Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
Andrew McGregor with Edward Seckerson and Alexandra Coghlan20191221

9.30
Building a Library: Edward Seckerson compares recordings of Tchaikovsky's ballet music, The Nutcracker - and picks a favourite.

Tchaikovsky's ballet music, The Nutcracker, has become an annual Christmas crowd-pleaser around the World,. Particularly popular is the Suite that Tchaikovsky created from the second act of the ballet, which includes many of his most-loved tunes like the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers. The ballet is based on a highly simplified version of ETA Hoffmann's story 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King', adapted for the ballet stage by Alexandre Dumas.

The ballet was originally premiered on 18th December 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, and it was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Despite its popularity today, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker was received with mixed views at its premiere, not least because critics didn't believe the libretto to be faithful to the Hoffmann tale. Whilst the dancing was criticised, Tchaikovsky's score was praised for its richness and melodic ingenuity throughout.

10.50
Music journalist and critic, and author of 'Carols from Kings', Alexandra Coghlan reviews this year's crop of new Christmas releases.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Building a Library on Tchaikovsky's ballet music, The Nutcracker

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew Mcgregor With Elin Manahan Thomas And Simon Heighes20200215

The best new classical releases: Building a Library: Elin Manahan Thomas compares recordings of Poulenc's Gloria and picks a personal favourite.

9.30am
Building a Library
Singer Elin Manahan Thomas discusses a shortlist of recordings of a 20th-century choral masterpiece, Poulenc's Gloria, whittling it down in order to pick her personal choice of the ultimate library choice.

10.40am
Simon Heighes discusses two new box sets with Andrew: Bach harpsichord and violin concertos from Concerto Copenhagen; and a set of Italian violin concertos by composers from Vivaldi to Paganini.

11.15am
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Building a Library on Poulenc's Gloria as well as concertos by Bach and Italian composers.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Enigma Variations and New Year, New Music20200104

Andrew McGregor with the must-have recording of Elgar's "Enigma" Variations and a round-up of recent contemporary classical releases.

9.30am
Building a Library
Kate Kennedy discusses a wide range of approaches to Elgar's much-loved Variations on an Original Theme, his so-called "Enigma" Variations and recommends the key recording to have.

10.45am
As part of Radio 3's annual series New Year, New Music, Andrew looks at a clutch of recent discs of music from the last few years.

11.15am
Disc of the Week
Andrew's recommendation of a superlative new release just out.

The must-have Enigma Variations recording and recent contemporary classical releases.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Flora Wilson and Jan Smaczny20191207

with Andrew McGregor

09.30
Building a Library: Flora Willson choose her favourite recordings of Delibes' opera Lakme

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.

10.50
Jan Smaczny joins Andrew to discuss resissues of the great Czech pianist Rudolf Firkusny who studied with the composers Janáček and Suk, and later with the legendary pianists Alfred Cortot and Artur Schnabel. He escaped the Nazis in 1939, fled to Paris, later settled in New York and eventually became a U.S. citizen. He had a broad repertoire and became known especially for his performances of the Czech composers Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, and Martinů.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week

Andrew McGregor with Delibes's Lakme plus reissues of Czech pianist Rudolf Firkusny.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew Mcgregor With Hannah French20200307

9.30
Building a Library: Hannah French compares recordings of Vivaldi's set of 12 concertos, Op.3, better known as L'estro armonico - and picks a favourite.

Vivaldi's reputation across Europe was at its height in 1711 when the Amsterdam-based publisher Estienne Roger published twelve of his concertos for strings as Opus 3 under the title L'estro armonico. The popularity of L'estro armonico was instant and new editions soon appeared in London and Paris. Quantz was impressed by the novelty of Vivaldi's Op.3 and J.S. Bach arranged a dozen of them for keyboard instruments. The 12 concertos together put on a dazzling display of virtuosity, baroque drama, rhythmic energy and intense harmonic development. L'estro armonico, which translates roughly as 'musical rapture', encapsulates Vivaldi's inventiveness in the collection as a whole.

10.50
On the eve of International Women's Day, Andrew McGregor reviews the most recent releases of music by female composers.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

In Building a Library, Hannah French compares recordings of Vivaldi's L'estro armonico.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew Mcgregor With Iain Burnside And Natasha Loges20200125

9.30
Building a Library: Iain Burnside compares recordings of Chopin's four scherzi for piano, Opuses 20, 31, 39 and 54 - and picks a favourite.

