Here are just a few highlights from a week of Fine Music classical music. You can explore all our Fine Music programs at Our Program Guide

Fine Music Mornings
Diversions in Fine Music and
Concert Hall

Afternoons & evenings of
Fine Music Classics

Thursday 22 December Diversions in Fine Music with Ross Hayes,

Porter, C. Excerpts from Kiss me Kate (1953).
Kathryn Grayson, sop; Ann Miller, voice; Howard Keel, bar; MGM Studio Ch & O/André Previn.

Inspired by the off-stage marital wranglings of the cast of a production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Kiss me, Kate turned out to be a triumph for Cole Porter, and the only one of his musicals to run on Broadway for more than 1,000 nights.

Thursday 22 December Concert Hallwith Ross Hayes

Mozart, W. Symphony no 41 in C, K551, ‘Jupiter’ (1788).
Freiburg Baroque O/René Jacobs.

The set of three symphonies that Mozart composed in quick succession are thought by some musicologists to be a triptych. Certainly, the Jupiter, the last of the three, has no formal introduction, but a grand finale. Whatever the truth, Jupiter was to be the last he composed, and is generally held to be one of the great symphonies of the classical era.

Boxing Day Concert Hall with Stephen Matthews

Beethoven, L. Piano concerto no 5 in E flat, op 73, ‘Emperor‘ (1809).
Murray Perahia, pf; Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink.

Beethoven enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Archduke Rudolph of Austria, the sort of aristocrat who could usually expect obsequious deference in practically anyone he met. He would have got little of that from Beethoven, to whom he was both pupil, patron and friend. And he must have been rather a gifted and assiduous piano student, to judge by the concerto that Beethoven wrote for him, and which came to be called the Emperor in his honour. It was the 5th and last of Beethoven’s piano concerti, and it brims with the bold rhetorical certitude of its composer’s heroic period.

Thursday 22 December, 8pm… in The World Of A Symphony, programmer David Brett has selected Prokofiev’s Symphony no 4, a work with a lengthy genesis. For the first version, Prokofiev drew extensively on material from his ballet score for The Prodigal Son. The result met with a luke-warm reception, and in 1947 Prokofiev decided to revise the symphony, giving it a more expansive and heroic feel, and earning the enthusiastic approval of the critics.

Saturday 24 December, 2:30pm… in Saturday Matinee: Choral Masterworks, programmer Stephen Matthews has chosen three works with a Christmas theme: the first part of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248; Jakub Jan Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass; and Michael Praetorius’s Lutheran Mass for Christmas Dayin a “hypothetic re-creation” by Paul McCreesh, which allows us to hear this music as it might have been heard in a church in central Germany circa 1620.

Sunday 25 December,10:00 pm… in A Baroque Christmas, programmer Elaine Siversen has focused on joyful singing and colourful instrumentation drawn from Monteverdi’s Christmas Vespers, together with Christmas favourites by Vivaldi, Handel and Bach.

Friday 16 December 16Concert Hall with Stephen Matthews

Beethoven, L. Violin concerto in D, op 61 (1806). Richard Tognetti, vn; Australian CO/Anthony Halstead.

The invention of the modern bow by violinist Giovanni Viotti and bowmaker François Xavier Tourte in the 1780s transformed the voice of the violin, giving it greater dynamic range and extending its phrasing capability. None of the canonic violin concerti of the 19th century could have been played with the old baroque bow. The first of these concerti, and in some eyes the greatest, is the Beethoven, written when its composer still had the fire of youth in his belly, and when his ‘heroic’ middle period was building a head of steam.

Tuesday 20 December
Diversions in Fine Music with Bob Gilchrist

Haydn, J. Keyboard trio in A, Hob.XV:18 (1794). Australian Fortepiano Trio.

Spanning well over three decades of his composing career, Haydn’s keyboard trips trace not only Haydn’s evolving style, but also the growing power of the piano. When the early ones were written, it was a squalling infant, in need of extensive support from its accompanying instruments. By 1794, particularly in the hands of the piano-makers of London, which Haydn was visiting for the second time, it was well on the path to maturity, and well able to stand on its own four feet. This is a work from late in Haydn’s career, and perfectly exemplifies the mastery which earned him such contemporary esteem.

Tuesday 20 December
Concert Hall with Bob Gilchrist

Beethoven, L. Symphony no 7 in A, op 92 (1811-12). Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood.

If you’re a lover of Beethoven, this truly is a great week. As if the violin concerto were not treat enough, here comes possibly the greatest of the symphonies. Beginning with the 3rd, aptly named the ‘Heroic’, Beethoven assaulted the ears of Vienna with a series of odd-numbered symphonies of ever-greater audacity. Modern ears, with two centuries of grand symphonies having passed, are not so easily startled, but nonetheless, a fine performance of the 7th is an electrifying experience.

Saturday 17 December at 1pm … in Treasures Of The Voice, programmer Paul Cooke has chosen music from Scandinavia. A selection of Swedish and Norwegian songs performed by Anne Sofie von Otter and Bengt Forsberg are followed by a performance by the ensemble Triakel of ‘The crofter’s Christmas Eve lullaby’ and a pair of Sibelius songs sung by the Finnish heavy metal singer, Tarja. Ros: suite for Christmas, an arrangement of Norwegian Yuletide music, concludes the program.

