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Music

Private Passions

Updated about 1 month ago

Music
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Michael Berkeley's guests share their musical passions and reveal which pieces bring them joy and sustain them through hard times.

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Michael Berkeley's guests share their musical passions and reveal which pieces bring them joy and sustain them through hard times.

iTunes Ratings

14 Ratings
Average Ratings
8
2
2
1
1

What a wonderful discovery

By LCSD - Jul 02 2013
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Intimate, interesting, a special and delightful interview process unlike any other I've experienced. Not your average one-on-one: the interviewer actually listens to his guest and allows them to complete an entire thought! Highly recommended.

Private Passions

By BMaryMcGraw - Jul 02 2013
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This is a superb podcast! I am usually left wanting a few more minutes with the guests, which is so much better than become tired of one's voice in the midst of a long interview.

iTunes Ratings

14 Ratings
Average Ratings
8
2
2
1
1

What a wonderful discovery

By LCSD - Jul 02 2013
Read more
Intimate, interesting, a special and delightful interview process unlike any other I've experienced. Not your average one-on-one: the interviewer actually listens to his guest and allows them to complete an entire thought! Highly recommended.

Private Passions

By BMaryMcGraw - Jul 02 2013
Read more
This is a superb podcast! I am usually left wanting a few more minutes with the guests, which is so much better than become tired of one's voice in the midst of a long interview.
Cover image of Private Passions

Private Passions

Latest release on Jun 28, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 1 month ago

Rank #1: Jane Goodall

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Jane Goodall was only twenty-four when in she went to live among the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and she went on to spend more than 55 years there. She has done more than anyone else to transform our understanding of chimpanzees - and beyond that, her work has raised questions about how we treat these highly intelligent primates, and indeed about the rights of all animals. Now in her early eighties, she's on an extraordinary mission travelling round the world to protect chimpanzees from extinction.

During a rare stay in Britain, Jane Goodall talks to Michael Berkeley about her life and ground-breaking discoveries. She reveals that the chimpanzees she lived with also had a darker side, and were sometimes violent, stamping on her. She remembers difficult times after the kidnapping of some of her workers, and the death of her second husband - and how music sustained her, and transformed her view of the world.

Music choices include Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Richard Burton reading the Dylan Thomas classic "Under Milk Wood'. She also introduces some very excited chimpanzee speech, and speculates about what kind of music chimpanzees enjoy.

May 14 2017

32mins

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Rank #2: Alan Bennett

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Michael Berkeley's guest this week is Alan Bennett. We know him as the much-loved playwright and diarist who's been entertaining and moving us as a writer and performer since Beyond the Fringe in 1960. But there's one aspect of Alan Bennett that's less well-known: the central importance of music in his life, including the extraordinary fact that he once wrote a libretto for William Walton. (Sadly, Lady Walton was not impressed, and shoved it firmly to the bottom of her handbag.)

In a moving and funny programme, Alan Bennett remembers the music that filled his childhood: his father was a gifted violinist, and his aunts played the piano for silent movies. As a teenager, new worlds were opened up by concerts in Leeds Town Hall, where Bennett sat in the cheapest seats behind the musicians, 'like sitting behind the elephants at the circus'. And then came fame, and Hollywood: 'Elizabeth Taylor actually sat on my knee at one point. It was not a pleasant experience'. In a touching conclusion to the programme, Alan Bennett listens to Elgar's Dream of Gerontius and is stirred to think about the boy he used to be, and what that boy might say to him now.

Music choices include a 1939 recording of 'I can give you the starlight' by Ivor Novello; a waltz by Franz Lehar; Brahms's Second Piano Concerto; Bach's St Matthew Passion; Walton's First Symphony; Elgar's Dream of Gerontius; and Ella Fitzgerald singing 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'. This last song inspired The History Boys when Alan Bennett heard it on Private Passions in 2001.

This special programme includes three bonus tracks available online: Alan Bennett chooses two further pieces of music, and talks about the music he hates and never wants to hear again.

Produced by the Loftus Media Private Passions team (Elizabeth Burke, Jane Greenwood, Oliver Soden and Jon Calver).

Dec 20 2015

31mins

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Rank #3: Alison Goldfrapp

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As part of the BBC's Classical Voice season, Michael Berkeley's guest is singer Alison Goldfrapp.

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. Alongside the six gold albums, Goldfrapp also composed the soundtrack for the John Lennon film, Nowhere Boy, and the music for the recent Medea, starring Helen McCrory, at the National Theatre.

