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Desert Island Discs

Simon Rattle

Duration: 45 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FMLatest broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FM

Available for over a year

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sir Simon Rattle. For the past five years he has been Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic - regarded by many as the finest symphony orchestra in the world. He is only the sixth person to hold the position in 120 years and is the first Briton to take on the challenge.

Growing up in Liverpool in the 1960s, while other youngsters were listening to The Beatles, he was transfixed by Mahler and was determined to become a conductor. His talent was prodigious. He won an international conducting competition aged just 19 and so, with plenty of enthusiasm but scant experience, began his career. Initially because of his youth, his approach was collaborative rather than autocratic and it has been a style that brought tremendous results during his 18-year association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He insists that his approach with the Berlin Philharmonic is about teamwork too - but concedes that it is an orchestra that contains some very strong characters and very big egos.

He tells Kirsty how, choosing his Desert Island Discs, he has been drawn towards music that expressed joy and pain in equal measure.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Scherza Infida from Ariodante by George Frideric Handel
Book: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Luxury: Italian coffee machine and grinder. Show less

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