Programme information - WEEK
1 Programme information Saturday 28th December 2019 to Friday 3rd January 2020 WEEK 1 THE CLASSIC FM CHART OF THE CENTURY Wednesday 1st January, 10am to 10pm On the first day of a new decade, Classic FM looks back over the past 20 years and counts down the bestselling classical albums of the century – and, indeed, the millennium – so far. The list, which has been compiled by the Official Charts Company, will see famous names jostling for position with forgotten gems from the 2000s and 2010s. There are several platinum selling recordings in contention for the number one spot including The Voice by Russell Watson, Pure from Hayley Westenra, Andrea Bocelli’s Sentimento and the soundtracks for Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings.
Over 12 hours, Classic FM’s John Suchet, Catherine Bott and John Brunning (all above) will unveil what promises to be a compelling and often surprising countdown, demonstrating the nation’s enduring love for classical music. Classic FM is available across the UK on 100-102 FM, DAB digital radio and TV, at ClassicFM.com, and on the Classic FM and Global Player apps.
2 WEEK 1 SATURDAY 28TH DECEMBER 5pm to 8pm: SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES with ANDREW COLLINS Andrew presents a special three-hour programme, reviewing the wealth of film scores that have captured our imaginations and helped conjure new worlds in 2019. He begins with the highly anticipated final score for the ninth instalment in the Star Wars saga, The Rise of Skywalker, composed by the great John Williams. There’s also music from rising star Hildur Guðnadóttir, who wrote the score for 2019’s box-office smash, Joker, and a selection from Alan Silvestri’s lush, string arrangements to Avengers: Endgame.
8pm to 10pm: THE STORY OF DECCA with DARREN HENLEY (3 / 5) Darren Henley presents the third instalment in our five-night celebration of the 90th anniversary of Decca Records. Tonight’s programme includes a selection of best-selling film soundtracks and Academy Award-nominated scores: among them, Hans Zimmer’s genre-defining music for the epic Ridley Scott film, Gladiator and Dario Marianelli’s stylish score for the 2005 remake of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice. The pianist-turned-conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, who essentially became Decca’s house pianist, recorded swathes of repertoire over a remarkable 50 years with the label.
Ashkenazy’s extensive discography with the label is showcased tonight, alongside two stars of the operatic stage: the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and the great American soprano Renée Fleming.
3 SUNDAY 29TH DECEMBER 5pm to 7pm: COWAN’S CLASSICS with ROB COWAN Rob opens with one of Mozart’s best loved orchestral pieces: the overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 is brought to life by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under their chief conductor, the Swiss maestro Philippe Jordan, before the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra performs the lilting music of Brahms: his Symphony No.1. 7pm to 9pm: FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – MUSIC FOR HANUKKAH In this season of Hanukkah, Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon – Rabbi Emeritus of Westminster Synagogue – presents a special programme of music by various Jewish composers, alongside classical works inspired by the theme of Judaism.
The highlights include Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, ‘Avodath Hakodesh’ (‘Sacred Service’) by Ernest Bloch and Handel’s ‘See, the Conqu'ring Hero Comes!’ from his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus. The programme promises to be a thought provoking and illuminating hour in the company of one of this country’s most respected rabbis, celebrating the links between the Jewish Festival of Lights and classical music. 9pm to 10pm: THE STORY OF DECCA with DARREN HENLEY (4 / 5) Darren Henley continues our five-night celebration of the 90th anniversary of Decca Records – and tonight shines the spotlight some of the greatest conductors to have recorded on the label.
The visionary Sir Georg Solti delivered Decca’s landmark recording of Wagner’s Ring cycle. This epic project was on a scale without precedent, and the first ever studio recording of Wagner’s masterpiece. Recorded between September 1958 and November 1965, it was masterminded by legendary producer John Culshaw and his technical team under the direction of chief engineer Gordon Parry. This massive undertaking set new standards in both opera recording and the possibilities of the effective and imaginative use of stereo. The combination of Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with an international cast of the greatest Wagnerian singers resulted in a recording which was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm and rave reviews, and which quickly won numerous international awards.
Also featured is the prodigious Riccardo Chailly, who has exclusively recorded for Decca over 35 years, working with the label through seven orchestral and operatic partnerships, and early music specialist and founder of the Academy of Ancient Music, Sir Neville Marriner.
4 MONDAY 30TH DECEMBER 8pm to 10pm: THE STORY OF DECCA with DARREN HENLEY (5 / 5) In the final part of our five-night survey of the illustrious history of Decca Records, Darren Henley devotes two hours to profiling the brightest young talent in classical music. The programme opens with the Scottish violinist and fierce advocate for music education, Nicola Benedetti, before featuring music from one of Decca’s most recent debutants: the young pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, whose debut album Romance achieved both popular and critical acclaim.