Scherzo No 1 in B minor Op 20
Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor Op 31
Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor Op 39
Scherzo No 4 in E major Op 54

Chopin's four scherzi, much loved and oft recorded by the world's greatest pianists, are a feat of technique, lyricism and musical story-telling. Each is a mini drama and they were written for concert performance rather than the salon. The scherzi also span Chopin's own compositional journey. Whilst the first scherzo is defiant and assertive, demonstrating the youthful energy of the composer, the fourth, written towards the end of his life, is more elusive. Together with the ballades, Chopin's four scherzi stand supreme amongst his entire output for solo piano.

10.50
Natasha Loges reviews the newest releases of Lieder and songs.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

In Building a Library, Iain Burnside compares recordings of Chopin's four scherzi.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Jan Smaczny and Laura Tunbridge20190928

with Andrew McGregor.

09.30
A guide to the best of Martinu on disc.
Jan Smaczny presents his five favourite recordings of a 20th Century Czech composer who really deserves to be in every collection. Bohuslav Martinů wrote 6 symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and much else besides. His style is eclectic and full of high-energy, propulsive rhythms . Among his operas, Julietta and The Greek Passion are thrilling works. Many of his orchestral works have hints of jazz mixed in with Bohemian and Moravian folk melodies.

10.50
Andrew McGregor talks to Laura Tunbridge about a new cycle of the Beethoven symphonies from Andris Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

New recordings with Andrew McGregor and a guide to the best of Martinu on disc.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Jan Smaczny and Laura Tunbridge20190928

with Andrew McGregor.

09.30
A guide to the best of Martinu on disc.
Jan Smaczny presents his five favourite recordings of a 20th Century Czech composer who really deserves to be in every collection. Bohuslav Martinů wrote 6 symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and much else besides. His style is eclectic and full of high-energy, propulsive rhythms . Among his operas, Julietta and The Greek Passion are thrilling works. Many of his orchestral works have hints of jazz mixed in with Bohemian and Moravian folk melodies.

10.50
Andrew McGregor talks to Laura Tunbridge about a new cycle of the Beethoven symphonies from Andris Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

New recordings with Andrew McGregor and a guide to the best of Martinu on disc.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Jeremy Summerly and Harriet Smith20191116

with Andrew McGregor

09.30
Building a Library: Jeremy Summerly is in the hot seat, sifting through recordings of Stravinsky's austerely beautiful Symphony of Psalms.

A choral symphony from the composer's 'neoclassical' period, Stravinsky's compact, three-movement work has been fortunate on record with a wide range of interpretations from all round the world. It inhabits a unique sound world, omitting as it does clarinets, violins and violas, and comparisons are guaranteed to be fascinating.

10.50
Harriet Smith joins Andrew for a round-up of recent virtuoso piano recordings, including Alkan from Paul Wee, Rachmaninov from Daniel Trifonov and Prokofiev from Alexander Melnikov.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Andrew McGregor with Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms plus Russian and French piano music.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew Mcgregor With Katy Hamilton And Nigel Simeone20191026

09.30
Building a Library: Katy Hamilton compares recordings of Antonín Dvořák's ever-popular Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor 'Dumky' and picks a favourite.

Dvořák's music, suffused with the rhythms and melodic inflections of Bohemian and Moravian folk traditions might never have gained international recognition beyond his Czech homeland but for the enthusiastic and public endorsement of a certain Johannes Brahms. After that, Dvořák sometimes reined in the freshness and charm of his music in favour of a more serious and occasionally portentous Teutonic style. But when it came to his final piano trio, Dvořák happily returned to his Slavic folk roots, aiming to write an unashamedly popular work. Made out of six movements, each modelled on the dumka (an instrumental folk form with two contrasting sections) Dvořák hit the spot with his public and today the Dumky trio is still a great favourite with audiences -- and recording companies.

10.50
Nigel Simeone reviews new orchestral recordings including Beethoven from Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan, Bruckner with Simon Rattle and the LSO, and Debussy from Mark Elder in Manchester.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

The best classical releases and Building a Library on Dvo\u0159\u00e1k's 'Dumky' Piano Trio

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Kirsten Gibson and Anna Picard20191130

09.30
Building a Library: Kirsten Gibson compares recordings of Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas and picks a favourite.

