Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Friday - Rob Cowan with Katie Mitchell

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music in Time: Haydn String Quartet in C; Artist of the Week: William Christie, featured conducting Purcell's King Arthur (excerpt).

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 today's musical challenge: identify the place associated with a well-known work.

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: Classical
Rob's in the Classical period exploring the artistic relationship that Haydn enjoyed with violinist Johann Tost. Haydn wrote 12 string quartets for the virtuoso and today Rob's featuring the Quartet in C major, Op.54 No.2.

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.

King Arthur: Act 5 (conclusion)
Venus ..... Véronique Gens (soprano)
She ..... Sandrine Piau (soprano)
Honour ..... Claron McFadden (soprano)
He ..... Jonathan Best (bass)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Jean‐Philippe Rameau

    Les Indes Galantes (Overture)

    Ensemble: Les Arts Florissants. Conductor: William Christie.
  • Émile Waldteufel

    The Skaters' Waltz, Op.183

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel.
    • SONY.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Salve Regina

    Choir: Polyphony. Conductor: Stephen Layton.
    • Hyperion.
  • Georg Philipp Telemann

    Concerto for 3 oboes, 3 violins, continuo, TWV44:43

    Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • TELDEC.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Sonata in E flat Op27 No1

    Performer: Claudio Arrau.
  • ‘La dinastia de los Muhammad’

    • ALIA VOX.
    • AVSA9915.
    • 16.
  • Katie Mitchell's Choice

    • Dmitry Shostakovich

      Symphony No.5: IV. Allegro non troppo

      Orchestra: National Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich.
      • TELDEC.
  • Rob's Personal Shopper Choice for Katie Mitchell

    • Hans Abrahamsen

      let me tell you (let me tell you what it was)

      Singer: Barbara Hannigan. Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Andris Nelsons.
      • BR KLASSIK.
  • Robert Schumann

    The Bride of Messina: Overture

    Orchestra: WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. Conductor: Heinz Holliger.
    • AUDITE.
  • Music in Time: Classical

    • Joseph Haydn

      String Quartet in C major, Op.54 No.2

      Ensemble: Amadeus Quartet.
      • DG.
  • Artist of the Week: WIlliam Christie

    • Henry Purcell

      King Arthur: Act V (excerpt)

      Singer: Véronique Gens. Singer: Jonathan Best. Singer: Sandrine Piau. Singer: Claron McFadden. Ensemble: Les Arts Florissants. Conductor: William Christie.
      • ERATO.
  • Nocturne in B, Op.62 No.1

    • 0300905BC.
    • 5.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Rondo in D major, K 485

    Performer: Alicia de Larrocha.
    • Decca Eloquence.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No.2 in D major Op36

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra.
    • Beethoven The Nine Symphonies.

Musical Challenge: Mystery Location

The piece we heard was Francisco Tarrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' - the mystery location was therefore the Alhambra Palace in Granada.


  • Fri 19 May 2017 09:00

The Classical Companion Collection

The Classical Companion Collection

The best classical music, articles and quizzes for spending time at home.

Our Classical Century

Our Classical Century

Radio 3 explores 100 key musical moments that shaped us, from 1918 to the present day.

Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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