Also highlighted is another pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, who in 2011 became the youngest artist ever to sign to Decca and the first British pianist to join the label in over 60 years.
Finally, we hear from the British saxophonist Jess Gillam and Icelandic multiinstrumentalist Olafur Arnalds, as this celebration of one of the most important record labels in classical music draws to a close
5 TUESDAY 31ST DECEMBER 8pm to 10pm: DAVID MELLOR’S VIENNESE-UP In a special programme for New Year’s Eve, David Mellor plays a selection of famous waltzes, polkas and marches, popular in Vienna during the time of the Strauss family musical dynasty – and appreciated by a broad audience to this day. Music from this illustrious dynasty is complemented by various Viennese and nonViennese imitators of the Strauss family. We’ll hear from composers whose music arguably deserves a wider hearing such as Arthur Sullivan and the “Strauss of the North”, Hans Christian Lumbye; the Danish composer’s Copenhagen Train Galop and Champagne Galop both feature tonight.
6 WEDNESDAY 1ST JANUARY 10am to 10pm: THE CLASSIC FM CHART OF THE CENTURY On the first day of a new decade, Classic FM looks back over the past 20 years and counts down the bestselling classical albums of the century – and, indeed, the millennium – so far. The list, which has been compiled by the Official Charts Company, will see famous names jostling for position with forgotten gems from the 2000s and 2010s. There are several platinum selling recordings in contention for the number one spot including The Voice by Russell Watson, Pure from Hayley Westenra, Andrea Bocelli’s Sentimento and the soundtracks for Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings.
The influence of streaming will also play a large part in the chart: to what extent will this modern-day way of listening to music eclipse those albums that were so reliant on physical CD sales some two decades ago? Over 12 hours, Classic FM’s presenters will unveil what promises to be a compelling and often surprising countdown, demonstrating the nation’s enduring love for classical music.
10am to 2pm: THE CLASSIC FM CHART OF THE CENTURY with JOHN SUCHET 2pm to 6pm: THE CLASSIC FM CHART OF THE CENTURY with CATHERINE BOTT 6pm to 10pm: THE CLASSIC FM CHART OF THE CENTURY with JOHN BRUNNING
7 THURSDAY 2ND JANUARY 8pm to 10pm: THE FULL WORKS CONCERT – GREAT COMPOSERS MONTH: LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN January is Great Composers Month on Classic FM, with every Full Works Concert devoted to the life and the music of one of the world’s greatest composers. Tonight’s concert is dedicated to the man of the year, Ludwig van Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary will be celebrated throughout 2020.
Some of Beethoven’s most recognisable works feature, including the Egmont Overture, the Piano Sonata No.14 (‘Moonlight’) and the composer’s only violin concerto, which did not achieve success until after his death.
The late, great Sir Colin Davis conducts Staatskapelle Dresden in the Symphony No.8, after which Anne-Sophie Mutter is the soloist for the beautiful Romance No.1 for violin and orchestra. Catherine Bott presents. Egmont Overture Opus 84 Riccardo Chailly conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Piano Sonata No.14 in C-sharp minor Opus 27 (‘Moonlight’) Piano: Alfred Brendel Violin Concerto in D major Opus 61 Violin: Pinchas Zuckerman Zubin Mehta conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Bagatelle No.25 in A minor WoO.59 (‘Für Elise’) Piano: Lang Lang Symphony No.8 in F major Opus 93 Colin Davis conducts Staatskapelle Dresden Romance No.1 in G major Opus 40 Violin: Anne-Sophie Mutter Kurt Masur conducts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
8 FRIDAY 3RD JANUARY 8pm to 10pm: THE FULL WORKS CONCERT – GREAT COMPOSERS MONTH: FRANZ SCHUBERT Great Composers Month continues with a man who wrote more than a lifetime’s worth of beautiful music in his tragically short life: Franz Schubert. Our concert opens with Luciano Pavarotti singing Schubert’s setting of the Ave Maria. Kurt Masur conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony No.8 ‘(Unfinished’), before we hear Schubert’s delightful incidental music for the play Rosamunde. There’s also a rarely-heard violin showpiece, followed by the famous Piano Quintet in A – otherwise known as the ‘Trout’.
Catherine Bott presents. Ave Maria D.839 Tenor: Luciano Pavarotti Kurt Herbert Adler conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra Impromptu in G-flat major D.899 No.3 Opus 90 Piano: Alfred Brendel Symphony No.8 in B minor D.759 (‘Unfinished’) Kurt Masur conducts the London Symphony Orchestra Rosamunde – Suite Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Vienna Symphony Orchestra Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in A major D.438 Peter Sheppard directs the Parnassus Ensemble of London from the violin Piano Quintet in A major D.667 (‘The Trout’) The Zukerman Chamber Players