Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Thursday - Sarah Walker with Mariella Frostrup

With Sarah Walker. Including Music in Time: Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea; Artist of the Week: Harry Christophers, featured conducting Frank Martin's Ode a la Musique.

Sarah sets the tone and mood of the day's programme with a range of music to intrigue, surprise and entertain.

Take part in today's musical challenge: listen to the clues and identify a mystery musical personality.

Sarah's guest this week is the columnist, arts broadcaster and campaigner, Mariella Frostrup. Mariella is the host of Radio 4's Open Book, a programme which celebrates new writing as well as unearthing lost classics. She also presents the series Bringing Up Britain, a discussion about modern-day parenting, and writes a weekly agony aunt column in The Observer magazine. Throughout the week, Mariella reflects on her life and work and shares some of her favourite classical music with Sarah, including pieces by Scarlatti, Philip Glass and Handel.

Music in Time: Renaissance
Sarah places Music in Time. Today, Sarah journeys back to the Renaissance period to explore Monteverdi's opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea, and its very natural style of recitative - a new way of setting dialogue in dramatic music.

Double Take
Sarah explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two recordings of a piece of Orlando Gibbons's keyboard music.

Artist of the Week: Harry Christophers
Sarah's artist of the week is the conductor Harry Christophers. Best known as the founder and conductor of The Sixteen, Christophers is also Artistic Director of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society and Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra. Christophers developed The Sixteen from an unnamed group of 16 singers and friends in 1977 into one of the most famous and highly respected chamber choirs in the world. Under his leadership the choir has become well known for balancing individual brilliance with sensitive ensemble, qualities which has allowed it to succeed in a wide range of music. Together the choir and Christophers have made definitive recordings of Handel oratorios, Purcell operas and Renaissance choral music, including Palestrina and music from the Eton Choirbook, as well as Lotti's Crucifixus, and Tallis's Spem in Alium, both of which we hear this week. Christophers has also made his mark with performances of contemporary music, by John Tavener and Frank Martin.

Ode à la Musique
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Trad.

    Improvisations on an anonymous Jota

    Performer: Arianna Savall. Performer: Pedro Estevan. Performer: Marc Clos.
    • ALIA VOX.
  • Arnold Bax


    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: John Barbirolli.
    • EMI.
  • Pablo de Sarasate

    Spanish Dances: No.5, Playera

    Music Arranger: Paul Cassidy. Ensemble: Brodsky Quartet.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Underneath the abject willow

    Performer: Steuart Bedford. Singer: Philip Langridge.
  • Franz Liszt

    La Campanella (Grandes Etudes de Paganini)

    Performer: Nikita Magaloff.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Ole Bull

    Cantabile doloroso e Rondo giocoso for violin and orchestra

    Performer: Arve Tellefsen. Orchestra: Trondheim Symfoniorkester. Conductor: Eivind Aadland.
    • SIMAX.
  • Jonathan Harvey

    Come, Holy Ghost

    Choir: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Andrew Nethsingha.
    • SIGNUM.
  • Anonymous

    Veni creator spiritus - hymn

    Choir: The Sixteen. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • Ceremony and Devotion: Music for the Tudors.
    • Coro.
    • 1.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Water Music: Suite in F Major: Overture; Adagio e staccato; Allegro  

    Orchestra: Le Concert des Nations. Conductor: Jordi Savall.
    • ALIA VOX.
  • Esteban Salas

    Un musiquito nuevo

    Choir: Exaudi Choir of Cuba. Director: María Felicia Pérez.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    L'incoronazione di Poppea: Act I Sc.13, Ottone declares his love to Drusilla

    Singer: Paul Esswood. Singer: Janet Perry. Orchestra: Monteverdi Ensemble of Zurich Opera House. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • TELDEC.
  • Ottorino Respighi

    The Fountains of Rome

    Orchestra: The Philadelphia Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Muti.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Orlando Gibbons

    Lord Salisbury's Pavane & Galliard

    Performer: Sophie Yates.
  • Orlando Gibbons

    Lord Salisbury's Pavane & Galliard

    Performer: Glenn Gould.
  • Frank Martin

    Ode à la Musique   

    Choir: The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra. Orchestra: The Sixteen Orchestra. Singer: Simon Birchall. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • CORO.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Magnificat in D, BWV 243

    Singer: Lynda Russell. Singer: Gillian Fisher. Singer: Alison Browner. Singer: Caroline Trevor. Singer: Ian Partridge. Singer: George Michael. Ensemble: The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra. Director: Harry Christophers.
    • COLLINS.
  • Giacomo Puccini


    Ensemble: Puccini Quartet.
    • Puccini,Catalani: String Music: Puccini Quartet.
    • ASV.
  • Franz von Suppé

    Light Cavalry Overture

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
    • The Best of The Academy.
    • EMI Classics.
    • 1.

Musical Challenge: Mystery Person

The mystery person was the British electro-acoustic music pioneer, Jonathan Harvey.


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough presents quirky tales gathered from the corners of history.