Twenty Minutes

Interval programming for Performance on 3 and Opera on 3."

Episodes

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20030817

David Huckvale discovers why the sculptor Cellini was eager to promote an image of himself as a man whom Berlioz later described as a 'bandit of genius'.

20030819

A train journey and a mobile phone - key elements in a quirky and person viewpoint on modern day life and the problems of communication.

Ali Smith reads an extract from her short story 'Being Quick' from her latest book, The Whole Story and Other Stories.

Afternoon Morning

Evening / Ensnared With Flowers: Claire Skinner reads poems by 17th-century ENGLISH poet Andrew Marvell.

John Carey and Nigel Smith discuss his contribution to the pastoral tradition.

20030820

Scottish writer Suhayl Saadi reads an extract from his forthcoming novel 'Psychoraag', which is featuring at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

20030821

GLASGOW writer Anne Donovan reads from her acclaimed new novel about a Glaswegian painter/decorator whose spiritual life takes an unexpected turn when he meets a Tibetan lama in Sauchiehall Street.

Afternoon Morning

Evening / Homeric Encounters Great encounters between famous characters in Homer's Iliad newly explored by contemporary scholars and poets.

Reflecting the ancient Greek theme of the Proms, this is the fourth in a series of five programmes exploring great encounters from the cornerstone of all European literature, Homer's Iliad.

Adrian Lester reads Homer's original version in translation, while a classical scholar discusses its dramatic power and a contemporary poet explores its continuing resonance in a newly commissioned poem.

Ruth Padel, herself a classicist and poet, chairs the discussion.

4.

The encounter between Hector and Achilles, interpreted by poet Michael Longley and scholar Oliver Taplin.

20030822

Ian Rankin, one of Edinburgh's most popular literary sons and creator of the famous DI Rebus, reads the opening of his latest novel, A Question Of Blood.

20030826

Biographer Maud Sulter talks to Bonnie Greer about the life of Jeanne Duval, love and muse of poet Charles Baudelaire.

20030828

Architectural historian explores the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald.

Afternoon Morning

Evening / Summer Nights The Night Of The Monster Helon Habila's story takes place at the end of the Nigerian civil war in the early 1970s.

When the infamous bandit Hammadu Dangar arrives in town, the local children hold their breath with anticipation and fear.

A night-time confrontation ensues - with an unexpected resolution.

Read by Jude Akuwudike

20030930

Hunter Thompson lives in NEW YORK in the kind of seedy hotel that only complete losers live in.

The day something finally does happen is the friday before Easter and Hunter's world is turned upside down by a new arrival.

Read by Mia Soteriou Translated from German by Margot Bettauer Dembo.

Abridged by Doreen Estall

20031115

The ravages of time and attempts to slow, if not quell them completely, are the subject of pianist Simon Townley's interval talk.

Picking the theme up from tonight's performance he asks why it is that the impossible desire to 'stop all the clocks' has been so strong for artists from Auden to Wilde and in music theatre from Sondheim in A Little Night Music to Strauss's Rosenkavalier?

20031119

Summer Again If Sibelius is Finland's leading cultural figure of international repute, then second place is surely held by Tove Janson.

Janson is best known as the author of the Moomin books but a new edition of an adult work, The Summer Book, has been a recent hit in Britain, selling over 50,000 copies in its first two months.

It's the story of a motherless six-year old and her grandmother, who while away a long summer on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland.

Jansson's niece Sophia, who appears in the book in fictionalised form, and the writer Esther Freud, explore the enduring and universal charm of a book which has long had cult status throughout Scandinavia, with the help of readings by Phyllida Law

20031213

The first of four programmes in which writers and artists in NEW YORK evoke the scene seen from Brooklyn Bridge and other crossings in the city.

Colson Whitehead is a young black novelist who lives in Brooklyn.

In a series of vignettes and passages like shots from a film he evokes not a view from the bridge, but several views of the bridge itself.

But what he's really interested in are the thoughts and feelings of the NEW YORKers crossing it.

20031223

A short story by Adam Thorpe about Bob the timpanist as he tries to cope with The Messiah.

20040101

Richard Foster consults his calendars and celebrates all our New Years as he explores how the new year has been celebrated down the ages in many ways and, indeed, on many days.

20040301

From across the channel in Brittany, poet Kenneth White writes a political and very personal letter to a friend critiquing his mother country, Scotland.

'In a word, I'm a European Scot, and all the more Scot for being European.

Scotland has always been more Europe-minded than ENGLAND.'.

20040417

The Lore of the Ring

The Saga of the Volsungs says that its hero's 'name is known in all tongues north of the Greek Ocean, and so it must remain while the world endures.' Wagner's Ring Cycle has helped to make this thirteenth prophecy true. Professor Jesse Byock translated the Saga of the Volsungs into English and explores its influence on Wagner and the origins of the characters he employs in his Cycle.

Letters from the New World

A personal talk from a non-native resident of America.

The Lazarus Affair

Aleksander Hemon, born in Sarajevo and now living in Chicago, investigates the case in 1908 of a Jewish immigrant called Lazarus Averbuch who attempted to kill the Chicago Chief of Police.

20040422

No Fugues Please

A pot -pourri of Saint-Saëns's writings about his own and other composers' music, selected by Roger Nichols and read by Timothy West.

20040423

A Musical History of Belfast: Cherrie McIlwaine goes on a historical tour of music-making in Belfast.

20040505

Collect the Set

As Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra approach the final instalment of their Prokofiev symphony cycle, a reflection on the vogue for musical completism: what are the advantages of hearing all a composer's symphonies or piano concertos - and nothing else - in a series of concerts?

20040512

David Huckvale reflects on the backdrop to Shostakovich's Symphony No 11, the failed Revolution of 1905 which saw hundreds of demonstrators shot by the Tsar's troops.

20040526

What difference does the view from our windows make to how we feel and what we think? Susannah Clapp talks to novelist Ahdaf Soueif about the worlds she sees outside her LONDON window and her memories of the Cairo windows of her childhood.

20040604

Bath and the World's First Geological Map

Bath is known for its Georgian houses and Roman spa, but another claim to fame is as the site of the first geological map in history, a map that changed our understanding of the world by charting the rocks beneath the landscape.

Geologist Richard Corfield walks the landscape depicted on the map in search of its author, William 'Strata' Smith, the man who saw an entire history of the earth in the hills around Bath.

20040608

James Joyce's Bloomsday

1: Joyce's Women

The sixteenth of June is the one hundredth anniversary of 'Bloomsday,' the day on which James Joyce set Ulysses, perhaps the most important novel of the twentieth century. To celebrate that anniversary, three Joyce enthusiasts revisit the book and its author.

In this first programme, author Edna O'Brien explores the fictional and the real women in James Joyce's life, from his mother to Molly Bloom.

20040609

Playing Our Tune

London Symphony Orchestra players from the past and present talk candidly about their experiences over the years. Contributors include the violinist Lionel Bentley who joined the orchestra in 1929 and played under Elgar and Klemperer, the trombonist Denis Wick and legendary oboist Roger Lord, who remember concerts with the firey Antal Dorati in the 1950s, and current players Rachel Gough and Colin Parris on the spirit of the orchestra today.

Presented by Richard Morrison.

20040611

Cruickshank and Aalto

Dan Cruickshank, architectural historian and broadcaster, has recently reported from the architectural sites of Iraq, Kabul and New York. Today he travels to Finland to see the work of Alvar Aalto, one of the masters of modern architecture, and to explore some of the twentieth century's most influential buildings.

20040702

Rewriting Venice

Tonight's Twenty Minutes explores how four of Thomas Mann's peers - Byron, Marcel Proust, Henry James and Ezra Pound - have looked at Venice through prisms of their own making.

In Rewriting Venice, Graham Fawcett describes the times and places in the city linked to these men, and using their novels, poems, articles and letters as illustration, he asks why writers have so often chosen not to look Venice in the face. With readings.

20040716

Proms Talk

During the interval Stephanie Hughes talks to the conductor Leonard Slatkin as he embarks on his final Proms season with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and is joined by Stephen Johnson to discuss one of this year's major themes - ENGLISH music at the crossroads in 1934.

She also meets those responsible for the restoration of the Royal Albert Hall organ to its former glory.

20040717

Proms Talk: Martin Handley meets performers from tonight's concert, catches up on events backstage, looks forward to the coming week of Proms and explores what's new for this year.

20040724

Stephanie Hughes meets performers from tonight's concert, catches up on events backstage, looks forward to up and coming Proms and explores what's new for this year on the Proms website and DAB radio.

Stephanie Hughes meets performers from tonight's concert, catches up on events backstage, looks forward to up and coming Proms and explores what's new for this year on the Proms website and DAB radio.

20040725

The Way of the Mass

From act-of-worship to concert repertoire, music for the mass has grown in scope, over the years, to divorce itself from a purely liturgical function and take on an independent life in the concert hall. Roderick Swanston examines that process - from the gargantuan mass-settings of the early Baroque to the works of more modern composers such as Delius, Janacek and Britten who have used the form to make quite new, original and sometimes secular musical statements.

20040726

Past Masters of the King's Musick

Roderick Swanston reflects on the changing role of the royal composer, a post initiated in 1625 at the court of Charles I, who appointed Nicholas Lanier at a salary of £200, plus livery of £16 2s 6d.

20040727

The Modern Soul

By Katherine Mansfield.

Mansfield's short story is an amusing and satirical study of the eccentric characters a young Englishwoman meets whilst staying at a German boarding house.

She describes how a pretentious Fräulein and the trombone-playing Herr Professor are brought together following their performance at a charity concert.

Mansfield is now recognised as the initiator of the modern short story and is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern English literature.

The story is taken from In a German Pension, first published in 1911, and the reader is Emma Fielding.

20040728

New Nature Writing

Evelyn Waugh satirised the British tradition of writing about the countryside which harped on about plashy fens and questing voles. And maybe he was right. Now, though, a new nature writing is emerging with informed observations blended with passionate prose. An occasional series throughout the Proms brings some of the best of these open air thoughts and fresh writing to Radio 3.

In Crow Country, by Mark Cocker.

A love affair with the Rook, Corvus frugilegus.

20040729

Andrew Davies reveals the audio diary he has been keeping since he began rehearsals for his first Prom of the season last week.

20040730

Letters from England

By Karl Capek.

Read by Owen Teale.

For two months in 1924 the Czech writer and playwright Karl Capek travelled throughout England, Scotland and Wales. His witty, appreciative dissections of the 'English' national character and culture quickly established themselves as masterpieces of observation - and classics of modern Czech prose.

Translated by Geoffrey Newsome.

Abridged and produced by Emma Harding.

20040731

Stephanie Hughes, meets Mariss Janson and Gidon Kremer from tonight's concert, discusses the world of Tchaikovsky's symphonies with David Nice, and looks forward to the coming week of Proms.

20040802

The Dangers of Working with Water: From the glass harmonica to Singin' in the Rain, via gongs and gargling, David Lasserson finds out if water and music can flow happily together.

20040803

Thom Gunn

James Campbell remembers the British poet who died in April and presents highlights of the interviews he recorded at Gunn's San Francisco home five years ago.

20040804

Antarctica: Klaus Dodds uncovers the intrigue behind Winston Churchill's plans to claim Antarctica as British Territory.

20040805

The Swooner

By Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew

A short story from the award-winning Chinese writer Ma Jian, taken from his new collection The Noodle Maker.

A young entrepreneur uses an old pottery kiln to set up a private crematorium and is overwhelmed by demand.

Abridged and produced by Emma Harding.

20040806

The Miniature Great Wall of China

The Times writer Stephen Anderton considers Eastern influences on British gardens, visiting Biddulph Grange, home to a miniature Great Wall of China, and Tatton Park in Cheshire, which includes a Japanese garden.

20040807

Proms Talk: Stephanie Hughes talks to Jan Smaczny about the essence of the Czech national spirit, and members of the National Youth Orchestra about their role in tonight's concert.

20040813

The Idea of Sanskrit: Dermot Clinch explores some of the many complex issues surrounding the study of this ancient Indian language in the West and in India itself.

20040814

Proms Talk: Petroc Trelawny meets performers from tonight's concert, catches up on events backstage and looks forward to the coming week of Proms.

20040815

An Unfinished Record

By Zhang Jie

Translated by W.J.F. Jenner

An elderly Chinese writer lives alone with his cat, the Grand Historian. On the day before he is due to go into hospital, he looks back on his life and recalls his unrequited love for a young colleague.

Read by Burt Kwouk.

20040816

The Warm Russian South: Russian novelist and broadcaster Zinovy Zinik travels to eastern Crimea to visit Koktebel, home of the poet and painter Maximilian Voloshin.

20040817

An Absurd Profession: Piers Burton-Page talks to Alfred Brendel, pianist and poet, about music and imagination, virtuosity and nightmares.

20040818

Use Your Ears

Armando Ianucci takes a quirky look at how we listen to music. Why is our response to music not just about

the piece of music in itself, but also about the circumstances in which we hear it - Who we're with, whether we rushed

to get there, what else is on our mind. How musically literate do you have to be to appreciate classical music? And does more music in our lives, mean that we listen less? Armando explores these questions with the social psychologist,

David Hargreaves.

20040820

Slicing the Gingerbread, by Sara Maitland: The story returns Hansel and Gretel to the forest, where Gretel recalls their dramatic childhood together. Read by Emily Woof.

20040821

Proms Talk: Stephanie Hughes meets performers from tonight's concert, catches up on events backstage, looks forward to the coming week of Proms and explores what's new.

20040822

Widow's Walk: A short story by Ronald Frame, which takes a young girl from a provincial town in prewar Scotland on an evocative life journey to the New World. Read by Janet Suzman.

20040823

Uncle Chukasha

'A writer for children must be happy without fail...'

In the time of Stalin, when words could kill, one man, Kornei Chukovsky, waged a war for the minds and dreams of children using only his imagination and love of the fantastic.

For millions, his tale of a tyrannical cockroach became a metaphor for Stalin's reign of fear. For others he simply brought joy at a time when none was on offer. Today he is still as loved as ever, but newly published diaries reveal the true nature of his struggle with the Soviet system. Michael Rosen explores his life and legacy.

20040824

The Primer of Love: Ivan Bunin's story describes how Ivlev travels to a distant Russian province and is mesmerized by the secrets of a dusty library in a ramschackle house.

20040825

The Bones of George Sand

In the bicentenary year of the French novelist George Sand a very French controversy has been simmering over her remains. Novelist and historian Gillian Tindall has been following the row and draws from it some intriguing thoughts about the ways in which our two countries view their dead.

20040826

And The Money Goes To

The reading of a will can be a tense, surprising and controversial occasion, the perfect basis for a plot. This programme looks at how wills have become a popular dramatic device in fiction, used by Puccini in Gianni Schichi and particularly favoured by Victorian writers such as Dickens and George Eliot.

20040828

Proms Talk

Stephanie Hughes talks to some of the musicians taking part in tonight's Prom and other guests.

20040902

The Bird That Habitually Walks, written and read by Nigel Collar. A story of addiction and heartbreak amongst the great bustards of Portugal.

20040903

Probably the Oldest Orchestra in The World

Christopher Cook visits the home of the Dresden Staatskapelle at the start of its concert season to explore its rich and unique history, and talk to those associated with the orchestra about what has helped shape it into the great cultural and musical institution it is today.

20040904

Stephanie Hughes talks to some of the musicians taking part in tonight's Prom plus other guests.

Stephanie Hughes talks to some of the musicians taking part in tonight's Prom plus other guests.

20040905

The Emotion Machine

What are emotions? Why do we have them? Why does music spark them off?

Marvin Minsky, the 'father of artificial intelligence' (and a big fan of Beethoven) talks to Chris Maslanka about his compelling new theory of human emotions.

20040906

Gwen and Augustus John

Biographer Michael Holroyd examines the curious connections between the lives and works of brother and sister painters Augustus and Gwen John.

20040907

The Star

By HG Wells

Astronomers discover a bright new star in the heavens rushing headlong towards the Earth on a collision course. Patrick Stewart reads this classic short story from the father of science fiction.

20040908

A World Of My Own

To mark the centenary of Graham Greene's birth this October, we dip into his dream diary, which he kept between 1965 and 1989. Thoughts on fictitious towns, wayward popes, and difficult times in Haiti. And something comes to him from outer-space...

Read by Corin Redgrave.

Abridged and produced by Duncan Minshull.

20040909

The Princess and the Carpenter

By Michelene Wandor.

Charpentier, who wrote all the music in this evening's concert, also wrote the first sonata to be composed in France, commissioned by the Marie, the Duchess of Guise, a cousin of Loius XIV. This play imagines the encounter between the composer and the duchess in which she asks for a piece of music which will shock the court. In a flirtatious tussle, hinting of intrigue, she plans an act of cultural revenge.

Marie....Miriam Margolyes

Charpentier....Sam Dastor

Directed by Julian May.

20040910

In From The Cold

Jim Riordan reflects on the classic Music for Pleasure recording (featuring a vast red poppy on the sleeve) of Shostakovich's Fifth - a Soviet symphony interpreted by Czech maestros - that for many came to represent the ideological struggle of the late sixties.

20040911

Proms in the Parks

A live round up of four spectacular events in Swansea, London, Glasgow and Belfast, including music from Dennis O'Neill, Kim Criswell, Ramon Vargas, Nicola Benedetti, and James Galway.

20041001

Petroc Trelawny meets people who use music to heal and talks to people they have made better.

Petroc Trelawny meets people who use music to heal and talks to people they have made better.

20041002

The Silence, by Julian Barnes

An old composer, poignant and mischievous in equal measure, looks back on his career. And just what went on in Gothenburg?

Read by Ian McDiarmuid.

20041007

Listen Up!

Midlands and the North

Petroc Trelawny celebrates some of imaginative ways in which orchestras - amateur and professional - serve their local communities in the Midlands and the North of England, from work in a local Centre for the Deaf to an impromptu opera from The Nag's Head.

20041008

Listen Up!

Poems On The Brink

Recorded at the Barbican in front of an audience shortly before this evening's concert, this reading is the first programme by Radio 3's Poet in Residence, Mario Petrucci. In a selection of new poems about endangered instruments written for the Listen Up! festival, and poems from Chernobyl linked with tonight's performance of Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring, music, nature and people are all on the brink.

20041013

Petroc Trelawny looks at the education, outreach and community work of the Ulster Orchestra and Camerata IRELAND.

Petroc Trelawny looks at the education, outreach and community work of the Ulster Orchestra and Camerata Ireland.

20041021

Listen Update!

Petroc Trelawny takes a look at the wide range of activities orchestra's based in LONDON get up to when off the platform.

Discover the Rite of Spring with Pierre Boulez and the LSO, and find out how the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is working with local homeless people.

Plus Radio 3's Poet in Residence Mario Petrucci drops in to read some of his Listen Up! poems.

Petroc Trelawny takes a look at the wide range of activities orchestra's based in London get up to when off the platform. Discover the Rite of Spring with Pierre Boulez and the LSO, and find out how the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is working with local homeless people. Plus Radio 3's Poet in Residence Mario Petrucci drops in to read some of his Listen Up! poems.

20041026

The Secret Life of the Orchestra: Three programmes uncovering the human complexities that lie behind the symphony orchestra. 1: Private Lives, Public Performance.

20041028

Listen Update! Petroc Trelawny takes a look at the audition process every music graduate faces as they attempt the jump from studying to becoming a professional orchestral musician.

20041029

Listen Up!

The Secret Life of the Orchestra.

2/3. Heat and Dust... and Disasters

Labyrinthine corridors that lead anywhere except the stage, icy rehearsals in church halls, broken strings in bar one and all the fun of touring a 100 musicians round foreign parts.

20041117

The Return of Chorb by Vladimir Nabokov

A municipal German opera-house is the backdrop for a sublimely awkward evening, in this atmospheric tale of love and loss. Aging German couple the Kellers are forced to confront some unexpected news, when their son-in-law Chorb returns home early from his honeymoon. Read by David Tennant.

20041120

Graham Fawcett explores the theme of imprisonment in the operas of Dallapiccola.

20041123

Vera, by Stacy Schiff. An extract from the life of Vera Nabokov, wife of the author Vladimir. She was his leading light in all matters including driving him around in America.

20050112

The Second Strongest Man

A story by David Bezmozgis.

A story from Bezmozgis's debut collection Natasha and Other Stories, set in the Russian-Jewish enclaves of Toronto.

The Russian émigrés of Toronto eagerly anticipate the arrival of a team of Russian weightlighters.

Read by David Jarvis.

20050115

Inspired by Faith: Tom Service explores the place of Christian faith in contemporary classical music. Contributors include James MacMillan, Sally Beamish and Judith Bingham.

George Buchanan - The Man Who Wrote The Exorcist

He was Scotland's greatest Renaissance poet and dramatist and renowned across Europe. He was a political theorist, a literary critic, a historian, a teacher to Kings and Queens, a soldier, the first Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and a university manager. But George Buchanan is now almost completely forgotten because he wrote in the intellectual language of his and Shakespeare's day: Latin.

Poet Robert Crawford rediscovers one of our greatest poets, now unknown because he wrote in the wrong language.

20050116

Legacy of Angels

Few people can say that they have been to a church richly decorated by angels where the service itself was conducted by an angel. Art historian Anne Ellis visits the former Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh and speaks to those who still remember their time in the congregation.

20050121

Made In Africa

The stone tools found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania are some of the oldest humanly made objects found any where in the world.

On the eve of their unveiling to the public at the British Museum, its director Neil MacGregor talks to actor Hugh Quarshie about this earliest spark of creative genius to come out of Africa.

20050128

Searching for Heroes

Lord Byron created Manfred when Europe was poised between the night of the Napoleonic wars and the dawn of the Age of Revolution - a time that bred charismatic national heroes. With a little help from Thomas Carlyle and William Wallace, Richard Foster looks at the resurrection of hero-worship in the 19th century.

20050203

A View from the Bridges

The poet and writer Valerie Laws looks at one of the country's most iconic cityscapes and reflects on the vibrant new life the arts are bringing to the historic banks of the Tyne, and how the people of the North East are responding to the changes.'

20050204

Future Music

Music has changed dramatically over the last century, but can we predict how it will sound a hundred years from now, or a thousand? Charles Shaar Murray turns to the world of Science Fiction for some suggestions.

20050212

A Map of Manhattan: An occasional series exploring places in Manhattan which carry special significance for writers. Geoff Dyer describes how he found the perfect deli.

20050218

Resolution with Waterspout: Matthew Kneale paints six pictures in the life of eighteenth-century artist William Hodges, the first painter to visit Antarctica.

20050219

Escape to Bohemia: When a youthful Bernard Kops stumbled across a yellowing copy of Arthur Ransome's Bohemia in London, he found an escape route from a war-torn East End.

20050224

As a new exhibition and theatre production celebrate the work of Swedish polymath August Strindberg, this programme explores the life of an extraordinarily gifted man, a pioneer of modern art - as revolutionary in his painting as in his plays.

20050225

Zzzzzzzz

How much sleep do creative artists need? And how much use do creative artists make of sleep in their work? Professor Russell Foster, an expert in neuroscience, ponders the importance - or otherwise - of getting a good night's rest.

20050301

The Stones of the Field: Writer Owen Sheers follows in the footsteps of his poetic hero RS Thomas, as he explores the area around Manafon in the Welsh Marches.

20050304

Perfect Cousins

The Cork writing duo Edith Somerville and Violet Martin Ross produced some of the finest Irish novels of the nineteenth century, yet even their best work Irish RM tales and The Real Charlotte have faded from the Irish literary landscape.

Though second-cousins, and life-partners, it was their writing partnership which their families saw as vulgar. Robbie Meredith examines what shaped and drove their relationships, and investigates whether Cork's status as 2005's European Capital of Culture might lead to a new audience for their fiction.

20050305

A Map of Manhattan

The second in an occasional series exploring the places in Manhattan, real and metaphorical, that carry a special significance for contemporary writers. Biographer and journalist Barry Miles describes the importance in his life and work of the Chelsea Hotel and some of its extraordinary residents.

20050309

Unusually for a composer, Michael Tippett wrote his own libretti for his operas and other works.

Richard Elfyn Jones, who met Tippett on several occasions, discusses some of the ideas behind Tippett's material.

Unusually for a composer, Michael Tippett wrote his own libretti for his operas and other works. Richard Elfyn Jones, who met Tippett on several occasions, discusses some of the ideas behind Tippett's material.

20050310

Tippett and Jung: David Clarke, author of several books on Sir Michael Tippett, considers the influence of psychologist Carl Jung on the composer's life and music.

20050315

Richard Schickel interviews David Mamet, who discusses his Pulitzer-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross and his brand new Faustus, both of which are soon to be broadcast on Radio 3.

20050316

Through a Glass Darkly

Britain has an enviably rich tradition of sacred stained glass spanning over a thousand years. Professor Richard Marks and artist Thomas Denny explore the factors that make medieval glass so highly regarded and the extent to which the sense of tradition influences artists today.

20050322

My Mother Used to Live on a Farm in Africa, by Abdulrazak Gurnah

In the first in Radio 3's Africa Season, a series of short stories about 'land'. Munah remembers a difficult episode from her past. Read by Ndidi Ama.

20050407

A Microphone for the People -The Charles Parker Archive

Tomorrow, Birmingham hosts a major conference about Charles Parker at the Central Library, home to his archive. In the Radio Ballads, Parker brought the microphone to people whose voices had not been heard before, but Sean Street discovers that this vast collection of tapes, scripts and papers reveals much more about the democratic impulse of this pioneering radio producer, oral historian and political activist.

He talks to Gillian Reynolds about the continuing influence of Parker's work, Paul Long about his legacy to social history, Dave Rogers of Banner Theatre which Parker helped set up 30 years ago and to archivist Sian Roberts, about the project to digitise the collection.

"

20050408

In a new series of readings for Radio 3's Africa season, and the second of three tales themed around 'land', Adjoa Andoh reads The Eyes Of The Statue, by Camara Laye, formerly of Guinea.

A young girl battles through undergrowth that seems intent on swamping the city.

Nature is triumphant.

In a new series of readings for Radio 3's Africa season, and the second of three tales themed around 'land', Adjoa Andoh reads The Eyes Of The Statue, by Camara Laye, formerly of Guinea. A young girl battles through undergrowth that seems intent on swamping the city. Nature is triumphant.

"

20050411

Continuing the series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season, Jude Akuwundike reads The Knife Grinder's Tale, a specially commissioned story by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, themed around 'land'.

The scene of a murder is the place where Ogwang struggles to bridge the distance between love and death in the face of violence.

Continuing the series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season, Jude Akuwundike reads The Knife Grinder's Tale, a specially commissioned story by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, themed around 'land'. The scene of a murder is the place where Ogwang struggles to bridge the distance between love and death in the face of violence.

20050412

Plenty - the Land of Cockaigne: Francis Spufford contemplates the relatively modern concept of plenty and what it means to have or not to have enough.

20050413

Demon Dog: Stella Gonet reads Burmese writer Nu Nu Yi's disquieting story, translated by Anna Allott. The children report a disturbing prescence in the bushes which leads to an unexpected discovery.

20050422

Glob Girls

Forty years ago a book was published that was to give archaeology its first push out of dry and dusty academe towards the popularity it enjoys today: The Bog People, by PV Glob, about the extraordinary Iron Age bodies found in Danish peat bogs. Archaeologist Christine Finn discovers that the book may never have been written if it hadn't been for a group of convent school girls from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

20050429

Uncle Chukasha

In the time of Stalin, when words could kill, Kornei Chukovsky waged a war for the minds and dreams of children using only his imagination and love of the fantastic. For millions, his tale of a tyrannical cockroach became a metaphor for Stalin's reign of terror. For others he simply brought joy at a time when none was on offer.

Today, he is still as loved as ever, but diaries published last year reveal the true nature of his struggle with the Soviet system.

Michael Rosen explores his life and legacy.

20050505

Living with Mahler: Armando Iannucci chronicles his relationship with Mahler's music and talks about musical personality with conductor Gilbert Kaplan and critic Hilary Finch.