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. 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. 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 1969, Dirty Angels. And she reveals the music her partner Lisa Gunning sends her to listen to when they're apart.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Jun 21 2015

34mins

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Rank #4: Sebastian Barry

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Sebastian Barry's great-grand-father was a traditional Irish musician, who played on the wooden flute and piccolo. His mother was an actress at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; his aunt Mary O'Hara had a huge career as a singer and harpist with her own series on the BBC. Little surprise then that Sebastian Barry's writing is musical in the widest sense; full of the rich music of everyday speech. It's an impressive body of work: fourteen plays, two volumes of poetry, and nine novels. Two of his novels, "The Secret Scripture" and the latest, "Days Without End", have won the coveted Costa Book of the Year prize. When he thanked the judges earlier this year, Barry declared: "You have made me crazy happy from the top of my head to my toes in a way that is a little bit improper at sixty-one."

In Private Passions, Sebastian Barry talks to Michael Berkeley about the "gaps" in Irish history he has explored in his books: areas which are touchy, taboo, and perhaps deliberately forgotten now, such as the fate of those who were Catholic, but loyal to Britain. He reveals too that his latest novel, a love story between two young soldiers, was inspired by his son coming out as gay.

Music choices include Bruch's Violin Concerto; Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus"; Alfred Deller singing "Three Ravens"; Bach's Cello Suites; and his aunt Mary O'Hara singing a song written by Sebastian Barry's own mother.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Sep 10 2017

35mins

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Rank #5: Geoff Dyer

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Geoff Dyer is a writer who joyously defies categorisation. The winner of many literary prizes, and frequently described as one of the most original writers of his generation, he surprises at every turn with his blending of fiction and non-fiction, and with his subjects, which range through travel, film, sex, photography, war, romance - and music.

The book that cemented his reputation, in 1991, was about jazz - with the memorable title But Beautiful. It's a series of fictional vignettes of musicians from the great age of American jazz, including Bud Powell, Chet Baker and Thelonious Monk.

Geoff talks to Michael Berkeley about how his life-long passion for jazz has taken him on a musical journey from Miles Davis, to Keith Jarrett playing Bach, and Indian classical music - and he explains why Beethoven's Late Quartets appeal so strongly to a lover of jazz.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Nov 13 2016

32mins

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Rank #6: Vesna Goldsworthy

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Thirty years ago, Vesna Goldsworthy fell in love with a young Englishman she met at a summer school in Bulgaria; she moved to England to be with him, much to the disapproval of her parents, arriving in London in 1986. Since then, she's established a reputation as a writer of great wit and originality: with her memoir, Chernobyl Strawberries; with her poetry; and in 2015 with her first novel, Gorsky, which became a best-seller and which was serialized on Radio 4. Vesna Goldsworthy is also a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

In Private Passions, Vesna Goldsworthy talks to Michael Berkeley about being brought up in Belgrade during the Communist regime. The popular idea is of an era which was grey and philistine - but in fact there was a huge amount of classical music around. And when she moved to England, her friends and family were horrified. They asked, "How could you move to a country where there is no music"? She reveals why she started writing a memoir of her Serbian childhood: because her doctors told her she was dying of cancer, and she wanted to leave a record for her son. Happily, the cancer was cured, but it taught her a lifelong lesson: not to take life too seriously.

Vesna Goldsworthy's music choices include the Romanian-Serbian composer Ion Iovanovici; an Orthodox address to the Virgin by Divna Ljubojevic; the Sephardic song, "Adio Querida", by Yasmin Levy; and a popular Russian song from the Second World War. She ends with Purcell, a composer she discovered only after she moved to a country "with no music".

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Oct 29 2017

37mins

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Rank #7: Private Passions: Sir Isaiah Berlin

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Philosopher, Isaiah Berlin discusses his personal music choices with Michael Berkeley in 1996 - drawn from the archive to mark 20 years of Private Passions.

Aug 24 2016

23mins

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Rank #8: Paul Cartledge

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If you want to know how to wield a Spartan spear, or whether Athens really was the cradle of democracy - or indeed what ancient Greek music might have sounded like, Paul Cartledge is the man to go to.

He has probably done more than anyone else in the past three decades to advance knowledge of ancient Greek culture - both in academic circles and in the public arena. He was until very recently the first A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge, a chair founded to study a thousand years of Greek cultural achievements and to highlight their lasting influence on society today.