Saturday 17 December, 6pm … in Stage And Screen, programmer Angela Cockburn wishes you ‘a very merry Christmas’ with selections from Annie, Scrooge, Mame and Pickwick, along with ‘Christmas night in Harlem’, ‘Chestnuts roasting by an open fire’ and ‘Swingin’ them jingle bells’.

Sunday 18 December at 8:30 pm … in New Horizons, programmer Nev Dorrington has prepared a varied program. Leaning heavily on Vangelis, with music from the films Chariots of fire and Antarctica, he also draws on the work of Australian musician, singer and composer Lisa Gerrard, including music composed for the film Gladiator in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.

Thursday 1 December
Diversions in Fine Music
 with Ross Hayes

Saint-Saëns, C. The carnival of the animals (1886).
Ian Brown, pf; Susan Tomes, pf; Nash Ensemble.

The ‘Carnival’ is such a popular piece that we tend hear it, and to know it, in terms of individual movements – notably the Swan. So, the opportunity to hear all 14 movements of this delightful work is not one to be missed.

Tuesday 6 December
Concert Hall with Sue Jowell

Stravinsky, I. Suite from Petrushka (1947).
Chicago SO/Carlo Maria Giulini.

Stravinsky’s collaborations with the impresario Diaghilev were the ballet sensations of Paris in the early years of the 20th century. The character Petrushka corresponds to our Punch, and the ballet brings him, and his fellow – and rival – puppets to life. The work has lost little of its original appeal, and the orchestral suite is a firm favourite.

Wednesday 7 December
Concert Hall
 with David Brett

Ravel, M. Le tombeau de Couperin (1914–16).
Zurich Tonhalle O/Lionel Bringuier.

Ravel composed his piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin to commemorate friends lost in the Great War. The war prompted many an artist to delve into his country’s past for solace – Ralph Vaughan Williams comes pungently to mind – and in Ravel’s case it was Couperin whose mastery of baroque dance he chose to honour. Given the purpose of the work, however, it surprised many that it should turn out to be a blithe and only occasionally reflective, but never funereal piece. Ravel’s reply was “The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.”

Thursday 1 December at 1pm … in French Master Par Excellence: Keyboard Works Part 1, programmer Jennifer Foong begins our celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cesar Franck. Included is his Prelude, chorale and fugue, one of the most important of all French Romantic piano works, in a performance by Stephen Hough combining ‘a hypersensitive ear for texture and voicing with acute musical insight and astonishing dexterity’.

Friday 2 December at 8pm … in Evenings With The Orchestra, programmer Robert Small chooses works composed or being composed in 1822 (Mendelssohn’s youthful Concerto for piano and strings in A minor and Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony) and 1922 (Grainger’s Danish folk-music suite and a suite from Janacek’s opera The Makropulos affair).

Wednesday 7 December at 2pm … in August 1914, programmer Paul Cooke selects music with a connection to that month: Ravel’s Trio in A minor was completed, Rutland Boughton’s The immortal hour was first performed, and pianist Paul Wittgenstein was shot in the elbow, leading to the amputation of his right arm.

Thursday0 24 November
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole.
Bernstein, L.
Suite from West Side Story (1960; arr. Gale). Center City Brass Quintet. 
West Side Story, Jerome Robbins’ 1957 take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ran for over 700 performances on Broadway before going on tour, and was one of the greatest musical successes of its age. Leonard Bernstein’s score was a triumph, and bequeathed to popular culture some of its most hummable tunes. The suite is a firm favourite.

Friday 25 November
Diversions in Fine Music
with Michael Field
Gershwin, G.
Rhapsody in blue (1924; transcr. Dokshitser). Edward Tarr, tpt; Elisabeth Westenholz, pf. 
The Great War had ended in 1918. The sheer scale of the slaughter, and the fact that so much of it was accomplished by people who could not see their victims, had robbed Western art, including ‘classical’ music, of its confidence. Simply writing beautiful music seemed inadequate to the task of artistic expression, and melody was shunned, except in the field of jazz and popular music. Composers of art music did try to reconcile the western musical tradition with the idioms of jazz. Few can have done it with greater success than George Gershwin, as the enduring popularity of Rhapsody in Blue attests.

Friday 25 November
Concert Hall
with Michael Field
Strauss, R.
Oboe concerto in D (1945/48). Heinz Holliger, ob; New Philharmonia O/Edo de Waart.
Writing soaring cantilena for the soprano voice was something that had occupied Richard Strauss all his working life, not least on account of his marriage to the soprano Pauline De Ahn,with whom, despite her many eccentricities, he had a long and happy marriage. No-one familiar with Strauss’ soprano lieder could be surprised at his enthusiastic acceptance of a commission to write a concerto for that most lyrical of instruments, the oboe.

Thursday 24 November at 8pm … in The World Of A Symphony, programmer David Brett focuses on A Faust symphony, by Franz Liszt. Each movement is a character portrait: the first, “Faust” anticipates Schoenberg by 70 years with a melody which includes all 12 pitches of the chromatic scale; the second is “Gretchen”, slow and meditative; the third is “Mephistopheles”, a parody of the first movement. With a choral ending that recalled Beethoven’s Symphony no 9, it was a work that strongly influenced Wagner. 

Friday 25 November at 10pm … in Baroque And Before, programmer Robert Gilchrist surveys Alessandro Stradella and his Italian contemporaries. Stradella is regarded as one of the most versatile and influential musical figures of the mid 17th century, and wrote operas, oratorios and cantatas, as well as instrumental music. Other composers featured are Sanz, Matteis and Lonati.

Saturday 26 November at 2:30pm … in Saturday Matinee: Choral Masterworks, programmer Elaine Siversen celebrates the bicentenary of Cesar Franck’s birth with performances of some of his sacred music, including the Messe solennelle and the ambitious and sonorous oratorio Redemption

Thursday 17 November
Diversions in Fine Music
with Ross Hayes
Mendelssohn, F.
Songs without words, bk I, op 19b (1834).
Luba Edlina, pf. 
Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words were the product of the warm and musically fertile relationship with his sister Fanny, and of Mendelssohn’s acute sense of what the music-buying public was after. Pianos, and a whole new population of amateur pianists, were appearing in the growing bourgeoisie of his day, and these charming works were perfect for this new market.

Friday 18 November
Concert Hall
with Stephen Matthews
Sibelius, J.
Suite: Karelia, op 11 (1893).
Finnish RSO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Sibelius was a fervent Finnish nationalist, and this is perhaps his most fervently nationalist piece. The Karelia Suite drew together several pieces written for Helsinki University students who were presenting a historical pageant in the south-eastern region of Karelia. Deliberately naïve and rough-hewn, they were a celebration of rustic Finnish virtue.

Monday 21 November
Concert Hall with Nina Fudala
Stravinsky, I.
Suite no 2 from The firebird (1919).
Chicago SO/Carlo Maria Giulini.
It is hard to overstate the importance to music of the Firebird, the first of a string of ballet collaborations between Sergei Diaghilev and a young composer on the make, Igor Stravinsky. Not only was it the making of Stravinsky’s career, but it changed music for ever. “Mark him well,” Diaghilev said of Stravinsky, “he is a man on the eve of celebrity.”

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Friday 18 November at 2pm … in Mendelssohn, The Voice And The Orchestra, programmer Elaine Siversen pairs the composer’s youthful Double concerto in D minor with his Symphony no 2, Hymn of praise. This was the last composed of his five symphonies, inspired by Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, and written for the celebration in 1840 of the invention of printing from movable type.

Saturday 19 November at 6pm … in Stage And Screen, programmer Angela Cockburn suggests that life — and love, especially between different social classes — is not so easy, with excepts from Ivor Novello’s The dancing years, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and Noel Coward’s Bitter sweet.

Sunday 20 November at 3pm … in Sunday Special: Celebrating Noel Mewton-Wood, programmer Derek Parker chooses a number of performances by an Australian pianist who died in tragic circumstances at the age of 31. Included are Tchaikovsky’s Piano concerto no 2, and Arthur Bliss’s Piano sonata, which he confessed was “bloody difficult”.

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Thursday 10 November
Concert Hall with Jules Laurent
Respighi, O.
Symphonic poem: Pines of Rome (1924).
Leslie Pearson, org; Philharmonia O/Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Respighi is best known for his triptych of tone poems about his beloved city of Rome. He began in 1916 with the Fountains of Rome, and concluded with Festivals of Rome in 1928. In between in 1924, came the Pines, inspired by the distinctive sound those trees make in a stiff breeze. It is by far the best-loved of the series. It contains four movements, each depicting a location in Rome in which pines are to be found.

Friday 11 November
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole
Mussorgsky, M. St John’s night on Bald Mountain (1867; arr. Rimsky-Korsakov).
Finnish RSO/Leif Segerstam.
Mussorgsky composed his “musical picture” as he called it – Night on Bald Mountain, on the Night in question – St John’s Night, the 23rd of June. It seems that the idea of a witches’ Sabbath on that night held a strong appeal for him, and he sat down to write what turned out to be Russia’s first tone poem. His mentor Balakirev, however, loathed it and refused to perform it. It was not until after Mussorgsky’s death that his friend Rimsky-Korsakov came along and reorchestrated it, creating the version we know today.

Monday 14 November
Diversions in Fine Music with Tom Forrester-Paton
Saint-Saëns, C.
Danse macabre, op 40 (1874).
French NO/Lorin Maazel, vn & dir.
Camille Saint Saens’ tone poem Danse Macabre is one of the many works that began life as material penned earlier. The Danse started off as a chanson with piano accompaniment, but in 1874 Saint-Saens orchestrated it and replaced the voice with a solo violin. This transformed both the piece and its fortunes, and it has become one of its composer’s favourites.

