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His musical passions begin with the Rondo from Mozart's Fourth Horn Concerto, and continue with an extract from Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', which was one of the pieces which first introduced him to classical music as a child. His next choice is 'Morning' by Editus, followed by the third movement of Victor Hely-Hutchinson's Carol Symphony, another childhood favourite. Sousa' s famous 'Liberty Bell' March, which inevitably brings Monty Python to any comedian's mind, is followed by Viktoria Mullova playing 'Winter' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and Alex Horne's choices end with a musical tribute to another of his great passions, Cary Swinney's 'Birdwatching'.
A cultural history of music since , the book was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. Ross' musical selections include a Brahms intermezzo that he grew up with, as well as his favoured recording of Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, sung by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
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He nearly became a professional singer rather than an actor, and his choices include Stanford's Nunc dimittis sung by the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge in which he sings the bass solo ; an aria from Bach's St Matthew Passion, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel. Alexandre Desplat is one of the world's leading composers of film music, with more than scores to his name. His big breakthrough came in with Girl With A Pearl Earring, and since then he's been nominated for innumerable awards, including eight Oscars.
Alexandre talks to Michael Berkeley about the pressures of writing up to ten film scores a year, the complex relationship between director and composer, and his craving for silence. His choices of music reflect his diverse musical influences - Boulez, Haydn, Miles Davis, Janacek, and his mother's Greek heritage which is often reflected in his film scores. Alfred Brendel is one of the great musicians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He's renowned for his masterly interpretations of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt and Beethoven; in fact he was the first performer to record the complete solo piano works of Beethoven.
Alfred Brendel gave his first public recital in Graz at the age of only 17, in , and went on performing around the world for more than sixty years. Since his retirement in he has relished the chance to teach young musicians, and to spend more time going to exhibitions, reading and writing; he has published six volumes of essays and two collections of his own poetry. In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about the composers and musicians he admires, and looks back at his early life. It wasn't a musical childhood; the family had no record player, but his mother used to sing cabaret songs.
And later, as a teenager, his father managed a hotel and he discovered a stack of LPs, all operettas.
The War made an unforgettable impression. Alfred Brendel reveals too what drew him to live in Britain: the musical culture here, the Third Programme, the Proms, and the flourishing choral tradition. He chooses one of Gesualdo's madrigals, which for a long time was thought too difficult to sing. At the end of the programme, he talks honestly about his recent deafness, and how it has affected his love of music. He gets no pleasure from playing the piano, he says, but still loves the violin; and he dreams of music all the time, and plays it continually in his head.
Alison Goldfrapp burst onto the music scene fifteen years ago, as lead singer in the duo Goldfrapp with the debut album Felt Mountain. Rock critics reached for adjectives such as 'lush', 'symphonic', 'epic'. Since Felt Mountain there have been five more hit albums, moving across pop, dance, electronic music - but each featuring the same extraordinary voice.
In Private Passions, Alison Goldfrapp talks to Michael Berkeley about finding her voice, and about the childhood that inspired her. Her father 'a closet hippy' used to take all six children out into the Hampshire woods, and make them sit still and listen, for hours; when there was a full moon he would drive them to the sea, for a night swim.
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The first time Goldfrapp heard her own voice soar was as a schoolgirl at the Alton Convent School in Hampshire, and encouraged by the nuns, she sang higher and higher until she felt a kind of 'buzzing' in her head: an unforgettable experience. Goldfrapp chooses music which features a choir of extraordinary women's voices, the Bulgarian State Radio female choir, and Jessye Norman singing Fruhling from Strauss's Four Last Songs.
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She also chooses Atmospheres by Gyorgy Ligeti - music she finds very frightening - and celebrates both Mahler, and Ennio Morricone's film music, especially his score to an erotic thriller from , Dirty Angels. And she reveals the music her partner Lisa Gunning sends her to listen to when they're apart. His love of music dates back to his childhood, when he listened to his mother playing the piano, and his choices for 'Private Passions' include piano works by Chopin, Rachmaninov, Marcel Zidani, and Erik Satie, whose quirky music is a particular favourite.