Uncertainty surrounds the origins Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. It's thought to be from the late 1680s, towards the end of Purcell's short life, and some evidence points to a Chelsea girls' school as the unlikely venue of its premiere. Unlikely because the exceptional quality of its music and drama make the English court a more probable location for one of the greatest of all English musical stage works. Based on part of Virgil's Aeneid, love, abandonment and despair are its eternal themes, all of which are devastatingly portrayed in its most famous number, Dido's lament 'When I am laid in earth', an aria which has always attracted some of the most starry singers.

The current catalogue shows Dido is an internationally acknowledged masterpiece and the preserve of period performance specialists, but its recorded history began in the 1930s, long predating both of those aspects.

11.50
Anna Picard has been listening to recent recordings of Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann, including a complete set of the Beethoven Piano Concertos from Jan Lisiecki and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

The best classical releases and Building a Library on Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Kirsten Gibson and Anna Picard20191130

09.30
Building a Library: Kirsten Gibson compares recordings of Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas and picks a favourite.

Uncertainty surrounds the origins Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. It's thought to be from the late 1680s, towards the end of Purcell's short life, and some evidence points to a Chelsea girls' school as the unlikely venue of its premiere. Unlikely because the exceptional quality of its music and drama make the English court a more probable location for one of the greatest of all English musical stage works. Based on part of Virgil's Aeneid, love, abandonment and despair are its eternal themes, all of which are devastatingly portrayed in its most famous number, Dido's lament 'When I am laid in earth', an aria which has always attracted some of the most starry singers.

The current catalogue shows Dido is an internationally acknowledged masterpiece and the preserve of period performance specialists, but its recorded history began in the 1930s, long predating both of those aspects.

11.50
Anna Picard has been listening to recent recordings of Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann, including a complete set of the Beethoven Piano Concertos from Jan Lisiecki and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

The best classical releases and Building a Library on Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew Mcgregor With Mahan Esfahani And Natasha Loges20191019

with Andrew McGregor.

09.30
Building a Library: Mahan Esfahani listens to and compares recordings of Verdi's opera La Traviata

The tale of the consumptive courtesan rescued from a life of reckless and meaningless pleasure by an idealistic and ardent lover is one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. Written by Verdi in the white heat of his middle period when he was creating one masterpiece after another and forging an ever closer relationship between music, text and drama, La Traviata has attracted some of the best sopranos who ever went into a recording studio.

10.50
Andrew McGregor talks to Natasha Loges about a new set of Beethoven Piano Sonatas from Igor Levit.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

New recordings with Andrew McGregor plus Building a Library on Verdi's opera La Traviata.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Marina Frolova-Walker and Alexandra Coghlan20190921

09.30
Building a Library: Marina Frolova-Walker compares recordings of Prokofiev's Symphony No 1 'Classical'.

Composed following the model of the symphony established by Haydn (the 'Father of the Symphony'), Prokofiev's first foray into the genre is widely known as the 'Classical Symphony', a name given to it by the composer. One of the earliest examples of 'neoclassicism', the symphony premiered in 1918 in Petrograd, conducted by Prokofiev himself, and together with Peter and the Wolf, is has become one of his most popular works.

10.50
Alexandra Coghlan reviews a wide-ranging selection of new choral recordings, including Daniel Harding's recent account of Brahms' German Requiem and Italian Baroque music from Le Poème Harmonique.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week.

Building a Library on Prokofiev's 'Classical' Symphony and new choral recordings reviewed.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Marina Frolova-Walker and Alexandra Coghlan20190921

09.30
Building a Library: Marina Frolova-Walker compares recordings of Prokofiev's Symphony No 1 'Classical'.

Composed following the model of the symphony established by Haydn (the 'Father of the Symphony'), Prokofiev's first foray into the genre is widely known as the 'Classical Symphony', a name given to it by the composer. One of the earliest examples of 'neoclassicism', the symphony premiered in 1918 in Petrograd, conducted by Prokofiev himself, and together with Peter and the Wolf, is has become one of his most popular works.

