Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

BBC Music Day - Rob Cowan with guest Imogen Heap

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music on Location: Ives: Three Places in New England; Artist of the Week: cellist Alisa Weilerstein, featured in music by Bright Sheng.

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: can you work out which two composers are associated with a particular piece?

Rob's guest on BBC Music Day is the musician Imogen Heap. Imogen is best known as a singer-songwriter, but she's composed music for film and theatre as well as working in sound engineering and production. She's written music for the West End show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She is also at the forefront of musical technological innovation with her recent development of musical gloves and a new way of running the music industry called Mycelia. Imogen is named after the composer Imogen Holst and is passionate about a wide range of classical music. Throughout the week she'll be sharing some of her favourite classical music as well as discussing her life and work.

Music on Location: New England
Rob explores music connected with New England by Ives. In a sequence of ground-breaking and intensely evocative tone poems Ives portrays Three Places in New England which reflect the region's Civil War history and natural landscape.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two recordings of Monteverdi's madrigal 'Chiome d'oro, bel tesoro', with ensembles led by composer Nadia Boulanger, whose recording from the mid-1930s was one of the first made of Monteverdi's music, and a leading 21st-century Renaissance music director, Christina Pluhar.

Artist of the Week: Alisa Weilerstein
Rob's featured artist is the American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who made her concert debut at the age of 13 and was soon recognised as an artist with exceptional powers of communication. Always a keen promoter of contemporary music, Weilerstein brings her radiant tone to the Seven Tunes Heard in China by the Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng, one of the pieces Rob's chosen to feature this week. She's joined by her parents, the violinist Donald Weilerstein and the pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, for an emotionally potent performance of Schumann's G minor Piano Trio, and she can also be heard in a trio of concertos: Dvořák's evergreen Cello Concerto, the searingly dramatic 2nd Cello Concerto of Shostakovich, and the perennially affecting Elgar Concerto with Staatskapelle Berlin under Daniel Barenboim.

Bright Sheng
Seven Tunes Heard in China
Alisa Weilerstein (cello).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Franz Schubert

    An die Musik, D 547

    Singer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau. Performer: Gerald Moore.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    The Creatures of Prometheus, Op.43: Overture

    • MERCURY.
  • Arthur Sullivan

    The Lost Chord

    Performer: Stephen Farr. Choir: BBC Singers. Conductor: Bob Chilcott.
  • Manuel de Falla

    Concerto for harpsichord, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin and cello

    Performer: Zuzana Růžičková. Performer: František Čech. Performer: Jaroslav Chvapil. Performer: Karel Dlouhy. Performer: Lubomir Novosad. Performer: Karel Vik.
  • Gustav Holst

    A Moorside Suite for brass band

    Performer: Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Conductor: Garry Cutt.
    • Chandos.
  • Percy Grainger

    Harvest Hymn

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Clara Schumann

    6 Lieder, Op 13; No 6, 'Die stille Lotusblume'

    Singer: Barbara Bonney. Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
    • Decca.
  • Imogen Heap's First Choice

    • Gustav Holst

      The Planets: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity

      Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
      • DECCA.
  • Imogen Heap's Second Choice

    • Esa‐Pekka Salonen

      LA Variations (excerpt)

      Orchestra: Los Angeles Philharmonic. Conductor: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
  • Imogen Heap's Third Choice

    • Arve Henriksen

      beauty of bamboos

      Performer: Arve Henriksen.
  • Phyllis Spurr

    Verborgenheit, from Morike Lieder

    Singer: Kathleen Ferrier.
    • NAXOS.
    • 8.112071.
    • 10.
  • Music on Location: New England

    • Charles Ives

      3 Places in New England

      Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony. Choir: San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas.
      • RCA.
  • Double Take

    • Claudio Monteverdi

      'Chiome d'oro, bel tesoro' (Golden tresses, beautiful treasure), from 7th Book of Madrigals

      Ensemble: Ensemble Vocal et Instrumental Nadia Boulanger. Conductor: Nadia Boulanger.
      • IDIS.
    • Claudio Monteverdi

      Chiome d'oro, bel tesoro

      Ensemble: L’Arpeggiata. Conductor: Christina Pluhar.
      • VIRGIN.
  • Moritz Moszkowski

    Étincelles (8 Morceaux caracteristiques, Op 36)

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
    • Vladimir Horowitz The Indespensable.
    • BMG Classics.
    • 8.
  • Artist of the Week: Alisa Weilerstein

    • Bright Sheng

      Seven Tunes Heard in China

      Performer: Alisa Weilerstein.
      • DECCA.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Piano Concerto in C, K 467

    Performer: Friedrich Gulda. Orchestra: Orchester der Wiener Volksoper. Conductor: Hans Swarowsky.
    • PREISER.

Musical Challenge: By Association

The piece we played was Brahms's Piano Concerto No.1, the slow movement  of which he told his friend Clara Schumann was "a gentle portrait of you". The two composers were therefore Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann.


Time Travellers: the podcast

Time Travellers: the podcast

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