20050509

The Polishness of Chopin: Lesley Chamberlain explores the continuing debates over Chopin's identity. Was he really more French than Polish and why do we think it matters?

20050511

Trespass: By Julian Barnes. Geoff thinks he can impress Lynn by taking her hiking, with all the right equipment and know-how. Then things go wrong in the ferns at Froggatt Edge. Read by David Thorpe.

20050514

Electric Tippett

Tippett's deployment of a twanging electric guitar in The Knot Garden was a first for him, and he went on to include it in The Ice Break, New Year and The Songs for Dov.

Steve Martland explores whether Tippett was being genuine or just trendy in his use of the instrument from the 1970s onwards. With contributions from Sir Colin Davis, Robert Tear and guitarist Steve Smith.

20050516

The Clarinet Players, by William Palmer. A young boy's grandfather dies, leaving him facing an important decision. Read by Tobias Menzies.

20050518

Fighting for Good Music: During the Second World War, classical music was found to have more inspirational and spiritual value for the troops than other music. Graeme Kay investigates.

20050519

During the concert interval, Martin Handley talks to Peter Cropper and Robin IRELAND about life after the Lindsays.

He finds out about new initiatives in music education

at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is joined by Nielsen expert David Fanning to explore aspects of the Danish composer's unique musical legacy.

During the concert interval, Martin Handley talks to Peter Cropper and Robin Ireland about life after the Lindsays. He finds out about new initiatives in music education

at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is joined by Nielsen expert David Fanning to explore aspects of the Danish composer's unique musical legacy.

20050520

In a series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season with the theme of street life, Janice Acquah reads Abidjan Blues by Veronique Tadjo.

Akissi finally returns to Cote d'Ivoire, but it's to bury her father.

It feels like she's severing her last links with the city of her birth.

Until, that is, she retraces her father's footsteps in the capital.

In a series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season with the theme of street life, Janice Acquah reads Abidjan Blues by Veronique Tadjo.

Akissi finally returns to Cote d'Ivoire, but it's to bury her father. It feels like she's severing her last links with the city of her birth. Until, that is, she retraces her father's footsteps in the capital.

20050527

Made in Africa. Throne of Weapons

To mark the end of his country's lengthy civil war, the Mozambican sculptor Kester created the Throne of Weapons from decommissioned and dismantled AK47s. Hassan Arouni follows the Throne as it tours Britain, and meets Kester, the artist Rita Duffy and others who see the Throne on display in London, Belfast and across the UK.

20050603

Bernstein Remembered

Tommy Pearson is joined by Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie Bernstein and his biographer Humphrey Burton to reflect on the life and legacy of one of the most dynamic and influential figures of 20th century music.

20050615

The Mythical Aviary: An exploration of the metaphorical power given to birds in poetry and fiction, including the phoenix, the nightingale, the corncrake and the hawk.

"

20050617

The Tournament, by John Clarke: Extract from the novel read by Jon Glover.

"

20050620

Writer and entertainer Joyce Grenfell was a fan of Aldeburgh, not missing a festival from 1962 until her death in 1979, and writing daily letters of her experiences to her friend Virginia Graham. Janie Hampton, Grenfell's biographer, presents a compilation of these letters, read by Maureen Lipman, revealing a candid, gossipy and surprisingly insightful portrait of the Festival, Benjamin Britten and Aldeburgh itself.

1/3. Britten

Grenfell's growing friendship with Britten led to her creating and recording a special song to celebrate the 20th Festival. Soon after, the recording was lost, only to be discovered nearly 40 years later during the research for this programme.

20050623

Joyce Grenfell at the Aldeburgh Festival: Second of three programmes in which Janie Hampton presents a compilation of Joyce's letters from the festival, read by Maureen Lipman.

20050624

Joyce Grenfell at the Aldeburgh Festival: Last of three programmes in which Janie Hampton presents a compilation of Joyce's letters from the festival, read by Maureen Lipman.

20050630

Made in Africa: British Museum director Neil MacGregor talks to Hugh Quarshie about the earliest evidence of human creativity in Africa.

20050701

Bricks and Brothels: Poet and local resident, Alison Brackenbury, explores Cheltenham, introducing new poems she has written that reveal the town's sometimes hidden aspects.

20050707

The Merlin of Ghana: Hugh Quarshie visits his native country to explore the myths surrounding mystic Okomfuo Anokye, the man who gave the Ashantis a sense of nationhood.

20050715

Talking Proms: Samuel West joins Stephanie Hughes in the Proms box for the first in a weekly series of programmes with news, views and features on the current season as it unfolds.

Talking Proms: Samuel West joins Stephanie Hughes in the Proms box for the first in a weekly series of programmes with news, views and features on the current season as it unfolds.

20050716

Blow the Man Down: Tim Healey attends the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival to find out more about the history and evolution of those salty working songs.

20050717

Andersen's Musical Tales

Hans Christian Andersen was as interested in music and drama as he was in literature. Andrew McGregor talks to musicologist, Anna Harwell Celenza, about Andersen's thoughts on music and the musicians he met, and the resultant influence on his writing. With readings from Michael Maloney.

20050718

Return to Berlin

Professor George Brandt was born in Berlin, and returned to the city as a guest of its mayor under a scheme that provides a gesture of reconciliation to exiles around the world.

The trip is a moment of emotional and intellectual reckoning, as well as an opportunity to lay the past to rest. Professor Brandt remembers his Berlin childhood which ended with his abrupt departure as a young teenager in 1933, and he reflects on the experience of the Berliner in exile.

20050719

Escape to Bohemia

When a youthful Bernard Kops stumbled across a yellowing copy of Arthur Ransome's Bohemia in London, he found an escape route from a war-torn East End to the sinful paradise of Soho and his very own Bohemia.

20050720

Plato and the Musicians

Plato's The Republic was one of Nielsen's bedside books while he was composing The Inextinguishable, but Plato ultimately decided to banish musicians from his utopia. Cultural historian and former rock musician Gary Lachman explores Plato's influence on Nielsen, and examines how some more recent forms of music - such as rock and roll, trance and rap - continue to play a subversive role in society.

20050723

The Adverb: Louis de Bernieres presents a selection of his favourite writings on fairy tales in the first of a new series of literary performances based on this year's Proms themes.

20050724

Towards the Light

Three writers from three different faiths create a lyrical meditation on death and the subsequent journeys made by the soul: Hattie Naylor writes on Soka Gakkai Buddhism, Fidelma Meehan on Bahai and Father Peter Hunter on Catholicism. All address the profound mystery of the soul's migration.

20050725

The Second Strongest Man, by David Bezmozgis. A story from Bezmozgis' debut collection. The Russian emigres of Toronto eagerly await the arrival of a team of Russian weightlifters.

20050726

Tales from Russia

Philip Bullock looks at the pagan roots of traditional Russian folk practice, how it managed to survive for many centuries after Christianisation and the artistic outpourings which it inspired.

20050727

The Adverb

Poet Ian McMillan continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes. Ian is joined by the acclaimed novelist, Will Self, to discuss his selection of classic and contemporary writing about the sea. Plus, a chance to hear Ian McMillan's own specially commissioned piece on the sea.

20050728

The Red Balloon: Brian Blessed reads Peter Sheridan's new fairytale about a walk in the woods.

20050729

Talking Proms: Another in the weekly series of programmes with news, views and features on the current season.

20050801

A short story from novelist Ronald Frame, which takes a young girl from a provincial town in pre-War Scotland on an evocative life journey to the New World, South America and back again.

A short story from novelist Ronald Frame, which takes a young girl from a provincial town in pre-War Scotland on an evocative life journey to the New World, South America and back again.

20050802

The Man Who Was Ratty

Introduced by Kevin Jackson. Frederick Furnivall - eccentric Victorian scholar-gypsy - played a crucial part in launching the Oxford English Dictionary (and nearly sinking the project) and he was immortalised in the pedantic figure of the Water Rat in Wind in the Willows. But the true passions of his life were pretty young women and sculling on the river Thames - pleasures he combined by training teams of waitresses to row.

20050804

The Adverb

Poet Ian McMillan continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes. This week, Ian is joined by the writer Geoff Dyer to discuss his selection of classic and contemporary writing about the sea; plus, a chance to hear his own specially commissioned piece on the sea.

20050806

The Magician's Wand: Peggy Reynolds investigates the connection between the magic wand and the conductor's baton, with the help of Kevin Jackson, Tanya Peixoto and Marina Warner.

20050807

The Secrets of the Off-stage Musician

Some performers at the Proms find themselves playing in the corridors, gallery or stairways of the Albert Hall. David Lasserson investigates the role of off-stage musicians, who may wait for hours, far away from the conductor and his beat, and invisible to the audience.

End of Skill

By Mamle Kabu, read by Chuk Iwuji, and part of the BBC's Africa Lives Season.

Descended from a long line of distinguished master weavers, Jimmy is expected to follow tradition. Instead, he leaves his village home behind him and heads for the streets of Accra where he plans to make his fortune, and break with his past.

Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

20050808

Future Music: Music has changed dramatically over the last century, but can we predict how it will sound a hundred years from now, or a thousand? Charles Shaar Murray investigates.

20050809

Now Wakes the Sea: In JG Ballard's short story, a man lives far from the coast, yet dreams that a mass of water approaches. Who will believe him? Read by David Rintoul.

20050810

The Adverb

Poet Paul Farley continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes, in which leading writers choose their favourite writings about the sea or fairytales. Plus, a chance to hear specially commissioned original writing about fairytales and the sea.

20050811

Ouagadougou

Emmanuel Dangola's story forms part of a series of tales about 'home'. Dangola asks - why eat imported foods when the local town can provide white worms and grilled grasshoppers? Both are delicious with ginger!

Read by Damian Lynch and abridged and produced by Duncan Minshull. Part of the Africa Lives on the BBC season.

20050813

Dancing to the Jazz Goblin and his Rhythm

By Brian Chikwava, read by Maynard Eziashi, and part of the BBC's Africa Lives Season.

Tafi carries his guitar all over Harare. This has nothing to do with his love for his craft, but it's to do with a housing issue. He persuades Jabu to let him stay for a night, and several months later, he is still there. How will Jabu deal with his unwelcome guest?

Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

20050814

Living with Mahler

Armando Iannucci chronicles his relationship with Mahler's music and his changing perception of a personality through music. Armando first discovered Mahler aged ten when he joined his local library, and over time he has developed an idea of the composer as a sort of invisible friend, sometimes a companion sometimes an enemy.

Armando talks about musical personality with the businessman turned conductor Gilbert Kaplan and the music critic Hilary Finch.

20050815

Seeing the Blind: Sue Arnold discusses the portrayal of blindness in literature and drama, from Greek Tragedy via Milton to Jamie Foxx's Oscar-winning performance in Ray.

20050816

The Committee on Evil Literature: Robbie Meredith explores the origins and work of the Committee which cast a shadow over Irish writing throughout the 20th century.

20050817

Plenty. The Land of Cockaigne: Francis Spufford contemplates the relatively modern concept of plenty and what it means to have or not to have enough.

20050818

The Modern Soul: Katherine Mansfield's short story is an amusing and satirical study of the eccentric characters a young Englishwoman meets while staying at a German boarding house.

20050820

Poems from the Proms

The poet Sean Street, who recently edited a book of radio poems, presents a selection inspired by the Promenade Concerts. This includes an anonymous salute to Sir Henry Wood, a satire to the tune of Jerusalem, as well as poems by Jo Shapcott, Peter Porter and Seamus Heaney. The reader is Tom Durham.

20050821

The Adverb

Poet Ian McMillan continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes. Ian is joined by Wales' first national poet, Gwyneth Lewis, to discuss her selection of classic and contemporary writing about the sea; plus, a chance to hear her own specially commissioned piece on the sea.

20050822

Three months before VE Day, the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945 proved a highly controversial act.

It remains so to this day.

Historian Dr David Stafford, of the University of Edinburgh, charts the significance of the event, and the changing ways in which it has been viewed since then.

Three months before VE Day, the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945 proved a highly controversial act. It remains so to this day. Historian Dr David Stafford, of the University of Edinburgh, charts the significance of the event, and the changing ways in which it has been viewed since then.

20050823

'In states unborn and accents yet unknown'

An illustrated talk by Mark Lawson about the plays, novels, poems and music inspired by Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Letter from Rome

Tobias Jones, author of the Dark Heart of Italy, takes the Viale Mazzini headquarters of the Italian state broadcaster RAI as his starting point for an exploration of the complex role played by the company in contemporary Italian life.

'In states unborn and accents yet unknown'

An illustrated talk by Mark Lawson about the plays, novels, poems and music inspired by Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

20050824

Einstein's Violin: Ivan Hewett travels to Bern to investigate how the great scientist's passion for music affected his life and work.

20050825

The Violin: Novelist Christopher Hope narrates his new short story about Fred, a Parisian janitor whose life is suddenly transformed by the exotic Yuliah, a Russian violinist.

20050827

The Adverb: Poet Paul Farley continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall. Paul is joined by writer Jackie Kay.

20050829

At the Royal Albert Hall, audiences come and go.

But the stewards could be considered as the native population.

Once a uniformed helper at the Old Vic under Olivier, Simon Callow takes us in front of closed doors at the Hall and looks back on his own experiences as an usher, unearthing along the way other well-known voices who have performed the same role.

At the Royal Albert Hall, audiences come and go. But the stewards could be considered as the native population. Once a uniformed helper at the Old Vic under Olivier, Simon Callow takes us in front of closed doors at the Hall and looks back on his own experiences as an usher, unearthing along the way other well-known voices who have performed the same role.

20050903

Fuelled with Fantasy

Medical historian Mike Jay sheds light on the role that opium played in Berlioz's composition of the Symphonie fantastique - and on how, in turn, his work contributed to its increasingly lurid image as a recreational rather than medicinal drug in the later 19th Century.

20050904

The Adverb

Poet Paul Farley continues the series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes. Paul is joined by the writer Adam Nicolson to discuss his selection of classic and contemporary writing about the sea; plus, a chance to hear his own specially commissioned piece on a sea theme. The actress Sian Phillips reads Adam's selection.

20050905

Plenty More Fish: Philip Marsden reports from a survey ship off the coast of Lundy Island as he mourns our over-fished seas and asks whether we can turn the tide.

20050906

The View from Yves Hill

By William Boyd, read by Oliver Ford Davies and Harry Myers.

Playful, grumpy, kindly, bitter - what do we really know about the once grand man of letters who lives in a flat near Hyde Park and feasts on tinned mandarins with condensed milk? Well, perhaps he will tell us if he's in the right mood.

Abridged and produced by Duncan Minshull.

20050907

The Adverb

Novelist Helen Dunmore presents a selection of her favourite writings about the sea, in the last of this series of literary performances, recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall, based on the Proms themes. She talks to Ian McMillan about both classic and contemporary writings, and also reads from her own work in progress.

20050910

Proms in the Park: A taste of the Proms in the Park festivities around the country.

20050923

The Wild Card: Nature writer Richard Mabey moves from living among Chiltern beeches to living beside a Norfolk marsh and reflects on the significance of the wetland in his life.

20050924

Errand: Julian Evans introduces Raymond Carver's powerful short story, which evokes the death of Anton Chekhov during a heat wave in 1904.

20050929

The Importance of Elsewhere

When Philip Larkin arrived in Belfast in the autumn of 1950 to join the staff at Queen's University Library, he began a five-year period of unprecedented creativity, which saw a promising writer blossom into one of the pre-eminent poets of his generation.

Simon Callow, himself a former student at Queen's University, visits Larkin's Belfast and finds the people and places behind the poems of The Less Deceived, published to great acclaim 50 years ago.

20050930

Mago

By Sefi Atta, read by Anthony Ofoegbu. In a series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season, myth is the theme.

The newspapers in Lagos report that assailants are roaming the streets, slapping innocent people on the chest and stealing from their hypnotised victims. This is Mago. Terrified of Mago, Fidelis falls victim to a petty theft and must rely on his own imaginative myth-making to get himself out of trouble.

20051007

Eureka! A look at the Eureka moment, the mysterious and unpredictable instant at which a work of art begins. Contributors include composer Jonathan Harvey and neuroscientist Daniel Glaser.

20051014

Applause! Applause! Richard Foster asks why we clap our hands to show our approval.

20051020

Isle of the Dead: David Huckvale explores the appeal of the painting by Arnold Bockliln which inspired Rachmaninov's tone poem.

20051021

An Unlikely Friendship: Haydn and Nelson. Alyn Shipton looks at the unexpected friendship between the composer and the naval hero.

20051026

Piecing Together the Ice Museum

Joanna Kavenna was so swept away by stories of the lost land of Thule, she left her job to go in search of it, journeying through Greenland, Iceland, the Baltic States and Scandinavia.

Greek explorer Pytheas claimed to have sighted this mystery land in the oceans north of Britain, but its exact location has remained unknown - captivating generations of explorers, archaeologists and writers.

20051027

The Last Communard

He fired the last shot, on the last barricade, on the last day of the tragic Paris Commune, or did he? Chris Dolan and Gavin Bowd unravel the true tale of unlikely Socialist hero, Adrien Lejeune and his martyr's grave in Père Lachaise cemetery.

20051103

The Ghost Ship: Artist Dorothy Cross looks out to sea from her home in Connemara, Ireland, every morning, where lightships, jellyfish and beached whales have inspired her.

20051104

Marvell in Rome

Andrew Marvell's Daphnis and Chloe is the most sophisticated treatment in English literature of the pastoral lovers who inspired Ravel. Marvell wrote his poem after a trip in the 1640s to Rome, where he came face to face with the rich architecture, art and literature that would inspire much of his verse.

Critic and writer Nigel Smith looks back at Marvell's Roman holiday and the great houses, gardens, paintings and sculptures that left a mark on his verse.

20051123

Part of a series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season, where 'myth' is the theme.

Nana

By Margaret Busby.

Nana is a title that means Chief.

When a British woman enjoying a holiday in Ghana is ritually ambushed, she has to confront some age-old traditions that come of being born into a royal family.

Read by Glenna Foster-Jones.

Produced by Pam Fraser Solomon

Part of a series of readings for Radio 3's Africa Season, where 'myth' is the theme.

Nana

By Margaret Busby.

Nana is a title that means Chief. When a British woman enjoying a holiday in Ghana is ritually ambushed, she has to confront some age-old traditions that come of being born into a royal family.

Read by Glenna Foster-Jones.

Produced by Pam Fraser Solomon.

20051210

Billy Budd, a Song of Innocence

Tim Healey has been interested in Britten's work ever since singing on the first recording of the composer's War Requiem as a choirboy. He considers the sources of Britten's inspiration when he wrote this nautical opera, mainly Herman Melville's novella of the same name, which itself referred back to mutinies in both the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

20051215

My Childhood on Funen: David Fanning introduces extracts from Nielsen's memoire of his boyhood on the Danish island of Funen.

20060113

Elliott Carter reflects on his life and work with Ivan Hewett, and explains how he has drawn on elements of both the American and European traditions in his music.

Elliott Carter reflects on his life and work with Ivan Hewett, and explains how he has drawn on elements of both the American and European traditions in his music.

20060114

Publish and Be Damned

Sarah Walker investigates the changing world of music publishing in the UK. Do emerging composers face walking the same routes as their predecessors?

20060119

Poem for a Concert Hall

To mark the opening of the City Halls, Glasgow's poet laureate Liz Lochhead reads her new specially composed poem to celebrate the changing face of the city. Set against her words are the voices of other Glaswegians who remember the past and what life was like in the tenements and back streets.

20060120

The Scottish Adverb: Ian McMillan celebrates the opening of the City Halls in Glasgow in the company of writer and poet, Professor Robert Crawford.

20060124

The Shostakovich Credo: Shostakovich's attitude to religion, and the impact of his beliefs on his music.

20060126

Shostakovich and the Muse: Marina Frolova-Walker ponders Shostakovich's relationships with women.

20060127

Nommo: Writer Rommi Smith ponders the rich cosmology of names in African cultures.

20060201

This Morning a Letter Arrived: A short story by Joseph Roth, an elegy to the narrator's Russian hometown which was destroyed in the First World War. Read by David Horovitch.

20060202

Historian Bettany Hughes, author of the recent book Helen of Troy, looks at the fictional Helen through the eyes of British poets: from Christopher Marlowe to Carol Ann Duffy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Rupert Brooke.

Do her fictional incarnations bear any resemblance to historical fact? And why does she continue to fascinate contemporary British poets?

20060208

Claude Debussy was born in the outskirts of Paris at Saint Germain en Laye.

His birthplace is now a museum.

Artur Pizarro journeys through the house to find out more about the man and his music.

Claude Debussy was born in the outskirts of Paris at Saint Germain en Laye. His birthplace is now a museum. Artur Pizarro journeys through the house to find out more about the man and his music.

20060209

Glob Girls

Forty years ago, a book was published that was to give archaeology its first push out of a dry and dusty academic world towards the popularity it enjoys today: The Bog People, by PV Glob.

It was about the extraordinary Iron Age bodies found in Danish peat bogs. Archaeologist Christine Finn discovers that the book may never have been written if it hadn't been for a group of convent school girls from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

20060211

Tart with a Heart

Poet and writer Ruth Padel explores how Verdi flouted 19th-century convention in his life and in the music of La Traviata, in which he made Violetta, this supposedly 'fallen woman', into a strong, loving and noble heroine who rises above the petty bourgeois society that crushes her.

20060215

Such Good Taste: Armando Ianucci explores the notion of 'good taste' in music. He also reveals his own surprising musical tastes.

20060218

Frank Gardner's Cairo

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, paralysed in an Al Qaeda attack 18 months ago, returns for the first time since his accident to the city where he spent happy years, first as a student and later as head of the BBC's Cairo Bureau.

20060223

Letters to Isaak Glikman: Lesley Chamberlain presents excerpts from letters written by Shostakovich to his great friend Isaak Glikman.

20060224

The Song of the Earth

The words of Mahler's song-symphony come not from a 19th-century German Romantic poet, but from more than a millennium earlier and rather further away. Jonathan Bate, whose book The Song of the Earth explores the relationship between literature and the natural world, reveals the attractions for Mahler of the lyrics of Li Po, the great nature poet and drinker - of the Tang dynasty.

20060225

Saint-Saens, In Search of Everything but Originality

Historian Graeme Fife explores the social and cultural context of Samson et Dalila, especially how the opera reflects the much satirised carnival of Second Empire Paris and echoes the calamitous humiliation of France itself during the Franco-Prussian War.

20060302

I Love a Piano: Sir Richard Rodney Bennett is known as a composer and pianist, but he has another side as well - as a cabaret performer. His regular partner is singer/Radio 3 presenter Claire Martin.

20060306

In the cultural wasteland of 1960s Belfast, a small creative writing group met every Monday evening.

Robbie Meredith tells the remarkable story of how the group nurtured future prize winners.

In the cultural wasteland of 1960s Belfast, a small creative writing group met every Monday evening. Robbie Meredith tells the remarkable story of how the group nurtured future prize winners.

20060310

Christine Finn reflects on the art of mosaic, and how it inspired WB Yeats' poetry.

Christine Finn reflects on the art of mosaic, and how it inspired WB Yeats' poetry.

20060311

Verdi in Russia

The version of Verdi's La Forza del Destino most often heard is his revised score, first given at La Scala, Milan, in 1869. But the opera was originally written for, and first performed in, St Petersburg in 1862, at which point the city was in the grip of Verdi mania.

Piers Burton-Page tells the fascinating story of Verdi in Russia, with the help of Roger Parker and Rosamund Bartlett.

20060323

Montfort l'Amaury

In April 1921 at the age of 41, Maurice Ravel purchased his first and only house; a picturesque and idiosyncratic building called Le Belvédère, about 30 kilometres from Paris. Ravel's delightful and unusual house has now become the Musée Ravel. Artur Pizarro journeys through the house, endeavouring to find out more about the man and his music.

20060408

Do My Ears Deceive Me

Like optical illusions, aural illusions can be great fun. But more than that, they can tell us all sorts of things about how the human brain works, and how we

appreciate music. Psychology professor Diana Deutsch, a world expert in the field, joins Chris Maslanka to play a few tricks with your ears - and reveal their secrets.

20060415

A big hand please for Richard Foster, as he looks into the power of applause. Why do we clap our hands to show our approval?

20060422

Re-writing the Easter Rising

90 years after the Easter Rising, Robbie Meredith introduces the fascinating story behind one of the most famous poems in the English speaking world: Easter 1916 by WB Yeats.

Its haunting refrain: all is changed, changed utterly; a terrible beauty is born hides a web of deception, politics and lust.

20060506

The Quare Fellow

Fifty years ago, Joan Littlewood's production of Brendan Behan's prison drama The Quare Fellow introduced the playwright to the wider world. Marie-Louise Muir presents a profile of this outlandish and outspoken genius, taking us back to the 1950s, when The Quare Fellow became the subject of hot debate - in a country where capital punishment was hitting the headlines.

20060511

Idols of the Marketplace: Francis Spufford explores the roots of our current admiration for markets, as embodiments of wisdom and knowledge suggest this is, in fact, a kind of religious fervour.

20060512

How She Brought the Novel from Moscow: Lesley Chamberlain tells the story of Constance Garnett, the first translator of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and Chekhov.

20060519

The Trouble with Flags

Simon Mundy reveals the emerging tensions between culture and nationalism within the changing context of Europe and asks whether national culture is becoming a real threat to political and artistic progress.

With contributions from artists and musicians from Kosovo, Turkey and Bosnia.

20060524

The Bride from Odessa

Edgardo Cozarinsky's story, translated by Nick Caistor, describes the lives of some bold émigrés.

This dramatic port is the starting point, but what about the life to come in Argentina?

Read by Sam Dastor.

Abridged and produced by Duncan Minshull.

20060612

Featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Barry Wordsworth.

Falla: 3 dances from The Three Cornered Hat

Rodrgio: Concerto de Aranjuez

Bizet: Carmen suite no.2

8.35pm - 8.55pm Twenty Minutes: The Adverb - with Paul Farley (rpt)

Ravel: Pavane pour une infante defunte

Falla: Nights in the Garden of Spain

20060614

The Violin: Novelist Christopher Hope, father of violin star Daniel, narrates his short story about Fred the Parisian janitor, whose life is suddenly transformed by the exotic Yuliah.

20060701

Summoned by Bells

Alyn Shipton explores how bells were used in past centuries to indicate everything from prayer to mealtimes, the curfew hour, or a death in the community - in fact to reflect the human experience from cradle to grave.

He visits Oxford, London's Whitechapel Bell Foundry and HMS Victory in Portsmouth, and talks to French historian Alain Corbin, author of Village Bells.

Summoned by Bells

Alyn Shipton explores how bells were used in past centuries to indicate everything from prayer to mealtimes, the curfew hour, or a death in the community - in fact to reflect the human experience from cradle to grave.

He visits Oxford, London's Whitechapel Bell Foundry and HMS Victory in Portsmouth, and talks to French historian Alain Corbin, author of Village Bells.

20060704

The Sounds of Bradford

Asian Network presenter Adil Ray takes in the sights and sounds of the bustling city of Bradford, birthplace of composer Delius. He meets some lively local luminaries, including writer Joolz Denby and musician Aki Nawaz.

20060706

A Game of Cards: Ronald Pickup reads a new story by Rose Tremain describing the life of a hotelier in Switzerland and his enduring friendship with a talented pianist.

20060707

Singing in the Dark, Back to Brigg Fair

A radio poem, drama and memoir about the power of traditional songs and their allure for writers and composers.

Alison Brackenbury draws connections between Frederick Delius, Percy Grainger and Edward Thomas, via Joseph Taylor, the Lincolnshire farm worker whom Grainger first heard singing Brigg Fair in 1905.

Grainger collected the tune, made a choral arrangement of it and gave it to Delius who recast it as Brigg Fair: English Rhapsody.

Singing in the Dark, Back to Brigg Fair

A radio poem, drama and memoir about the power of traditional songs and their allure for writers and composers.