10.50
Alexandra Coghlan reviews a wide-ranging selection of new choral recordings, including Daniel Harding's recent account of Brahms' German Requiem and Italian Baroque music from Le Poème Harmonique.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week.

Building a Library on Prokofiev's 'Classical' Symphony and new choral recordings reviewed.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew Mcgregor With Natasha Loges, Katy Hamilton And Kate Molleson20191214

Andrew McGregor is joined in the studio by Natasha Loges, Katy Hamilton and Kate Molleson to discuss which new releases they have most enjoyed this year. They champion music ranging from Chausson and Britten to Cassandra Miller and Gesualdo.

0930
Building a Library: David Owen Norris joins Andrew to explore recordings of Schubert's Trout Quintet

The Trout Quintet is Schubert's Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667. It was composed in 1819, when he was 22 years old. Its joie de vivre and infectious melodies have made this piece one of the treasures of the chamber music repertoire. Rather than the usual piano quintet line-up of piano and string quartet, the Trout Quintet is written for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.

1030
Andrew McGregor and his three guests Natasha Loges, Katy Hamilton and Kate Molleson continue to share and discuss the merits of their releases of 2019.

Andrew McGregor and Record Review's critics choose their favourite releases of 2019.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew Mcgregor With Sarah Devonald And Elin Manahan Thomas20191012

09.30
Building a Library: Sarah Devonald compares recordings of Mozart's Serenade No.10 in B-flat, 'Gran Partita', K.361/370a - and picks a favourite.

'Gran Partita' as a subtitle implies that Mozart's Serenade No.10 is a large ambitious work, and although the work is clearly conceived as a whole 'cycle', it was not ascribed to the score by the composer himself. Mozart's vast 7-movement work for 13 wind instruments has an elusive compositional history and was thought for a long time to have been composed in 1780 or 1781 for a performance in Munich. No mention of the Serenade appears in any of Mozart's letters from that time and, in the 1970s, when the new critical edition of Mozart's works was published, after exhaustive studies of the autograph, it is now believed that the work was first performed in 1784 at a benefit concert for the Vienna-based basset-horn player Anton Stadler. The Serenade also bears the hallmarks of Mozart's later writing and certainly postdates the two wind serenades in E flat and C minor that were definitely composed in 1782.

The mysterious circumstances of both the subtitle 'Gran Partita' and the many versions of the score give the performer some interesting challenges, which Sarah Devonold discusses with Andrew McGregor.

10.50
Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas reviews some new and recent recordings of Baroque music, including Handel's Brockes-Passion, Purcell's King Arthur and Bach's Suites for solo cello.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Building a Library on Mozart's Serenade No.10 in B-flat, 'Gran Partita', K.361/370a.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Sarah Devonold and Elin Manahan Thomas20191012

09.30
Building a Library: Sarah Devonold compares recordings of Mozart's Serenade No.10 in B-flat, 'Gran Partita', K.361/370a - and picks a favourite.

'Gran Partita' as a subtitle implies that Mozart's Serenade No.10 is a large ambitious work, and although the work is clearly conceived as a whole 'cycle', it was not ascribed to the score by the composer himself. Mozart's vast 7-movement work for 13 wind instruments has an elusive compositional history and was thought for a long time to have been composed in 1780 or 1781 for a performance in Munich. No mention of the Serenade appears in any of Mozart's letters from that time and, in the 1970s, when the new critical edition of Mozart's works was published, after exhaustive studies of the autograph, it is now believed that the work was first performed in 1784 at a benefit concert for the Vienna-based basset-horn player Anton Stadler. The Serenade also bears the hallmarks of Mozart's later writing and certainly postdates the two wind serenades in E flat and C minor that were definitely composed in 1782.

The mysterious circumstances of both the subtitle 'Gran Partita' and the many versions of the score give the performer some interesting challenges, which Sarah Devonold discusses with Andrew McGregor.

10.50
Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas reviews some new and recent recordings of Baroque music, including Handel's Brockes-Passion, Purcell's King Arthur and Bach's Suites for solo cello.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Building a Library focuses on Mozart's Serenade No 10 in B flat, 'Gran Partita'.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Sarah Walker and Caroline Gill20191123

with Andrew McGregor

09.30
Building a Library: Sarah Walker joins Andrew in the studio to discuss and recommend a recording of Haydn's Symphony No 102.