Alistair Spalding talks about dance with the zeal of the convert. Although he's headed Sadler's Wells since , commissioning new work from leading international choreographers - Akram Khan, Mark Morris, Matthew Bourne, Pina Bausch - he doesn't come from a dance background. He left school at sixteen, and worked in a solicitor's office, aiming to be a lawyer. He then studied linguistics and philosophy and became a primary school teacher. In Private Passions, Alistair Spalding reveals his route to an unlikely career, beginning with the first dance performance he ever saw: John Cage was in the pit, blowing on a conch shell.
He explains his vision of drawing in the best contemporary composers to write for dance, and of widening the repertoire to include older dancers.
He discusses too his innovative and highly popular dance afternoons for the overs. Allan Corduner is an astonishingly versatile actor, equally at home in the West End, on Broadway, in television series such as Homeland, or in films like Yentl, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, in which he played the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, perfect casting for an actor who is also an accomplished pianist. He talks to Michael Berkeley about his favourite music, with pieces by Scriabin, Sibelius, and Bruch that reflect his Russian, Finnish and Jewish heritage.
And Allan chooses piano music by Schubert, which he loved playing as a child, and his favourite recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, with Glenn Gould. In she received her doctorate in 18th-century British history from Oxford University, and the following year she published her first book, 'Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire'. Her musical passions, as revealed to Michael Berkeley during this special programme recorded in front of an audience at Hay-on-Wye, focus very much on English music, as befits a historian of the period.
She has compared the task with writing a symphony. Many of her musical choices reflect aspects of everyday life in the 18th century - love and courtship as seen through the Northumbrian folksong O Waly, Waly and the duet Bei Mannern welche Liebe fuhlen from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute; the intimacy and religious discipline of the closet a movement from a Bach solo cello suite ; a great public event Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, written to celebrate the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in ; the contrast between women singers who were allowed to earn a living publicly represented by an aria from Arne's opera Artaxerxes and those who had to pursue their music-making only in the domestic sphere a Clementi sonata for piano duet.
Many of her musical choices reflect aspects of everyday life in the 18th century - love and courtship as seen through the Northumbrian folksong 'O waly, waly' and the duet 'Bei Mannern welche Liebe fuhlen' from Mozart's opera 'The Magic Flute'; the intimacy and religious discipline of the closet a movement from a Bach solo cello suite ; a great public event Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, written to celebrate the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in ; the contrast between women singers who were allowed to earn a living publicly represented by an aria from Arne's opera Artaxerxes and those who had to pursue their music-making only in the domestic sphere a Clementi sonata for piano duet.
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Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the Glasgow-born author Aminatta Forna, whose first book, 'The Devil that Danced on the Water' - a memoir of Sierra Leone where her dissident father was eventually arrested and executed by the regime - was runner-up for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Her next book, the novel 'Ancestor Stones', described by the Washington Post as 'a richly patterned mosaic of African culture and history', won several international awards; while her latest novel, 'The Memory of Love', set during the Sierra Leonean civil war of the s, has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize Africa. She is a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund, has published essays and articles, and writes for radio and TV. Several of her choices recall her childhood experiences of music: she tried to learn piano and has always loved Bach's keyboard music, which she listens to while writing.
She went to school in Malvern, where she first encountered Elgar's Cello Concerto, which helped her write the love scene in 'The Memory of Love'; while an extract from Prokofiev's ballet 'Romeo and Juliet' recalls her early love of opera and ballet. Tchaikovsky's first Piano Concerto was also an early passion from her schooldays, while she became interested in the improvisatory nature of jazz during a year spent in the USA.
While writing her first book she used to go to Westminster Abbey, particularly to hear church music, and Rodrigo Leao's 'Ave Mundi' marries her enthusiasm for sacred music and dance. Finally her African heritage is celebrated in the music of Ali Farka Toure. Michael Berkeley 's guest is award-winning novelist and composer Amit Chaudhuri, who teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia.