Alison Brackenbury draws connections between Frederick Delius, Percy Grainger and Edward Thomas, via Joseph Taylor, the Lincolnshire farm worker whom Grainger first heard singing Brigg Fair in 1905. Grainger collected the tune, made a choral arrangement of it and gave it to Delius who recast it as Brigg Fair: English Rhapsody.

20060708

Homer in a Dudley Accent: Poet Paul Farley visits Birmingham to follow in the footsteps of his poetic hero, Louis MacNeice. The Belfast-born poet lived in the city during the early 1930s.

20060714

Talking Proms: Stephanie Hughes hosts the first in a weekly series of programmes with news, views and features on the current season as it unfolds.

20060718

Robert Spaethling's translation of Mozart's letters have vividly brought to life aspects of the composer's world, including his relationship with his father.

20060723

Side on Side

Real stories about amateur and professional classical musicians making music together, side by side. Find out who's doing it, and where, and why! Whether you sing or play, there are opportunities out there for everyone. Presented by Mathew Barley.

Belshazzar in Leeds

As a prelude to tonight's performance of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, Miguela Gonzalez looks back at the many tales surrounding the world premiere of the work, which took place in Leeds almost 75 years ago, with Malcolm Sargent on the podium, and a nervous composer in the audience.

20060724

Piano War Horses: Why is it that from the 19th century the piano concerto seem to grow bigger, bolder and more self-important? Writer Harriet Smith investigates.

20060725

Summer Nights In Spain

The writer Chris Stewart is well-known for his books about moving to a mountain farm in Andalucia, where he still lives. In this interval talk, he reflects on the very special atmosphere and experiences of Spanish summer nights.

20060726

Homer in a Dudley Accent

Louis MacNeice lived in Birmingham in the early 1930s, teaching Classics at the university. Despite his ambivalent relationship with the city, the years he spent there were to prove critical in both his personal and poetic life. The poet Paul Farley goes in search of MacNeice's 'hazy city'.

20060727

The Adverb

Second in the series of literary performances in which authors present a selection of their favourite writings on music. Recorded in front of a live audience at Cadogan Hall and presented by Ian McMillan.

20060728

Talking Proms: Stephanie Hughes hosts a weekly series of programmes with news, views and features on the current season as it unfolds.

20060729

Russian Travellers: Teresa Cherfas talks to Lesley Blanch, author of Journey in the Mind's Eye and The Sabres of Paradise, two of the finest books of the last 50 years about Russia.

A Profile of The Shout: Sara Mohr-Pietsch investigates the phenomenon that is The Shout, one of the most innovative and exciting vocal groups currently working in Britain.

20060730

Juliet Stevenson reads Muriel Spark's short story The Ormolu Clock. It's a tale about the rivalries of two hotel owners on the Austrian-Yugoslavian border.

20060731

Frank Gardner's Cairo: The BBC Security Correspondent, paralysed in an al-Qaeda attack 18 months ago, returns to the city where he spent happy years as a student, and later headed BBC's Cairo Bureau.

20060801

Graeme Kay looks at the career of Gottfried van Swieten, who did more than anybody to open 18th century ears to the music of the past.

20060802

I Hear You Say So: Elizabeth Bowen's classic tale, read by Elizabeth Bell, takes place on a warm summer evening as different people are brought together in a local park to listen to the nightingale.

20060803

The Adverb

Ian McMillan continues the series of literary performances recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall. This week novelist Hanif Kureishi presents a selection of his favourite writings on music and reads his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20060804

Talking Proms: Sarah Walker presents this week's programme of news, views and features on the current season as it unfolds.

20060805

Proms Quiz: Stephanie Hughes puts proms-related posers to violinist Tasmin Little, publisher Sally Groves and writer and broadcaster David Mellor.

20060806

The Shaw Bequest

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of George Bernard Shaw, William Crawley explores Shaw's Dublin, including a visit to the National Gallery of Ireland, the home of Shaw's early education.

In the late 1950s, Shaw left a third of his posthumous royalties to the gallery which has helped enhance its art collection as well as the building of the gallery's millennium wing.

20060807

Mozart's Journey to Prague

By Eduard Morike

1/5. Setting Off

In David Luke's translation of this fictional classic, the maestro and his wife undertake a delightful journey from Vienna to Prague, with many adventures to be had, and much thought on creativity and family life.

Abridged in five episodes by Alison Joseph and narrated by Jack Klaff.

20060808

The Interview: Gbemisola Ikumelo reads Helon Habila's short story. A small-town jobhunter comes to Lagos with high hopes of a new life but gets lost in the sprawling metropolis.

20060809

When Scotland Was Welsh: The vanished Welsh-speaking peoples of Scotland boast a remarkable cultural history. Gaelic poet Angus Macneacail investigates.

20060810

The Adverb

Ian McMillan continues the series of literary performances recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall in which writers present a selection of their favourite writings on music and read their own specially commissioned piece on the same theme. This week's featured writer is William Fiennes.

20060811

Talking Proms: Sarah Walker presents the latest news and views from the current Proms season.

20060812

Mozart's Journey To Prague

By Eduard Morike.

2/5. Eating the Orange. In David Luke's translation of this fictional classic, the Maestro and his wife undertake a delightful journey from Vienna to Prague, with many adventures to be had, and much thought on creativity and family life.

Narrated by Jack Klaff.

20060813

The Real War of the Worlds

Robbie Meredith investigates the radical political ideas of HG Wells, who died 60 years ago today. Feminists, socialists and dictators alike warmed to Wells' ideas of globalisation and a world state, elitist multiculturalism and eugenics. Former leader of the Labour Party Michael Foot and author Fay Weldon reveal why Wells remains a hero, and why his radical ideas still have relevance today.

Mozart's Journey to Prague. 3/5. Walking Sticks: Jack Klaff reads from Eduard Morike's account of Mozart's journey to Prague in David Luke's new translation.

20060814

A Favour Returned

Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra has been regarded as one of the seminal works of the twentieth century. But without the friendship between its composer and the conductor Fritz Reiner, the work might never have been created. Bartok had been one of Reiner's mentors when the aspiring conductor was studying in Hungary. Now, with his teacher and friend in the US, ill and in need of money, it was Reiner who helped return the favour and secure the Concerto's commission. Professor David Cooper tells the story of the relationship between Bartok and Reiner and considers the importance of their connection.

20060815

The Lost Gospels of the Picts: Does the real truth about the Picts lie in their glorious lost gospel books? Author Stuart Kelly investigates.

20060816

Music and arts news.

20060817

The Adverb

John Mullan continues the series of literary performances recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall. This week the novelist Andrew O'Hagan presents a selection of his favourite writings on music and reads his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20060818

Talking Proms

Fiona Talkington is joined live at the Royal Albert Hall by the writer and director Armando Ianucci. Mark Russell reveals the lure of the screen for Shostakovich. Sean Rafferty and Simon Thurley continue their tour of blue plaques in South Kensington, London, visiting the home of former prime minister Andrew Bonar Law.

20060819

The Lucky Thirteen

Yevgeny Yevtushenko recalls the impact of his controversial poem Babi Yar in the Soviet Union, and how it became the genesis for Shostakovich's 13th Symphony.

Read by John Rowe.

20060821

It Must Be Witchcraft

In 1662, a young housewife called Isobel Gowdie made a series of confessions for which she became known as Queen of the Scottish Witches. Yet what was the truth surrounding her case? Was she actually tortured or executed for her crimes? Gary Lachman, writer, musician and ex-member of Blondie, examines the latest evidence surrounding the case that inspired James Macmillan's The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie, and explores some of the misconceptions about her dramatic tale.

20060822
20060823

Poe the Poet: Taking his cue from Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells which inspired Rachmaninov, poet Lemn Sissay goes in search of Poe the poet. Readings by Kerry Shale.

20060824

The Adverb: Theatre director Jatinder Verma presents a selection of his favourite writings on music and reads his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20060825
20060826

Music

By Vladimir Nabokov.

The emotions of a painful break-up are captured in exquisite detail in this short story set during a music recital in Berlin.

Read by Ben Miles and translated by Dmitri Nabokov.

20060827

Mozart's Journey to Prague: Readings by Jack Klaff from David Luke's translation of Eduard Morike's account of Mozart's journey from Vienna to Prague. 4/5. Helping Shopgirls.

20060828

Reunion, by Richard Ford. A man in Grand Central Station sees a husband he cuckolded and walks over to say hello. Read by Stuart Milligan.

Mozart's Journey to Prague: Readings by Jack Klaff from David Luke's translation of Eduard Morike's account of Mozart's journey from Vienna to Prague. 5/5. Burning Out.

20060829

Music for the Masses

Alexandra Wilson talks to Russian culture expert Rosamund Bartlett about the fascinating story behind the Moscow People's Conservatoire - established in the wake of the 1905 Revolution to provide musical education for Russia's working classes.

20060830

Just Let Go: American satirist Joe Queenan offers a parent's view on how mobile phone technology is changing us all.

20060831

The Adverb: Writer Janice Galloway presents a selection of her favourite writings on music and reads her own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20060901

Talking Proms: Stephanie Hughes presents the latest news and views from the current Proms season.

20060902

This Morning a Letter Arrived: A short story by Joseph Roth, read by David Horovitch. It's an elegy to the narrator's Russian hometown, destroyed in the First World War, and its inhabitants.

20060903

Swan Moving

In Elizabeth Taylor's classic story, read by Anna Massey, a visitor comes to a scruffy, neglected village at the end of summer and in his splendour, has a mysterious effect on all its inhabitants.

Abridged and produced by Duncan Minshull.

20060904

The Right Thing To Say

A specially-commissioned story from Canada in which the 20 minutes of the Prom interval form the fateful hinge of two peoples lives. For Marcia, it's the revelation of a genetic secret; for Don, it's a very personal challenge.

Written by Kathy Page and read by Tim Beckmann.

20060905

In Front of Closed Doors

At the Royal Albert Hall, audiences come and go. But the stewards are, one might say, the native population. Once a uniformed helper at the Old Vic under Olivier, Simon Callow takes us in front of closed doors at the Hall and looks back on his own experience as an usher, unearthing along the way other well-known voices who have performed the same role.

20060907

The Adverb: Poet Jo Shapcott presents a selection of her favourite writings on music and reads her own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20060908

Talking Proms: Fiona Talkington presents a final round up of news and views from this Proms season.

20060909

A taste of the Proms in the Park festivities from around the country.

20060923

Hungary Uncovered

In 1958 Danish diplomat Povl Bang Jensen was fired by the UN. He'd worked as part of a special UN committee investigating the events of the Hungarian uprising. Fearing their names would be leaked to the Russians he'd refused to hand over to his superiors at the UN the names of 81 witnesses to the Hungarian revolution. A year later Bang Jensen's body was found in a New York park. He had been shot in the head.

The Hungarian philosopher and playwright Andras Nagy was born in 1956 and has spent the last 13 years on a personal quest to clear up the mystery of Povl Bang Jensen's death. Was it suicide? Or was he killed by Soviet agents?

20060929

Tom Service looks at the history of BBC commissioning policy, hearing from some of those responsible, and sampling some of the results.

Tom Service looks at the history of BBC commissioning policy, hearing from some of those responsible, and sampling some of the results.

20061110

The Whole Brain: Tales Told in Central Asia

To complement the Central Asian and nomadic themes of this evening's concert, storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton, who has travelled widely in the region, uncovers the secrets of the highly developed art of storytelling in Central Asia with recordings made on the steppes and stories that she learned there.

So important is storytelling in Central Asia that one tale from Kazakhstan involves God sending a storyteller to humanity to 'tell and sing wisdom into foolish human hearts': before this, people did not have 'whole brains'. And one epic, the Manas, spans three generations in more than two million verses.

20061113

Owen's Anthem

Jon Stallworthy, the editor of the Wilfred Owen's poems, looks closely at the drafts and revisions of Anthem for Doomed Youth, to reveal Owen's poetic methods, the influence of Siegfried Sassoon and the development of this great sonnet from the earliest idea to the finished poem.

20061114

After the Guns

The poet Alison Brackenbury looks at work by Wilfred Owen that has been largely neglected, the poems not directly about conflict, and concludes that as well as being a great war poet Owen was a great poet of lust.

20061116

Your Own Wilfred

Wilfred Owen was, like his hero Keats, a prolific correspondent, and 673 of his letters survive. Some of these inspired Judith Bingham's new piece in the evening concert.

Dominic Hibberd, Wilfred Owen's most recent biographer, has read them all and reveals what they tell us about Owen's character and concerns, and assesses the quality of the poet's epistolatory prose.

20061117

To Break Earth's Sleep: Wilfred Owen and Landscape

Wilfred Owen's subject was 'War and the pity of war'. Writer Lavinia Greenlaw considers Owen's relationship with landscape, arguing that this pity extends beyond people to the environment in which they fought, to creation itself.

20061123

Spem in Alium

David Oyelowo reads a short story by Graeme Fife that evokes the sensuality of Tallis' music and reflects the complexities and contradictions in a composer who has come to be regarded as one of the fathers of English church music.

20061124

White Noise?

Jonny Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver in tonight's Performance on 3 is based on white noise. Robert Sandall quizzes Greenwood, natural world sound recordist Chris Watson and Professor Eric Clarke about this ostensibly unpromising musical material.

How do we separate ideas of music and noise? And how has the enhanced clarity of sound to which we've become accustomed in the digital age blunted or helped our appreciation of white and other colourful noise?

20061130

The Sicilian Connection

Many visitors have left their mark on Sicily, from the Carthaginians to the Normans and Aragonese. Among the lesser-known are the 18th-century British merchants and travellers.

Joe Farrell explores the unlikely but long-standing connections between Sicily and Britain.

20061204

Britten and Literature: Valentine Cunningham examines some of the literature that inspired Britten.

20061205

In Search of Mozart's Grave

Many mysteries surround Mozart's death on 5 December 1791. Nobody attended his funeral and he was buried in a pauper's grave somewhere in Vienna's St Mark's Cemetery. Or was he? Dermot Clinch visits Vienna to investigate with the help of Jane Glover and Cliff Eisen.

20061208

The Pianist: An extract from Conrad Williams's recent novel, narrated by Robert Bathurst.

Concert pianist Philip Morahan has a problem - he can no longer play the piano. He can do everything else, but there are too many distractions ? his agent, his girlfriend, his protege and his reviews. All overwhelm him in a poignant and comic way.

20061209

The Last Jew on Crete

Rory Maclean tells the story of Nicholas Stavroulakis

In the 1950s Stavroulakis, whose roots are in Crete, arrived on the island after the Jewish community had been destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War. He recalls how he restored the crumbling Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania and has acted as the city's rabbi, despite frequently being the only member of his congregation.

20061216

Richard Bonynge: the Complete Magpie.

Conductor Richard Bonynge gives Martin Handley a guided tour around his collection of musical memorabilia, including original manuscript scores, composers' letters and portraits of singers.

20061223

Let Distant Lands Converse

On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Aubrey Fessenden transmitted the first planned radio programme. Sean Street investigates the story of the broadcast from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, which consisted of a speech, a gramophone record and a live violin solo.

He reveals the impact this had on listeners, some of whom thought the human voice they heard was a ghost, and the cultural significance of this major technological advance.

20070101

The Ormolu Clock: Muriel Spark's tale features the rivalries of two hotel owners on the Austrian-Yugoslavian border as they battle for guests and territory. Read by Stella Gonet.

20070106

Rescuing a Threatened Species

Irving Finkel, whose day job is to look after the numerous Mesopotamian clay tablets at the British Museum, talks about his hobby of collecting old diaries that would otherwise have been thrown away.

20070112

Sofia Gubaidulina: The Soviet Years (1931-1992)

Sofia Gubaidulina was born in 1931 in the Tatar Republic to a Tatar Muslim father and Russian Orthodox mother. Gerard McBurney explores her cultural heritage and musical development, and discovers how, while earning her living writing commercial film scores in Moscow, Gubaidulina was able to compose the visionary music that was to make her name.

20070113

Arts feature.

20070118

Gleanings from a Navvy's Scrapbook

Robbie Meredith traces the remarkable life and career of Patrick McGill, poet, soldier, navvy and journalist, who provided the 20th Century with one of its few authentic working-class literary voices.

20070202

Russian Travellers: Teresa Cherfas talks to Lesley Blanch, author of Journey in the Mind's Eye and The Sabres of Paradise, two of the finest books of the last 50 years about Russia.

20070203

Leaving Home: When Christine Finn's parents died within a year of each other, it fell to her to clear out and sell the family home in Deal, Kent. As an archaeologist, she found she could best handle the project as one of excavation and restoration - a process aimed at enabling her finally to let go

20070208

Music, by Vladimir Nabokov, translated by Dmitri Nabokov.

The emotions of a painful break-up are captured in exquisite detail in this short story set during a music recital in Berlin.

Read by Ben Miles.

20070209

The Real War of the Worlds

Robbie Meredith investigates the radical political ideas of HG Wells. Feminists, socialists and dictators alike warmed to Wells's ideas of globalisation and a world state, elitist multi-culturalism and eugenics. Former leader of the Labour party Michael Foot and author Fay Weldon reveal why Wells remains a hero and why his ideas are still relevant today.

20070217
20070303

Beyond the Gilded Stage

1/6. Origins

Daniel Snowman explores the social history of opera, revealing a tale of of patronage, money, audiences, architecture, and political and social change. He begins with an examination of opera's origins in the 17th and 18th centuries.

20070331

As soon as men began to write, they made Helen of Troy their subject.

Historian Bettany Hughes, author of the recent book 'Helen of Troy', looks at the fictional Helen through the eyes of British poets: from Christopher Marlowe to Carol Ann Duffy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Rupert Brooke.

Do her fictional incarnations bear any resemblance to historical fact? And why does she continue to fascinate contemporary British poets?

As soon as men began to write, they made Helen of Troy their subject. Historian Bettany Hughes, author of the recent book 'Helen of Troy', looks at the fictional Helen through the eyes of British poets: from Christopher Marlowe to Carol Ann Duffy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Rupert Brooke.

20070428

The Heart of Saturday Night

Shena Mackay's new story for Radio 3 takes a look at campus life, where a put-upon poet in residence is struggling with his verse, his girlfriend and an ill-advised crush. Strangely, he ponders his predicament astride a fairground horse.

Read by David Thorpe.

20070522

A Royal Russian Polymath

Philip Bullock presents a portrait of Russian grand duke Konstantin Romanov and asks what light he sheds on our understanding of 19th-century Russia. A member of the ruling Romanov dynasty, he was a poet, a champion of the arts and a friend of Tchaikovsky and, like the composer, he was homosexual.

20070523

Ol'ga Berggol'ts

Philip Bullock discusses the life and work of Soviet Russian poet Ol'ga Berggol'ts (1910-75) who is remembered not only for some of the loveliest Russian lyric poetry of the 20th century but also for the inspiring and historic radio broadcasts she made during the Siege of Leningrad, which gave hope and comfort to the city's desperate inhabitants.

20070524

Love Song to the Rocks

By Maren Bodenstein.

This specially commissioned short story by the South African writer continues Radio 3's commitment to writing from Africa. A storyteller is searching for inspiration in the harsh dry veld when, unexpectedly, she finds love.

20070713

Beethoven's Double Bass

At the heart of Beethoven's Choral Symphony is the famous recitative dialogue between double bass and orchestra. It's a moment that lies at the heart of the double bass players' repertoire and, according to bassist Rodney Slatford, was inspired by perhaps the greatest bass player of them all, Dominico Dragonetti.

With the help of Dragonetti's diaries and other memorabilia he's collected over the years, Rodney puts forward the case for putting a Dragonetti footnote into the story of the creation of Beethoven's masterpiece.

20070714

Adventures in Film Music

Film critic Sukhdev Sandhu talks about the idea of film music, especially in relation to the classic 1953 post-war English comedy Genevieve, with its unforgettable score by Hollywood-blacklisted composer Larry Adler.

20070715

Marie Salle

Catherine Bott charts the life of the revolutionary French dancer Marie Salle in the 300th anniversary year of her birth. Leading Salle experts Dr Sarah McCleave of Queen's University, Belfast, and Baroque dancer and choreographer Jane Gingell access the legacy of a figure who inspired composers including Handel and Rameau.

20070716

Tom Service talks to tonight's Proms conductor Antonio Pappano about what it means to be the musical director of the orchestra and an active academician of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome.

Tom Service talks to tonight's Proms conductor Antonio Pappano about what it means to be the musical director of the orchestra and an active academician of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome.

20070717

The Bargain, by Truman Capote

A recently discovered gem, The Bargain takes us into the apartment of affluent New Yorker Mrs Chase. An old acquaintance is due to arrive for lunch and Mrs Chase is entertaining the possibility of purchasing a mink coat from her, for her forthcoming trip to Paris. But when her guest arrives, some remarkable revelations call up hitherto unstirred emotions.

Read by Lorelei King.

20070718

Vive la Difference

This evening's Prom is a collaboration between leading French and English orchestras. Adam Thorpe, an English novelist who lives in France, considers the differences in the two countries' approaches to performance, teaching and music, and indeed life itself.

20070719

The Adverb

Ian McMillan presents a series of literary performances recorded in front of an audience at London's Cadogan Hall.

His guest is poet and novelist Fred D'Aguiar, who selects his favourite writings on the Shakespearean theme of 'the search for home', and introduces his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20070720

Proms Talk: Louise Fryer goes behind the scenes of tonight's Proms concert and talks to some of the participants.

20070721

Fathoming the Lake

Llangorse Lake has always been an important, and sometimes frightening, presence in the life of writer Horatio Clare, whose childhood was spent on a hill farm nearby. In a programme recorded in his canoe on the lake at dusk, Clare salutes its legendary birds, mud-loving eels and infamous pike, and dives into the lake's myths and history. Is it bottomless, a door to another world or does it hide a drowned town?

Clare also chronicles life in South Wales, from the Ice Age, Henry IV and Owain Glyndwr to today, and shows how these times exist together, barely below the surface of the lake.

20070722

Shirley Hughes at 80: Art critic Richard Cork talks to children's book author and illustrator Shirley Hughes about her life and work as she celebrates her 80th birthday.

A Game of Cards

Ronald Pickup reads a story by Rose Tremain describing the life of a hotelier in Switzerland and his enduring friendship with a talented pianist who might not make the grade because his surname is Onion.

20070723

60 Degrees North

Poet Raman Mundair reads from her latest collection of poetry, inspired by Fair Isle's landscape and elements.

In the extreme north of Scotland, half way between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle forms part of Shetland's archipelago and is the most isolated inhabited island within the British Isles. For centuries, Fair Isle's crofters have battled against ferocious salt laden gales and fogs to live off the island, but today their whole way of living is under threat from economic influences and climate change.

20070724

The Lady of the Loch

Accompanied by historians, Dr Fiona Watson sets out in the footsteps of Shakespeare's much maligned Lady Macbeth to find the Scottish birthplace of the Macbeth legend, a real woman who chose a Celtic island monastery to say prayers for herself and her husband.

20070725

Proms Talk: Christopher Cook goes behind the scenes of the evening's Proms concert and talks to some of the participants.

20070726

The Adverb

Ian McMillan presents his summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall. His guest is writer Toby Litt who selects his favourite writings on the Shakespearean theme of conspiracies, double-dealing and skulduggery, and introduces his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20070727

1/2. This Green Plot: Michael Dobson explores the history of outdoor productions of Shakespeare.

20070728

Where There's Muck

Lynn Walker explores the world of brass bands in contemporary Britain.

Despite the decline of Britain's manufacturing and mining industries from which they sprang, do brass bands still have a part to play in high quality music-making? Contributors include composer Philip Wilby, whose Dove Descending will be heard during the Proms Brass Day.

The Great British Summertime

2007 marks the centenary of William Willet's pamphlet The Waste of Daylight, which paved the way for the introduction of British Summer Time. Richard Foster takes a light-hearted look at energy saving and the great British summer.

Proms Talk: Petroc Trelawny goes behind the scenes of tonight's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

20070729

I Hear You Say So

By Elizabeth Bowen.

Elizabeth Bell reads this classic tale which takes place on a warm summer evening as different people are brought together in their local park to listen to the song of the nightingale.

20070730

This Green Plot

Michael Dobson takes his exploration of the history of outdoor Shakespeare productions into the realms of the amateur theatre company, where low budgets and high ambition vie in a search for the spirit of England as embodied in the Bard.

20070731

Summer Nights in Spain

Writer Chris Stewart is well-known for his books about moving to a mountain farm in Andalucia, where he still lives. In this interval talk, he reflects on the very special atmosphere and experiences of Spanish summer nights.

20070801

Prayer

By Istvan Orkeny.

Hungarian-born actress and writer Mia Nadasi introduces and reads her own translation of a moving short story by Istvan Orkeny, one of the most significant figures in post-war Hungarian literature.

Prayer is a story told by a mother who must identify the body of her dead son, an emotional journey from denial to acceptance that unfolds with quiet passion.

20070802

The Adverb

Ian McMillan presents a summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall, London.

His guest is Louise Welsh, one of the rising stars of crime writing. She explores the nature of horror, as inspired by Shakespeare's work and introduces her own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20070803

Doors to Heaven

Does the sacred icon have anything to offer a secular world? Art critic Sarah Kent visits the Shropshire studio of Aidan Hart, a New Zealand-born Orthodox iconographer with more than 20 years experience of painting icons. His commissioners have included the Prince of Wales and the Iviron Monastery in Greece, and with him Sarah explores the concepts behind modern iconography and the icon's place in today's culture.

20070804

The Pianist

By Conrad Williams.

We meet concert pianist Philip Morahan, who can no longer play the piano. There are just too many distractions - his agent, his girlfriend, his protege, his reviews. All overwhelm him in a poignant and comic way.

Narrated by Robert Bathurst.

20070805

Just a Sliver of Cane

Before Alexei Ogrintchouk performs the Oboe Concerto by Richard Strauss, Hayley Walters - with oboists Olivia Duque and Richard Simpson - explores that close and intense relationship all oboe players nurture - with their reeds.

20070806

Rebellion

By Joseph Roth.

This excerpt from Roth's novel, translated by Michel Hoffman, is set in Berlin after the First World War. It features marvellous anti-hero Andreas Pum, who attempts to woo the widow Blumich with his barrel-organ.

Read by Tom Goodman-Hill.

20070807

Vienna

By Eva Menasse.

An extract from the critically acclaimed first novel by the Austrian author. During a game of bridge in wartime Vienna, one of the players re-assesses his love of taking risks.

Read by Tracy-Ann Oberman and translated by Anthea Bell.

20070808

The Song, Not the Singer

For many, the voice is central to the history of jazz, but not for jazz critic Miles Kington. What was it, he asks, about otherwise stunning virtuoso jazz instrumentalists, such as Dizzy Gillespie, that convinced them they could sing? Big mistake!

20070809

The Adverb

Paul Allen presents the summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall, London.

His guest is diplomat and writer Rory Stewart, whose work includes an account of his journey on foot from Turkey to Bangladesh. He chooses some of his favourite writing on the theme of returning from war, from Shakespeare to the present day, and introduces his own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20070810

Lucy Duran goes behind the scenes of tonight's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

20070811

The Quiet Carriage

Amidst the racket of MP3 players, ringtones and raised voices, Geoff Dyer seeks tranquility on Britain's rail network in the supposed calm of the Quiet Carriage.

Designed as a place of refuge from the relentless din of 21st-century life, the Quiet Carriage is a place where Scandinavian notions of civic behaviour might take root in rowdy modern Britain. As he sways through the aisles, Geoff explores changing ideas of privacy, personal space and good manners and discovers that peace and quiet is hard to find.

20070813

The First BBC Prom

The first Prom after the BBC took over the concerts was broadcast 80 years ago on this day. Radio historian Sean Street explores the significance of this moment of musical and broadcasting history, for which one listener was so grateful that he sent the BBC 25 shillings. He also talks to Proms director Nicholas Kenyon, and Jenny Doctor, editor of a new history of the Proms.

20070814

Leonard Bernstein

At the end of his life, Leonard Bernstein considered his education work his crowning achievement as a musician. His hugely energetic Young People's Concerts were shown on prime-time American television throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and syndicated all over the world.