The tenth of Haydn's so-called 'London' symphonies, it was specially commissioned for performance in the city. In the hands of an insightful interpreter, it can be in turns joyous, incisive, and moving - Sarah guides us to the ultimate must-have version.

10.50
Caroline Gill pops in to talk about a brace of recent releases of chamber music and concertos by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Sarah Walker joins Andrew to recommend a recording of Haydn's Symphony No 102.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew Mcgregor With Sarah Walker And Caroline Gill20191123

with Andrew McGregor

09.30
Building a Library: Sarah Walker joins Andrew in the studio to discuss and recommend a recording of Haydn's Symphony No 102.

The tenth of Haydn's so-called 'London' symphonies, it was specially commissioned for performance in the city. In the hands of an insightful interpreter, it can be in turns joyous, incisive, and moving - Sarah guides us to the ultimate must-have version.

10.50
Caroline Gill pops in to talk about a brace of recent releases of chamber music and concertos by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

Sarah Walker joins Andrew to recommend a recording of Haydn's Symphony No 102.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew McGregor with Schumann's Dichterliebe and Bruckner from Berlin20191228

Andrew McGregor with the must-have recording of Schumann's poignant song cycle "Dichterliebe" and a star-studded Bruckner symphony cycle from the Berlin Philharmonic.

9.30am
Building a Library
Laura Tunbridge discusses a wide range of approaches to Schumann's searing Heine cycle recommends the key recording to keep for posterity.

10.45am
Andrew unboxes a handsome new set of the nine Bruckner symphonies in which the Berlin Philharmonic is led by not one but eight different conductors, recorded recently in concert.

11.15am
Disc of the Week
Andrew's recommendation of a superlative new release just out.

The must-have recording of Dichterliebe and a star-studded Bruckner symphony cycle.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Schumann's Dichterliebe and Bruckner from Berlin20191228

Andrew McGregor with the must-have recording of Schumann's poignant song cycle "Dichterliebe" and a star-studded Bruckner symphony cycle from the Berlin Philharmonic

9.30am
Building a Library
Laura Tunbridge discusses a wide range of approaches to Schumann's searing Heine cycle recommends the key recording to keep for posterity

10.45am
Marina Frolova-Walker joins Andrew and unboxes a handsome new set of the nine Bruckner symphonies in which the Berlin Philharmonic is led by not one but eight different conductors, recorded recently in concert

11.15am
Disc of the Week
Andrew's recommendation of a superlative new release just out

The must-have recording of Dichterliebe and a star-studded Bruckner symphony cycle

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Andrew McGregor with Tom Service and Erica Jeal20191005

09.30
Building a Library: Tom Service compares recordings of Richard Strauss's orchestral epic Ein Heldenleben - A Hero's Life - and picks a favourite.

From the mid-1880s until 1915 Richard Strauss established his credentials as one of Europe's leading composers with a series of ten descriptive orchestral tone poems. His subjects ranged from a picture postcard of his Italian summer holidays, through to literary and folk characters and, by 1898, to his favourite subject of all (although he half-heartedly denied it): himself. Strauss's apparently boundless egotism and effrontery outraged contemporary critics, especially when they heard their carping lampooned and then brushed aside by The Hero on his way to more significant and hard-fought victories on life's journey. But it's difficult not to be seduced by the work's swagger and wonderful orchestration, including eight soaring and thrillingly heroic horns, which even today stretches every orchestral player's technique.

Recording Ein Heldenleben has been on every self-respecting Straussian's to-do list, ensuring a never-ending stream of recordings, many from some of the world's great orchestra-conductor partnerships.

10.50
Carnegie Hall, 9 May, 1965. After a 12-year absence from the concert platform, piano legend Vladimir Horowitz makes a triumphant return. The hotly-anticipated recital had been meticulously planned with a series of private concerts at the Hall in the preceding months, given before a handful of friends and family. Erica Jeal has been sifting through Sony's sumptuously presented box set documenting Horowitz's journey to Carnegie Hall, including never-previously-released recordings of the private recitals, to find out if it's worth its £100 price tag.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

The best classical releases and Building a Library on Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

Andrew Mcgregor With Tom Service And Erica Jeal20191005

09.30
Building a Library: Tom Service compares recordings of Richard Strauss's orchestral epic Ein Heldenleben - A Hero's Life - and picks a favourite.