Thursday 10 November at 8pm … in The World Of A Symphony, programmer Brian Drummond has turned his attention to Joachim Raff, a Romantic composer highly regarded in his lifetime. He wanted to combine recent developments in music with techniques of the past. His Symphony no 1, To the Fatherland, leavens the programmatic music beloved of Liszt and Wagner with a liberal helping of counterpoint.
Presented by: Brian Drummond

Monday 14 November at 2:30pm … in Peaceful Scenes Shattered, programmer Iris Zeng has chosen a fascinating program of music in which the world’s fragile order is upset by huntsmen, wolves, storms and emotional desolation. Her choices range in time from Bach’s Sheep may safely graze through to Prokofiev’s Peter and the wolf.
Presented by: Brian Drummond

Wednesday 16 November at 8pm … in At The Opera, programmer James Nightingale shares with us the story of an opera singer preserved by a magic potion well beyond her 300th birthday. The opera is Janáček’s The Makropulos affair. Based on a story by the Czech science-fiction writer Karel Capek, famous for inventing the word ‘robot’, it’s notable for Janacek’s alternation between terseness and a lyrically melodic style.
Presented by: Nena Beretin

Thursday 3 November
Diversions in Fine Music
with David Brett
Strauss, R. Romance in F (1883).
Mischa Maisky, vc; Pavel Gililov, pf. 
The late 18th century cello virtuoso- Hanus Wihan was the dedicatee of many compositions, but perhaps the most striking is this Romance, by a 19 year-old Richard Strauss. Wihan served in the Munich Court Orchestra, together with Richard’s father Franz. It reveals a remarkably self-possessed young man, already showing breathtaking gifts as an orchestrator.

Monday 7 November
Concert Hall with Tom Forrester-Paton
Strauss, R. Tone poem: Thus spake Zarathustra, op 30 (1895-96).
Los Angeles PO/Zubin Mehta.
Although a tone poem, Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra is certainly symphonic in scale and scope, being lavishly scored and divided into 9 sections, although with just three distinct pauses. It was inspired by Nietzsche’s novel of the same name, and it juxtaposes the inimical keys of C and B major, C major – in the lower strings – standing for mankind and B, given to the higher strings and winds, for the Universe.

Tuesday 8 November
Diversions in Fine Music
with Andrew Dziedzic
Beethoven, L. Sonata no 32 in C minor, op 111 (1822).
Stephen Hough, pf.
This is the last of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and arguably the most intriguing. In it, Beethoven stretches and squeezes the sonata conventions to the point where Thomas Mann was moved to remark that the piece was a ‘farewell to the sonata form’. Rhythmically, it prefigures jazz, using syncopation in ways that were not to be heard again until Scott Joplin, 70 years later.
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Friday 4 November at 8pm … In Evenings With The Orchestra, programmer Robert Small’s choices all have an Italian connection. Berlioz’ ‘Roman carnival’ Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Violin concerto and Mendelssohn’s Symphony no 4 are joined by Walton’s Cello concerto, which has been described as being “like a bottle of vintage wine from the composer’s home on the Italian island of Ischia”.
Presented by: Robert Small

Saturday 5 November at 10am … in Centres Of Music, programmer Elaine Siversen focuses on Monteverdi’s Venice. As well as Monteverdi himself, she has selected works by Francesco Cavalli, father of the bel canto style, and the most performed opera composer of his generation, and Biagio Marini, perhaps the first professional violin virtuoso and a composer of great skill and harmonic daring.
Presented by: James Hunter

Sunday 6 November at 9am … in Musica Sacra, programmer Stephen Matthews’ major work is Zelenka’s Missa sanctae Caeciliae, the first work he composed for the Dresden court. Zelenka has been called variously the “Czech Bach” or the “Catholic Bach”, and this glorious mass exemplifies his mastery.
Presented by: Stephen Matthews

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Thursday 20 October
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole
Berlioz, H. Overture to Beatrice and Benedict
Philharmonia O/Jean-Philippe Rouchon.
In the late 1850s, Hector Berlioz was gripped by two afflictions – a lingering and debilitating tummy upset, and the arrival in Paris of Richard Wagner, whose music was heading in a post-romantic direction that Berlioz didn’t like, and frankly admitted he didn’t understand. Then in 1860 his beloved sister died, and he found refuge from his grief in the writing, of all things, of an opera comique, taking Shakespeare’s Much Ado…. and rendering it in opera as Beatrice et Benedict. It was a great success, and after it he wrote no more major works. He said of the overture that it was “a caprice written with the point of a needle.”

Monday 24 October
Diversions in Fine Music
with Stephen Matthews
Beethoven, L.Quartet in F, op 135 (1826).
Tokyo String Quartet.
To some Beethoven afficionados, the ‘late’ string quartets are the crowning glories of his late period. To many string players, they are the ideal realisation of the string quartet form. Intense and introspective, they show us the world’s greatest composer, by now profoundly deaf, ruminating and conversing, and even arguing with himself on the very nature of music itself.

Wednesday 26 October
Concert Hall with Neil McEwan
Hummel, J.Piano concerto in B minor, op 89 (1819).
Stephen Hough, pf; English CO/Bryden Thomson.
Hummel shared with contemporaries such as Spohr and Weber the fate of occupying the same musical world as the towering genius of Beethoven, and his music has been damned with faint praise. This injustice is gradually being corrected, and Hummel’s reputation has enjoyed a revival over recent years. His piano concertos, in particular, embody al the virtuosity of the pianist he was, and in this performance, Stephen Hough is very evidently relishing the challenge.

