133. A woman on the money: Clara Schumann, Piano Trio

Urbane sophistication mixes with poetry and drama in Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio, her biggest piece from a small catalogue of great music. Better known in recent times as the wife of Robert Schumann, it was Clara who was an international star as the leading pianist of their day. It was composing, though, that brought her the greatest joy and her music is full of deep inspiration and honesty. Listening time … Listen

131. Into the woods: Weber, Der Freishütz overture

Terror, excitement and delight – all there in handfuls as Carl Maria von Weber takes us into the depths of the forest for a folk tale of magic, sorcery,  love, good and evil. One of my long time favourites and a brave new world for German opera in Der Fresichütz (“The Free-shooter”). Are you brave enough to go down to the woods today? Listening time, 20mins… 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

110. Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky, and how great art knows no borders. Tchaikovsky, The Tempest

Shakespeare reaches people across the world with his insights into our shared humanity and his plays have inspired countless composers to write music – providing their own way for us to connect to Shakespeare, each other and ourselves. Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest overture gives us a torrential storm, a big love theme that beats Romeo & Juliet, and one of the most atmospheric, goose-bump-inducing beginning and end to any piece of music. And almost no one knows it at all! Listening time 33 mins… Listen

108. A short break for bread and Beethoven

We’ve all got pieces of music that instantly remind us of special times and places in our lives. What are yours I wonder? (Tell me!) We’re in Sri Lanka at the moment and, bizarrely, the piece of music we’ve heard more than any other in the last few months has been Beethoven’s perfect little piano piece, Für Elise, but perhaps not as we’re used to hearing it… Here’s the story of why, and how it’s in the ears of everyone Sri Lanka. (Listening time 8 mins: podcast 5′, music 3′)… Listen