The BBC Music Magazine Quiz: Sheep

How much do you know on the subject of woolly works and ovine operas?

Johann Sebastian Baaaaach

How good is your classical music knowledge? Don't be sheep-ish – have a go at our specially themed quiz. You'll find the answers at the foot of the page.



1) The aria ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ appears in which Bach cantata?

2) Which leading British conductor spends much of his time rearing and managing a flock of over 1,000 sheep?

3) Music’s gain was sheep-farming’s loss when one composer, born in 1811, decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps as a sheep accountant (ovium rationista), but instead dazzle European society with displays of piano pyrotechnics. Who was he?

4) Written in 1984, the opera Yan Tan Tethera is named after a method of counting sheep. Who is the composer?

5) Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1997, almost exactly 100 years after which composer completed his Dolly Suite for two pianos?

6) Which British composer invited us to Rejoice in the Lamb in 1943, setting the poetry of Christopher Smart in an anthem for choir and organ?

7) ‘All we like sheep’ sang a choir to the good people of Dublin on April 13, 1742. What was the occasion?

8) Whose setting of ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ provided the theme tune for The Vicar of Dibley?

9) The Frenchman Jean de Hollingue (1459-1522), composer of many fine motets, is better known under a name that has a certain sheep-like ring to it. And that is?

10) Which composer is said to have been banned from practising his trombone in a Cotswold field after the farmer accused him of causing the ewes to lamb too early?


1) The Hunting Cantata, BWV 208
2) John Eliot Gardiner
3) Franz Liszt
4) Harrison Birtwistle
5) Gabriel Fauré
6) Benjamin Britten
7) The first performance of Handel's Messiah
8) Howard Goodall
9) Jean Mouton
10) Gustav Holst

How did you score?

8-10 out of 10: Wool done! That score will take some bleating

5-7 out of 10: Not baaaa-d at all

1-4 out of 10: Your knowledge is a little woolly

0 out of 10: Ewe-sless, frankly