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Wednesday - Rob Cowan with Mike Figgis

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music on Location: Barber's Antony and Cleopatra; Artist of the Week: Solomon Cutner, featured in Chopin's Fantaisie, Op 49.

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: two pieces of music are played together - can you identify them?

Rob's guest this week is the film director, writer, photographer and composer Mike Figgis. Mike is best known as the director of films such as Leaving Las Vegas and Internal Affairs, but he came to film after many years in music and theatre. He plays the piano, guitar and trumpet and has played and recorded with various bands in London and France, including a 'free jazz' group. For a decade Mike was a member of the People Show, a long-running experimental theatre group based in London, and has directed operas for the Manchester International Music Festival and English National Opera. As well as discussing his life and work, Mike shares some of his favourite classical music throughout the week by composers including Ives, Zelenka and Schubert.

Music on Location: New York
In 1966 the Metropolitan Opera moved to its current home in the Lincoln Center. Rob shares part of Barber's opera Antony and Cleopatra, which was commissioned for that 'opening' opening night.

Rob's featured artist is one of Britain's greatest pianists, Solomon Cutner - known to audiences simply as Solomon. He rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of his profession, and was en route to recording all of Beethoven's piano sonatas when tragedy struck; he suffered a severe stroke, and for the next 32 years Solomon the pianist was forced to become Solomon the concert-goer and listener. Solomon was a prime example of the notion that less is more; his reading of Beethoven's 'Waldstein' Sonata is perfectly proportioned, his Liszt and Chopin compelling but never sentimental, his Schubert abundantly lyrical, while in chamber music - especially with the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky - Solomon was the ideal duo partner. His performances are dignified and musically persuasive making his recordings well worth revisiting.

Fantaisie in F minor, Op.49
Solomon (piano).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Eric Coates

    The Merrymakers - Miniature Overture

    Orchestra: BBC Concert Orchestra. Conductor: Adrian Boult.
    • IMP.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Rondo in G, Op.51 No .2

    Performer: Hans Richter-Haaser.
    • EMI.
  • Michael Haydn

    Missa pro tempore quadragesimae, for chorus and organ

    Performer: David van Bouwel. Choir: Ex Tempore. Ensemble: Academia Palatina. Conductor: Florian Heyerick.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Divertimento for cello and orchestra

    Performer: Gregor Piatigorsky. Orchestra: Orchestra.
    • SONY.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Chaconne from Partita No.2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004

    Performer: Andrés Segovia. Music Arranger: Andrés Segovia.
    • DG.
  • MIke FIggis's Choice

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      Grosse Fuge, Op.133

      Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet.
      • DG.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    Concerto in D minor, RV 566

    Performer: Fabio Biondi, violin and direction. Orchestra: Europa Galante.
  • Music On Location: Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Centre, New York

    • Samuel Barber

      Give me my robe (Antony and Cleopatra)

      Singer: Leontyne Price. Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Schippers.
      • RCA.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Gaude gloriosa

    Choir: La chapelle du Roi. Conductor: Alistair Dixon.
  • Artist of the Week: Solomon

    • Frédéric Chopin

      Fantasy in F minor, Op.49

      Performer: Solomon.
      • AUDITE.
  • Fritz Kreisler

    Caprice viennois

    Performer: Henryk Szeryng. Performer: Charles Reiner.
    • Mercury Living Presence.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Symphony No 4 in E minor, Op 98

    Orchestra: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. Conductor: Günter Wand.

Musical Challenge: Heard on Screen

The piece of music we heard was Chopin's Fantasy in F minor for piano, which is performed by Jack Nicholson's character in a memorable scene in the 1970 film, Five Easy Pieces.


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