library – Flora Willson on Delibes’s Lakmé (NOTE: this is a repeat; it was first broadcast on 7th December 2019)



Composer: Léo Delibes

Reviewer: Flora Willson


Recommended Recording:

Mady Mesplé (soprano)

Danielle Millet (mezzo-soprano)

Charles Burles (tenor)

Roger Soyer (bass-baritone)

Jean-Christophe Benoit (baritone)

Bernadette Antoine (soprano)

Monique Linval (soprano)

Agnès Disney (mezzo-soprano)

Joseph Peyron (tenor)

Chœurs et Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique

Alain Lombard (conductor)

Erato 9029573486 (2CDs)


Other Recommended Recordings:


Natalie Dessay (soprano)

Patricia Petibon (soprano)

Xenia Konsek (soprano)

Delphine Haida (mezzo-soprano)

Gregory Kunde (tenor)

Franck Leguérinel (baritone)

José van Dam (bass-baritone)

Orchestre Du Capitole De Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

Erato 5565692 (2CDs)




10.15am – New Releases


Clara Schumann & Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Trios & String Quartet

The Nash Ensemble

Hyperion CDA68307


Care Pupille: Handel, Gluck

Samuel Mariño (soprano)

Händelfestspielorchester Halle

Michael Hofstetter (conductor)

Orfeo C998201


Composers' Academy, Vol. 3: Chia-Ying Lin, Alex Woolf, Benjamin Ashby

Philharmonia Orchestra

Geoffrey Paterson (conductor)

NMC DL3041 (download)


Schubert: Schwanengesang & Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte

Roderick Williams (baritone)

Iain Burnside (piano)

Chandos CHAN 20126


Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 & Barry: 'Beethoven' & Piano Concerto

Nichols Hodges (piano)

Mark Stone (baritone)

Britten Sinfonia

Thomas Adès (conductor)

Signum Classics SIGCD616 (2 CDs)


10.45am – New Releases – Jeremy Sams on music from France and beyond


Antheil: Serenades 1 & 2; The Golden Bird; Dreams

Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen

Fawzi Haimor (conductor)

CPO 555196-2


Magnard: Orchestral Works

Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg

Fabrice Bollon (conductor)

Naxos 8.574084


Franck by Franck

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Mikko Franck (conductor)

Alpha ALPHA561


Nuits: Lekeu, Fauré, Berlioz, De La Tombelle, Massenet, Saint-Saëns, Chausson etc.

Véronique Gens (soprano)

I Giardini

Alpha ALPHA589


Vox Humana - Music by Debussy, Marais, Boulanger

Isang Enders (cello)

Sunwook Kim (piano)

Sean Shibe (guitar)

Mischa Meyer (cello)

Joachim Enders (harmonium)

Berlin Classics 0301212BC


11.15am – Record of the Week


Beethoven: The Piano Concertos

Stephen Hough (piano)

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Hannu Lintu (conductor)

Hyperion CDA68291/3 (3 CDs)


  • Sat 2 May 2020 09:00

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive Radio 3 audio archive of programmes about comnposers and their works.

Browse previous episodes of the Record Review Podcast

Browse previous episodes of the Record Review Podcast

All episodes since 2010, listed alphabetically by composer surname.

Why the music we love as teens stays with us for life

Why the music we love as teens stays with us for life

Cognitive neuropyschology can explain why we return to old favourites again and again.