Joni Mitchell Hejira from the album Misses. Michael Berkeley's guest is award-winning novelist and composer Amit Chaudhuri, who teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia. Music informs much of his own writing, including his most recent novel The Immortals. Amitav Ghosh is a writer with a worldwide reach. Born in Calcutta, educated in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria, he lives now between New York and Goa; his books have sold over 3 million copies, and have been translated into 33 languages.
His books have won awards in Canada, Italy, France and Burma, but his greatest readership is in India and he has been awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest honours, by the President of India.
His new novel Flood of Fire is his tenth, and completes his Ibis trilogy; the setting is the First Opium War in , and it follows a cast of characters from India, China and Britain, as they are caught up in that war. In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about his childhood by the water in Bengal, and how the presence of the sea has influenced his writing. He admits that there is some truth in the charge that he is in essence a Bengali writer, writing in English.
Amitav Ghosh chooses a highly original playlist reflecting the very different cultures which have been his creative influences. He includes a haunting Bengali boat song, a Hindu dance, and songs from China and Mauritius. He unearths a fascinating historical curiosity: perhaps the first ever example of East-West fusion, a version of 'Hindoo airs' adapted in the 18th century for English amateur musicians nostalgic for their days in India.
And he celebrates the music of global connectedness, with a collaboration between Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar. Finally he muses on the notion of 'home', and where he would live if he could only choose one place.
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Andrew Graham-Dixon's musical tastes are equally wide-ranging: a Schubert Impromptu he remembers his grandmother playing and the great Chaconne from Bach's Partita No. Andrew Graham-Dixon's musical tastes are equally wide-ranging, from a Schubert Impromptu he remembers his grandmother playing and the great Chaconne from Bach's Partita No.
Today Michael Berkeley welcomes Andrew Lloyd Webber, the most successful composer working in musical theatre of our time. The son of William Lloyd Webber, Director of the London College of Music, and a piano teacher, Andrew showed an early interest in music, but always wanted to write and play his own pieces. He had already written eight musicals before he met up with Tim Rice at the age of 17, creating one of the most remarkable artistic partnerships in music theatre history.
He currently owns seven London theatres. Michael Berkeley 's guest is theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Today Michael Berkeley meets one of Britain's best-loved actors. Andrew Sachs has played many roles on stage, radio and TV, but is forever immortalized for his portrayal of Manuel, the hapless Spanish waiter in the TV series Fawlty Towers. His particular musical passions are for the clarinet, piano and guitar, and his choices today range from a little-known concerto by Kozeluch to Stravinsky, Jelly Roll Morton and Gershwin. He spent ten years talking to parents who faced extraordinary challenges, because their children had turned out so very different from them: either through disabilities, or because they were musical prodigies - or because they had committed serious crimes.
Solomon first made an impact with another prize-winning book, about depression, "The Noonday Demon", a moving account of his own illness. In Private Passions, Andrew Solomon talks to Michael Berkeley about how both books are grounded in his own experience; he had a hard time growing up, and being accepted by his parents - and his peers - as gay. He reveals that at one point he was so depressed that he couldn't get out of bed, and thought he'd had a stroke.
It was his father's love and care which saved him. He talks too about how he met his husband, and became a father himself - albeit as part of a marvellously complex and unconventional family. Solomon first made an impact with another prize-winning book, about depression, ""The Noonday Demon"", a moving account of his own illness.
Andy McNab is very lucky to be alive today; in fact from the beginning his life has been characterised by exceptional risk and danger. As a baby, he was found abandoned in a Harrods carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital. By the time he was a teenager, he was in trouble with the police.
Joining the army at 16, he served in the SAS, and in , during the First Iraq war, he led a secret mission to infiltrate behind enemy lines. It was a disaster: he was captured, and tortured savagely.