From the mid-1880s until 1915 Richard Strauss established his credentials as one of Europe's leading composers with a series of ten descriptive orchestral tone poems. His subjects ranged from a picture postcard of his Italian summer holidays, through to literary and folk characters and, by 1898, to his favourite subject of all (although he half-heartedly denied it): himself. Strauss's apparently boundless egotism and effrontery outraged contemporary critics, especially when they heard their carping lampooned and then brushed aside by The Hero on his way to more significant and hard-fought victories on life's journey. But it's difficult not to be seduced by the work's swagger and wonderful orchestration, including eight soaring and thrillingly heroic horns, which even today stretches every orchestral player's technique.

Recording Ein Heldenleben has been on every self-respecting Straussian's to-do list, ensuring a never-ending stream of recordings, many from some of the world's great orchestra-conductor partnerships.

10.50
Carnegie Hall, 9 May, 1965. After a 12-year absence from the concert platform, piano legend Vladimir Horowitz makes a triumphant return. The hotly-anticipated recital had been meticulously planned with a series of private concerts at the Hall in the preceding months, given before a handful of friends and family. Erica Jeal has been sifting through Sony's sumptuously presented box set documenting Horowitz's journey to Carnegie Hall, including never-previously-released recordings of the private recitals, to find out if it's worth its £100 price tag.

11.25
Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Recording of the Week.

The best classical releases and Building a Library on Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations

B\u00e9la Bart\u00f3k's Piano Concerto No 3 On Building A Library With Kate Molleson And Andrew Mcgregor20200229

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Kate Molleson chooses her favourite recording of Béla Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3.

In a desperate fight against the clock, Bartók finished his final piano concerto (and but for its last 17 bars, his final completed work) just four days before his death in New York on 26th September 1945. More lyrical and less angular than his first two concertos, the third is much recorded, including by many of the biggest and starriest pianists of our times. Perhaps its most memorable music is the central slow movement, based on Beethoven's 'Heiliger Dankgesang' (Holy song of thanksgiving), the middle movement of his string quartet Op. 132, written by Beethoven after he had recovered from illness. Like the Beethoven, Bartók's music here is apparently simple and serene and features, too, a wonderful example of his night music, including evocative bird calls and a magical blending of orchestra and solo piano.

10.40
Jeremy Summerly has been listening to an eclectic bunch of new choral recordings and shares the best of them.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Kate Molleson chooses her favourite recording of B\u00e9la Bart\u00f3k's Piano Concerto No 3.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Bach's Violin Concerto In E In Building A Library With Mark Lowther And Andrew Mcgregor20200328

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Another chance to hear Mark Lowther's recommendation from among the available recordings of Bach's Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042.

Johann Sebastian Bach's E major Concerto is one of the evergreen concertos of the violin repertoire, its three movements and based on the Venetian concerto model made famous by Vivaldi.

10.50
Harriet Smith has been listening to recent chamber music recordings.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Mark Lowther recommends a recording of Bach's Violin Concerto in E, BWV1042.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor with Andrew McGregor and Lucy Parham20200111

Andrew McGregor with the must-have recording of Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34, and a round-up of recent orchestral releases.

9.30am
Building a Library
Lucy Parham discusses a wide range of approaches to Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34, and recommends the key recording to have.

10.45am
Mark Simpson and Andrew review a handful of new releases of orchestral music by Mahler and Shostakovich.

11.15am
Record of the Week
Andrew's recommendation of a superlative new release just out.

The must-have recording of Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Grieg's Holberg Suite In Building A Library With Oliver Condy And Andrew Mcgregor20200222

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Oliver Condy chooses his favourite recording of Grieg's Holberg Suite.

The Holberg Suite is one of Grieg's most popular pieces; a suite of five movements based on 18th-century dance forms, written in 1884 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dano-Norwegian humanist playwright Ludvig Holberg.