Paul talks to Michael Berkeley about why ancient history is relevant to us today; why the myths of the classical world have been such an enduring inspiration for composers; why democracy would work better without political parties; and the pitfalls of being a historical advisor to Hollywood.

And Paul shares with Michael his passion for music that stretches back to his childhood, including Brahms, Bach, Rossini, Stravinsky - and Bob Dylan.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Jan 18 2015

32mins

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Rank #9: Chris Hadfield

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Chris Hadfield has described going into space as 'strapping yourself on top of what is essentially a large bomb'. He is one of the world's most respected astronauts, and his career has included Space Shuttle flights and helping to build the Mir Space Station, as well as serving as Director of NASA's operations in Russia and as Commander of the International Space Station during his final five-month mission. If that wasn't enough he's also a bestselling author and an accomplished musician - indeed he plays in an all-astronaut band. His cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity - which he recorded while orbiting the earth on the Space Station at over 17,000 miles an hour - has had more than 33 million Internet hits.

Chris talks to Michael Berkeley about his route to the stars, about overcoming fear and extreme danger - and the difficulties of playing a guitar in zero gravity.
He chooses music by Strauss, Rossini and Hans Zimmer, which he associates with particular space missions. He talks about his admiration for William Herschel, the eighteenth-century astronomer and composer. And an astronaut's Private Passions would not be complete without music from Holst's Planets Suite.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Dec 04 2016

38mins

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Rank #10: Irving Finkel

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Assyriologist Irving Finkel talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for clay tablets, chamber music, and Jimi Hendrix.

Irving Finkel is one of the world's leading experts in the world's oldest, and most impenetrable, system of writing - cuneiform.

Because the scribes of Ancient Mesopotamia imprinted cuneiform with a stylus into clay tablets, lots of it has survived, and indeed Irving Finkel has spent the past 45 years delighting in the company of more than 130,000 cuneiform tablets at the British Museum. But one day a member of the public brought in a clay tablet which changed his life - it was a 4000-year-old blueprint for Noah's Ark - a thousand years older than the story in the Bible.

Irving is also passionate about music - particularly old recordings - and his choices include string quartets by Schubert and Dvorak, 1930s blues and a blast of Jimi Hendrix.

Producer: Jane Greenwood.

Jun 01 2014

40mins

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Rank #11: Anne Sebba

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Michael Berkeley's guest is Anne Sebba, the best-selling biographer of iconic women including Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill's mother Jennie, Laura Ashley, and Mother Teresa.

Her most recent book tells the stories of the women of Paris in the 1940s. She follows the lives of housewives, Resistance fighters, shop girls, prostitutes and celebrities, all the time examining the big, small - and often impossible - choices people have to make in wartime. And we hear part of an operetta composed by one of these women, imprisoned by the Nazis at Ravensbruck.

Anne tells Michael about her controversial biography of Wallis Simpson in which she claims that we should have more understanding of her situation and more admiration for her as a person - and she argues that Wallis married Edward with great reluctance.

We hear Artur Rubinstein playing Rachmaninov, which brings back memories for Anne of interviewing him when she was a young journalist, and she chooses music by Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Verdi. A passionate advocate for the celebration of women's lives and talents, Anne chooses performances by Robyn Archer, Maria Callas and Margaret Fingerhut.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Apr 22 2018

33mins

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Rank #12: Greta Scacchi

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From Hollywood to European art house cinema, from Shakespeare to contemporary drama, Greta Scacchi is one of our most versatile actors.

She talks to Michael Berkeley about the film that made her name in 1983 – Heat and Dust – and chooses music from the soundtrack featuring Zakir Hussain.

She reveals how her musical training as a child – learning ballet, piano and singing - has been invaluable when she’s been called on to play and sing on film. She particularly loved the character she played in Jefferson in Paris, the eighteenth-century Anglo-Italian artist and musician Maria Cosway, and explains how difficult it was to pretend the play the harp on screen. We hear some of Maria Cosway’s music from that film.

Greta chooses music by Satie which reminds her of her mother’s ballet school when she was a child. Her mother is still dancing at 87! And we hear one of Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, and a Handel aria which illustrate Greta’s passion for the theatre; she chooses pieces which remind her of the places she loves – Sussex, Italy and Australia. We get an insight into her passion for jazz with music from Jimmy Guiffre and Fats Waller.

And Greta speaks out about the importance of actors campaigning for causes they believe in – she’s passionate about the environment and even posed naked with a cod to draw attention to unsustainable fishing.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Mar 10 2019

37mins

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Rank #13: Stephen Grosz

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Stephen Grosz waited until he was 60 to publish his first book, 'The Examined Life'. It was a huge overnight success - a bestseller here in Britain and translated into more than 20 languages across the world. It's a distillation of the lifetime he has spent as a psychoanalyst, tens of thousands of hours listening to people in hospitals, forensic clinics and in private practice. It reads like a collection of short stories, full of vignettes of memorable characters: the man who faked his own death, the pathological liar, the lovesick middle-aged woman who meets a man at a party - and turns up at his house the next week with a removals van to move in with him.

In Private Passions, in conversation with Michael Berkeley, Stephen Grosz tells his own story: his childhood in Chicago, the son of immigrants who ran a grocery store; student days in radical Berkeley; and now, settled in Britain, how he's facing the challenges of fatherhood and ageing. Music has played an important part right from the beginning, and Grosz admits that his choice of music is very psychologically revealing.

His musical choices include Scarlatti, Aaron Copland, Brahms's 3rd Symphony, gospel singer Bessie Jones, Schubert's Piano Sonata no 20, Bob Dylan - and a hilarious Alberta Hunter song about sex, My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

First broadcast 03/08/2014

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Aug 03 2014

29mins

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Rank #14: Christopher Ricks

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Michael Berkeley's guest is the distinguished scholar Sir Christopher Ricks, who was described by W.H. Auden as 'the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding.' He has championed the work of new poets including Seamus Heaney and Christopher Hill, and in book after book over 50 years he has thrown new light on the great poets of the past: Milton, Keats, Tennyson, T.S. Eliot. He has been the Oxford Professor of Poetry, and Professor of English at Cambridge; he is now Professor of the Humanities at Boston University. Outside the university, he's probably best known for two driving passions - for T.S. Eliot and (more controversially) for Bob Dylan. His new edition of Eliot's poems comes out this month: it's been several years in the making, and is the first complete edition of Eliot's poetry ever published.

For Private Passions, he has compiled a fascinating playlist of music, including musical settings of great poetry, and some Bob Dylan naturally. And there's an overall theme - it's a meditation on youth and age. Composers include Holst, Beethoven, Haydn, Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Prince Albert.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Nov 29 2015

34mins

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Rank #15: Andy McNab

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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 1991, 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. Three of his fellow soldiers didn't survive.

Andy McNab's account of his captivity and eventual escape, Bravo Two Zero, became a world-wide best-seller and launched him on a career as a writer. Since then there have been more than 30 thrillers, with sales totalling 32 million. So the baby who was left in a carrier bag is not just a survivor, he's hugely successful.

In Private Passions Andy McNab reveals the central place of music in his life, and particularly his passion for opera. Opera, he says, is the only thing that makes him cry: he chooses Wagner, Verdi and Puccini. McNab reveals too his love of the calm reflective music of Gregorian chant, which he first heard sung by the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey, when he was training for the SAS in Herefordshire. He talks movingly about his imprisonment and torture, and about how the particular sounds of that time are burned into his memory: the jangle of keys, the rattle of doors. To escape those dark memories, he chooses one of the most joyful pieces of music ever written: Handel's Messiah.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Mar 15 2015

30mins

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Rank #16: Tim Rice

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Tim Rice has written the lyrics for some of the most successful musicals of our generation: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ... Jesus Christ Superstar ... Evita ... For 45 years he has been creating hit songs, collaborating first and famously with Andrew Lloyd Webber, then with Abba, Elton John, Freddy Mercury and Madonna. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, thanks to the success of his songs in Disney movies The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. A three-time Oscar winner, he has been knighted for services to music.

In Private Passions, he talks to Michael Berkeley about the process of lyric-writing, about why it's an extraordinary experience to work with Elton John, and about what it is that makes a successful song lyric. He also reveals that his early ambition was to be a pop star, and that he started out as a singer - in fact, he recorded a single.

Music choices include a satirical operetta by Offenbach, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Vaughan Williams's London Symphony, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius, Malcolm Arnold's Peterloo Overture and Britten's arrangement of the folk song The Plough Boy. And Tim Rice ends by revealing which is his favourite musical of all - music his father introduced him to as a boy: My Fair Lady.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

May 03 2015

31mins

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Rank #17: Charles Spencer

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Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer, is probably best known as the younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, and is remembered above all for the moving eulogy he gave at Diana's funeral. But he's also had a successful career as a television reporter and presenter, and since Diana's death has turned to history; his latest book is a study of regicide, with the title 'Killers of the King'. The King in question is Charles I, and the book follows the fortunes of those who were responsible for his execution. According to Earl Spencer, they deserve to be remembered with 'respect and gratitude'.