Tom Service looks back to these landmarks of televised music education with help from people close to Bernstein, including his daughter Jamie who inspired much of their content.

20070815

A Journey into the Heart of Finnish Music

As Finland celebrates not only its ninetieth year of independence and also marks the fiftieth anniversary of Sibelius's death, Tom Service travels to Helsinki to get to the heart of what drives the extraordinary Finnish music scene.

There are few countries whose identities are as bound up with classical music as Finland's, symbolised by the composer Jean Sibelius. His music inspires images of frozen landscapes, of dark forests and of midnight sun, and he was the catalyst for a musical culture that has produced an array of great composers and performers.

20070816

The Adverb

Paul Allen presents the summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at the Cadogan Hall, London. His guest is Aminatta Forna, the British-West African author of The Devil That Danced on the Water, her memoir of life as the daughter of a dissident cabinet minister in Sierra Leone. She chooses some of her favourite writing on the theme of envy, from Shakespeare to the present day, and introduces her own specially commissioned piece on the same theme.

20070817

Proms Talk: Christopher Cook goes behind the scenes of tonight's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

20070818

Letters from England

By Karl Capek.

Translated by Geoffrey Newsome, and read by Owen Teale.

For two months in 1924, Czech writer and playwright Karl Capek travelled throughout England, Scotland and Wales. His witty, appreciative dissections of the 'English' national character and culture quickly established themselves as masterpieces of observation and classics of modern Czech prose.

20070819

Venezuela - El Sistema

Fiona Talkington explores the remarkable success of Venezuela's El Sistema, the system which lifts children out of poverty and deprivation by teaching them to play classical music.

20070820

Face Off

Inspired by Thomas Ades' Powder Her Face, this feature weaves together the voices of portrait photographer Jane Bown, consultant plastic surgeon Peter Butler, actor Matt Chambers and Susanna Hancock who is blind. All have a fascination with faces and some unexpected threads of shared experience are revealed.

20070821

Proms Talk: Andrew McGregor goes behind the scenes of tonight's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

20070823

The Adverb

Ian McMillan presents the summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall, London. His guest is historian Tristram Hunt, who explores Shakespeare's vision of kingship and chooses some of his favourite writing on the theme right up to the present day.

20070825

Klingsor and Monsieur Croche

When Debussy entered the magic garden of Wagnerian music drama as a young man, he was aware of the danger of being enslaved by Wagner's genius. David Huckvale investigates the influence of Wagner on Debussy's music.

20070826

Tempo: Concert pianist and writer Susan Tomes considers matters of pace in musical performances, and the fact that tempo also refers to the 'weather' of a piece.

20070827

Next Door

By Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut's sardonic outlook on life is evident in this cautionary tale about the perils of eavesdropping. A well-intentioned act by a young boy who overhears the couple next door arguing unleashes chaos. Read by Mark Bazeley.

20070828

What Can Russia Teach Us?: Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is writing a book on Dostoyevsky, talks to Lesley Chamberlain about his interest in Russian literature.

20070829

The Angelic Anarchist

Historian Roy Foster and author Nicholas Allen join Robbie Meredith to explore the life and works of mystical Irish writer and artist George Russell.

Also known as AE, Russell played a key part as Ireland redefined itself through mythology and revolution at the dawn of the 20th century, and was known as a man of the people as his magnetic blend of mysticism and practicality attracted politicians, poets, and pig farmers alike.

20070830

The Adverb

Ian McMillan presents the summer showcase of literary performance recorded in front of an audience at Cadogan Hall, London.

His guest is children's writer Jamila Garvin who chooses some of her favourite writing on the theme of 'other worlds' from Shakespeare to the present day. She also introduces her own specially written exploration of the topic.

20070831

A Dill Pickle

By Katherine Mansfield.

Susannah Harker reads an excerpt from this famous story which describes two former lovers meeting again in a London restaurant.

20070901

The Importance of Being a Hellenist

Iain Ross explores how Oscar Wilde's lifelong interest in the archaeology and literature of ancient Greece influenced even his most popular work.

20070903

Swan Moving

By Elizabeth Taylor.

At the end of summer a visitor arrives in a scruffy, neglected village and has a mysterious effect on all its inhabitants. Anna Massey reads this classic story.

20070904

Thirsting for Music

Paul Bailey tells the story of Mihail Sebastian, the Romanian Jewish playwright, novelist and lover of music, a contemporary of the composers in the evening's Prom. His poignant Journal 1935-44 charts the dark days of Romania's anti-Semitic collaboration with the Nazis.

In conversation with those who knew and wrote about him, Bailey explores Sebastian's love of people and world literature, and how he harnessed classical music to overcome the horrors of wartime Romania.

20070905

Idols of the Marketplace: Francis Spufford offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking meditation on the roots of the contemporary culture of the marketplace.

20070906

The Adverb

Before an audience at London's Cadogan Hall, Paul Allen talks to Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth.

Kate's chosen theme is leadership and she'll be introducing a series of extracts on this subject, including one from Shakespeare as well as reading a new piece of her own.

20070907

Ivan Hewett goes behind the scenes of the evening's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

Ivan Hewett goes behind the scenes of the evening's Prom and talks to some of the participants.

20080118

Judith Weir: Stories from Life. A self-portrait of Judith Weir in words and music.

20080718

On Life and Picnics

1/3. Culinary expert Ivan Day explores the history of British picnics while cooking up a heritage hamper of goodies in his Lakeland kitchen

20080719

Auld Fergie

Philip Hammond explores the friendship between composer, pianist and teacher Howard Ferguson, and composer Gerald Finzi, 100 years since the Northern Irishman's birth. With particular reference to their extensive and revealing correspondence, published in 2001, he also assess their place in British musical life. With contributions from leading Finzi biographers Diana McVeagh and Stephen Banfield, and Ferguson's Musical Exectuor Hugh Cobbe.

Ferguson was a highly versatile musical figure, who, as a pianist, performed in partnership with Dennis Matthews and violinist Yfrah Neaman; as a composer, his well-regarded orchestral and chamber works were taken up by performers such as Kathleen Ferrier and Henry Wood. Later on in life, he focused on editing a wide range early keyboard music as well as teaching at the Royal College of Music, where his pupils included Richard Rodney Bennett and Cornelius Cardew.

20080720

Proms Literary Festival

Ian McMillan and his orchestra present a cabaret of words and music, and with the help of the audience explore the connections between folk music, poetry and the art of storytelling.

A discussion recorded in front of a Proms audience at the Royal College of Music in which critic and biographer Professor Hermione Lee discusses English Romantic poetry, from Wordsworth to Thomas Hardy. With contributions from Romantic literature expert Professor Duncan Wu as well as Kate Kennedy and poet Paul Farley.

The programme draws on excerpts of music and poetry to illustrate the influence of William Wordsworth and other Romantic poets on their Victorian and Edwardian successors such as Thomas Hardy. It includes reflections on how Hardy's poems in particular pays homage to Wordsworth and on some of the musical settings of their poems by English composers such as Finzi.

Bard of Ireland - Irish Melodies

Robbie Meredith marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Irish poet and musician Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies. This collection of songs reverberated for over 100 years after their first publication and, according to some, came to define not only Irish music by also the sentimental and romantic Irish character. With contributions from Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, musicologist Una Hunt and biographer Ronan Kelly.

Often compared in style to contemporaries like Walter Scott and Robert Burns, Moore was regarded as one of the most important poets of his era. Moore used melodies from traditional Irish music collections, collaborated on arrangements and added his own patriotic and popular lyrics, and as a result gained himself the title 'Bard of Ireland'.

20080721

Tom Service talks to distinguished French organist Olivier Latry about his role as a titulaire des Grandes Orgues at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

He also finds out about Latry's work on five continents as torchbearer for the great tradition of French organist-improvisers which stretches back to the time of Widor and Vierne.

Tom Service talks to distinguished French organist Olivier Latry about his role as a titulaire des Grandes Orgues at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He also finds out about Latry's work on five continents as torchbearer for the great tradition of French organist-improvisers which stretches back to the time of Widor and Vierne.

20080722

Proms Plus: Martin Handley talks to Roger Norrington.

20080723

Twists and Turns: The Shape of Tune

Artist Jonathon Brown offers some personal thoughts on the shape of melody over the centuries, from the middle ages to Brahms, Mahler - and beyond.

The Bell, by Iris Murdoch.

To tie in with this evening's Prom re-creation of a concert programme from 1958, Liz Sutherland reads an extract from Iris Murdoch's famous novel of that year. It takes up the story, which is set in a lay community near a convent, when Dora and Toby hatch a bizarre plan to replace the newly-arrived bell in order to convince the residents of the existence of miracles.

Proms Literary Festival

Matthew Sweet revisists the cultural events of 1958 with historian Dominic Sandbrook and two of the most prominent writers at that time - Alan Sillitoe and Anthony Thwaite.

20080724

Fantasia on a Theme - Bushes and Briars

1/3. Roy Palmer explores the songs and tunes Vaughan Williams collected, revealing how when a farm labourer once sang Bushes and Briars, he changed the composer's life and art.

20080725

The Great Irish Controversy: The Hugh Lane Gallery

William Crawley explores the controversy surrounding the ownership of 39 French impressionist piantings that once belonged to Dublin gallery owner Hugh Lane. With contributions from Lane's biographer Robert O'Bynre, gallery director Barbara Dawson and historian Lucy McDiarmid.

20080726

Pasternak and Creativity

John Rowe reads Evening by Boris Pasternak - a prose poem about a young poet, found among other unfinished jottings long after the writer's death and translated for the first time into English by Angela Livingston, Research Professor at Essex University.

Written in Moscow in 1910, nearly 40 years before Doctor Zhivago, Evening bears the influences of the impressionist paintings of Pasternak's father as well as the Symbolist movement in Russian poetry. It centres on a poet named Reliquimini - Latin for 'you are left behind' - and is said to suggest compassion for the things of the inanimate world which are neglected.

On Life and Picnics

2/3. Series on that most British institution - the picnic.

A specially-commissioned short story by novelist Jane Feaver, exploring the disintegration of a family as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl during a long, uncomfortable summer holiday in the 1970s.

Sent to spend the holidays with her grandparents while her mother has a baby, the narrator both relishes and feels trapped by the orderly life which her grandparents lead. After their picnic by a river, a dare almost leads to disaster. Scotch eggs will never taste the same again and the first phase of childhood is left behind forever.

20080727

Let's Do the Timewarp Again

Doctor Who has remained a fixed but ever-changing point in the British imagination since 1963. Science fiction writer Justina Robson explores the many meanings of the Time Lord, asking what his trips through time and space tell us about our own country's dreams and nightmares.

20080728

Ba Ba Ba Bum: The Art of the Riff

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony boasts the most famous riff in the classical canon. Curate, keyboardist and Radio 3 reviewer Richard Coles investigates the power of the repeated phrase, talking to classical and film composer Jocelyn Pook about how she conjures, finds and uses them, and to musician Tom Robinson, who has written a few, about the importance - and the burden - of the riff to him. Richard also ponders whether there is much difference in musical intent and practice between the opening of Beethoven's Fifth and the opening of Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.

20080729

Proms Literary Festival

As part of this year's Proms Literary Festival, Ian McMillan and Professor Christopher Ricks discuss the life and poetry of AE Housman. Best known now for A Shropshire Lad, Housman was one of the most widely read poets of his time and was praised by TS Eliot for his 'masterful, witty, controversial talent'.

20080730

Lucy Duran presents an edited tribute, recorded at this evening's Proms Plus event at the Britten Theatre, to Radio 3 World Music Americas Award winner Andy Palacio, a singer and guitarist from Belize who died earlier this year.

She is joined by Palacio's producer Ivan Duran and Chair of the Awards Jury Rita Ray

Mary Ann Kennedy talks to Spanish group Son de la frontera about their particular style of flamenco, while Lucy Duran chats to Justin Adams and Chinese musicians Sa Dingding about their own perspectives on world music.

Mary Ann Kennedy talks to Spanish group Son de la frontera about their particular style of flamenco, while Lucy Duran chats to Justin Adams and Chinese musicians Sa Dingding about their own perspectives on world music.

Lucy Duran presents an edited tribute, recorded at this evening's Proms Plus event at the Britten Theatre, to Radio 3 World Music Americas Award winner Andy Palacio, a singer and guitarist from Belize who died earlier this year. She is joined by Palacio's producer Ivan Duran and Chair of the Awards Jury Rita Ray.

20080731

Bernardo Buontalenti - The Florentine Potter

Ceramics expert Lars Tharp explores the work of designer, architect and artist Bernardo Buontalenti, a contemporary of Monteverdi's, who, under the patronage of the Medici, was responsible for producing the first European porcelain in the 16th century.

20080801

Faberge's Eggs

John Rowe reads an extract from Toby Faber's new book about jewellery designer to the Romanovs Carl Faberge, in which he explores the inspiration behind the designs of the famous Faberge eggs.

The setting is early 20th Century St Petersburg, where we travel to Faberge's workshop, meet the man as he instructs his workers and hear from famous tourists who visited him at this time, including British diplomat Harold Nicolson and Consuelo Vanderbilt. The extract captures the edgy excitement of the period - the artistic community is thriving, St Petersburg is rivalling Paris on the global stage and yet signs of the growing dissatisfaction with the ruling elite are emerging.

20080802

German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who died in December last year, was an icon of the avant-garde. Tom Service talks to Stockhausen's family, friends and collaborators - including Pierre Boulez, his son Markus Stockhausen, comedian and writer John Bird and pianist Nicolas Hodges - to find out just what it was that marked him out as such a pioneering and influential figure in 20th and 21st century music.

20080803

Proms Literary Festival

Susan Hitch discusses nature, wilderness and gardens with two poets for whom the pastoral is an important source of inspiration: Kathleen Jamie and Sarah Maguire.

20080804
20080805

Rebellion

Tom Goodman-Hill reads an excerpt from Joseph Roth's novel, translated by Michael Hoffman. Set in Berlin after the First World War, it features the anti-hero Andreas Pum, who attempts to woo the widow Blumich with his barrel-organ.

20080806

Memories of Messiaen

As part of the Proms's celebration of Olivier Messiaen's 100th anniversary, three of the his former pupils, Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail and George Benjamin, recall their studies with him. As well as being one of the most important composers of the 20th century, Messiaen was one of the foremost teachers of composition, and in his famous classes in Paris he taught many of the most prominent contemporary composers.

20080807

Proms Literary Festival

Matthew Sweet is joined by writer and critic John Sutherland and TV dramatist Andrew Davies to examine image we have of the Victorians at play in novels, films and television.

20080808

Fantasia on a Theme - Dives and Lazarus

2/3. Roy Palmer explores Vaughan Williams's intense love of the folksong Dives and Lazarus and the way he used it in one of his finest works, which was played at his funeral. He uncovers a recording made by Alan Lomax of Aunt Molly Jackson singing the song in Kentucky in 1939, another made for the BBC in 1952, featuring Emily Bishop in Herefordshire, as well as a recent version by Martin Simpson. A talented guitar player and singer, who will be performing at the Proms Folk Day, Simpson telly Roy about his approach to the song.

20080809

The Bargain

By Truman Capote.

A gem from an American classic, The Bargain takes us into the apartment of affluent New Yorker Mrs Chase. An old acquaintance is due to arrive for lunch and Mrs Chase is entertaining the possibility of purchasing a mink coat from her, for her forthcoming trip to Paris. But when her guest arrives, some remarkable revelations call up hitherto unstirred emotions.

Read by Lorelei King.

20080811

Suzy Klein discusses Puccini's opera Il tabarro - which is performed after the interval - with musicologists Roger Parker and Alexandra Wilson

20080812

Artist Akram Zaatari explores the photographic archives of Studio Shehrazade - half a million images that document 50 years of life in southern Lebanon through the lives of the people of Saida.

Both surprising and revealing, Shehrazade's archive tells stories of Lebanese society, its underlying tensions and changing conventions since the 1950s.

Artist Akram Zaatari explores the photographic archives of Studio Shehrazade - half a million images that document 50 years of life in southern Lebanon through the lives of the people of Saida. Both surprising and revealing, Shehrazade's archive tells stories of Lebanese society, its underlying tensions and changing conventions since the 1950s.

20080814

Final Exposure

Journalist Christine Finn explores the private world of late British landscape photographer Fay Godwin, who left London in 1995 and moved permanently to the family's former holiday home in a remote, secret location on the Sussex coast. Godwin found a new direction for her work and introduced colour for the first time.

After her death in 2005, Godwin's family offered her considerable archive to the British Library. Finn, the first journalist to be allowed to visit, was shown round Godwin's home by her friend film-maker Maggie Taylor, gaining an insight into the power of the place to inspire Godwin.

20080816

Proms Plus

Handel composed Belshazzar during a period when he was focusing on putting on English oratorios in London theatres. Catherine Bott presents a discussion with critic, writer and broadcaster Roderick Swanston and theatre historian Sarah Lenton exploring why Handel had turned away from Italian opera at this time, examining the circumstances of the creation of Belshazzar and its dramatic content.

20080817

Fantasia on a Theme - The Captain's Apprentice

3/3. Roy Palmer's series on the folksongs Vaughan Williams collected concludes with The Captain's Apprentice, quoted in Flos Campi, performed in this evening's Prom and which provides the haunting melody in the Norfolk Rhapsody. Roy explains the social as well as musical significance of this song of an apprentice destroyed by a brutal ship's captain.

Vaughan Williams heard the song, uncannily close to the plot of Peter Grimes, from 'Duggie' Carter, a King's Lynn fisherman and, in the very pub where he sat in the corner and noted it down, historian Dr Paul Richards explains the social as well as musical significance of the song. And Roy also unearths recordings from North America and the Norfolk traditional singer Harry Cox.

20080818

Proms Literary Festival

Matthew Sweet goes on urban safari with travel writers Iain Sinclair and Robert Macfarlance. Iain is a chronicler of London and south east England, while Robert sought out the UK's remaining wildernesses for his latest book. They discuss their favourite passages of writing about the urban landscape and how they try to evoke in their writing the wilderness and nature that they say can be found even in our most crowded cities.

20080820

Proms Literary Festival

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, joins Susan Hitch to consider conflicting ideas about spiritual regeneration and existentialism as embodied in the characters of his literary hero, the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, on whom he has written a study.

20080821

Richard Foster takes a light-hearted look at energy saving and the great British summer.

Richard Foster takes a light-hearted look at energy saving and the great British summer.

20080823

Proms Literary Festival

Ian McMillan and guests explore the portrayal of classical music in fiction. Ian is joined by novelist Conrad Williams, who has written a book about the competitive, selfish world of the concert pianist where emotional and personal lives have to take second place to the demands of endless rehearsals and spectacular performances.

20080825

Proms Literary Festival

A bank holiday treat for families, with Michael Morpurgo, author of Private Peaceful, and Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo joining Ian McMillan to read from their work as well as discussing storytelling and the role of music in children's fiction.

20080826

Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music

To mark 50 years since the death of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Steven Johnson visits the Royal College of Music to investigate the composer's time there. Although Vaughan Williams encountered difficulties there as a student, he eventually found his feet and his many years spent as a professor of composition helped build a considerable legacy.

20080827

The Pattern of Lanes

An exploration of the ancient heart of the Parisian Latin Quarter through the family history that drew novelist and historian Gillian Tindall to the same streets that her great-great-grandfather discovered when he walked from Scotland to Paris in 1814 to study the new medical science flourishing in the city.

20080828

Proms Literary Festival

Ian McMillan is joined on stage by nature writer Mark Cocker, author of Crow Country and editor of Birds Britannica, as well as poet Katrina Porteous, whose work is firmly rooted in the natural history of her home county of Northumberland. They discuss the rich vein of literature which has been inspired by birds and select some of their favourite passages of avian writing.

20080830

The End of Summer

Helen Dunmore's specially-commissioned story, read by Jonathan Firth, is set aboard a ferry where a young traveller on his way to Stockholm encounters the intriguing teenager Sophie, just as strange storm clouds begin to appear over the water. Does this just herald the end of summer or is there something more complex at work?

20080901

Franco Zeffirelli

Norman Lebrecht talks to the celebrated opera and film director Franco Zeffirelli. He speaks candidly of the early loss of his mother, his relationship with the film director Luchino Visconti and the experience of directing singers Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas, as well as the reasons behind Callas's volatile temper.

20080902

The Power of the Ondes

Thomas Bloch explores the little-known ondes martenot, an instrument that features in Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony in the second part of this evening's Prom. A keyboard-like instrument with a distinctive sound, it was first built in the 1920s in France and was used by classical composers such as Messiaen and Boulez. Since its creation, other composers from the worlds of film music and pop have also written for it.

A distinguished player of the ondes himself, Thomas talks to multi-instrumentalist and ex-Pogues player David Coulter about its history, its range and power and why it has been an inspiration to composers from many different musical fields.

20080903
20080904

Proms Literary Festival

Susan Hitch is joined by the BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall to discuss how classic and contemporary Russian literature relates to issues and themes in the country's current affairs, focusing on writer Lermontov's views about what changes and what remains the same in Russian life and Russian attitudes.

A former BBC Moscow Correspondent, Bridget kept abreast not merely of the political situation in Russia but also the literary scene. She was an enthusiastic reader of the Russian classics and also has an enthusiasm for the more feisty contemporary literature, dipping briefly into the lighter end of the market with a very Russian take on chick lit.

20080905

Proms Literary Festival

Robert Chandler, who has edited a new fairytale anthology, and Russian-born writer Zinovy Zinik discuss the tradition of Russian fairytales and their influence on music and literature. They take a glimpse at some of the extraordinary characters - from Baba Yaga, the old witch who lives in a house on chicken legs and eats children, to Koschey the Deathless, who rides naked through mountains on his magic steed in search of prey.

20080906

Proms Literary Festival

Winner of the 2007 Costa Poetry Award, Jean Sprackland sees water as the guiding 'elemental force' in her work, while Julie Myserson was inspired by the sea off the coast of East Anglia for her recent thriller Something Might Happen. They discuss writing about the sea with Ian McMillan.

20080907

Tom Service is joined by Messiaen scholars Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone, and the artistic director of the Netherlands Opera Pierre Audi to discuss Messiaen's opera Saint Francis of Assisi.

20080908

Next Door

Mark Bazeley reads Kurt Vonnegut's cautionary tale about the perils of eavesdropping. A work which exhibits its author's noted sardonic outlook on life, it centres on the chaos unleashed by the good intentions of a young boy who overhears the couple next door arguing.

20080909

From his apartment overlooking the Kremlin, playwright and director Stephen Poliakoff's father had a first-hand view of the events of the Russian Revolution.

Poliakoff tells Susan Hitch about his father's experiences as a youth in Russia, and looks at how his family history and some of the greats of Russian literature, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov, have influenced his own work.

From his apartment overlooking the Kremlin, playwright and director Stephen Poliakoff's father had a first-hand view of the events of the Russian Revolution. Poliakoff tells Susan Hitch about his father's experiences as a youth in Russia, and looks at how his family history and some of the greats of Russian literature, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov, have influenced his own work.

20080910

The Whale Road

All around the coast of the British Isles, and also in some remarkable inland places, the remains of whales can be found - slowly rotting skulls and arches made from huge bones. Kathleen Jamie tries to discover what these monuments signal.

Proms Literary Festival

To accompany this evening's Proms performance of Holst's Planets Suite, poet Lavinia Greenlaw and astronomer Paul Murdin join Ian McMillan to contemplate the various ways in which writers have responded to astronomical ideas.

20080911

On Life and Picnics

Series on that most British institution - the picnic.

3/3. Art critic Louisa Buck explores the reasons why artists down the centuries have painted picnics. Taking in Cranach and Titian, Manet and Picasso and moving right up to artists such as Matt Collishaw today, art critic Louisa Buck gives a virtual guided tour of some key works of art in which picnics are depicted.

20080912

Thirsting for Music

Paul Bailey tells the story of the Romanian Jewish playwright, novelist and music lover Mihail Sebastian. He talks to those who knew and have written about Sebastian, who wrote a journal from 1935 to 1944 charting the days of Romania's collaboration with the Nazis, and which also detailed his love of people, the best of world literature as well as classical music.

20080918

Petroc Trelawny talks to BBC Singers chief conductor David Hill, associate composer Judith Bingham and other members of the group to find out more about the wide range of their activities in the studio and outside, and about their plans for the coming months.

20080919

Petroc Trelawny and guests discuss the recent portrayal of conductors in BBC TV's Maestro series.

20080926

Beethoven's Double Bass

At the heart of Beethoven's Choral Symphony is the famous recitative dialogue between double bass and orchestra. It's a moment that lies at the heart of the double bass player's repertoire and, according to bassist Rodney Slatford, was inspired by perhaps the greatest bass player of them all, Dominico Dragonetti.

With the help of Dragonetti's diaries and other memorabilia he has collected over the years, Rodney puts forward the case for putting a Dragonetti footnote into the story of the creation of Beethoven's masterpiece.

20081015
20081024

Fiesta

A portait of the Fiesta del Pilar, a traditional celebration held annually in the Spanish city of Zaragoza in honour of the country's female patron saint. Held on October 12, the date is also marked across Spain as Dia de la Hispanidad, a national celebration of Columbus's discovery of the Americas.

We hear the various elements of this year's celebrations, from the religious processions, to the bands, bullfights, fireworks, flamenco dancing and the traditional parades of gigantes y cabezudos, featuring carnival figures made of papier mache.

20081029

The Bell

By Iris Murdoch.

Liz Sutherland reads an extract from the famous 1958 novel. It takes up the story, which is set in a lay community near a convent, when Dora and Toby hatch a bizarre plan to replace the newly-arrived bell in order to convince the residents of the existence of miracles.

20081113

Stephen Johnson explores the parallel lives of Rachmaninov and Stravinsky as Russian emigres, and selects some highlights from the forthcoming BBCSSO Russian Winter series.

Like many other Russian migrants, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov ended up in Southern California in the 1940s and were near-neighbours in Beverly Hills.

They dined together once and Rachmaninov followed up that meeting with a gift of Stravinsky's favourite honey.

It might have become a good friendship, but Rachmaninov was already terminally ill.

It is unlikely, had he lived longer, that he would have influenced Stravinsky's music, but the reverse is not necessarily true given the neo-classical tendencies in Rachmaninov's later work.

Stephen Johnson explores the parallel lives of Rachmaninov and Stravinsky as Russian emigres, and selects some highlights from the forthcoming BBCSSO Russian Winter series.

Like many other Russian migrants, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov ended up in Southern California in the 1940s and were near-neighbours in Beverly Hills. They dined together once and Rachmaninov followed up that meeting with a gift of Stravinsky's favourite honey. It might have become a good friendship, but Rachmaninov was already terminally ill. It is unlikely, had he lived longer, that he would have influenced Stravinsky's music, but the reverse is not necessarily true given the neo-classical tendencies in Rachmaninov's later work.

20081121

Stephen Critchlow reads Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short story Matryona's House.

Stephen Critchlow reads Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short story Matryona's House.

20081210

In a programme from the foyer of St David's Hall, Cardiff, Petroc Trelawny is joined by Messiaen scholars Christopher Dingle and Caroline Rae to celebrate the composer's centenary day.

They ask whether it is time to reassess our view of the composer, whose interests in nature and religious beliefs have been focused on to the exclusion of almost everything else.

Plus Messiaen at the organ, performing the movement which he totally reworked from the orchestral version of L'Ascension.

20090108

Catherine Bott looks at what 2009 has in store for the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Catherine Bott discusses what 2009 has in store for the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

It's going to be a busy year with concerts at the Barbican, touring and the BBC Proms.

She talks to Jiri Belohlavek, the BBCSO's chief conductor and David Robertson, principal guest conductor, along with the orchestra's general manager Paul Hughes.

Catherine Bott looks at what 2009 has in store for the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

20090909
20090918

From the foyer stage at St David's Hall, Cardiff, Petroc Trelawny discusses the art of 'period performance' on modern instruments.

