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Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
E.L. James' book Fifty Shades Of Grey has inspired an album of fantastic classical music - here's our track by track guide!
This famous duet from Delibes' opera Lakmé is a gorgeous beginning to the collection, and tells the story of the title character and her servant collecting flowers by a river. It's also more famously known as the music from the old British Airways ads.
With a dainty series of themes, this is premium relaxing Bach. Alexandre Tharaud's (pictured) playing brings out the best in the music, with some super-sensitive moments that would make Christian Grey proud…
Scored for a single soprano and an orchestra of cellos, this is a quirky but beautiful slice of Brazilian brilliance from Heitor Villa-Lobos. Barbara Hendricks' voice is the perfect foil for the lush, delicate accompaniment.
This is a tense and taut beginning to Verdi's epic opera, foretelling the tragedy to come. In fact, La Traviata translates into English as 'The Fallen Woman' - possibly a link to Anastasia Steele…? The picture shows Ailyn Perez as La Traviata herself, Violetta Valery.
A wedding favourite and generally one of the most famous pieces of classical music ever, this canon uses the same bass line throughout to achieve its hypnotic effect. On the album, it's played by The Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner (pictured).
This choral epic, here performed by the Tallis Scholars, was composed in 1570 for eight choirs of five voices each. It produces a particularly haunting effect, with each different vocal part gradually combining and falling away at various points to create a transcendental listening experience.
Samson François gives a superb reading of this heart-wrenching bit of Chopin. One of his most famous and moody piano pieces, it was requested by Chopin himself to be played at his own funeral. Pop artists from Serge Gainsbourg to Radiohead have cited this piece as an influence.
One of the most famous piano works ever, the Rachmaninov piano concerto no. 2 will be familiar to many from the soundtrack of Brief Encounter. This second movement in particular is a romantic, stormy and intense affair, perfectly suited to Fifty Shades. This version is played by Cecile Ousset and Sir Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (pictured).
Vaughan Williams’ string orchestra composition is based on a melody written by Thomas Tallis in 1567. Tallis’ original tune is heard three times throughout the Fantasia, but Vaughan Williams builds on it, adding his typical pastoral flavour to the Renaissance work. He’s pictured here with Sir Adrian Boult himself.
Opening with a solo cor anglais, lush strings, and cascading piano quavers, this gorgeous set of French folk songs shows off the warm tones of Arleen Auger’s soprano voice. The text is taken from the Auvergne region of France (pictured), and sung in the local language.
Mournful and serene in equal measure, Chopin’s poignant Nocturne in B flat minor is a perfect example of his flowing piano writing. It’ s part of a set of three pieces written between 1830-1832.
The angelic choir of King’s College, Cambridge in the ‘In Paradisum’ from Fauré’s Requiem and the shimmering solo violin will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. It was written between 1887-1890, and contains some of the most beautiful music ever written by the French composer.
Bach’s 1741 Goldberg Variations are often played on the harpsichord, the instrument for which they were originally written. This slow ‘Aria’ can sometimes get lost in the harpsichord’s plucked strings but when played on the piano it takes on an almost ethereal quality.
Balmy and relaxing, Debussy’s ‘La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin’ (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) is the eighth piece from his Préludes for solo piano. The recording from the late Dame Moura Lympany is gorgeous, bringing out the warm tones of the music.
The beautifully uplifting ‘Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring’ is the 10th movement of Bach’s cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben. It’s often used as entrance music for weddings on the organ, but this version, transcribed for piano brings out the graceful melodies from all the different choral parts.