Segments in this Video

Alison Balsom: Introduction (01:16)


Balsom describes the inspiration she drew from Dizzy Gillespie which led her to a career as one of Britain's most popular musicians.

Treasure One: Inspiration (06:38)

George Frideric Handel is Balsom's favorite composer. She views his original scripts for “Birthday Ode for Queen Anne.” She also studies a musical piece by contemporary composer Peter Maxwell Davies.

Treasure Two: Genius (03:37)

Leonardo Da Vinci inspires Balsom. Matthew Landrus shows Balsom some of Da Vinci's work done in his own hand and shares a sketch of a unique instrument.

Treasure Three: Escape (07:08)

Balsom views several nautical maps with historic maps expert Peter Barber. Balsom’s love of sailing connects to her fascination with maps; see Henry VIII's map of the British coast.

Treasure Four: Roots (06:23)

Katie Howe helps Balsom learn about Stephen Hales, her distant relative who was a scientist and clergyman.

Treasure Five: Author (07:25)

Curator Laura Walker discusses Thomas Hardy; “Tess of the d'Urbervilles” is one of Balsom's favorite novels. To have his work serialized in magazines, Hardy had to make his work less politically controversial.

Treasure Six: Passion (06:55)

Food history fascinates Balsom. Polly Russell, contemporary archives coordinator, shows her the “Potage Dyvers” from the fifteenth century. Balsom visits a London restaurant that reinvented recipes from Richard II’s kitchen and the world’s oldest cookbook.

Alison Balsom's Donation (02:56)

Balsom contributes a composition done by herself and pianist Tom Poster entitled “Thoughts of Dr. May.” She also donates a recording of the piece done at the Munich Palace Hotel.

Credits: Alison Balsom (00:36)

Credits: Alison Balsom

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Alison Balsom

Part of the Series : Treasures of the British Library
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The British Library collection over one hundred and fifty million items—everything from medieval chronicles to live jazz recordings, the Bronte’s manuscripts to Beethoven’s tuning fork. Now six of its greatest Treasures will be explored by the acclaimed trumpet soloist Alison Balsom. Alison has chosen six aspects of her life and work to explore—everything from the music that drives her life and career to the complete escape of a favorite sport or beloved author. Now, working and guided by the British Library’s expert curators, she will discover wondrous items that tap into each theme and passion. The Treasures Alison encounters are surprising and engaging—charts made for Tudor royalty, to help them protect the country from invasion, the actual ink of Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Hardy and the surprising inventions of Alison’s own ancestor.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL145863

ISBN: 978-1-64198-906-0

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.