Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - Sunday 22 March 2015, 9pm

What are some of the unusual instruments that great composers have written for?

This week, Catherine Bott discovers that the great composers haven't just written for pianos, violins, cellos and other popular instruments of the orchestra.

Did you know, for example, that Vaughan Williams wrote a concerto for bass tuba?  And even a romance for harmonica, composed for the late, great Larry Adler (pictured)?  You can hear them both tonight – and very beautiful they are too, as you’d expect from Vaughan Williams. 

Contemporary composers who have put unusual instruments centre stage include Philip Glass (the harpsichord) and Karl Jenkins (the euphonium), who’ll both be making an appearance – but the show starts in the 18th century, with Leopold Mozart’s music for the very long Alphorn (which requires a lot of space to be played). 

Plus – we’ll enjoy a Vivaldi concerto for an instrument that needs very little space indeed: the piccolo.