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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Katie Mitchell

With Rob Cowan. Including musical challenge; Music in Time: Medieval; Artist of the Week: William Christie, featured as keyboard player in music by Royer and Handel.

Discover definitive recordings of classical music with your trusted guide, Rob Cowan. His guest is the stage director Katie Mitchell.

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

Take part in our daily musical challenge: can you name the television show or film that featured this piece of classical music?

Katie Mitchell
Rob's guest this week is the theatre and opera director, Katie Mitchell. Katie formed a theatre company whilst still at school and started working at the Royal Shakespeare Company in her early twenties, before holding positions at the Royal Court Theatre and the National Theatre. Her productions of both well-known plays and brand new works have provoked strong reactions from critics, some branding her as a 'vandal', whilst others consider her one of the best directors in the world today. Katie's also a big presence in the world of opera, directing productions at Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Aix-en-Provence Festival where she directed the world premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin. She's distilled her experiences into a book, The Director's Craft, and she is currently the Visiting Chair in Opera Studies at the University of Oxford. As well as discussing her work as a director and her life, Katie shares some of her favourite classical music.

Music in Time: Medieval
Today Rob's in Medieval England showing that some of the earliest polyphonic vocal music in Europe was being made in Winchester.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two interpretations of Sibelius's Valse Triste, with recordings conducted by Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.

Artist of the Week: William Christie
Rob's Artist of the Week is the American-born conductor and harpsichordist, William Christie. After growing up and studying in America, Christie moved to France in the 1970s where he founded his award-winning vocal and instrumental ensemble, Les Arts Florissants. Together they've opened up the music of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France to a wider audience, in particular championing works by neglected composers such as Guillaume Bouzignac and André Campra. Christie is regarded as the uncontested master of opéra-ballet, such as Rameau's Les Indes Galantes, and tragédie-lyrique, such as Lully's Atys, and it was Christie's 1987 production of Atys that first earned him major public recognition. Ever since, he's been a leading figure in Baroque opera and vocal music, and throughout the week we'll hear Christie's recordings of works by Charpentier, Lully and Purcell, as well as Mozart. He's also a renowned keyboard player, and we'll hear him as a soloist, accompanist and duettist in music by Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer, Handel, and Couperin.

Le Vertigo, Rondeau. Modérément
William Christie (harpsichord)

Violin Sonata in G major, HWV358
Hiro Kurosaki (violin)
William Christie (organ).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Jean Sibelius

    Karelia Suite: III. Alla Marcia

    Orchestra: Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Osmo Vänskä.
    • BIS.
  • Artist of the Week: William Christie

    • Henry Purcell

      Music for a while (Oedipus)

      Singer: Alfred Deller. Performer: Wieland Kuijken. Performer: William Christie.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Intermezzo in D minor, WAB 113

    Performer: James Boyd. Ensemble: Fitzwilliam String Quartet.
    • LINN.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Die Feuersbrunst [The Conflagration]: Sinfonia

    Conductor: Manfred Huss.
    • BIS.
  • Giovanni Antonio Rigatti

    Audi dulcis amica mea

    Performer: Johanna Seitz. Performer: Arno Schneider. Singer: Georg Poplutz.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Ebony Concerto

    Performer: Benny Goodman. Ensemble: Columbia Jazz Ensemble. Conductor: Igor Stravinsky.
    • SONY.
  • Franz Liszt

    Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 in C sharp minor

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
  • John Cage

    Totem Ancestor

    Ensemble: Kronos Quartet. Music Arranger: Eric Salzman.
  • Katie Mitchell's First Choice

    • George Benjamin

      Written on Skin: Act I Scene VI, Agnes and the Boy (Extract)

      Singer: Barbara Hannigan. Singer: Bejun Mehta. Orchestra: Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: George Benjamin.
      • NIMBUS.
  • Katie Mitchell's Second Choice

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      Erbarme dich (St Matthew Passion, BWV 244)

      Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music. Director: Richard Egarr.
      • AAM RECORDS.
  • Katie Mitchell's THird Choice

    • George Frideric Handel

      Alcina: 'Credete al mio dolore'

      Singer: Anna Prohaska. Orchestra: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: Andrea Marcon.
      • ERATO.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Mazurka in C major, Op 24 No 2

    Performer: Vlado Perlemuter.
    • Vlado Perlemuter - Chopin.
    • Nimbus.
    • 8.
  • Music in Time: Medieval

    • anon


      Choir: The Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge. Director: Mary Berry.
      • HERALD.
  • Double Take

    • Jean Sibelius

      Valse triste

      Orchestra: New York Philharmonic. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.
    • Jean Sibelius

      Valse triste

      Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
      • WARNER.
  • Pérotin

    Viderunt Omnes

    Ensemble: Kronos Quartet.
  • Artist of the Week: William Christie

    • Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer

      Le Vertigo, Rondeau. Modérément

      Performer: William Christie.
    • George Frideric Handel

      Violin Sonata in G major, HWV358

      Performer: Hiro Kurosaki. Performer: William Christie.
      • ERATO.
  • Nicolò Paganini

    Moto perpetuo, Op 11

    Performer: Sergei Nakariakov. Performer: Alexander Markovich. Music Arranger: Mikhail Nakariakov.
    • Teldec.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Violin Concerto in D major op. 77

    Performer: David Oistrakh. Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden. Conductor: Franz Konwitschny.

Musical Challenge: Heard on Screen

The piece we heard was Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody in C sharp minor S244 No.2, which was used in two 1940 cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry.


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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