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Saturday 22 October at 6pm
 … in Stage And Screen, programmer Anabela Pina treats us to music from a range of romantic movies, including Somewhere in time, with music by John Barry, and Dying young, the third Julia Roberts film to be scored by James Newton Howard.
Presented by Ross Hayes.

Monday 24 October at 2:30pm
… in Uniting Nations: Music For United Nations Day, programmer Paul Cooke has brought together a number of works which reflect the coming together of different nationalities. He has included Anne Boyd’s Cloudy mountain and Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras no 7 .
Presented by Brian Cornish.

Wednesday 26 October, 8:00pm
… in At The Opera, programmer Elaine Siversen has chosen Vivaldi’s Griselda, first performed in 1735 and with a plot based on a tale from Boccacio’s Decameron. Although the role of Griselda was written for a favourite of Vivaldi better-known as an actor than singer, the opera includes some fine arias: expect ‘ornaments on ornaments’!
Presented by Nena Beretin.

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Friday 14 October
Diversions in Fine Music with Peter Poole
Piazzolla, A.
Three tangos (arr. Crabb).
James Crabb, accordion; Benjamin Martin, pf; Australian CO/Richard Tognetti.
The bandoneon, of which Astor Piazzolla was an absolute master, is the instrument whose dark solemnity lent itself so perfectly to the tango. It has a very near analogue, however, in the classical accordion. James Crabb, the Scottish-born accordionist who holds the position of Accordion Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, has forcefully made this point by collaborating extensively with the surviving members of Astor Piazzolla’s original Quintet – essentially standing in for the great man himself. So in teaming up with the endlessly fertile creative mind of Richard Tognetti, he was bringing to the party the very essence of modern tango.

Tuesday 18 October
Diversions in Fine Music with Robert Gilchrist
Beethoven, L.
Sonata no 5 in D, op 102 no 2 (1815).
Steven Isserlis, vc; Robert Levin, fp.
Beethoven’s cello sonatas are greatly outnumbered by those he wrote for the violin. However the 5 cello sonatas neatly chart Beethoven’s course from his early period, deeply respectful of elders such as Haydn, through the confident, heroic middle period, to the introspective mysticism of his late music. Here we have the contemporary master of the cello, Steven Isserlis, with an indisputably authoritative reading of the last of the sonatas.

Wednesday 19 October
Concert Hall with Ross Hayes
Mendelssohn, F.
Double concerto no 2 in A flat (1824).
Stephen Coombs, pf; Ian Munro, pf; BBC Scottish SO/Jerzy Maksymiuk.
Mendelssohn’s prodigious youth produced many great pieces of music, but among his greatest achievements must be the two double concertos he wrote while still in his teens. The first, he wrote for his beloved sister Fanny to play with him. It says much for the wealth of his family that he could write such a work and expect to have the resources to perform it. That wealth also procured as a tutor the services of Ignaz Moscheles, who said after their first encounter “Felix, a mere boy of fifteen, is a phenomenon. What are all other prodigies compared with him? – mere gifted children. I had to play a good deal, when all I really wanted to do was to hear him and look at his compositions.” Felix rewarded his tutor’s admiration by writing this, the second of his double piano concertos, with Moscheles in mind as a partner.
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Thursday 13 October at 8pm… in The World Of A Symphony, programmer and presenter Brian Drummond focuses on the Symphony in E flat by Danish violinist, conductor and composer Johannes Frohlich, along with compositions by his mentors and collaborators, and of Gade and Hartmann those who followed his example. 

Tuesday 18 October at 2pm… in The B.B.C. At 100, programmer Paul Cooke and presenter Heather Middleton celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the British public broadcaster. Both early and more recent landmarks are highlighted through music ranging from Mozart’s Magic Flute overture to Murray Gold’s contributions to the Doctor Who television series.

Wednesday 19 October at 8pm… in At The Opera, programmer and presenter Camille Mercep has chosen Verdi’s seldom-heard I Lombardi, his fourth opera and the successor to Nabucco. Themes of conflict, mercy and redemption are played out against the background of the First Crusade, as the Muslim warrior prince Oronte converts to Christianity for love of the Italian Griselda.

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Thursday 6 October
Concert Hall with David Brett
Beach, A.

Piano concerto in C sharp minor, op 45(1897-99).
Danny Driver, pf; BBC Scottish SO/Rebecca Miller.
Amy Beach was an infant, not a child prodigy, being able to sing correctly forty tunes before her second birthday, improvising counter-melody against her mother’s singing shortly thereafter, and composing simple waltzes at the age of 4. She fulfilled her early promise, becoming a pillar of the late 19th/early 20th century American music. She was best known for her songs, but this is an opportunity to hear perhaps her greatest achievement, her only piano concerto.
Friday 7 October
Concert Hall
with Andrew Dziedzic
Brahms, J.