In conversation with Michael Berkeley, Earl Spencer talks about his life, and about his growing passion for history. He chooses music to recall his very challenging childhood, talking movingly about travelling back and forth on the train between his mother and father, with his older sister Diana.
'I remember in the eulogy to Diana I did talk about not only the train journeys but her looking after me. She had a very strong maternal streak and she was very loving, and I used to be terrified of the dark and she used to say it used to break her heart to hear me crying down the corridor. And I think she was a very reassuring female presence in my early life.'

Musical choices include Beethoven, Sibelius's Finlandia, Fauré's Requiem, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose. One surprising choice is the news archive of Martin Luther King's death, and Robert F Kennedy's moving speech after the assassination. Wisdom, says Kennedy, comes through suffering.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.
To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Sep 28 2014

34mins

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Rank #18: Clarke Peters

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Michael Berkeley talks to the actor Clarke Peters about his passion for breaking down barriers between musical traditions.

Best known for his television roles as Detective Lester Freeman in The Wire and Albert Lambreaux in Treme, Clarke has also appeared in films such as Notting Hill, Mona Lisa and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

And he has a rich career in music too – from busking in France in his youth to working as a backing singer for David Essex and for Joan Armatrading – if you listen carefully you can hear him on her iconic song Love and Affection. And he’s appeared in Chicago, Chess, and Porgy and Bess to name but a few musicals. In 1990 he created the award winning revue Five Guys Named Moe, based on the music of Louis Jordan.

Clarke’s choices of music reflect the trans-Atlantic nature of his life: a piece written in France by the New Orleans composer Gottschalk, which he heard when filming Treme; music by Ravel and by Debussy; and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which always takes him straight back to his birthplace, New York. And his final piece – Nat King Cole playing Rachmaninoff - illustrates perfectly his desire to open people’s ears to the cultural breadth of classical music.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Jan 06 2019

35mins

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Rank #19: Jonathan Meades

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Writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades's fascination with architecture began on a school trip to Marsh Court in Stockbridge, Hampshire - designed by that great architect of English Country Houses Edwin Lutyens. Subsequently, in a broadcasting career which spans 40 years, he has written and performed in more than 50 television shows on a wide range of topographical subjects: from shacks to garden cities, to buildings associated with vertigo; from beer and pigs, to the architecture of Hitler and Stalin. He was also a food critic for 15 years, winning the coveted Glenfiddich Award in 1999, and has written three novels and a memoir: "Encyclopedia of Myself". His latest television series, "Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloody-mindedness", was screened on BBC 4 in February.

He now lives in the iconic Corbusier building, Cité Radieuse in Marseille - and his musical choices reflect his adopted country's love of chanson: French singer / songwriter Barbara's "Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour" features, as does Jacques Brel's Mijn Vlakke Land. Film was not only Jonathan Meades's chosen career; his love of cinema also provided him with a rich musical education. Among his musical choices are Hans Werner Henze's soundtrack to the Alain Resnais film Muriel, and The Aquarium, from Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, which Terence Malick used in his ground breaking film Days of Heaven.

Apr 27 2014

34mins

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Rank #20: Rachel Parris

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The comedian Rachel Parris talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical passions and how her life as a classical musician led to her career in comedy. Her hugely versatile career includes improvised comedy shows, stand-up, musical comedy and appearances on Radio 4’s The Now Show. She’s caused quite a stir with her hilarious turns as a faux-naïve reporter on BBC2’s satirical news show The Mash Report.

During her teens Rachel thought she would have a career as a classical musician –– she has a Music degree from Oxford, she’s an accomplished singer, and an excellent pianist; indeed, until recently she was a piano teacher.

Rachel talks to Michael about how she moved from music to comedy via drama school and how music still has a central place in her life. Her choices of pieces reflect the breadth of her musical passions, from a recording of Tallis in which she sings, to Bernstein and the American Songbook. She loves music that tells a story, particularly Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and music that makes her laugh, like Tom Lehrer’s songs. Rachel talks movingly about depression and her work with The Samaritans, and we hear music by Debussy which she finds a comfort in difficult times.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Mar 03 2019

35mins

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