Plus news from the United States on ground-breaking research on the musicians who first performed Haydn's masses, a report from Eisenstadt on the work known originally as the Mass for Troubled Times, and how Lord Nelson made his mark on musical history.

Petroc Trelawny discusses 'period performance' on modern instruments.

20091009

Jiri Belohlavek presents a feature on Martinu's Symphony No 2, and there is a taster of the new music in the BBCSO's Barbican season.

Jiri Belohlavek presents a feature on Martinu's Symphony No 2.

20100911

Around the parks - musical contributions from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Salford and Hyde Park in London.

Musical contributions from N Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Salford and Hyde Park in London.

20101013

Rossini's return to Paris in the 1850s led to an Indian summer of composition for him, with the composition of the pieces he dubbed 'My Sins of Old Age'.

And yet this wasn't just an Indian summer of composition.

Hand-in-hand with this went Rossini's social life and his famous 'Saturday Soirées' at his apartment in Paris.

Many of these 'Sins of Old Age' were written for performance at these soirées or other salons throughout Paris.

Rossini's reputation as a gourmand also held true at these events with his gastronomic legacy still being felt in the dishes he inspired.

Igor Toronyi-Lalic explores Rossini's role in the salons of mid-19th century Paris and the legacy of these salons today.

Producer: Rosie Childs.

Igor Toronyi-Lalic explores Rossini's role in the salons of mid-19th century Paris.

Rossini's return to Paris in the 1850s led to an Indian summer of composition for him, with the composition of the pieces he dubbed 'My Sins of Old Age'. And yet this wasn't just an Indian summer of composition. Hand-in-hand with this went Rossini's social life and his famous 'Saturday Soirées' at his apartment in Paris. Many of these 'Sins of Old Age' were written for performance at these soirées or other salons throughout Paris. Rossini's reputation as a gourmand also held true at these events with his gastronomic legacy still being felt in the dishes he inspired. Igor Toronyi-Lalic explores Rossini's role in the salons of mid-19th century Paris and the legacy of these salons today.

20101105

What's hot and what's not in Paris this autumn? Journalist Agnès Poirier divides her time between London and the French capital and is ideally placed to report on the most coveted tickets on both banks of the Seine.

Is the so-called 'beacon exhibition' at the Grand Palais, "Claude Monet 1840-1926" all it's cracked up to be? At the other end of the artistic scale, Agnès learns more about the French national obsession with 'BD' - bande dessinée or strip cartoon at a show in the Bibliothèque Forney.

And - parlons gastronomie - no report from Paris could possibly be complete without news of the culinary arts...

a new bistro that, says Agnès, "marries conviviality with political utopia..." Bon appetit!

Producer Simon Elmes.

Agnes Poirier reports on big autumn events in Paris, including exhibitions and a new cafe.

What's hot and what's not in Paris this autumn? Journalist Agnès Poirier divides her time between London and the French capital and is ideally placed to report on the most coveted tickets on both banks of the Seine. Is the so-called 'beacon exhibition' at the Grand Palais, "Claude Monet 1840-1926" all it's cracked up to be? At the other end of the artistic scale, Agnès learns more about the French national obsession with 'BD' - bande dessinée or strip cartoon at a show in the Bibliothèque Forney. And - parlons gastronomie - no report from Paris could possibly be complete without news of the culinary arts... a new bistro that, says Agnès, "marries conviviality with political utopia..." Bon appetit!

20101126

The American poet Emily Dickinson was very reclusive and spent most of her adult life in her room in Amherst, Massachusetts where, after her death, her extraordinary poems were discovered.

When Aaron Copland was composing the settings of her poems that are being performed in this evening's concert, he spent many hours there trying to capture something of the spirit of Emily Dickinson.

Someone who knows the room well is the poet Fred D'aguiar, who lived in Amherst for several years.

In tonight's Twenty Minutes he reflects on Emily Dickinson's room, the place where he himself writes, and the significance of "The Poet's Room".

Fred D'aguiar reflects on the room in which Emily Dickinson wrote her poetry.

The American poet Emily Dickinson was very reclusive and spent most of her adult life in her room in Amherst, Massachusetts where, after her death, her extraordinary poems were discovered. When Aaron Copland was composing the settings of her poems that are being performed in this evening's concert, he spent many hours there trying to capture something of the spirit of Emily Dickinson. Someone who knows the room well is the poet Fred D'Aguiar, who lived in Amherst for several years. In tonight's Twenty Minutes he reflects on Emily Dickinson's room, the place where he himself writes, and the significance of "The Poet's Room".

Fred D'Aguiar reflects on the room in which Emily Dickinson wrote her poetry.

20120210

Arts feature.

20120719

Judas Maccabeus used to be one of Handel's most popular oratorios. But in modern times it's been deplored as tub-thumping, bellicose, militaristic. It lent itself all too readily to an aryanised Nazi version, Der Feldherr. It caused distress when it featured in the 2009 Edinburgh Festival, for it appears to celebrate the wipeout of the Scottish rebels at Culloden. But when it was first performed, that rebellion was long past and Britain was in the eighth year of a draining intercontinental war against stronger, larger, more successful France. The Scottish rebellion was the most frightening of several French invasion attempts, exposing British disunity, threatening annexation to a foreign Catholic power. The oratorio was written and performed in the shadow of continual British losses against the French axis. It is suffused with grief and fear; it is an exhortation to unity and communal effort; it is a prayer for peace; in its own time, its upbeat end was rather poignant wishful thinking. And in its original form, it didn't include 'See the conquering hero comes'.

Pre-eminent Handel revisionist Ruth Smith looks at the autograph score of Judas Maccabeus, which doesn't include See the Conquering hero, and looks at contemporary newspaper accounts of the notorious (and contemporary) trial of the traitor Lord Lovat - the last man to be beheaded in England and the real reason why Handel revised the piece.

20130720

Roger Parker chairs a round-table discussion about Verdi's idea of God, the Church and Religion.

The Four Sacred Pieces were Verdi's final work and he said he wanted to be buried with the manuscript of the Te Deum. But Verdi was an agnostic, who refused to accompany his wife to church, and his religious music was described as 'opera in ecclesiastical clothing'.

In Verdi's God, Roger Parker and his guests explore the composer's spiritual life and its impact on his music, relationships and politics. Taking part in the discussion are Flora Willson from the University of Cambridge, who takes a special interest in the culture and society of Italy in the 19th century, and one of the pre-eminent Verdi conductors of today, Semyon Bychkov, whose performance of the Requiem was a highlight of the 2011 Proms season, and who will be bringing to bear his experience of the religious music in Verdi's operas and the operatic element in his religious music.

These three great Verdi experts will attempt to answer a very difficult question: who was Verdi's God?

20130725

Is Ravel's Bolero an early sign of dementia or a musical genius working under pressure? Can neurological testing reveal the mysteries of creativity?

Bolero is probably Ravel's most famous work, noted for its insistent repetition. It has been suggested that this repetition was not a musical device consciously adopted by the composer, but an early sign of the dementia that led to his death. An alternative view is that Bolero is an example of a musical genius simply writing under great pressure to finish a piece of music when another commission fell though at short notice.

Ravel died following neurosurgical treatment in 1937, after a period of gradual decline over a period of five years or more. His condition has fascinated doctors since the first scientific paper was written on Ravel's decline in 1948, and a steady flow of scientific papers has followed since, trying to establish a precise diagnosis and the effect his condition had on his music.

Broadcaster and writer Stephen Johnson looks at the final years of Ravel's life, and the extent to which his creativity may have been affected by the loss of his mental faculties, not just in Bolero but in his two late piano concertos.

Frustratingly, we have no brain scans or autopsy records for Ravel. But even if diagnostic tests such as MRI scans had been available, would we now be in a position to establish a clear diagnosis for his decline, and crucially whether it had any effect on his music?

With contributions from Ravel biographer Roger Nichols, writer and former consultant psychiatrist Eva Cybulska, and Dr Jason Warren, a neurologist at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London.

*20080813

Andrew Brown explores the slave-raiding culture of the Viking-era British isles and finds that our own ancestors were not so innocent either.

With contributions from historians Alex Woolf, Clare Downham and David Wyatt.

Andrew Brown explores the slave-raiding culture of the Viking-era British isles and finds that our own ancestors were not so innocent either. With contributions from historians Alex Woolf, Clare Downham and David Wyatt.

*20080815

As conductor Pierre Boulez takes on a complete Janacek programme with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in tonight's Prom, a chance to hear his views on the master Czech composer's works in conversation with Proms director Roger Wright.

From the Britten Theatre in the Royal College of Music.

As conductor Pierre Boulez takes on a complete Janacek programme with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in tonight's Prom, a chance to hear his views on the master Czech composer's works in conversation with Proms director Roger Wright. From the Britten Theatre in the Royal College of Music.

*20080819

Ivan Hewett looks at the career of Edgar Varese, one of the musical world's great outsiders, with reminiscences from his friends and colleagues.

Varese was a very original musical figure, following no school and recognising no tradition.

His music outraged his contemporaries, and even today his works have the capacity to astound listeners.

Jonathan Harvey and the IRCAM Factor

To coincide with its first visit to the UK, Sara Mohr-Pietsch explores the work of IRCAM, the French organisation dedicated to contemporary musical research and production, hearing the music and thoughts of composer Jonathan Harvey as well as various musical personalities associated with it. With Gilbert Nouno, one of their finest electronic musicians/technicians, director Frank Madelener, composers Sally Beamish and Martin Suckling, who attended the IRCAM workshops in Glasgow, as well as Hugh MacDonald, formerly the Director of the SSO.

The programme features Harvey's second string quartet as well as excerpts from Mortuos Plangos, Bird concerto for pianosong and Wagner Dream.

Ivan Hewett looks at the career of Edgar Varese, one of the musical world's great outsiders, with reminiscences from his friends and colleagues. Varese was a very original musical figure, following no school and recognising no tradition. His music outraged his contemporaries, and even today his works have the capacity to astound listeners.

*20080822

Andrew Mcgregor travels to Cologne where he explores the rich and distinguished legacy of the Gurzenich Orchestra, one of Germany's leading symphony orchestras.

With music director Markus Stenz, manager Birgit Heinemann and journalist Sabine Weber.

Prayer

By Istvan Orkeny.

Hungarian-born actress and writer Mia Nadasi introduces and reads her own translation of a moving short story by Istvan Orkeny, one of the most significant figures in post-war Hungarian literature.

Prayer is a story told by a mother who must identify the body of her dead son, an emotional journey from denial to acceptance that unfolds with quiet passion.

Andrew McGregor travels to Cologne where he explores the rich and distinguished legacy of the Gurzenich Orchestra, one of Germany's leading symphony orchestras. With music director Markus Stenz, manager Birgit Heinemann and journalist Sabine Weber.

*20080829

A profile of the New York Philharmonic, one of the world's oldest and most famous orchestras, which features in two Proms this week.

The programme explores what the orchestra means to New Yorkers and the city of New York, particularly bearing in mind the appointment of Alan Gilbert as its first ever music director to be born and raised in New York.

With contributions from Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the Orchestra, some of the orchestral players as well as current music director Lorin Maazel.

Plus James Jolly and Rob Cowan live in the Royal Albert Hall provding critics' perspectives on the orchestra.

A profile of the New York Philharmonic, one of the world's oldest and most famous orchestras, which features in two Proms this week. The programme explores what the orchestra means to New Yorkers and the city of New York, particularly bearing in mind the appointment of Alan Gilbert as its first ever music director to be born and raised in New York.

With contributions from Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the Orchestra, some of the orchestral players as well as current music director Lorin Maazel. Plus James Jolly and Rob Cowan live in the Royal Albert Hall provding critics' perspectives on the orchestra.

*20090906

Celebrated choral director Simon Halsey joins Penny Gore to talk about why singing matters, Georgia Mann reports from the Proms Singing Day and there's a chance to hear from singing enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes.

*20100219

A talk by Robert Hanks on what George Orwell called "good bad books" - novels (loosely interpreted) that set out to entertain, but which one way or another do something rather more impressive.

Some books that might be mentioned:

1.

The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes (1942).

On the surface, The Daffodil Affair an extravagant and elaborate detective story-cum-thriller, set against the background of the Blitz and featuring, alongside Innes's regular protagonist, the intellectual Inspector Appleby, a mathematical horse, a witch-girl, a paedophilia-obsessed policeman and a tribe of Amazonian headhunters.

But Innes was also J.

I.

M.

Stewart, author of the final volume of the Oxford History of English Literature and a leading authority on modernism; and under this novel's fantastical surface is a portrait of a civilisation suffering a collective nervous breakdown, retreating from war and the threat of apocalypse into superstition - a portrait that drew inspiration from T.

S.

Eliot and in its turn inspired Graham Greene.

2.

Gamesmanship, Oneupmanship and Lifemanship by Stephen Potter (1947-52).

Most people wouldn't regard Potter's trilogy (I do not speak of Supermanship - the Godfather Part III of his oeuvre) as a novel at all; they take the form of a set of comic manuals on achieving sporting and social success.

But the books do almost everything you demand of a sophisticated novel: there are vividly drawn characters (Gatling-Fenn, Godfrey Plaste of "Plaste's Placid Salutation", the obnoxious Odoreida); there is plot - there are far too many plots, in fact - and incident; and there is a thoroughly modern and promiscuous mingling of the real and the fictional.

Above all, there is an over-arching satirical vision - Potter is a moralist, who detects and despises in our a society a willingness to believe that being good is only a matter of persuading other people you are good.

3.

The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff (1956).

It's a truism that historical novels say more about the time they're written than the time they supposedly portray: and Rosemary Sutcliff's novels together form one of the most vivid meditations on what it meant to be British in the years after the Second World War.

Dawn Wind and The Silver Branch, set in the dying years of the Roman Empire, are about the agonies of imperial retreat, seen from the point of view of a colonial power; The Shield Ring, about a colony of Vikings in the Lake District holding out against the Norman yoke, sees colonialism from another angle: in the era of the Malaysian emergency, the Mau-Mau rebellion and the first stages of the Vietnam War, it is a sympathetic portrayal of asymmetric warfare.

But it is also, in an age when "You've never had it so good", a lament for a people exhausted by conflict, resigning themselves to a new world that promises to prove infinitely drearier and more wearing than the old.

4.

Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (2008).

On the one hand, it's a fast-paced space-opera about a sex-robot zipping about a solar system denuded of human life - and what's a girl to do without the man for whom she's been hardwired to go weak at the titanium knees? On the other hand, it's an examination of free will and the difficulty of human existence in a universe where god is dead; it's a warning of the emptiness and hostility of the galaxy beyond our doorstep; and it's a beehive of allusions, from The Perils of Pauline to Isaac Asimov via P.

G.

Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler.

5.

Swamp Thing, issues 21-64, by Alan Moore (1983-87).

To begin with, the Swamp Thing was a scientist, Alec Holland, transformed by radiation into a dripping green monster, part man, part vegetable, haunting the swamps of Louisiana: then along came Alan Moore, a Northampton-born writer, best known for writing science-fiction strips in the British comic 2000AD, to reinvent the Swamp Thing as a spirit - often a vengeful one - of the earth.

Over the next four years, he transformed a moderately popular American horror comic into a wildly inventive, ironic, mystical contemplation of nature, sexuality and the necessity of evil; and with a cast of fully-realised characters and a rhythmic, descriptive prose style, he transformed the understanding of what comics could do.

1934 In History20090717

32 Fouettes20110815

Any ballerina preparing the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake will be acutely aware that, as well as a long evening of intense dancing, they'll be facing one of 'those' theatrical moments.

The execution of 32 'fouettes en tournant', spins requiring the dancer to move from a flat foot to a point and turn a complete 360 degrees, is a massive physical and psychological challenge.

So how can you stop it preying on the mind and disrupting the rest of your performance? Is it one of those frustrating showpieces that have crept in to performances as part of the less savoury 'showing off' element of theatrical performance and become a crude measure of an artist's ability?

These theatrical Everests also crop up in opera and classical theatre.

Hamlets know that huge chunks of their audience will be measuring them on their ability to deliver the famous soliloquies; opera singers playing roles like the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Magic Flute or the Calaf in Puccini's Turandot are horribly aware that one climactic moment - Holle Rache and Nessun Dorma respectively - will decide the success or failure of their evening's work.

Samantha Bond, who trained as a ballerina herself, is joined by the former Royal Ballet principal Deborah Bull and the celebrated actor Sir Derek Jacobi to discuss their experience of scaling these theatrical summits.

They might be a stumbling block for the successful performance, but, equally, they might be the difference between the very good performer and performance, and the truly outstanding.

More particularly, their importance is bound up with the business of what an often very well-informed audience expects of its performers.

Clear the bar, jump through the hoop of flames and you are sovereign of all you survey, re-establishing the magic of theatrical show.

Fail and, like the ice dancer who has clattered to the floor after failing to land the triple toe loop, you have to pick yourself up and re-assemble the audience's trust and involvement in the performance.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Samantha Bond leads a discussion about the mixed blessings of theatrical challenges.

A Country Doctor2009111920100319

A Darker Shade Of Green20121025

In 'A Darker Shade of Green' Twenty Minutes examines how 1930s writers, artists and composers, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, used the pastoral mode to address the legacy of World War One.

A Herball For The 21st Century20120731

A mysterious discovery prompts Anna Pavord to celebrate her botanical hero William Turner.

A genuinely mysterious story of a 17th century memorial bust, which "disappeared" during the London Blitz only to be rediscovered seventy years later, leads the popular gardening writer and broadcaster Anna Pavord to celebrate her botanical hero, the sadly neglected William Turner.

According to the popular gardening writer and broadcaster Anna Pavord, the 16th century botanical writer William Turner has been neglected for far too long. It is her belief that his "New Herball" - the first plant book ever to be written in English - deserves much wider recognition today. She tells his story in the garden of the church where he is buried in the City of London - St Olave's, Hart Street - linking it in with the more recent and genuinely mysterious tale of the memorial bust of his son, Peter, which disappeared from the same church during the Blitz, only to re-emerge 70 years later.

As the church restores this bust, Anna explains why she hopes that its reinstallation will create the opportunity to remember not just the younger but also the older Turner, and all he has done for gardeners past and present.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

A History Of The Interval2011051020120123

We know that the dramatists of Ancient Greece presented their work in a festival that lasted days and was both competitive and religious. But, following the inexorable horror of Oedipus's tragedy, did the audience have a break? Some dramas of the Middle Ages actually began in the interval, inasmuch as they were performed during pauses in the liturgy. Shakespeare's plays were originally performed without a break, though members of the audience came and went as they pleased. But by the middle of the 19th century full curtain calls were taken at the end of the first act. Today, at Glyndebourne, no matter how urgent the drama, the performance stops long enough for everyone to have a full meal and a snooze, before returning to the opera. But the National Theatre's current production of 'Frankenstein', which lasts two hours, is played straight through, to the discomfort of some of those not forewarned.

In this interval feature the writer and broadcaster Paul Allen explores the interval itself. He talks to a conductor, a director, performers, a bar person and audience members to find out how and when the interval came about; its purpose, physical, social and economic; and its dramatic and musical effect.

Producer: Julian May.

Paul Allen on the history of the interval, from Ancient Greece to today's concert halls.

A Nice Pair Of Handstitched English Shoes20110728

In 1886, Vincent Van Gogh visited a Paris flea market and bought a pair of worn-out boots. They didn't fit. So he painted them instead.

Writer Ian Sansom investigates the artistic, cultural and philosophical history of shoes - from God instructing Moses to take off his sandals in front of the burning bush, to the cult of the Louboutin - and goes in search of a nice pair of handbenched English shoes.

He explores the Freudian shoe, fairy tale shoes, Van Gogh's boots (as interpreted by Heidegger and Derrida), Holocaust shoes, Jesus sandals, killer heels and poems and images of people traipsing and fleeing.

Producer Sara Davies.

Writer Ian Sansom reflects on the literary significance of footwear.

A Postillion Struck By Lightning20130806

Ian Sansom has been waiting 50 years to be struck by lightning. It is a noble aspiration for a writer: hoping that the electrical bolt of inspiration will hit and that the next book will be easy.

But is it really ever like that?

Ian says: ?Maybe it?s just me. Writers are inspired, of course. All the time. Kissed by the gods. Beloved by their muses. Seduced by their characters. Overwhelmed by plots. Overcome with ideas. I?ve not been overcome with an idea since... I don?t know when. And the closest I?ve come to inspiration is a slight physical discomfort.?

Here Ian Sansom and Belfast?s Wireless Mystery Theatre explore the life of a writer and the nature of inspiration.

A Russian Bloomsbury2011080620120118

Lesley Chamberlain explores the 'aesthetic Bolsheviks,' the modernist artistic community of 1920s Moscow and Petersburg who embraced socialism. These 'Bloomsberries' were leading intellectuals before and after the revolution. They lived unconventionally, guided by a love of pleasure, a sexual openness and a passionate formal interest in art. The critic (and later reluctant secret policeman) Osip Brik and his dancer wife Lili were the social centre of the group. The poet Mayakovsky and the photographer Rodchenko were key figures too. For a year or so the future was bright. Then it arrived in the dark shape of Stalin.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Lesley Chamberlain on the 'aesthetic Bolsheviks', a 1920s Russian artistic community.

A Soundscape Of Colour: The World Of Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008)20090123
A String To Your Bow20100817

Join Andrew McGregor as we step inside the bow maker's workshop, following the master craftsman who needs to be engineer, woodcarver and silversmith. We reveal how precision and technical skill are only the foundation of the art and examine the modern day issues facing bow makers - such as how Pernambuco, a rare Brazilian hardwood which has been used in the making of string bows for over 250 years, has been driven to the point of extinction. With insights from violinists Rachel Podger and Daniel Hope we discover the difference a good bow can make and how the bow continues to evolve today.

Andrew McGregor explores the intricate craft of making a violin bow.

A Tale Told By Moonlight20090529
A Walk Around Camden20110325

Thousands of visitors flock to Camden Market in London each weekend. It is one of the capital's most popular visitor attractions. Likewise the streets of Camden Town vibrate with energy on Fridays and Saturdays, as revellers enjoy the music and nightlife.

Many associate Camden's enduring appeal with the 1960s counter-culture movement. But 'rough around the edges' Camden has a rich cultural heritage, as Alan Dein discovers in A Walk Around Camden.

Alan Dein explores the rich cultural heritage of Camden Town in London.

A Warning To The Curious20110613

A classic spine-chilller by M. R James, the 'father' of the modern ghost story, set on the windswept Suffolk coast, in which an amateur archaeologist pays the ultimate price for his curiousity.

In 'A Warning to the Curious', an amateur archaelologist from London, arrives in the seaside town of Seaburgh to search for the legendary silver Crown of Anglia which is believed to be hidden along the sandy shores of the North Sea. His research uncovers the tale of the late William Ager, the guardian of the crown, which leads him to unearth the ancient relic on a remote beach. However, having made his discovery, he becomes convinced that he is being followed, and desperate to escape the ghostly presence, decides his only hope is to return the crown to the desolate beach where it was unearthed - with tragic and terrifying consequences.

M R James (1862-1936) was a writer and scholar whose ghost stories are widely regarded as some of the best in English literature. He spent much of his childhood on the East Anglian coast, and the fictional town of 'Seaburg', in which this story is set, is based on the Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh.

Read by Alex Jennings

Produced and abridged by Justine Willett.

Alex Jennings reads MR James's spine-chilller set on the windswept coast of East Anglia.

A Woman Without A Country20100823

"I saw her that spring between the third and fourth races at Campino with the Conte de Capra - the one with the mustache"

John Cheever's classic short story is about a young woman whose moment of scandal in suburban America causes her to flee to Europe, starting with Genoa. But she later turns up at all the best watering-holes across the continent. She is restless. She is homesick. Then a momentous decision to return to America seems best for her, until that song is heard at Idlewild Airport...

The story of a young American woman, who graces the

best watering holes of Europe, ever restless...

Read by Nathan Osgood

Producer Duncan Minshull.

John Cheever's story about a young American woman who graces Europe's glamour spots.

Almost Like Literature

Among Animals And Plants20101217

Andrey Platonov is perhaps the greatest Russian writer to have written of the worst years of Stalin's dictatorship. Robert Chandler, his translator, introduces a major lost talent. Platonov's novels (like The Foundation Pit) and stories (like Among Animals and Plants) tell of a whole country undergoing extraordinary changes. The impact of revolutionary upheaval is registered by Platonov in his remaking of the very language of his storytelling. In a world where utopia was promised the masses as they toiled in ghastly conditions in fear of what they thought let alone what they said or did, language is set adrift. Platonov noticed this and made stories from the terrfiying new world that manage to sound as if the world itself had been started again. 'Scum' Stalin wrote on the manuscript of one of Platonov's stories and he near disappeared from view and wasn't published properly in Russia until after the end of the USSR. And only now is he arriving in English, but his is a revelation worth waiting for.

Rober Chandler introduces the work of Russian writer Andrey Platonov.

An Interview With Neil Tennant20131025

To accompany BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival in Gateshead, Philip Dodd talk to the singer Neil Tennant who grew up in the fishing port of North Shields and went to a Catholic school in Newcastle. He talks to Philip about the influence of the North East on his career, which began in publishing and magazines. Last year the Pet Shop Boys performed at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics and they have just returned from a tour which has taken them to 29 countries.

Producer: Neil Trevithick.

Singer Neil Tennant, who grew up in North Shields, talks to Philip Dodd about his career.

Angelology20111223

This is the time of year when we are surrounded by images of angels, many looking rather benevolent, friendly musical creatures, or appearing as sweet chubby cherubs.

But in the biblical tradition angels are rather more alarming, and there is a strange and wonderful hierarchy of heavenly creatures to be found, including those with four faces (human, ox, lion and griffin), huge shining beings with flaming swords, and those with no human aspect whatsoever, looking like great wheels covered in eyes. And as for cherubs - well, Thomas Aquinas believed Lucifer to be a fallen angel of that very rank.

The Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James's, Piccadilly, takes a look at the heavenly host in all its strange and alien glory. Christmas cards may never be the same again.

The Rev Lucy Winkett explores traditional images of angels.

Are You Musical?20120728

Exploring how in Edwardian Britain Tchaikovsky became a symbol of male homosexuality.

Are you 'musical'? Tchaikovsky's Pathetique and the making of the modern homosexual...

In a scene in E. M. Foster's novel, "Maurice", a group of pre-war Cambridge undergraduates enjoy a performance of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony on a pianola in one of their rooms. Later on, Maurice Hall, the hero, learns that the composer was gay. In the novel, the music of Tchaikovsky, like the literature of Ancient Greece, becomes a private symbol of male homosexuality to be shared and understood by a group of like-minded initiates.

Other writers and artists felt the influence of the composer too. A group of social radicals embraced Tchaikovsky and his music as an instance of how creativity and sexuality were intimately linked. The popular use of the word 'musical' to mean "homosexual" shows just how intimate this link was.

In this interval feature, the writer and musicologist Dr. Philip Bullock looks at what was known about Tchaikovsky in Britain before the Great War, tracing his changing reputation through popular biographies, programme notes and the gay subculture of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Are You Sleeping, Brother John20130523

"Frère Jacques" is among the most widely-known songs on earth - existing in a huge variety of languages, from Finnish ("Jaako Kulta") to Mandarin ("Liang Zhi Lao Hu"). Its origins, meaning and influence on global musical culture belie its childish simplicity; it's been used as a political protest song, an emblem of "la bonne France" after the Second World War, and is parodied today by schoolchildren in playgrounds across France. Even Gustav Mahler famously referenced the rhyme in his First Symphony, transforming it into a minor-key funeral march, and warping the song's flavour of innocence and childhood.

Peggy Reynolds takes us on a journey through the lavish lifestyle of snoozy Dominican friars at Matins, the blood and gore of the surgeon's table, and the religious persecutions and migrations of the 17th century.

Arne's Olympic Flop20120528

The only known setting of Metastasio's L'Olimpiade by an English composer is one by Thomas Arne - and it has disappeared. Piers Burton-Page tells the story of one of the lesser-known catastrophes of English music.