Symphony no 4 in E minor, op 98 (1885).
London PO/Marin Alsop. 
Schubert asked on hearing Beethoven’s late quartets “after hearing this, what is there left for us to write?” He might as well have been talking about symphonies, which Beethoven left in a form to which his successors would struggle to find a coherent response. This symphony is Brahms’ last, and is among the more satisfactory of those responses.
Tuesday 11 October
Diversions in Fine Music
with Andrew Dziedzic
Beethoven, L.

Adelaïde, op 46 (1794-95).
Peter Schreier, ten; Walter Olbertz, pf. 
Although he was never self-pitying (although few have had greater reasons to pity themselves), Beethoven was nonetheless prey to attachments that promised only yearning, but not fulfilment. But in Adelaide, he goes, in the eyes of many, beyond the listless, tragicomic yearning of the lovelorn protagonist that we find in Schubert’s cycles. Here we have a panting, passionately masculine expression of frank desire.
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The importance of CPE Bach in guiding the transition from the Baroque era of his father to the Classical era that was to come is hard to overstate.

On Thursday 6 October at 1pm in Year In The Baroque, programmer Anabela Pina includes a concerto by JS, and an oboe sonata by CPE, written in the same year, in which we can hear the apple falling just far enough from the tree to indicate the direction of future travel.
20th century music in America was a cauldron, in which ‘classical’ composers flirted with jazz idioms, and jazzmen experimented with arrangements of the classics.

In The World Of A Symphony on Thursday 6 October at 8pm, programmer James Nightingale treats us to a riot of American music that Includes Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, and culminates in the African-American composer William Still’s 2nd symphony.

Sunday 9 October at 10am … in The Classical Era, programmer Rex Burgess hones in on the years between 1809 and 1811, with music by Méhul, Krommer and Spohr, and concluding with Beethoven’s Piano trio “Archduke”: at its first public performance Beethoven insisted on playing the piano part, although his hearing was now seriously defective. It was the second last time he played in public.

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Thursday 29 September
Concert Hall
 with Ross Hayes
Tchaikovsky, P. Suite from The Nutcracker, op 71a(1892). Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan.
As evergreen favourites go, the Nutcracker Suite is hard to beat. And who better to hear it from than the Vienna Philharmonic, under von Karajan?

Tuesday 4 October
Diversions in Fine Music
with Stephen Matthews
Vaughan Williams, R.
The vagabond; Let beauty awake; The roadside fire, from Songs of Travel(1904). Bryn Terfel, bass-bar; Malcolm Martineau, pf.
Ralph Vaughan Williams had a peerless gift for matching verse to music. For his celebrated song cycle, Songs of Travel, he chose poetry of Robert Louis Stephenson to create some of the most memorable art songs in the English repertoire. This recording, by Welsh bass Bryn Terfel, has some claim to being the definitive performance.

Wednesday 5 October
Concert Hall with Sue Jowell
Elgar, E. Overture: In the South, op 50, Alassio (1903). BBC PO/Edward Downes.
Elgar had gone to Italy with his wife in the winter of 1903, intending to use the change of scenery to inspire a first symphony. When he got there, though, the Italian spirit so moved him that he got side-tracked, and wrote this delightful piece – called an overture, but really more of a tone poem.

Friday 30 September at 1pm …
in Wagner Off Stage, programmer Stephen Wilson has chosen works by Wagner intended for the concert hall, not the stage. There are a number of early works, including the overture Polonia, which incorporated “material conceived after a night of drinking with exiles from Poland”. Most charmingly, Stephen has included the Siegfried idyll, composed for his wife Cosima, and performed for her at the foot of the staircase leading to her room, as she was lying in for the birth of their son.

Saturday 24 September at 8:00pm… 
in The Life Of A Composer, programmer Jennifer Foong celebrates the 350th anniversary of the French composer Antoine Forqueray. For a virtuoso of the bass viol, Antoine made a bad husband and a worse father. The program also includes music by Couperin, Rameau, Duphly and Marais, who lauded – and emulated – Forqueray’s genius. 

Wednesday 5 October at 8pm …
in At The Opera, programmer Peter Poolehas chosen two one-act operas based on Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Rachmaninov’s “symphonic opera” Francesca da Rimini was first performed in Moscow in 1906, and features a notably melancholy cello. Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, concerning a character from the Comedy described as “imposter turned imp” was first performed in New York in 1918, and includes one of Puccini’s best-loved arias, “O mio babbino caro”.
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Thursday 22 September
Diversions in Fine Music with Ross Hayes
Bottesini, G. Fantasia on Beatrice di Tenda.
Thomas Martin, db; Anthony Halstead, pf.
The double-bass languishes even more than the viola in the shade of the violin and cello, so opportunities to hear it as a solo instrument are rare. Giovanni Bottesini was a double-bass virtuoso who wrote extensively for his instrument, and this fantasia on Bellini’s opera is a delightful example.

Monday 26 September
Concert Hall
with Stephen Matthews
Beethoven, L. Piano concerto no 3 in C minor, op 37(1804).
Christoph Eschenbach, pf; London SO/Hans Werner Henze.
A real treat for Beethoven lovers. In Beethoven’s piano concerti, his own pianistic brilliance and the growth of his heroic style came together to produce music of unsurpassed grandeur and passion.

