Walter Legge

Series tracing the life and achievements of the man described as classical music's greatest talent scout.


01The Young Turk2005100920060730

The first in a series tracing the life and achievement of the founder of the Philharmonia Orchestra, whose centenary occurs next June.

He was a concert impresario and a highly successful producer with over 3500 classical recordings to his credit.

Includes songs from Legge's innovative Hugo Wolf Society, Jascha Heifetz playing Sibelius, and scenes from the famous pre-war Berlin recording of The Magic Flute, conducted by Beecham.

Presented by Humphrey Burton.

02Our Man In Vienna2005101620060806

During the Second World War, Legge ran ENSA concerts for the armed forces all over the UK.

After the Liberation he signed up Ginette Neveu and Dinu Lipatti.

A fluent German speaker, he reached war-devastated Vienna ahead of his rivals to sign contracts with top musicians such as the legendary conductors Wilhelm Furtwangler and Herbert von Karajan and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who later became his wife.

03A Passion For Quality2005102320060813

Juggling with twin careers as impresario and record producer, Legge founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1945 and ran it along autocratic lines, a dictator among democrats.

For the LP era, he signed big names like Callas and Klemperer, demanding from all his artists nothing less than perfection.

Includes music by Puccini, Beethoven and Mozart.

04All Or Nothing2005103020060820

Legge flourished during the switch from 78s to LPs and from mono to stereo.

Many of his productions have been transferred to CD and are revered.

But as economic conditions got tougher he despaired of maintaining standards and in 1964, in a shock move, Legge quit EMI and tried to disband his own orchestra, the Philharmonia.

He lived the last 15 years of his life in self-imposed exile.

Includes music from Der Rosenkavalier and Don Giovanni, and contributions from his widow Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf