A documentary series about traditional crafts along the ancient trade route of the Silk Road. Each film follows a day in the working life of a weaver, woodcarver and potter in China, Uzbekistan and Iran.
Dr Sam Willis reveals how the Silk Road was the world's first global superhighway where people with new ideas, new cultures and new religions made exchanges that shaped humanity.
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays. Then in the backstreets and markets of Xi'an, Michael meets descendants of the traders from central Asia and Persia who came into China on the Silk Road. He talks to Chinese Muslims in the Great Mosque and across town hears the amazing story of the first reception of Christianity in 635.
The Story of India is a BBC TV documentary series, written and presented by historian Michael Wood, about the 10,000-year history of the Indian subcontinent in six episodes. It was originally aired on the BBC in six episodes in August and September 2007 as part of the BBC season "India and Pakistan 07", which marked the 60 years independence of India and Pakistan.
The Sixteen, bright stars of the Baroque, have plenty to say on 20th-century repertoire (witness their excellent Britten series on Collins). Underpin them with the BBC Philharmonic and it might seem a magic formula. Ives’s unearthly The Unanswered Question holds few problems for instrumental players weaned on Maxwell Davies – no more than do the brilliant wind roulades of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. Deft BBC teamwork and a chamber articulation to woodwind and brass helps this Koussevitzky-commissioned masterpiece to shed its often hammy ‘big band’ sound, creeping closer to the subtle, leaner sonorities of his later choral works. It gains. The singing varies. Too many dynamic shifts sound prosaic or under-prepared; fortes are forced, with muddy results. The vocal blend (happier in lower voices) can seem haphazard and colours the Tippett, where the men’s roars – contrast the lovely, sensual soprano solo – seem crude. Get this disc, instead, for the rare, late Poulenc – his New York-commissioned Sept répons. It is a curiously under-recorded devotional work, bleeding with pathos yet pumping energy, its exoticism enhanced by slightly breathy, tender solos, and scintillatingly sung with just those crucial missing qualities of awe and freshness. A million times more refined than what goes before.
The Flight of the Condor: Ice, Wind and Fire is a documentary on The BBC World program, first aired in 1982. Directed and produced by Michael Andrews, who spent eighteen months in the Andes mountain range along with award-winning cameramen Martin Saunders, Hugh Miles and Rodger Jackman, the documentary shows wildlife as well as the particular Andean landscapes.