125. Ain’t no mountain high enough: Strauss, Alpine Symphony

With the wonders of our imagination and some great music to help, all things are possible – so let’s enjoy the views from the top of a mountain: leaving the house (or even getting out of bed) is entirely optional. Richard Strauss takes us over the top (in every sense) in his epic, excessive, exuberant Alpine Symphony, with great views and plenty of thrills but also moments that inspire deeper contemplation on the glories of nature. It’s a trip you don’t want to miss. Listening time 62mins.… Listen

115. A superstar symphony, but not a miracle: Haydn, Symphony No.96

n Haydn came to London he was treated like a superstar: wined and dined by the great and good, and his concerts were the hottest ticket in town. The ‘Miracle’ Symphony, no.96, was Haydn’s first written for Londoners and is designed to win us over with its charms. Music to put a smile on our faces and a spring in our step! Listening time c32 (music 22′, podcast 10′)… Listen

107. Made in America: Florence Price, Symphony No.1

Individual, passionate, soulful music rooted in the southern states, Florence Price’s Symphony No.1 was the first by a black woman composer to be played by a major US orchestra back in the 1930s. A Moment of History, but those ‘twin handicaps’ [her words] meant that her music has hardly been played since and we’ve been missing out on great music from a distinctive voice – it’s time to put that right! (Listening time 47 mins: podcast 8′, music 39′)… Listen

98. Searching for answers and getting Marmite: Bruckner, Symphony no.3

It’s inexplicable to me, but Anton Bruckner’s music has been dividing opinion since he started writing it 140 or so years ago. He goes in search of the meaning of life and comes back with… Marmite! Personally, I love it. There are few better noises than the transcendental climax of a Bruckner symphony. In this episode, it’s the thrilling end of his 3rd. (Listening time 20 mins)… Listen

94. Olympic magic and the best of the human spirit: Williams – Olympic Fanfare

The intensity, joy, heartbreak and thrills of great sporting moments are almost unmatchable… except by those in great music. The magic of the Olympics is transformed by the alchemist John Williams into four minutes of musical, life-affirming perfection. Olympic Fanfare and Theme is one of my favourite Williams pieces, and that’s really saying something! (Listening time 11′)… Listen