As I Went To Walsingham20090227
Bach On Screen20100212

Ballet And Musicians20120822

Catherine Bott challenges balletomane Jonathan Keates and former prima ballerina Deborah Bull to argue with the contention, shared by a number of orchestral musicians, that the clatter, sound and fury of dance isn't always an asset when it comes to the performance of ballet music. Is a Prom which puts the music centre-stage actually the best way to appreciate the composer's work? Or on the contrary, denuded of its dance narrative, athleticism and movement does the music struggle for impact?

Fierce argument, irreverent anecdote and engaging enthusiasm are all in the mix as Catherine risks the wrath of the ballet world.

Catherine Bott and guests on the benefits of ballet music without accompanying dance.

Barcarolle20101125

Polly Samson's new short story about a frustrated piano tuner captures in exquisite detail the pressures of growing up as a child prodigy.

Richard's career as a concert pianist was cut short when he suffered a terrible case of stage fright. He now tunes pianos for a living but still dreams of performing Chopin's Barcarolle in front of an audience.

Polly Samson is one of Britain's finest contemporary short story writers. Her new collection, Perfect Lives, comes out in November.

Reader: Rory Kinnear is currently playing Hamlet at the National Theatre.

Abridger: Viv Beeby

Producer: Gemma Jenkins.

Polly Samson's new short story about a pianist whose career was cut short by stage fright.

Baroque Busted20130306

Sara Mohr-Pietsch and guests live from Broadcasting House answer any questions you have about Baroque music as part of Radio 3's Baroque Spring. Email us your questions: baroquespring@bbc.co.uk.

Baroque Busted20130311

Sara Mohr-Pietsch and guests are in front of a live audience in London's Roundhouse, answering your questions about Baroque music. Email us your questions: baroquespring@bbc.co.uk.

Bartok And The Good Master20100822

Before a performance of Bartok's Canatata Profana, the writer Meg Rosoff recalls The Good Master, a classic children's novel by the Hungarian-American writer Kate Seredy.

Kate Seredy wrote The Good Master after she emigrated to America. A vivid evocation of life on the Hungarian plains at the beginning of the twentieth century, it is also a lament for the end of a traditional way of life which Bartok himself explores in his music. The writer Meg Rosoff loved the book as a child and remembers in particular the attractions of a simple, seasonal lifestyle - horse-riding, spinning and weaving, country fairs and gypsy dancing, cooking and feasting - to a girl such as herself, who grew up in the suburbs and shopped in supermarkets. Returning to the book as an adult, she finds new depths in it and new links with the powerful music of Bartok.

Reader: Christine Kavanagh

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Meg Rosoff celebrates a Hungarian children's classic novel by a contemporary of Bartok.

Beastly London20090802

Beethoven: Grosse Fuge20111003

It's adored for its logic, beauty, and total honesty, but Beethoven's 'Grosse Fuge' has also been branded one of the most mystifying of all the composer's works. Stephen Johnson pulls apart this string quartet masterpiece, which Beethoven himself subtitled 'somewhat free, somewhat scholarly', and explores how on earth we should go about listening to it.

Stephen Johnson offers an insight into the mechanics of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge.

Bittersweet Symphony20120509

'Symphonies are a lot of work to write. Too much. One has to have something really appalling happen to one, that lets loose the fount of inspiration.' (William Walton)

Walton can be a composer who divides opinion but his First Symphony is generally acknowledged as a masterpiece. But what was his "appalling" inspiration for this turbulent and deeply felt work?

Louise Fryer visits some landmarks of Walton's 1930s London and talks to Walton expert Stephen Johnson and conductor Andrew Litton to tell a story of love, heartache, struggle and triumph.

British Wagnerism20130728

Simon Russell Beale explores the impact of Wagner on turn-of-the-century British culture, from the works of Aubrey Beardsley and George Bernard Shaw to Elgar, Bantock and Rutland Boughton. He talks to Emma Sutton and David Huckvale.

Celebrating St Nicolas20081218

Louise Fryer uncovers the story behind Britten's cantata St Nicolas.

Chance Would Be A Fine Thing20101022

John Sessions reads Chance Would be a Fine Thing, an unpublished short story by Anthony Burgess about two middle-aged women and their ill-fated experiments with Tarot cards.

The story was discovered among the author's unpublished papers in Monaco after his death in November 1993. Written in the early 1960s and partly inspired by T.S. Eliot's Aristophanic melodrama, Sweeney Agonistes, Burgess's story is about two middle-aged women and their ill-fated experiments with Tarot cards.

Burgess himself was fascinated by the idea of cartomancy (or predicting the future with cards). He designed his own set of Tarot cards for domestic use, and, when working as a schoolmaster in Oxfordshire in the 1950s, he disguised himself as 'Professor Sosostris the famous clairvoyant' and told fortunes at a village fete.

Although he is best known for his full-length novels such as A Clockwork Orange, Earthly Powers and Inside Mr Enderby, Anthony Burgess was frequently attracted to the short story form. He wrote more than 40 short stories throughout his literary career. A volume of his Collected Short Stories, edited by Andrew Biswell who has written a biography of Burgess, is due for publication in 2013.

John Sessions reads Chance Would be a Fine Thing, an unpublished story by Anthony Burgess.

Chance Would Be A Fine Thing20110831

John Sessions reads Chance Would be a Fine Thing, an unpublished short story by Anthony Burgess about two middle-aged women and their ill-fated experiments with Tarot cards.

The story was discovered among the author's unpublished papers in Monaco after his death in November 1993. Written in the early 1960s and partly inspired by T.S. Eliot's Aristophanic melodrama, Sweeney Agonistes, Burgess's story is about two middle-aged women and their ill-fated experiments with Tarot cards.

Burgess himself was fascinated by the idea of cartomancy (or predicting the future with cards). He designed his own set of Tarot cards for domestic use, and, when working as a schoolmaster in Oxfordshire in the 1950s, he disguised himself as 'Professor Sosostris the famous clairvoyant' and told fortunes at a village fete.

Although he is best known for his full-length novels such as A Clockwork Orange, Earthly Powers and Inside Mr Enderby, Anthony Burgess was frequently attracted to the short story form. He wrote more than 40 short stories throughout his literary career. A volume of his Collected Short Stories, edited by Andrew Biswell who has written a biography of Burgess, is due for publication in 2013.

John Sessions reads Anthony Burgess's short story Chance Would be a Fine Thing.

Children Of The Revolution20100730

Lesley Chamberlain tells the stories of some of the millions of children displaced by the Russian Revolution. The impact of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Civil War and above all the Famine of 1919-21 not only devastated the Russian population but left millions of children without care. An American relief organisation put the number at five million as early as 1918. Through the 1920s unofficial Russian estimates rose to as much as nine million. This figure was put forward by the Culture Commissar Lunacharsky who was among many top Soviet dignitaries of the day who, away from the front line of revolutionary politics, tried to relieve the problem of the gangs of sick and feral children who were in evidence across the country. Leading figures in the campaign to do something about the 'bezprezornye' included the wives of leading Bolsheviks Lenin, Zinoviev and Kalinin. Many troubled articles appeared in the Soviet press through the 1920s. The sting in the tale of this story is the use Communist ideology made of children in general and the feral children in particular. While investing heavily in the image of the child as the promise of a golden future, the more ardent ideologists felt that 'the deserted children, not having grown up in family homes, and therefore free of bourgeois ideas of morality, offered magnificent human material for the work of creating a new Communist generation.' These were the words of the only observer of the situation ever to have written a book about the subject, an emigre and former Duma member from tsarist days, Vladimir Zenzinov. Zenzinov, a friend of the novelist Nabokov, wrote the book in his first years in exile. This talk brings this subject to the attention of British audiences for the first time.

Lesley Chamberlain tells the stories of children displaced by the Russian Revolution.

Clandon Park, Surrey20130317

Katie Derham is joined by Antiques Roadshow expert Lars Tharp and the National Trust's curator at Clandon Park Katherine Sharp on a tour of Clandon Park, a Palladian mansion built just outside Guildford in the 1730s as a lavish entertainment space for the wealthy Onslow family. Its treasures include the Marble Hall itself, as well as a luxurious state bed, some stunning 18th-century wallpaper, an orchestra of Meissen monkeys, and a richly decorated grotto.

Concerning Franklin And His Gallant Crew20100520

Concert Number One20121114

November 14th is the 90th anniversary of BBC Radio. Using extensive archive, Simon Elmes recaptures the spirit of the pioneering music broadcasts around 1922 and examines the technical and artistic challenges of transporting the living sound of an orchestra into the mechanised world of the wireless.

Cosmic Scotland20130802

To tie in with tonight's Prom which includes Naresh Sohal's new BBC commission The Cosmic Dance performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Janice Forsyth is joined by Scottish novelist A L Kennedy and actor Maureen Beattie to illuminate ideas about the universe from a uniquely Scottish perspective. Including readings from Edwin Morgan's poetry, which often traces the relationship between Scotland and the universe, as in his landmark work From Glasgow to Saturn.

Czeslaw Milosz: Poet-witness20120316

To complement a concert featuring Lutoslawski's Double Concerto, poet Fiona Sampson considers the poetic mission of his exact contemporary, Czeslaw Milosz, through a selection of poems from his most haunting collection, Rescue (1945).

The Lithuanian-born, Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet and novelist Czeslaw Milosz was arguably the twentieth century's pre-eminent poet-witness. He was to see his home country invaded, witness the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, the destruction of the ghetto, the doomed uprising of the Poles against the Germans, and the Soviet clamp-down in Poland and Lithuania.

Milosz saw it as his poetic responsibility to give voice to the dead and to the still-suffering - "What is poetry which does not save / Nations or people?" (from his poem, 'Dedication')

But importantly, he saw his task not as an elegist, but as a poet who should keep the dead alive and remind the living of earthly joys. The defining theme of his poetry is a sense of the writer's responsibility to humankind: 'I attend to matters I have been charged with".

Presented by Fiona Sampson

Produced by Emma Harding.

Fiona Sampson considers the work of the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz.

Dance Of The Daleks20100724

How do you make a sink-plunger seem scary? Matthew Sweet, who spent the Saturday tea-times of his youth peering at the television from behind the sofa, time-travels through Doctor Who's 47-year history to investigate the weird and wonderful soundworld of its incidental music. He talks with some of the composers who have contributed, in very different musical styles, to the enduring success of the programme over the decades.

Matthew Sweet investigates the weird and wonderful incidental music of Doctor Who.

David Thomson20110304

A talk on the life and work of radio producer and writer David Thomson by Tim Dee. Thomson, who died in 1988 wrote brilliant and original books on hares and seals and made radio programmes on the same subjects. He also wrote three separate volumes of an autobiography - one set in Nairn, one in Ireland and one in Camden Town. His books are still known, some of his radio programmes survive in the BBC archives, but his achievements, Tim Dee (also a radio producer and writer on the natural world) argues, deserve to be more widely celebrated.

Tim Dee celebrates the life and work of radio producer and writer David Thomson.

Day Of Wrath20100129

The Dies Irae chant originated in the 13th Century and served as a potent reminder of the impending Day of Judgement, much feared in the Medieval mindset. For centuries, it held its place in the Requiem Mass, but with the dawning of the Romantic age in the 19th Century, Hector Berlioz employed the melody of the chant in his Symphonie Fantastique and began a secular trend which was to preoccupy and fascinate composers. So, Liszt revelled in its macabre associations in his Totentanz and Rachmaninov incorporated the distinctive four-note motif into many of his works. When the Dies Irae became an optional part of the Requiem Mass in the mid-20th Century, its grim foreboding found a new home in horror film scores, perhaps most famously in Wendy Carlos' electronic rendition of the melody in the opening sequence to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch traces the journey of this chant with the help of Jeremy Summerly, David Nice and David Huckvale and discovers that the ear-worm of the Dies Irae is hard to shake off.

Denglisch No More?2010061820100810

Award-winning German broadcasters Thomas Franke and Gesine Dornbluth explore the seemingly unstoppable rising tide of English language being used today in German, and recent - not entirely successful - attempts to mount a resistance.

When Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, announced in February that no longer would their stations have "Kiss and Ride Zones" or offer a "Call-a-Bike" service, it became a minor international news item. Because, for generations now, contemporary German has become littered with forms of English words. And they're not just those ubiquitous neologisms such as "Handy" for mobile phone and "Beamer" for projector. Says Thomas "in daily German you find a "dating agentur", where "singles" are looking for partners, um ein "Date" zu haben. If they are successful they maybe have a "candlelightdinner" and later they hopefully practise "safer sex". In the morning they go to the "Back shop" around the corner to buy bread." And, he adds, when he recently called someone at the topically Germanising Deutsche Bahn, his secretary regretted that he was "in einem Meeting". So much for new German brooms.

Producer Simon Elmes.

Thomas Franke on the growth of English language being used today in German.

Dimanche20120425

In Dimanche by Irène Némirovsky a mother and daughter confront the vagaries of love, and womanhood. Dimanche is selected from Irène Némirovsky's, Dimanche and Other Stories which is the first collection of her short stories to appear in English.

Irène Némirovsky is best known for her celebrated novel series, Suite Française, which was first published, posthumously, in French in 2004. She was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became an established novelist. When the Germans occupied France during WWII she was prevented from publishing her work. She died in Auschwitz in 1942.

Her novels, Suite Francaise, Dolce and Fire in the Blood have all been serialised on Radio 4.

Reader Emma Fielding.

Translated by Bridget Patterson.

Abridged and produced by Elizabeth Allard.

Irene Nemirovsky's story of a mother and daughter confronting the vagaries of love.

Dr Rowan Williams On Dostoevsky20090409
Dracula's Guest20120418

The great Irish writer Bram Stoker died 100 years ago today. Celebrated now for his great gothic masterpiece, 'Dracula', in his lifetime he was best known as the stage manager of the stage actor Henry Irving.

In commemoration of his centenary, this high-gothic tale, set in the Austrian Alps, features the enigmatic Count himself.

Reader: Bertie Carvel.

Abridged and produced by: Justine Willett.

Bram Stoker's classic story featuring his great gothic creation Count Dracula.

Dusk Walk20100908

"Walking at dusk means walking at the magic hour of transformation and metamorphosis, that charged time when the underworld opens up, the mysterious time of transition, of hauntings and sightings. The French call dusk l'heure bleue, and it can be the most beautiful time of day..."

The novelist Michele Roberts closes the iron gate behind her and takes to the streets of Kiev, as things are starting to lose their daytime definition. It's still boiling though, as darkness comes. And in the next half hour she encounters packs of dogs, inspirational saints and pretty girls boldly dressed for their own evening stolls.

It all happens on the streets of Kiev.

In this specailly commissioned essay, novelist Michele Roberts

takes to the streets of Kiev, to find out what happens in the transforming

hour of dusk...

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Novelist Michele Roberts takes to the streets of Kiev to observe the city at dusk.

Edwin Morgan20101209

Edwin Morgan was considered Scotland's national poet. He lived almost his entire life in Glasgow, and much of his poetry reflected his love of the city. Morgan's work also stretched beyond the city boundaries, and his imagination took him around the world and into the realms of science and space travel.

Edwin Morgan died in August 2010, and this programme is Liz Lochhead's tribute to the man and his work.

Liz Lochhead presents a tribute to the late Morgan, regarded as Scotland's national poet.

Elgar And Bantock In Birmingham20130821

Edward Elgar was first Peyton Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham, and he was succeeded in 1908 by Granville Bantock. Elgar's stint wasn't much of a success, his lectures were considered embarrassing. By contrast Bantock held the post for more than 20 years and made Birmingham into a real centre for music. Fiona Clampin tells the story of the passing of this chair from one to the other illustrated with the extensive collection of letters written by both men held in the archives of the Elgar Birthplace Museum near Worcester and material from the University of Birmingham's special collections.

Producer: James Cook.

Elgar's Coronation Ode20120713

Stephen Johnson explores Elgar's Coronation Ode, written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902.

Entertaining Toscanini2012072520130412

Suzy Klein looks at the drama engendered by Toscanini's visits to the BBCSO in the 1930s.

Many of the world's great conductors have stood on the podium in front of the BBC Symphony Orchestra but perhaps none has been quite as starry as Arturo Toscanini who conducted them in the 1930s. Suzy Klein sifts through memos and letters preserved at the BBC Written Archive Centre to reveal the BBC's attempts to lure the great man back to its Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts in 1938.

As the Maestro's visit grows closer, memos, telegrams and letters begin to fly, exposing a range of preoccupations among the Corporation's top brass. Will Toscanini be tempted away from the BBC to American rivals, the NBC? Why won't the temperamental Maestro meet the King and Queen? And, most curiously, what sort of party would Toscanini be willing to attend? Among the BBC staff expending their efforts on these important questions are Director General Sir John Reith and his Director of Music, Dr Adrian Boult. Including contemporary recordings with the BBC SO conducted by Toscanini and readings of primary-source, never-before-broadcast material from Jonathan Keeble.

David Papp, producer.

First broadcast in July 2012.

Entrance To The Underworld2009081420100526

Eyeing The Spymaster20090410
Falstaff: The Bad Man We All Need20101008

Before the broadcast of Elgar's 'Falstaff' Paul Allen, who is writing a book about the character, reflects on the fascination of composers and writers with this larger than life figure.One of the first composers to use Falstaff as a subject was the much-maligned Salieri. Nicolai, Verdi, Vaughan Williams and Elgar followed. What makes a character who's not even the official protagonist of two of the three plays he's in so irresistible? Paul Allen finds the answer in two contemporary plays where Falstaff reappears under a different name and in different circumstances: Alan Bennett's 'The History Boys' and Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem'. In this illustrated talk he argues that Falstaff, perhaps Shakespeare's greatest invention, is the bad man we all need in order to grow up, to be - in the broadest sense of the word - educated. But there is a price to be paid for this attachment to the young. Falstaff must always die.

prod: Julian May.

Paul Allen on the fascination of composers and writers with the figure of Falstaff.

Farewell Symphony, By Stephen Wyatt20090910

Feeding The Bears20130901

In the interval to his Big Bear Hunt at the Proms this afternoon, writer and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen pursues his ursine quarry from the world of music into the real-life beary environment of Whipsnade Zoo at feeding time. He hears from Steph Baker, Whipsnade's "bear presenter", the grizzly facts of bear-life and from visitors about the eternal fascination the animals hold for humans.

Fiddler In The Tower20111026

Award-winning British violinist Daniel Hope visits the Tower of London with violin, and tells the little-known story of German/Brazilian Fernando Buschman (1890-1915) the virtuoso violinist and engineer held and executed there when charged with espionage in World War One.

Buschman's wartime existence comprised of a string of still-born entrepreneurial adventures from aircraft design to cheese and vegetable export, with, allegedly, spying on the Royal Navy also thrown in! His big love was his violin and when, in 1915, he was arrested and condemned to face a firing squad at the Tower he asked for his instrument to be brought to his cell. The night before his execution Buschman played away, the violin echoing and keening round the Tower.

In the Chapel of the Tower at night-time, beside the tombs of famed Tower victims Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Sir Thomas More, Daniel performs the music Buschman played, tries to fathom what motivated this man and imagines himself facing those final fated hours.

* This is the first time the story has been told on the BBC.

* Daniel performs especially for the programme the Sarabande from Bach's D Minor Partita BWV1004, Braga's Angel's Serenade, and music from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci - all works Buschman had with him at the time.

* Daniel interviews Bridget Clifford of the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, and Dr Nicholas Hiley of the University of Kent puts in context German espionage at the beginning of World War I.

* Daniel Hope is still searching for Buschman's violin and would welcome any clues.

Daniel Hope tells the story of Fernando Buschman a violinist executed for spying in WWI.

Final Exposure20090128
Fresh Bait, By Joe Dunthorne20130531

Joe Dunthorne's original short story, commissioned by Radio 3, is about two Welsh non-identical twin sisters who learn about what makes them different when they encounter an unsavoury character in Tenby.

Readers: Catrin Stewart and Carys Eleri

Writer: Joe Dunthorne

Producer: Robert Howells.

Friedrich Nietzsche's Horrible Music20130830

The awe-inspiring thinker who declared 'God is dead' was also, unexpectedly, a composer.

The first time Richard Wagner heard a composition by his closest friend he had to leave the room, crying with laughter. The leading conductor of the day dismissed Nietzsche brutally. 'Several times', von Bülow wrote, 'I had to ask myself: is the whole thing a joke? You yourself describe your music as "horrible"- it is, actually, more horrible than you realise...'

And yet, Tom Service discovers, the music written by the young philosopher is not all that bad.

The author of Also sprach Zarathustra produced piano pieces, songs and even sketches for symphonies. Had he not been comparing himself with the greatest living composer, he might well have pursued a career as a professional musician. Instead he became the philosopher who shaped the modern world.

Produced by Hannah Sander.

From Buddenbrooks2011082220120919

"An enormous brick-red, boiled ham appeared, strewn with crumbs and served with a sour brown onion sauce, and so many vegetables that the company could have satisfied their appetites from that one dish.

Lebrecht Kroger undertook the carving, and skillfully cut the succulent slices, with his elbows slightly elevated and his two long forefingers laid out along the back of the knife and fork. With the ham went the Frau Consul's celebrated " Russian jam" - a pungent fruit conserve flavoured with spirits."

From Thomas Mann's classic German novel, set in the mid 1800s, comes this evocation of a sumptuous dinner party, presided over by old Johann Buddenbrooks and his son, the Consul. Father and his cronies stand for the Old Order, whilst the Consul sees change in the wind. Whatever, the family are close and much merriment is had, even when Dr Grabow is called to deal with a pressing case of... well, what exactly?

Read by Adrian Scarborough.

Translated by HT Lowe-Porter.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

First broadcast in August 2011.

"An enormous brick-red, boiled ham appeared, strewn with crumbs and served with a sour brown onion sauce, and so many vegetables that the company could have satisfied their appetites from that one dish.

Lebrecht Kroger undertook the carving, and skillfully cut the succulent slices, with his elbows slightly elevated and his two long forefingers laid out along the back of the knife and fork. With the ham went the Frau Consul's celebrated " Russian jam" - a pungent fruit conserve flavoured with spirits."

Adrian Scarborough reads from Thomas Mann's classic novel set in the mid-1800s.

From Neptune To Nixon20120905

Adrian Mourby examines the history of the operatic plot.

Adrian Mourby examines the history of the operatic plot - from gods and emperors, kings and queens, to lovers, lowlife, terrorists and presidents

With expert commentary from eighteenth century opera specialist Dr Suzanne Aspden, music historian Roderick Swanston and music journalist Shirley Apthorp.

Fruits Of The Pomegranate20110530

The potent symbolism of the pomegranate in contemporary poetry in which this most exotic of fruits has taken on a range of new meanings.

In Classical mythology, the only food that Persephone was unable to resist in the dark halls of Hades was six seeds of the golden-red pomegranate. From this story came the explanation for the division of the year into death-like winter and fertile summer, and the common symbolism of the pomegranate as a fruit of fertility, love and resurrection.

This is the story on which the poet Algernon Swinburne drew in 'The Garden of Proserpine'. In turn, Vaughan Williams was inspired to compose his version, the world premiere of which is being performed in the second half of this evening's concert.

During this interval, Beaty Rubens explores a whole new range of meanings which the fruit of the pomegranate has assumed over the last few decades. With extensive illustrations from the poetry of Eavan Boland and Mimi Khalvati, Sarah Maguire, Dunja Mikhail and Zulfikar Ghose, she looks at the way that this fruit has come to represent bloodshed and a powerful sense of exile and longing for home, particularly amongst poets born in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

Along the way, she also tells a story of a pomegranate tree grown in a small garden in Oxfordshire and of how the ruby-red seeds of the fruit continue to inspire a thriving sense of optimism.

Producer: Julian May.

Beaty Rubens explores the potent symbolism of the pomegranate in contemporary poetry.

Gallery Going20110807

Lesley Chamberlain looks at people looking at paintings. Last year Tate Modern had six million visitors. It was the biggest tourist attraction in the country. Why is gallery-going so popular? Art has shifted from being the material of high culture towards art as provocation. It still speaks to experts but its real attention is on the responsive passer by. Why should this be so and does it matter?

Producer: Tim Dee.

Lesley Chamberlain explores why people look at paintings in galleries.

Going Underground20130704

2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, and to celebrate this illustrious milestone, Twenty Minutes explores the lesser-known music of the tube - not just the buskers and the classical music in ticket halls, but the strange music of the machinery involved in the world's first underground railway. Train enthusiast Petroc Trelawny experiences the compelling and sometimes overwhelming soundworld of the tube, with writer Jonathan Glancey and Robert Elms.

Goodbye, Goodbye20120813

Amanda Root reads Elizabeth Taylor's tale of forbidden love.

Amanda Root reads Elizabeth Taylor's 1954 tale of forbidden love - of a very English kind.

When two lovers vow never to see each other again, they believe it is for ever. But one summer's day, in a Brief Encounteresque meeting on a summer's beach, they are reunited. But, with the woman's children playing nearby, simmering emotions must remain hidden.

Reader: Amanda Root

Abridged and produced by: Justine Willett

Writer: Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Taylor (1912-75) was a British novelist and short story writer, now regarded as one of the most underrated of British writers. Kingsley Amis described her as 'one of the best English novelists born in this century'; Antonia Fraser called her 'one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century'.

Gramophones At The Front20140629

How soldiers kept sane during World War I listening to gramophone recordings from home.

The manufacturers of gramophone records and players thought war would be a disaster for business. But by 1916 sales had doubled with the largest captive market in the world. Patriotic songs quickly gave way by 1915 to sentimental tunes about girlfriends and home. How did soldiers in the alienated landscape of the trenches maintain an emotional connection to happier times and places? ('If you were the only girl in the world' was the biggest selling tune of the war.) Soldiers loved to subvert songs with their own robust words and themes. As for recordings being made on the front, only one exists and is almost certainly a fake.

Grinke Recalled20110518

A personal celebration of the hugely charismatic violin teacher, Frederick Grinke - perhaps the single most influential figure in 20th century British string playing

Before Fiona Sampson became a poet and Editor of Poetry Review, she was a foundation scholar at the Royal Academy of Music and almost became a professional violinist. Like many other top fiddle players of her generation - the leaders of the Alberni, Arditti, Coull, Fairfield and Earle Quartets to name but a few - she was taught by Frederick Grinke, known and loved as a teacher long after ill-health stopped him performing.

A hundred years on from Grinke's birth, Fiona Sampson recalls her own experience of this special teacher-pupil relationship, and explores how one great teacher can produce an artistic genealogy which transmits musical understanding down the generations.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Fiona Sampson with a personal tribute to influential violin teacher Frederick Grinke.

Ham House, Surry20130324

Katie Derham is joined by Lars Tharp of Antiques Roadshow and National Trust curator Victoria Bradley for a tour of the treasures of Ham House, which include an ivory cabinet, some stunning painted ceilings, and one of England's earliest teapots.

Handel Week - The Mouth Of The Lord20090414

Richard Coles, Simon Heighes and Ruth Smith discuss the real meaning of the text Handel set in the Messiah as well as the way succeeding generations have viewed the piece.

A discussion about the real meaning of the text Handel set in Messiah.

Handel's Henry V20110825

Ruth Smith explores the intriguing parallels between Rinaldo and Shakespeare's Henry V.

Ruth Smith explores the parallels between Rinaldo and Shakespeare's Henry V.

Happy Endings20090220
Happy Families20110901

AL Kennedy writes: "It's the summer of 1971 and I am in Paris with my parents. It's a time of firsts. I've never met people who don't speak English before: I'd worked out that people in my house speak differently from people in my school who speak differently again from the people in my home city, but French is another thing entirely - I'm not sure if human beings are always going to suddenly become incomprehensible. It's my first - and I hope only - major loss of teeth. My milk teeth are dropping out in handfulls, usually whenever I eat a baguette, which I'm doing a lot. These are also my first baguettes, but I don't take against them - I just accidentally swallow a lot of teeth and find - as we sit on the boulevards and I smile gappily - that Parisians love nothing better than a gappy little kid. I am doted upon with regularity, just for grinning. We are a middle class family - anxiously so, given that both my parents weren't born that way - so we have to engage in strenuous educational activities. This might be pleasant if it weren't so hot, we didn't get lost so often and my father were not biologically unable to ask for directions. I grow used to long, long marches between pale walls and pavements, all humming with heat. I get thirsty. My parents are uneasy with each other because they are always uneasy with each other. If they are not uneasy, they will fight. The French seem nicer and kiss each other a lot. I also get drunk for the first time - France being the land of rhum babas and rhum baba being one of the few things I say in French at this stage. It wasn't a happy holiday, my parents didn't have a happy marriage and have not endeared the institution to me - but Paris was wonderful and has been ever since."

