Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - Sunday 16 February 2014

This week, Valentine's Day romance continues with a look at Romeo and Juliet in music.

This week, Catherine Bott stays in St. Valentine's Day mood and takes a look at the impact on composers made by Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet over the centuries.

There is an early 1776 operatic version - from Georg Benda who eliminated many of the play’s characters and made Juliet the strongest and most important character. 

Then there's Berlioz's epic choral symphonic work which was inspired by a performance the composer saw in 1827 that starred the actress Harriet Smithson, who also inspired his Symphonie fantastique

Catherine also has ballet music from Prokofiev whose Romeo and Juliet was said to be 'undanceable' by the ballet company that commissioned it. Leonard Bernstein relocated the story to New York City with the warring Montagues and Capulets becoming rival street gangs - the Sharks and the Jets. 

And there have been great film adaptations too. Nina Rota's love theme to the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli production became a daily feature on British radio as part of Simon Bates' 'Our Tune'.