Tuesday 27 September
Diversions in Fine Music with Neil McEwan
Buxtehude, D. Praeludium in E minor, BuxWV142.
Bine Bryndorf, org.
Diderik Buxtehude was known as ‘the Great Dane’ – a moniker that reflected his Danish birth and his stature both as a man – he stood well over six feet tall – and as a musician. So great was his fame that a young JS Bach walked the 400 km from Arnstadt to Lübeck, to hear the great man play and “to comprehend one thing and another about his art”.
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Thursday 22 September at 2pm
In Queensland Calling, programmer Ron Walledge continues a series focusing on Queensland orchestras. The Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra performs Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, while the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, together with soloists Roger Woodward and Simon Tedeschi, play compositions by Bach, Rachmaninov, Smetana and Tchaikovsky.

Saturday 24 September at 8pm
In The Life Of A Composer, programmer Jennifer Foong examines the 20th century Spanish composer Joaquin Turina, featuring his Piano trio no 1 and Sinfonia sevilliana, and including compositions by Moszkowski and de Falla.

Monday 26 September at 1pm
In French Influences On Czech Composers, programmer James Nightingale has chosen music by Erwin Schulhoff (Five pieces for string quartet and Symphony no 2) and Vitezslava Kapralova (April preludes), together with works by Debussy and Ravel.

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Thursday 15 September
Concert Hall 
with Peter Poole
Rachmaninov, S.
Piano concerto no 3 in D minor, op 30(1909).
Vladimir Ashkenazy, pf; London SO/Anatole Fistoulari. 
If Rachmaninov’s 3rd piano concerto is not quite as popular as ‘Rach 2’, that’s possibly because its formidable technical difficulty is a deterrent to its frequent performance. One pianist lamented that he had not learned it in his youth, when he was “still too young to know fear”. Here’s an opportunity to hear it in the hands of the fearless Ashkenazy.

Friday 16 September
Diversions in Fine Music 
with Stephen Matthews 
Piazzolla, A.
Café 1930; Bordel 1900, from Histoire du tango (1986; transcr. Krutzen for flute and harp).
Krutzen/McGhee Duo. 
Astor Piazzolla is the tango’s most fervent and prolific ambassador. It originated, of course, in the bordellos of 1880s Buenos Aires, then among the world’s richest cities. The movements of Pizzolla’s suite Histoire du tango trace its emergence from those unseemly beginnings to the highly stylised musical form we have today – to be listened to, as much as danced to.

Monday 19 September
Diversions in Fine Music 
with Tom Forrester-Paton
Hyde, M.
Clarinet sonata in F minor (1949).
Nigel Westlake, cl; David Bollard, pf. 
Born just before WW1, Miriam Hyde studied at the Royal College of Music under a scholarship. She achieved considerable success, performing her first piano concerto in 1934 with the LSO, but returned to Australia in her early twenties, for good. She wrote a great deal of chamber music, in a style that evoked the early 20th century pastoralism of Vaughan Williams and Finzi, and this sonata is a good example.
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Thursday 15 September at 8pm … in The World Of A Symphony, programmer David Brett continues our series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vaughan Williams. This week, he focuses on the composer’s Symphony no 3. Its subtitle, Pastoral, is perhaps ironic, since it confronts the horrors of the First World War, in which Vaughan Williams had served as an ambulance orderly. Items by Ravel, Herbert Howells and Cecil Coles also attest to the shadow of war. Click on the banner at top of this page to see the full Anniversary Schedule. You can even Listen On Demand to any program you might have missed!

Friday 16 September at 10pm … in Baroque And Before, programmer Elaine Siversen commemorates the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Joseph de Mondonville. He was a violinist, composer and near-contemporary of Rameau who was involved with both the Chapelle royale and the Concert Spirituel.

Wednesday 21 September at 10:30pm … in Music Of The Night, programmer James Nightingale has selected music from the 20th and 21st centuries, ranging from Roussel’s symphonic prelude Résurrection, inspired by Tolstoy’s final novel, to Katy Abbott’s composition for percussion duo and cello, The empty quarter, evocative of the desert regions of the Arabian Peninsula.
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Thursday  8 September
Concert Hall 
with Ross Hayes
Tchaikovsky, P.
Symphony no 5 in E minor, op 64 (1888).
London SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
The least overtly programmatic of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies although some say it’s a musical manifestation of Tchaikovsky’s earnest attempt to escape from pessimism.

Monday 12 September
Diversions in Fine Music

with Nina FudalaMozart, W.
Serenade no 12 in C minor, K388 (1782).
Anthony Chesterman, ob; Hannah Cooper, ob; Lawrence Dobell, cl; Philip Arkinstall, cl; Peter Moore, bsn; Natasha Woodley, bsn; Darryl Poulsen, hn; James McCrow, hn
Here is Mozart composing a usually lighter style of Serenade in a minor key – very unusual –  it’s thought that perhaps Mozart was hoping to impress the Emperor Joseph II with his seriousness.