10.45
Anna Lapwood unpacks an exciting batch of new organ releases.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen On Building A Library With Nigel Simeone And Andrew Mcgregor20200222

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Nigel Simeone chooses his favourite recording of Janacek's opera The Cunning Little Vixen

Composed in the early 1920s, The Cunning Little Vixen was based on a comic-strip novella serialised in Janacek's local newspaper. He poured all of his 70 years of life experience, and also the unreturned love for the much younger, married Kamila Stösslová into the piece. As well as the comedy it is also a melancholy reflection on the cycle of life and death.

10.45
Anna Lapwood unpacks an exciting batch of new organ releases.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Nigel Simeone chooses his favourite recording of Janacek's opera The Cunning Little Vixen.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Mozart's Symphony No 39 In E Flat On Building A Library With Nicholas Kenyon And Andrew Mcgregor20200208

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Nicholas Kenyon chooses his favourite recording of Mozart's late, great Symphony No. 39 in E flat major.

Summer 1788. Broke and out of favour with the fickle Viennese public, Mozart completes the remarkable trio of his final three symphonies in just nine weeks. No. 39 is the first of the set, exuberant and full of energy, ending with a characteristically ingenious and playful Mozartian touch: an effervescent moto perpetuo finale whose second theme is the first theme in disguise.

10.45
During his lifetime, conductor Bruno Walter's reputation could hardly have been higher. Born in Germany in 1876, assistant and protégé of Mahler, peer of Toscanini, Walter was a key interpreter of the classical and Romantic Austro-German core repertoire but in the decades since his death in 1962 he seems to have been largely forgotten. Katy Hamilton has been listening to the 77-CDs in Sony's new box of Bruno Walter's US recordings for the Columbia label and makes a contemporary assessment.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Nicholas Kenyon chooses his favourite recording of Mozart's Symphony No 39 in E flat.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Ravel's String Quartet In Building A Library With Jeremy Sams And Andrew Mcgregor20200314

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Jeremy Sams chooses his favourite recording of Ravel's String Quartet

Maurice Ravel finished his String Quartet in F major in 1903 at the age of 28. In some way it's modelled on Debussy's String Quartet of 10 years earlier. But it has been described as being "opposite to Debussy's symbolism, abandoning the vagueness and formlessness of the early French impressionists in favour of a return to classic standards." It quickly established itself as a standard work in the chamber music repertory.

10.45
New releases of piano concertos by Beethoven and Rachmaninov

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

9.30
Building a Library
Jeremy Sams chooses his favourite recording of Ravel's String Quartet.

10.45
Lucy Parham reviews new releases of piano concertos by Beethoven and Rachmaninov.

Schumann's Piano Concerto with Andrew McGregor and Lucy Parham20200111

Andrew McGregor with the must-have recording of Schumann's Piano Concerto and a round-up of recent orchestral releases

9.30am
Building a Library: Schumann's Piano Concerto with Lucy Parham
The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 was finished in 1845 and is Schumann's only piano concerto. The piece has the character of a fantasy. The work is suffused with a sense of yearning and happiness; of two people in love. It seems in some ways to portray his attempt to woe and finally marry Clara, the daughter of his famous piano teacher, Friedrich Wieck. The main motif of the first movement recalls Florestan's prison aria in Beethoven's opera Fidelio. In Schumann's case this possibly symbolises his struggle for personal freedom and happiness.

10.45am
Mark Simpson and Andrew review a handful of new releases of orchestral music by Mahler and Shostakovich

11.15am
Record of the Week
Andrew's recommendation of a superlative new release just out

The must-have recording of Schumann's Piano Concerto.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.

Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin On Building A Library With Nicholas Baragwanath And Andrew Mcgregor20200321

with Andrew McGregor

9.30
Building a Library
Another chance to hear Marina Frolova-Walker discussing the available recordings of Prokofiev's 'Classical' Symphony and making a recommendation.

Composed following the model of the symphony established by Haydn (the 'Father of the Symphony'), Prokofiev's first foray into the genre is widely known as the 'Classical Symphony', a name given to it by the composer. One of the earliest examples of 'neoclassicism', the symphony premiered in 1918 in Petrograd, conducted by Prokofiev himself, and together with Peter and the Wolf, is has become one of his most popular works.

10.50
Kirsten Gibson has been listening to recent early music recordings.

11.20
Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Nicholas Baragwanath chooses the must-have recording of Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin.

A thorough look at the week's classical music releases, plus news and recommendations.