Producer: Mark Smalley.

AL Kennedy recalls her first holiday abroad, aged six, arriving in Paris with her parents.

Haydn And The Enlightenment20090603

Haydn And The Enlightenment20091023
He Played It Left-hand20100820

After losing his right hand in the First World War the pianist Paul Wittgenstein commissioned several composers to write pieces specifically for the left hand, including Ravel, whose Concerto for the Left Hand is performed in tonight's Prom concert. But why, as 10% of the population is left-handed, should it take such a loss for composers to consider doing this? Why (especially as the incidence of left-handedness is even higher among musicians) are musical instruments designed by right-handers, for right-handers?

The novelist Louise Doughty is left-handed and she feels this has had considerable bearing on her becoming a writer. There is a preconception that left-handers are more creative than most of the population, more likely to develop as artists. Louise enquires into the truth of this, talking to Chris McManus, Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College London and an expert on left-handedness and asymmetry.

She meets the pianist Chris Steed, who commissioned a left-handed piano, and tries the instrument herself. She considers how left-handedness is not merely mechanical but an approach to the world - a world which pays scant regard to left-handers. Popular opinion even discriminates against left-handness, it being historically associated with evil, and depicted as such in art. Why should Christ sit 'on the right hand of the Father'?

David Bowie's guitarist alter ego Ziggy Stardust 'played it left hand' and this marked him out as special. And Louise hears from the late Robert Sandall about how the great originality of Jimi Hendrix as an electric guitarist was due to his being left-handed.

Producer: Julian May.

Novelist Louise Doughty investigates the influence of left-handedness on creativity.

Her First Ball20110526

Her First Ball: Katherine Mansfield's story charting the heady thrill of a young woman's first formal ball. Leila is approached by an older, fat dancing partner who warns that this is the beginning of the end of her young life, that now she will merely age, regretting her lost youth and beauty. For a moment, the magic is broken, but when another handsome young partner whisks her away, she returns to the thrill of the moment, to the joy of being young and free.

Katherine Mansfield's story charting the heady thrill of a young woman's first formal ball

Herschel Grynszpan, The Forgotten Assassin2012080120130501

Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of Our Time was partly inspired by the story of Herschel Grynszpan, a young Polish-German Jew whose assassination of Nazi foreign service officer Ernst vom Rath in Paris on 7 November 1938 provided the excuse for the vicious pogrom that became known as Kristallnacht.

Despite his key role, Grynszpan remains an obscure figure. He was taken into French custody and remained alive throughout much of the war, a prisoner in various Nazi institutions. But his ultimate fate is unknown.

This feature tells the intriguing story of 17 year old Herschel Grynszpan and speculates on his fate, and on why his name has been largely forgotten by history.

Contributors: David Cesarani, Ron Roizen, Gerald Schwab and John Najam.

Readings by Susie Riddell, Joe Sims and Patrick Brennan.

Produced by Emma Harding.

The story of Herschel Grynszpan, whose actions provided the pretext for Kristallnacht.

Contributors: David Cesarani, Ron Roisen, Gerald Schwab and John Najam.

Holst's School Days20100115

Petroc Trelawny visits St Paul's Girls School in Hammersmith, West London, where Holst taught music from 1905 until his retirement in 1934. In his music room overlooking Brook Green, the composer wrote some of his most famous works, including The Planets and Brook Green suites. The school still reveres its eccentric teacher as recent music students testify and one of Holst's own pupils, Margaret Eliot, recalls what Holst was like as a teacher and a man. And there is revealing archive from Holst's composer-colleagues and friends, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells, as well as from Holst's late daughter, Imogen.

Horrible Histories20110730

When Terry Deary wrote his first Horrible Histories book in the nineties, little did he know that he would spawn a monstously successful childrens' publishing brand. Now translated around the world, Terry's anarchic history books with titles like "Awesome Egyptians", "Groovy Greeks" and "Vile Victorians" are on the bookshelves in kids' bedrooms everywhere.

The historian, Professor Justin Champion meets the creative team behind the successful TV series of the books who are staging their first Prom concert based on the TV show. Joining Terry and Justin to discuss the popularity of the programmes are Caroline Norris, the exec producer, comedy writer and Horrible History lyricist, Dave Cohen and the composer, Rich Webb who has penned such classics as the Charles II rap and the viking rock anthem - literally!

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Justin Champion talks to the creators of the children's TV series Horrible Histories.

How To Play A Cactus20120817

Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling John Cage's music.

As the BBC Proms marks John Cage's centenary, Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling his music, with contributions from Ilan Volkov and John Tilbury.

John Cage re-defined what a performance could be: experiments with silence, everyday objects as instruments, early electronics, chance procedures and irreverent subterfuge. As performances are mounted around the world to mark John Cage's centenary Robert Worby - himself a noted interpreter of Cage's music - goes behind the scenes of rehearsals as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov rehearse for performances of Cage's works in Glasgow and at the BBC Proms.

He explores the adventures they undertake tackling the unusual requirements of pieces such as those to be heard at this evening's Prom, listening-in to the orchestra's interpretation of scores generated from the marks on a star chart in 'Atlas Eclipticalis', John Tilbury's meticulous piano manipulation for the Concerto for Prepared Piano and Ilan Volkov's solo performance of 'Child of Tree' for amplified cactus plants.

I Predict A Riot20130516

Ivan Hewett explores the myths that surround the infamous first performance of the Rite of Spring.

The scene that surrounded the first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913 in Paris has been described as 'a battleground', a 'full-scale riot' and the aftermath of 'an earthquake' that had struck the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

Ivan Hewett tries to unravel what really happened.

I Will Wear The Green Willow20130817

The second half of this afternoon's Prom concert begins with the Willow Song from Otello. But it is not Verdi's, nor Shakespeare's work. The song Desdemona sings is a folksong of some antiquity. Its earliest appearance in print was in1583, when Thomas Dallis included the tune in his Lute Book. Willow, Willow is one of a number of folksongs that Shakespeare knew well and incorporated into his plays. His audience knew them, too, and understood their motifs and symbols. Dr Fay Hield, ethnomusicologist and singer, explores the way the willow as a badge of forsaken love appears in traditional song - remember Steeleye Span's hit All Around My Hat? - with quotations and musical illustrations drawn from recordings and performed by her and Jon Boden, fiddle player and singer with the hugely successful folk big band, Bellowhead.

Producer: Julian May.

I'm Sorry I Killed Your Fish2010042320110429

Shostakovich's Fifth symphony was published with the tag "A Soviet artist's reply to justified criticism," and was widely seen as an apology to Stalin authorities for his opera Lady Macbeth. Russian apologies are very different from English ones. Overwhelmingly the most common way for a Russian to apologise is to say "forgive me": a formulation that demands forgiveness from the listener. English apologies, by contrast, almost always use the word "sorry": a word full of ambiguity since it expresses regret but not necessarily culpability.

The ambiguity has frequently been exploited by Anglo-Saxon politicians who have apparently apologised for historic wrongs which they were not responsible for.

Poles use the formula: "I apologise" - what linguists call a "a performative" - which is situated somewhere between the English and Russian formula. Eva Ogiermann from Portsmouth University is a Polish linguist, fluent in all three languages; she has carried out extensive research in how people apologise in the three languages. In one scenario she asked people how they would apologise for letting a neighbour's pet fish die while supposedly looking after them. A typical British apology is "Some of your fish died while you were away. I fed them an everything but turned up one day and some had died" (admitting facts but denying responsibility) or when accepting blame only using careful formulation such as "I think I might not have fed them properly". Russians and Poles would tend to the more florid, such as "I neglected your fish. I know now that there is nothing to be done", or "I have not lived up to your trust".

Using many other scenarios, not just fish, Eva Ogiermann constructs a complete typology of apology, and argues that the differences are more than linguistic - they reflect different notions of politeness in the respective cultures. The British emphasise "negative politeness" - not encroaching on someone else's space. Russians are far more interested in "positive politeness" - making the hearer feel good about themselves.

Linguist Eva Ogiermann considers how different cultures apologise and what this means.

In Memoriam 193420090725

Incident On Lake Geneva20120906

Stefan Zweig's story about the discovery on Lake Geneva of a man clinging to driftwood.

"On the banks of Lake Geneva, close to the small Swiss resort of Villeneuve, a fisherman who had rowed into the lake one summer night in the year 1918, noticed a strange object in the middle of the water..."

In Stefan Zweig's famous story, translated by Anthea Bell, a man clings to driftwood out on the lake. When he's brought ashore the townsfolk react to his arrival in different ways. Just who is he, this stranger, talking in an odd language!

Reader Dermot Crowley

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Inextinguishable20130222

Lucy Caldwell's new short story takes its inspiration from Carl Nielsen's Symphony No 4 and is about the deep consolations that music can bring.

Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast and currently lives in London. She has published two novels, Where They Were Missed (2006) and The Meeting Point (2011). The Meeting Point was awarded the 2011 Dylan Thomas Prize. Lucy is also a playwright whose stage plays have won numerous awards including the George Divine Award and the Imison Award. In 2011, Lucy was awarded the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for her body of work to date. Lucy's third novel, All the Beggars Riding, was published in January and will be Book at Bedtime on Radio 4 in March 2013.

Producer: Elizabeth Allard.

Inside The Orchestra20100807

Horn player and humourist Ian Fisher reveals what really happens off the concert platform. From the chaos of the bandroom to the highly defined etiquette of the coach journey home, Ian reveals the struggles performers go through to get on and off stage in good shape.

Horn player and humourist Ian Fisher reveals what really happens off the concert platform.

Inside The Revolution20091112

James Macmillan20050114

talks to John Tusa about his life and career, and some of the composers who have influenced him.

James MacMillan

James MacMillan talks to John Tusa about his life and career, and some of the composers who have influenced him.

Janacek's Beliefs20110715

The first concert of the 2011 Proms features a performance of Leos Janacek's 'Glagolitic Mass'. The liturgy he chose to set was in Old Church Slavonic, rather than Latin, and Glagolitic refers to the script in which it was written.

But that Janacek should compose a mass at all is strange. He declared himself an atheist refused to, as he said, 'even go into church to shelter from the rain' and he dismissed organised religion as 'concentrated death. Tombs under the floor, bones on the altar, pictures full of torture and dying. Rituals, prayers, chants - death and nothing but death. I don't want to have anything to do with it'.

But he had grown up in an Augustinian monastery where he took charge of its choir. That's a musical legacy not easily jettisoned. In the letters he wrote to Kamila Stosslova he refers to God constantly, to her Jewish God and his Catholic one. Janacek's letters to Kamila document the impassioned relationship between the 74 year old composer and a married woman 37 years younger. He emerges as something of a pantheist, seeing something of God in every living creature.

The playwright Paul Allen has used these 'Intimate Letters' in a monologue he has written, premiered recently by Daniel Evans. In the interval feature before the performance of the Glagolitic Mass in the first Prom Concert of 2011 Paul explores the contradictory nature of Janacek's beliefs, with readings from the 'Intimate Letters' and a contribution from Janacek's biographer, John Tyrrell.

Producer: Julian May.

Paul Allen explores the contradictory nature of Janacek's beliefs.

Judas20120810

Richard Holloway explores the myth of Judas Iscariot and his depiction through the ages.

Judas is a name synonymous with betrayal and evil. Remembered for his act of betrayal that set in motion the story of the Passion, Judas the man is himself only briefly sketched in the Gospels and the Church portray him simply as a figure of hate. Richard Holloway explores the myth of Judas Iscariot and discusses some of the many representations of the character in history and fiction including Philip Pullman in his novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ; Anthony Payne in Elgar's Apostles; and historian Herb Krosney in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas.

Presented by Richard Holloway

Jung's Red Book20100904

Bidisha looks at Carl Jung's remarkable Red Book, recently made available to the public for the first time, in which he developed his theories and also created a beautiful work of art.

The early part of the 20th Century was a time of great spiritual, intellectual and artistic upheaval in Western Europe. In Vienna, Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils Anton Webern and Alban Berg, whose music we will hear in the second half of tonight's Prom, were rewriting the rules of classical music. Sigmund Freud was practising psychoanalysis in Vienna, and Jung was developing his theories of analytical psychology; the two worked closely together for several years.

Europe was heading for the First World War and on the eve of the war Jung had an almost catastrophic spiritual crisis which led him to enter in to a long and complex period of self-analysis.

Jung recorded his psychological experiments on himself in a beautiful manuscript which he called Liber Novus (the New Book). Bound in red leather, it became known as the Red Book.

The Red Book contains fine calligraphy, with illuminated capital letters like a medieval manuscript. Jung also created several full-page paintings - some fairly naturalistic, others which appear to be abstract patterns. Jung used these images to help him analyse his own unconscious and to develop some of his most important theories in analytical psychology.

The Red Book remained hidden by Jung's family after he died, first in the family home then in a Swiss bank vault. It was not until late in 2009 that a facsimile of the Book was finally published and made available to the public.

Bidisha talks to Professor Sonu Shamdasani, Editor of the published edition of the Red Book, and to the artist Bettina Reiber about this extraordinary artefact.

Bidisha on Carl Jung's Red Book, where the psychiatrist recorded experiments on himself.

Katharina Wolpe20130123

The distinguished pianist and teacher Katharina Wolpe talks to Martin Handley and shares some memories of a remarkable life.

Kenny Taylor - My Northern Lights20090903
Kew Gardens2011081420120820

Lindsay Duncan reads Virginia Woolf's sumptuous story of a sweltering summer's day at Kew.

Lindsay Duncan reads Virginia Woolf's classic story celebrating the link between nature and humanity set on a sweltering summer's day in Kew Gardens.

'One couple after another with much the same irregular and aimless movement passed the flower-bed and were enveloped in layer after layer of green blue vapour, in which at first their bodies had substance and a dash of colour, but later both substance and colour dissolved in the green-blue atmosphere. How hot it was! So hot that even the thrush chose to hop, like a mechanical bird, in the shadow of the flowers. Instead of rambling vaguely the white butterflies danced one above another, making with their white shifting flakes the outline of a shattered marble column above the tallest flowers.'

Likened to an impressionist painting, memories are stirred and snapshots of lives filter through the gentle hum of the garden as couples flit like butterflies past Kew's sumptuous flowerbeds, their conversations dissolving into flashes of colour, shape and movement into the steamy atmosphere.

Author: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as one of the foremost literary figures of the twentieth century, one of the greatest innovators in the English language.

Reader: Lindsay Duncan

Producer: Justine Willett

First broadcast in August 2011.

Konstantin Melnikov2008121120091106

Iain Glen reads travel writer and novelist Bruce Chatwin's account of his trip to Moscow to see the reclusive architect Konstantin Melnikov at his famous house.

Iain Glen reads Bruce Chatwin's story of his trip to see the architect Konstantin Melnikov

Land Of Music20090729

Learning To Swim2010083020110930

Taking his children to swimming lessons, Ian Sansom calculates that he has probably spent more time taking them to swimming lessons over the years than he has spent reading to them, playing with them or tending to their maths homework. What does it all mean? Of course it's useful as a means of avoiding drowning. In a very few cases it might result in a satisfying career path. It's an enjoyable leisure activity, and a way of keeping fit. But Ian suspects there's something more to it, and his reflections lead him to speculate on the wider meaning of swimming, on the many instances of significant swims and swimmers in film and literature, and on some of the figures who have swum through the pages of our literary canon. Taking his cue from WH Auden, Ian finds analogies between the act of swimming and the act of poetic organisation, and recognises in other writers and philosophers the impulse to swim as an escape into the imagination.

Writer Ian Sansom reflects on the role of swimming in life and literature.

Left High And Dry20130227

In 18th Century Italy, the craze for castrati singers reached its zenith and the boudaries of vocal music were forever changed. Thousands of pre-pubescent boys underwent the risky operation of castration to preserve their pure, high voice in the hope of finding fame and fortune as a celebrated virtuosi.

For 1% of those boys like Senesino, the gamble paid off and their families secured a comfortable future. But what of the remaining 99%?

Left High and Dry will chart the rise and fall of the Castrati to paint a portrait of Italian society at a time of extraordinary change. Looking beyond the well known tales of on stage diva antics and off stage sexual prowess as relayed by the likes of Casanova, Mary King explores the contradictory role that the church played in denying, encouraging and protecting the Castrati, the economic climate that encouraged families to effectively sell their sons into a life of music and the changes brought about by the Risorgimento which sounded the death knell for the Castrati.

Presented by vocal coach and voice expert Mary King, artist in residence at the Southbank Centre and director of Voicelab.

Leopold Mozart's Violin Treatise20130212

Mozart scholar Cliff Eisen and violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch trace the history of Leopold Mozart's influential violin treatise of 1756 and assess its worth. Did the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart benefit from his father's book both as performer and composer?

Let The Peoples Sing20111016

During the interval of the Let the Peoples Sing Grand Final, Louise Fryer takes a closer look at this international competition for amateur choirs, and talks to some of the participants.

Producer: Martin Williams and Amy Wheel.

Louise Fryer explores the Let the Peoples Sing competition and talks to participants.

Letter From The New World Duelling Nationalities20040228

American-ENGLISH poet and novelist, James Lasdun, reports from New ENGLAND on the business of becoming a citizen of the UNITED STATES.

Light Music/roger Roger20091013

Martin Handley talks to the BBC Concert's Orchestra's conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth and members of the orchestra about light music.

With an update on the BBC CO's learning and outreach activities, and a look at the revival of interest in the work of pioneering French composer Roger Roger.

Martin Handley talks to Barry Wordsworth about light music.

Plus the Roger Roger revival.

Liszt: Piano Sonata In B Minor20110927

Wagner was an enthusiast, but it apparently sent Brahms to sleep. These days, Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor is regarded as one of the pinnacles of the piano repertoire, difficult for listeners and monumentally challenging for the pianist. There has been 150 years of disagreement about its structure and its form - is it in one section? Three sections? Four sections? What's it about? Some suggest it's based on the Faust legend. Others say it represents the story of the Garden of Eden. Or perhaps it's biographical. It's one of the most discussed and analyzed pieces of music ever written. This week on Discovering Music, Stephen Johnson gets to grips with Liszt's masterpiece, before a live performance by Nelson Goerner at Wigmore Hall.

Stephen Johnson investigates the mysteries of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor.

Little Episode20130121

Morven Christie reads a newly discovered story from 1909 by the great writer Katherine Mansfield, which sheds new light on one of the most painful periods of her life. Rejected by her musician lover while pregnant, Mansfield married for convenience, but subsequently lost her baby.

In this story, the young Yvonne has married for money, but encounters her great love at a piano recital. Despite having become something of a pillar of society, she can't help but try to rekindle the romance.

The story will be introduced by Dr Gerri Kimber, editor of Mansfield's collected letters.

Producer: Justine Willett

Reader: Morven Christie is an acclaimed actor in film, theatre and TV. Her most recent TV roles have been in the highly acclaimed comedy series Twenty Twelve, and the drama series, Hunted.

Live From Vienna20100101

Behind the scenes at the traditional New Year's Day Concert, presented from Vienna by Brian Kay.

Includes Georges Pretre talking about his preparations for the 2010 concert, following his sensational debut in 2008, and Roderick Swanston exploring the origins of the world-famous concert.

Behind the scenes at the New Year's Day Concert, presented from Vienna by Brian Kay.

Behind the scenes at the traditional New Year's Day Concert, presented from Vienna by Brian Kay. Includes Georges Pretre talking about his preparations for the 2010 concert, following his sensational debut in 2008, and Roderick Swanston exploring the origins of the world-famous concert.

Lizzie's Tiger20120629

'The tiger walked up and down, up and down; it walked up and down like Satan walking about the world and it burned. It burned so brightly, she was scorched.'

It is 1864, and the Borden family are living in a poor way in River Fall, Massachusetts, when, one day, the circus comes to town. Defying her grave undertaker father, the squat, square infant, Lizzie Borden, who will one day take an axe to her parents, slips out illicitly to the circus. Dazzled by the bawdy sights and sounds around her, the four-year-old girl finds herself in the animal enclosure. A magnificent tiger is pacing up and down his tiny cage, when, for one extraordinary moment, their eyes meet, and Lizzie's destiny is sealed...

Angela Carter died 20 years ago, and is remembered as one of the great literary figures of the 20th century. 'Lizzie's Tiger', one of the last pieces she wrote, was originally commissioned for BBC Radio 3, and published posthumously in a collection, American Ghosts and Old World Wonders. It is one of her many short stories in which she reimagines the lives of certain historical figures; in this case the young life of the notorious Lizzie Borden, who would one day be tried for murdering parents.

Reader: Debora Weston

Abridged and produced by: Justine Willett.

Making Friends20130320

Laura Dockrill celebrates the first day of Spring with a new short story about a young woman making a fresh start at The Spring Meadow Home For The Elderly.

Laura Dockrill is the author of two short story collections and has been described by The Times as one of the UK's top ten literary talents. She has performed her work on all of the BBC's national radio networks, including readings on Radio 3's The Verb and Radio 4's Afternoon Reading slot.

Producer: Robert Howells.

Matryona's House20090619
Mazepa20110204

Marina Frolova-Walker explores two very different aspects of 17th Century Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa: a historically important and controversial figure who continues to cause friction between Russia and Ukraine; and muse to a wealth of 19th century romantic artists, including Byron, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, Tchaikovsky and Liszt. Includes extracts from Byron's epic poem read by Sam Dale.

Marina Frolova-Walker explores two very different aspects of 17th Century Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa: a historically important and controversial figure who continues to cause fractions between Russia and Ukraine; and romantic muse to a wealth of 19th century artists, including Byron, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, Tchaikovsky and Liszt. Includes extracts from Byron's epic poem read by Sam Dale.

Marina Frolova-Walker explores two very different aspects of Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa.

Mendelssohn20090730

Mendelssohn *20090730

Louise Fryer is joined by Prof John Deathridge and Mendelssohn's great-great-great-great niece Sheila Hayman to discuss the composer's life and work.

Louise Fryer and guests discuss the life and works of Felix Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn At Buckingham Palace20090509
Michael Goldfarb On 9/1120110905

Where were you on 9/11?

By chance, writer and broadcaster Michael Goldfarb was live on the air in America. In this Twenty Minutes he recalls the difficulty of broadcasting news when rumour has replaced fact, and asks what music is appropriate at a time of unprecedented national tragedy.

Michael Goldfarb gives a personal recollection of where he was on September 11, 2001.

Michael Longley At 7020090719

Michelangelo The Poet20090515
Miklos Radnoti: Poet Of My Heart2009081820091211

Miles And Me20121017

Working with Miles Davis, meeting him, seeing him perform or just listening to his music; all these have made profound impressions on fellow artists. The jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch speaks to musicians their 'Miles moment', finds interesting reflections on him in the archives and considers his own relationship with the enigmatic Davis who once said, "If you could understand everything I say you'd be me."

Producer: Julian May.

Monsieur Rose2010042920100818

In Monsieur Rose by Irène Némirovsky a well heeled Parisian is forced to flee and leave his old life behind as chaos and panic gather pace at the onset of the second world war. Monsieur Rose is selected from Irène Némirovsky's collection Dimanche and Other Stories which is the first collection of her short stories to appear in English.

Irène Némirovsky is best known for her celebrated novel, Suite Française which was first published, posthumously, in French in 2004. She was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became an established novelist. When the Germans occupied France during WWII she was prevented from publishing her work. She died in Auschwitz in 1942.

Read by David Horovitch

Translated by Bridget Patterson.

Abridged and produced by Elizabeth Allard.

Irene Nemirovsky's story about a dislocated Parisian at the onset of the Second World War.

Moon Enterprises Inc And The Door2009043020091002

Moscow During The War2011082320121010

Sasha Dugdale unpackages the official Soviet myths which helped sustain the Russian people during World War Two and celebrates the personal poetry which later gave a more truthful reflection of their experience.

Linking in with the twentieth century Russian music in the first part of the concert, the poet and translator Sasha Dugdale explores how the Soviet government promulgated a complex blend of truth and lies in order to sustain the Russian people during the darkest hours of what they called The Great Patriotic War.

Drawing on oral testimony, journalism and broadcasting, she considers the continuing psychological impact of these stories on the Russian people, even today.

By contrast, Sasha celebrates the poetry which was written at the time and which provides a more truthful picture of real Russian heroism.

Readers: Gerard McDermott and Elaine Claxton

Producer: Beaty Rubens

(Repeat).

Sasha Dugdale unpackages the official Soviet myths which helped sustain the Russian people during World War Two and the personal poetry which later reflected their true experience.

Prokoviev's Fifth Symphony, which features in the second half of this evening's Prom, was premiered in 1945 as Russia came to terms with the aftermath of the the war. During the interval, the poet and translator Sasha Dugdale explores how the Soviet government wove a complex web of true heroism and myth in order to sustain the Russian people during their darkest hour. Drawing on oral testimony, journalism and broadcasting, she reveals the long unravelling of this web and, over half a century later, considers its continuing psychological impact on the Russian people who lived through what they called The Great Patriotic War. In contrast to these unreliable myths, Sasha celebrates the poetry which was written at the time and which provides a truer picture of real Russian heroism.

Sasha Dugdale on the official Soviet myths that sustained the country during World War II.

Mouche2010081220110916

By Guy de Maupassant.

A group of young men lead a care-free life, idling away their summer in a sailing boat on the Seine. Events take an unexpected turn when one of them introduces a girlfriend into the group.

Read by Bill Nighy.

Produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

A PRECURSOR TO "JULES ET JIM" AND A VIVID SNAPSHOT OF LIFE ON THE SEINE.

"She was a sweet girl but not really pretty, a rough sketch of a woman with a little of everything in her, one of those silhouettes which artists draw in three strokes on the tablecloth in a cafe after dinner, between a glass of brandy and a cigarette."

Our narrator recalls the days when he and four friends shared a little rowing boat (the Feuille-a-I' Envers), and spent their summers idling on the Seine. When one of them introduces a girlfriend into the group, the story takes an unexpected turn, and each embarks on their own affair with the care-free Mouche...a sort of menage-a-cinq. When harmony is threatened, their collective friendship steers them clear of certain tragedy.

This is one of Maupassant's best stories - it shimmers with summer, and although the tone's light-hearted, it is incredibly poignant and touching.

Bill Nighy reads a summery tale of love and friendship by Guy de Maupassant.

Move Over Darling...20090809

Moving Pianos20090717

Mozart And The English20110101

'I am, you know, an out and out Englishman!'

So declared Mozart in a letter to an English friend. Mozart visited London when he was 8 on a concert tour, staying for nearly a year, and picked up a liking for English manners and dress which he retained for the rest of his life.

Historian Sarah Lenton traces Mozart's development as an Englishman, placing it in the context of his English tour, his English friends and pupils, his father's passion for England and the impact of Anglomania on 1790s Viennese culture as a whole.

Historian Sarah Lenton explores the influence of England and the English on Mozart.

Music At Crystal Palace20110121

Matthew Sweet takes a journey back in time to investigate the musical legacy of the Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts. Delving through the past he learns more about the once widely-celebrated conductor Sir August Manns who is argued to have changed the face of British concert-going. Speaking with experts Steve Grindlay and Sarah Lenton we learn more about how the Crystal Palace affected the development of our modern understanding of concert etiquette, orchestral management and the music we now regard as 'mainstream' repertoire.

Producer Claire Wass.

Matthew Sweet investigates the musical legacy of the Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts.