Wednesday 14 September
Diversions in Fine Music

with James Hunter
Chabrier, E.

Pastoral suite (1888).
Ulster O/Yan Pascal Tortelier.
A work that Poulenc later claimed as being as important an influence on French music as the Preludes of Debussy.

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Thursday 8 September at 8pm … in The World Of A Symphony, programmer Brian Drummond has chosen Liszt’s polarising A Dante symphony. George Bernard Shaw said that it could depict “a London house when the kitchen chimney is on fire”, but it has also been praised for its richly chromatic harmonic language, brilliant orchestration and innovative approach to symphonic form.

Saturday 10 September at 8pm … in The Life Of A Composer, programmer James Nightingale provides a comprehensive overview of the music of Cécile Chaminade. Featured compositions include Piano sonata in C minorPiano trio no 2 in A minor, and the technically challenging Flute concertino.

Wednesday 14 September at 2pm … in A Champion Of The English Renaissance, the continuing series of programs celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vaughan Williams, programmer Jennifer Foongfocuses on his Symphony no 7, ‘Sinfonia Antarctica’. This is a work which owes much to his score for the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic, and is notable for its unusual orchestral sonorities, including vibraphone, organ and wind machine.

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Thursday 1 September
Concert Hall with David Brett
Ives, C.

Symphony no 2 (1907-09).
Melbourne SO/Andrew Davis
Probably the most entertaining of Ives’s symphonies.

Friday 2 September
Diversions In Fine Music
with Neil McEwan
Weill, K.

Suite from The Threepenny Opera (1928; arr Ledger).
David Elton, tpt; Seraphim Trio with percussion.
There’s just something so quirky about the music of Kurt Weill.

Monday 5 September
Concert Hall with Mary Moran
Offenbach, J.

Cello concerto in G (1847).
Ofra Harnoy, vc; Cincinnati SO/Erich Kunzel.
Known for his tongue-in-cheek operas, here is Jacques Offenbach in a somewhat different genre.

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Thursday 1 September 1pm … in Rare Instruments, Rare Combinations, programmer Elaine Siversen has sought out some delightful obscurities, including a concerto for eight kettledrums and orchestra; a clarino concerto; music for clavicytherium; and a composition for the unlikely combination of flute and harmonium.

Friday 2 September at 8pm … in Evenings With The Orchestra, programmer Robert Small has chosen orchestral music inspired by Shakespeare. The earliest is Felix Mendelssohn’s Incidental music to A midsummer night’s dream, and the most recent a suite from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev. The program also features music by Delius from his opera A village Romeo and Juliet

Wednesday 7 September at 2pm … in Ralph Vaughan Williams: English Folk Songs, one of a number of programs celebrating the composer’s 150th birthday, programmer Paul Cooke has brought together compositions which attest to his interest in, and promotion of, folk song. Works by Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst, George Butterworth and Patrick Hadley are also included.

Click Here for a full listing of programs in our Vaughan Williams 150 celebration
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Thursday 25 August
Diversions In Fine Music
with Peter Poole
Schumann, C.

Romance in C, op 3 (1833).
Veronica Jochum, pf.
A Romance by the 11 year old, then, Clara Wieck – she dedicated it to her adored friend “Herr Schumann.”

Friday 26 August
Concert Hall 
with Michael Field
Brahms, J. 

Symphony no 4 in E minor, op 98
Royal Concertgebouw O/Herbert Blomstedt
Brahms’ last symphony, provides with its serious tone, striking complexities, and inspired construction a fitting valedictory to his work in this genre. 

Wednesday 30 August
Diversions in Fine Music

with Christina Macguiness
Beethoven, L.

Piano trio in D, op 70 no 1 (1808).
Seraphim Trio.
Because of its strangely scored and undeniably eerie-sounding slow movement it was dubbed the “Ghost” Trio. The name has stuck with the work ever since. The ghostly music may have had its roots in sketches for a Macbeth opera that Beethoven was contemplating at the time.

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Thursday 25 August, 8pm
The World Of A Symphony, programmerDavid Brett has focused his attention on the American composer Alan Hovhaness and his Symphony no 2, op 132, Mysterious mountain, commissioned and premiered by the conductor Leopold Stokowski, and ‘notable for a pervasive sense of spiritual serenity’. Works by Sibelius, Bernstein and Howard Hanson are also included.

Saturday 27 August, 8pm 
The Life Of A Composer, programmer Jennifer Foong has profiled Mikhail Glinka, ‘father of Russian music’ and an influence on such successors as Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky. Included among other, more nationalistic, works is his Trio pathétique in D minor, composed for clarinet, bassoon and piano, and influenced by Italian opera composers of the time. 

Sunday 28 August, 3pm 
Sunday Special: A Proliferation Of Scarlatti, programmer James Nightingale has curated a collection of music which takes its cue from the Italian Baroque composer, ranging from Charles Avison’s Concerto grosso no 12 in D, after Domenico Scarlatti through to Salvatore Sciarrino’s beguiling and elegant Canzoniere da Scarlatti for saxophone quartet. The program is top-and-tailed by a couple of Scarlatti’s own inventive keyboard sonatas.

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