Music Planet Remix20110723

Andy Kershaw with his pick of the best of Music Planet, including gospel music from a South African prison choir, songs from a refugee camp on the Burmese border, and a visit to a rocket festival in Thailand.

Andy Kershaw picks the best of the BBC Radio 3 Music Planet series.

My First Prom20100830

Whether experienced on Radio 3 or on television, or, better still, live in the vast amphitheatre of the Royal Albert Hall, a BBC promenade concert has a very special magic. The gorgeous pomp of the decorated arena, the galaxy of mushroom sound-reflectors in the dome, the mob of prommers shouting 'Heave!' in unison as the piano is shifted... all go to make up a concert experience unlike any other.

And that's before a note is played. In this interval feature, a first-time prommer threads his way through a collection of memories from performers and broadcasters, front-of-house staff and ordinary music lovers of what it was like for them on that unique occasion - My First Prom...

Producer: Debbie Kilbride.

A first-timer attends his first ever Prom concert.

Myth And Reality Of Queen Elizabeth I20090721

National Baroque20130303

Like many English country houses, The Vyne in Hampshire is a building upon which both successive owners and the wider march of history have left their mark. Originally a large Tudor establishment constructed on medieval foundations, in the 1650s it gained a classical portico inspired by Inigo Jones - the first such at any English country house - and a century later played an important role in the Gothic Revival. And the house is still full of the artefacts and mementos which John Chute, its then owner, brought back from his Grand Tour of Italy in the 1740s. During the interval of this afternoon's concert, in National Baroque, Katie Derham, in conversation with Lars Tharp, finds traces of the Baroque in this charming house and explores its fascinating history.

National Baroque20130310

Katie Derham tours Powis Castle with Baroque expert Lars Tharp and William Brown of The National Trust for a closer look at its many baroque splendours.

Ne'er Cast A Clout ...2012090420130507

"Late August when three Kestrels fly - Autumn will be dry."

David King is something of a phenomenon in the world of weather forecasting.

Having spent the last 50 years watching the signs of nature, he believes his cross-referencing system has now reached 90% accuracy rate - up to 9 months ahead of time. His close study of the natural world around his home in Kent has enabled him to trust in sayings, some of which go back hundreds of years, and some of which he has created himself.

"If the first week of August is unusually hot, the winter will be white and long."

To find out about how David King works and walks, David Bramwell, takes to the fields and hedgerows armed with a keen eye, a pair of stout boots and a sheaf of country weather sayings, to find out how we can all learn from the flies, ants, apples and mists to read nature better for ourselves, and which sayings are based in fact.

"N'er Cast A Clout till May is Out"

Producer: Sara Jane Hall

First broadcast in September 2012.

Ne'r Cast A...20120904

David Bramwell meets natural weather forecaster David King.

"Late August when three Kestrels fly - Autumn will be dry."

David King is something of a phenomenon in the world of weather forecasting.

Having spent the last 50 years watching the signs of nature, he believes his cross-referencing system has now reached 90% accuracy rate - up to 9 months ahead of time. His close study of the natural world around his home in Kent has enabled him to trust in sayings, some of which go back hundreds of years, and some of which he has created himself.

"If the first week of August is unusually hot, the winter will be white and long."

To find out about how David King works and walks, David Bramwell, takes to the fields and hedgerows armed with a keen eye, a pair of stout boots and a sheaf of country weather sayings, to find out how we can all learn from the flies, ants, apples and mists to read nature better for ourselves, and which sayings are based in fact.

"N'er Cast A Clout till May is Out"

Producer: Sara Jane Hall"Late August when three Kestrels fly - Autumn will be dry."

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Oblomov2009090120100415

A discussion about Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov, published in 1859 featuring a hero who is considered to be the greatest couch-potato in literature.

A discussion about Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov.

Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov" was published in 1859 and depicted, in its hero, the greatest couch-potato in literature.

So appealing is Oblomov's habit of never really getting up that his name has become synonymous with a sort of fatalistic laziness.

So prevalent a character trope did Oblomovism become in Russia that Lenin said that three revolutions had not been able to defeat it.

Lesley Chamberlain explores the book and its legacy.

Producer Tim Dee (rpt)."

On Planet Hoffnung20090905

Once Upon A Time...2009100820120608
20120608 (R3)

An exploration of the dark, sinister and enchanted world of fairy tales. Michael Rosen, AS Byatt and Richard Mabey take us into the woods - the realm where magic lurks, stange things happen, evil is vanquished and (usually) good prevails. Why do these tales and myths continue to exert such a powerful fascination for children and adults alike?

Our Lady Of Paris20090817

Park Life20100909

Just before the BBC Philarmonic plays a Prom in the Park in Salford, the poet Anjum Malik brings to life the historic and beautiful Buile Park. Drawing on her own childhood picnics in the parks of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Bradford, she reflects on the importance of parks in city life and what Buile Hill Park means to the different cultures of Salford. Walking in the footsteps of Lowry, this first person essay recorded on location defines what the city has lost and more importantly found.

Producer: Rebecca Stratford.

Poet Anjum Malik reflects on the historic and beautiful Buile Park in Salford.

Pasternak And Creativity20090319
Paying The Ferryman20111021

In anticipation of tonight's concert of Haydn's 'Orfeo ed Euridice', Paul Farley considers poetic treatments of the River Styx and the cadaverous figure of Charon, ferryman to the Underworld. He travels to Merseyside to take two rather different kinds of ferry, in the company of poets Jeffrey Wainwright and Deryn Rees-Jones. Together they explore poetry's fascination with the voyage to Hades and with the handful of mythical characters who've made the return journey.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Paul Farley considers poetic treatments of the River Styx and Charon, ferryman of Hades.

Piano20091014

Piano, By Jean Echenoz20090213
Piano, By Jean Echenoz *20090213

David Horovitch reads an excerpt from Jean Echenoz's prize-winning comic novel celebrating the life and times of a concert pianist.

Although Max Delmarc lives quietly in Paris with his wife, his life is in chaos - he has begun to fear performing and has started to drink to forget his problems.

Max's cynical agent employs a minder to look after him, and a strange and touching relationship blossoms between the two as each evening, seconds before the curtain rises, there are new terrors to deal with.

David Horovitch reads from Jean Echenoz's novel celebrating the life of a concert pianist.

Pictures Re-arranged20090830

Pop Culture Pilgrims20110503

Matthew Sweet examines the purpose of pilgrimage and how deeply rooted it is in the human psyche. As society becomes ever more secular, Matthew explores our continuing need to use places as points of focus for storytelling and connection with the past. Matthew will visit Blackpool Tower, for years a site of social pilgrimage for the working classes, to learn more about its appeal and discover if he can draw parallels with the pilgrims journeying en masse to Lourdes or Mecca.

Visitors to Abbey Road in St John's Wood, London, explain why they are drawn from all over the world to walk the famous zebra crossing, recreating The Beatles' iconic album cover of the same name. As they walk in the footsteps of the Fab Four, stories of teenage dreams, lifelong relationships with music and first experiences of travel emerge.

For centuries, Rosslyn Chapel outside Edinburgh has been entwined in myth, legend and secrecy. When it was featured in the final scenes of Dan Brown's blockbuster The Da Vinci Code hundreds of thousands of visitors descended on the village of Roslin to visit the chapel. Many came to photograph a film set but as visitors explain in their own words, this complicated and compelling building's powerful atmosphere pulls many of them in to form a much deeper relationship.

Matthew Sweet travels to Blackpool to examine the purpose of pilgrimage.

Prague Pictures20091126

Prague Pictures20101001

John Banville's lyrical account of his first visit to this great city takes in the architecture, street life, political reminiscence and some fruit dumplings at a 'literary' pub.

Reader John Rogan

Producer Gemma Jenkins.

John Banville's lyrical account of his first visit to this great city in the early 1980s.

Private Views20040217

A look at how views from windows affect moods and emotions.

Susannah Clapp explores her own view of a LONDON square and how that view has changed.

Proms Plus: Cambridge University At 80020090722

Pump And Circumstance20130111

Andrew McGregor takes to the saddle, riding in the tyre tracks of Edward Elgar to explore the role of cycling in Edwardian England and how the composer's own relationship with his bicycle influenced his music.

Quakers Don't Sing20110828

Many creative people have found a spiritual home amongst the Quaker movement in our noisy modern world but one thing seems to be missing from this most peaceful of all gatherings - music. Dame Judi Dench, novelist Margaret Elphinstone and the composer Sally Beamish contribute to a montage of thoughts, akin to a Quaker meeting discussion, and reveal their own relationships with silence and music.

A montage of thoughts on the Quaker movement's relationship to music and silence.

Ragtime To Riches20120207

Abigail Williams uncovers the lost story of Walter Harding, a British-born Chicagoan ragtime pianist who amassed the world's largest collection of popular songbooks and then left them to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

In 1974 Walter Harding's gift of his extensive collection of music, drama and poetry was the largest donation ever made to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It is all the more remarkable because Walter Newton Henry Harding was not an academic, a book dealer or a millionaire bibliophile, but the son of a bricklayer from the East End of London who emigrated to Chicago in the 1900s.

Harding earned his living playing ragtime music - despite having had no formal musical education. His ability to collect on such a scale, despite modest means, was due to a lack of scholarly interest in popular music at the time, and also to the flood of books on the American market during the Great Depression.

Gradually, Harding assembled the world's largest collection of popular songbooks and miscellanies in a modest townhouse in a shabby suburb of Chicago. By the time he died, the house contained some 30,000 rare books.

The story of Harding's collection is one of obsession, and of a passionate desire to reconnect with the past through its music and writing.

Abigail Williams tells this largely unknown story with the help of members of the Bodleian Library and those who knew Harding himself, as well as with readings from the correspondence between Harding and the Bodleian, and the journalistic coverage that accompanied this extraordinary bequest.

Dr Williams is a Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford with a special interest in the Harding Collection and in 18th century miscellanies.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Bricklayer's son, ragtime pianist, major philanthropist: the lost story of Walter Harding.

Rain20100829

Poet and archaeologist Peter Didsbury extols the joys of rain.

In trying to find the genesis of his pluviophilia, he concludes that it wasn't nostalgia for rain sheeted caravan holidays with John Buchan and Fred Astaire for company that sparked his passion.

It's no coincidence that his love of rain blossomed at the same time as his love of poetry. "As it has a habit of doing, poetry drew out of me much that was latently there, helped to elucidate my loves. Arnold and Hopkins, in particular, released me into fertile relationships with landscape and weather which have so far proved inexhaustible."

His pluviophile's bible includes Hopkins, Pepys and Edith Sitwell, and a line from a love poem by ee cummings addressing a mistress's effortless yet powerful fragility : "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."

He is fascinated by the idioms and dialectic variations of language used to talk about rain. Not only does it rain cats and dogs, but also stair-rods, cobblers' knives, tractors and wheelbarrows, depending on where you are in the world. In parts of Northern England it can still be 'siling down'. Peter also pays homage to the creators of another favourite word from his lexicon of rain - petrichor: the distinctive scent released when rain falls upon dry ground.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

Ravel In Paris20100802

Barbara Kelly goes in search of composer Maurice Ravel in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.

The famous Sacre Coeur Basilica is a short walk up the hill, yet Paris's 9th is an often overlooked district of Montmartre. Known as the musician's quarter of the city, it's an area in which Ravel spent much of his life composing and socialising. Barbara Kelly takes a tour of the 9th to explore the connections between Ravel's music and the environment which meant so much to him.

On the way Barbara talks to the pianist Roy Howat at Ravel's first Paris home, the French pianist Anne Queffelec in the concert hall of the old music conservatoire, and the writer on French music Francois de Medicis in the Auberge du Clou - the cafe which became one of Paris' social hubs for many composers, including Ravel, Debussy and Satie, at the start of the 20th century.

Renee Fleming20010801

James Naughtie talks to Renee Fleming about her life, career and the music she is performing in tonight's Prom.

Requiem For A Garden Of Eden2009112720100916

Scholar and writer Professor Janet Todd stumbled across the abandoned Garden of Eden on the Venetian island of La Giudecca by accident. Curious about this lost and neglected paradise she set about discovering its magical literary past.

Created in 1884 by Sir Anthony Eden's great uncle Frederick Eden and his wife, the garden was a heavily scented romantic haven visited by a host of writers including Proust, Jean Cocteau and Henry James. It was the backdrop to countless love affairs and quarrels, passing from the Edens to Greek royalty and ending up in the hands of the eccentric Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who preferred nettles and brambles to roses and lilies.

Today the garden is overgrown and locked. Todd's requiem to this little known jewel hidden behind high walls recalls the perfumed years when artists and aesthetes revelled in its beauty.

Janet Todd's requiem for an abandoned Venetian garden with a magical literary past.

Rimbaud In London's Desolation Row20101118

In the back streets behind London's Kings Cross station, in a rather grimy street, stands the last London home of Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, the notorious poet lovers. Despite an anonymous exterior 9, Royal College Street, is both shrine and memorial to the poet lovers, who went on an orgy of drinking and debauchery during their infamous sojourn in England. Simon Callow draws on his great knowledge of the two poets, and also invites comment from Kings Cross Poet Aiden Dunn and Graham Henderson, who has devoted himself to trying to turn the house into a cultural centre.

It was here, in 1873, that the couple moved into their final home together, a garret room that would see both important literary work completed, and more than one violent argument take place. It was also the scene of the final fight that sent Verlaine, furious and wounded, to abandon his love and flee back to the Continent, where their final tragic confrontation would take place.

London was both refuge and inspiration to the two provocatures and these walls witnessed the love, turmoil and destruction that followed thier last fight.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Programme about the last London home of poet lovers Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine.

Rome And The Writer's Response20090808

Ronald Blythe In Conversation2012120420130610

In his ninetieth year, the writer Ronald Blythe, author of Akenfield, the classic oral history of East Anglian rural life, talks to Mark Cocker about his career and times. Blythe spent time working for Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh and in the company of East Anglian artists like John Nash and Cedric Morris. The Suffolk countryside and his home which he inherited from John Nash has been at the centre of much of his writing including a long-running and much admired coloumn for the Church Times called Word from Wormingford. Recorded in front of an audience at Stamford Arts Centre theatre as part of the New Networks for Nature 2012 meeting.

Producer: Tim Dee

First broadcast in December 2012.

In his ninetieth year, the writer Ronald Blythe, author of Akenfield, the classic oral history of East Anglian rural life, talks to Mark Cocker about his career and times. Blythe spent time working for Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh and in the company of East Anglian artists like John Nash and Cedric Morris. The Suffolk countryside and his home which he inherited from John Nash has been at the centre of much of his writing including a long-running and much admired column for the Church Times called Word from Wormingford. Recorded in front of an audience at Stamford Arts Centre theatre as part of the New Networks for Nature 2012 meeting.

Ryabov And Kozhin20100507

Ryabov And Kozhin20111005

Ryabov and Kozhin: Arts feature.

Arts feature.

Schumann's Carnaval20120604

Robert Schumann would definitely be a cryptic crossword fan if he were alive today. With its subtitle 'Little Scenes on Four Notes', the piano suite Carnaval is full of musical puzzles and allusions, as well as vivid portraits of the masked revellers which inspired Schumann to write it. Stephen Johnson sets out to unearth the mysteries which Schumann buried in the piece.

Seadrift20100312

Shadows20120612

Tenebrae is the Latin term for shadows or darkness. The Christian religious service Tenebrae is characterised by the gradual extinguishing of candles while psalms and readings are chanted or recited, whilst in literature and popular culture, shadows have become a symbol of a peculiarly sinister darkness.

In tonight's interval feature, poet Michael Symmons-Roberts introduces his own personal reflection on the subject.

"To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images." - Plato, The Republic

Shadow -

1. a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.

2. shade or comparative darkness, as in an area.

3. darkness, especially that coming after sunset.

4. shelter; protection:

5. a slight suggestion; trace:.

Shelley's Invocation20090723

Sho And Tell20090724

Shostakovich's Symphony No 720120119

Typically, listeners cry when they hear Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony. It was written during World War Two and dedicated to Leningrad, the city besieged by the Germans for almost three years, with vast destruction and loss of life in the hundreds of thousands.

Since its first performance, the symphony has been seen as a symbol of resistance against the Nazis, but more recently, as the political climate in Russia has made it easier for people to speak up, accounts have suggested that Shostakovich started work on the piece before the beginning of the siege, and that therefore, it's better viewed as a depiction of brutality in general, and perhaps specifically the purges of Stalin's regime.

Shostakovich himself said, "even before the war, there probably wasn't a single family who hadn't lost someone, a father, a brother, or if not a relative, then a close friend. Everyone had someone to cry over, but you had to cry silently, under the blanket, so no one would see. Everyone feared everyone else, and the sorrow oppressed and suffocated us. It suffocated me, too. I had to write about it, I felt it was my responsibility, my duty. I had to write a requiem for all those who died, who had suffered. I had to describe the horrible extermination machine and express protest against it."

Stephen Johnson explores the weighty and deeply emotional symbolism of the Leningrad Symphony.

Stephen Johnson explores the symbolism of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony.

Sibelius's Lost Eighth Revealed?20120717

Writer and broadcaster Peggy Reynolds visits Finland for an exclusive performance and discussion of remarkable fragments, discovered last year, of what may be Sibelius's infamous lost Eighth Symphony.

Featuring performances by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Storgards, and discussion with Sir Mark Elder, Tom Service, Finnish Sibelius scholars Vesa Siren and Timo Virtanen, and historian Tuomas Tepora.

The most infamous lost work in 20th century music: revealed at last?

Sliding In At The Back20130131

Arts feature.

Some Bloom In Darknesss2012021420120804

Simon Van Booy's story of unreal love is set in a silent Paris, covered with snow, where the search for love is unreal, problematic even..

"His life went back to normal until one day, after almost ten years, he witnessed a violent incident at the railway station where he worked as a clerk. The desires suddenly returned, and soon enough, Saboné's eyes burned for the girl who stood in a shop-window on his walk to work. She was very pretty. And Saboné assumed he had passed her many times before. but for some reason, he had never noticed her. In addition to this new passion, Saboné caught himself doing odd things, like talking to birds and removing his hat whenever he passed statues in the gardens.

For days, he held the image of the shop-girl in his mind.."

Reader Toby Jones

Producer Duncan Minshull

First broadcast in February 2012.

Simon Van Booy's story about love, flowers and mannequins, set in snowy Paris.

In this story for Valentine's Day, the search for love is unreal, problematic even..

"His life went back to normal until one day, after almost ten years, he witnessed a violent incident at the railway station where he worked as a clerk. The desires suddenly returned, and soon enough, Saboné's eyes burned for the girl who stood in a shop-window on his walk to work. She was very pretty. And Saboné assumed he had passed her many times before. but for some reason, he had never noticed her. In addition to this new passion, Saboné caught himself doing odd things, like talking to birds and removing his hat whenever he passed statues in the gardens.

For days, he held the image of the shop-girl in his mind.."

Simon Van Booy's story of unreal love is set in a silent Paris,

covered with snow.

Soul In The Psalms20110525

Mary Ann Kennedy explores the unlikely relationship between American gospel music and the Gaelic tradition

of Psalm singing from the Western Isles.

Mary Ann Kennedy explores relationships between American gospel and Gaelic psalm singing.

Sound And Fury2013100320140423

How do sound designers use soundscapes and sound effects to manipulate excitement and emotion in the cinema audience?

Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering, visits Pinewood studios to meet Glenn Freemantle, who subsequently won an Oscar for his work on Gravity. Freemantle describes the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to re-create the soundscape of a remote desert canyon in the 2010 film 127 Hours, so that the cinema audience hears exactly what the climber trapped under a rock for 127 hours hears as he tries to escape. And he shows how to build up the sound in a creepy scene to make the audience feel uneasy.

Trevor Cox also learns how the sound of a futuristic motor bike is created in the latest Judge Dredd film - how does a sound designer create a sound that is incredibly powerful but also believable?

And there's a revealing trip to a screening room in central London to experience the very latest technology in the world of cinematic surround sound.

First broadcast in October 2013.

Sound Of Cinema: Sound And Fury20131003

How do sound designers use soundscapes and sound effects to manipulate excitement and emotion in the cinema audience?

As part of the BBC's Sound of Cinema season, Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering, visits Pinewood studios to meet Glenn Freemantle, Danny Boyle's sound designer. Freemantle describes the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to re-create the soundscape of a remote desert canyon in the film 127 Hours, so that the cinema audience hears exactly what the climber trapped under a rock for 127 hours hears as he tries to escape. And he shows how to build up the sound in a creepy scene to make the audience feel uneasy.

Trevor Cox also learns how the sound of a futuristic motor bike is created in the latest Judge Dredd film ? how does a sound designer create a sound that is incredibly powerful but also believable?

And there's a revealing trip to a screening room in central London to experience the very latest technology in the world of cinematic surround sound.

Sounds Of The City20130305

An audio snapshot of the city of Washington DC, captured in and around the moment of Barack Obama's inauguration for a second term as President of the United States.

From the roaring crowds of a Saturday night basketball game recorded amidst the spectators, the peace of Rock Creek Park, to the haunting melodies of street saxophonist Tim Turner, the atmosphere of the US capital is captured as the moment of inauguration approaches. Gathered by Marika Partridge of Washington's "Hear Now" audio collective, the portrait of the city that emerges from their months of recording is vibrant, idiosyncratic and aurally involving...

Featuring music by blues harmonica player Phil Wiggins, one man band David "Moe" Nelson, Christylez Bacon, guitar and beatbox and Tim Turner, alto saxophone.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Spencer De Grey20121102

Matthew Sweet meets the architect Spencer de Grey, whose buildings include The Sage Gateshead, Stansted Airport and the British Museum Great Court.

The Sage Gateshead, which opened in 2004, hosts the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival this weekend.

Spencer de Grey is Head of Design at Norman Foster's architectural practice. Joining Foster Associates in 1973 de Grey worked on the design for the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank before returning to the UK in 1981 and spending ten years working on Stansted Airport. He has also overseen the building of the Law Faculty at Cambridge, HM Treasury in Whitehall and nine City Academy schools in the UK.

He talks to Matthew Sweet about his views on architecture, his relationship with star architect Norman Foster and the design of The Sage Gateshead, whose silver curves have been likened to an armadillo, a shell, and a giant wave.

Free Thinking, Radio 3's festival of ideas, takes place Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

Stationmaster Fallmerayer2011090220120709

To accompany tonight's Prom concert of Mahler's Symphony No 1, a short story from the great Austrian writer Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann. The reader is Iain Glen.

After a terrible railway accident outside his provincial Austrian station, a married stationmaster takes care of the beautiful Russian Countess Walevska. She recuperates in his house for several days, before leaving to join her husband. But she is to leave a profound and fatal influence in the house and heart of the stationmaster.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Joseph Roth's short story about a provincial Austrian stationmaster's coup de foudre.

Stormy Weather20130718

Suzy Klein with a little summer lightning for tonight's Prom, ahead of a performance of Richard Strauss's 'Alpine' Symphony, featuring as it does a tumultuous storm amongst the peaks. From Vivaldi to Handel, via Vaughan Williams, Britten and of course Beethoven, composers have used the outer limits the musical palette of the orchestra to depict one of nature's most reliable and noisy events. Featuring torrential rain, harmonic hailstones, bolts of choral lightning and howling wind...

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Stravinsky And The King's Horse2011071920120504

The infamous Paris premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is well known, but its London premiere in July 1913 was both less scandalous and more interesting. News of Stravinsky's radical score and the outrageous production of the Ballets Russes reached London quickly and created a predictable sense of excitement. Yet what made the performance particularly memorable was that just one month earlier, a young suffragette called Emily Davison had taken her own life by throwing herself under the King's Horse at the Derby.

There are intriguing comparisons between Davison's fate and that of the sacrificial heroine in The Rite of Spring, suggesting that radical politics and radical aesthetics had become strangely aligned. With the help of dance expert, Ramsay Burt and voices from the archive, Dr Philip Bullock reviews early British reaction to Stravinsky's ballets to reveal a story far less familiar than the well-documented French scene.

Dr Philip Bullock teaches Russian at the University of Oxford, specialising in Soviet literature, music and culture.

Producer: Marya Burgess.

Philip Bullock considers sacrificial links between the Rite of Spring and Emily Davison.

Suffolk Sounds2012082420130607

Award-winning journalist, nature-writer and Britten devotee, Simon Barnes, writes in praise of the glorious sounds of his beloved Suffolk coast which inspired Britten's opera 'Peter Grimes'.

First staged a month after VE Day, 'Peter Grimes', Britten's searing psychological drama set in a claustrophobic Suffolk fishing community was a critical and popular success which established a new kind of English operatic tradition. It was based loosely on Britten's own hometown, Aldeburgh, on the East Coast of England. It's a coast Simon Barnes knows well, with its shifting shingle beaches, sandling heaths and wide-open skies, echoing with the sounds of redshank and curlew. Here Barnes writes in praise of the landscape he's inhabited for the past few decades - a wild, rich, noisy coast, ever-changing and volatile - which can be heard throughout Britten's music.

Writer: Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning chief sportswriter at The Times. He also writes a Saturday column on wildlife. His 18 books include three novels and the best-selling How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher. He lives in East Anglia with his family and five horses

Producer: Justine Willett.

Simon Barnes on the sounds of the Suffolk coast, which inspired Britten's Peter Grimes.

Summer Over England20100826

Between the two halves of tonight's prom, poet Nigel Forde presents a seasonal reflection. Summer more than any other time of year is richly represented in the recordings held in the BBC Archive. 'Summer Over the British Isles' was a famous 1937 feature programme evoking the moment when the country could perhaps relax a little, ease its braces and its stays, and stretch out in the long grass...and hope it wouldn't rain.

It was also a vaguely patriotic and - with hindsight - prophetic programme capturing an era that was about to be blown apart by the off-stage murmurs of war from Europe. But there's much more - Laurie Lee recalling the 'Hill Cricket' played on summer days in the Cotswold villages of his youth, Alistair Cooke describing a day at Lords and that other immortal voice of cricket, John Arlott, recalling long shadows and steepling catches. Vita Sackville-West describes the joys of great summer gardens; Henry Williamson forsakes otters to hymn the beauty of Devon and we catch the sound of conflict in 1964 when Britain's seaside became a battleground for disaffected youngsters...

Nigel Forde presents an evocation of summer, drawn from recordings in the BBC archive.

Summer Over England20110620

Between the two halves of tonight's concert, poet Nigel Forde presents a seasonal reflection. Summer more than any other time of year is richly represented in the recordings held in the BBC Archive. 'Summer Over the British Isles' was a famous 1937 feature programme evoking the moment when the country could perhaps relax a little, ease its braces and its stays, and stretch out in the long grass...and hope it wouldn't rain.

It was also a vaguely patriotic and - with hindsight - prophetic programme capturing an era that was about to be blown apart by the off-stage murmurs of war from Europe. But there's much more - Laurie Lee recalling the 'Hill Cricket' played on summer days in the Cotswold villages of his youth, Alistair Cooke describing a day at Lords and that other immortal voice of cricket, John Arlott, recalling long shadows and steepling catches. Vita Sackville-West describes the joys of great summer gardens; Henry Williamson forsakes otters to hymn the beauty of Devon and we catch the sound of conflict in 1964 when Britain's seaside became a battleground for disaffected youngsters...

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Nigel Forde presents an evocation of summer drawn from the BBC archive.

Take A Hike North20081127

Writer Christopher Somerville watches the dawn migration of 25,000 geese in Aberlady Bay.

Take a Hike North

Writer and poet Christopher Somerville visits the Firth of Forth with Dave Richardson of traditional music band Boys of the Lough to witness dawn at Aberlady Bay, and watch as 25,000 geese rise up and fly from shore to land in squadrons across the sky. Both men have been visiting the bay for years, and out on the dunes we hear them discuss their love of this particular landscape alongside some of the poetry and music inspired by this natural phenomenon.

Tales From The Loft20100121

It's not enough simply to be a great musician- to be a successful organist you have to have the physical stamina to climb narrow stairwells and cope with heights and you have to have an understanding of the technical complexity of the instrument you're about to play. The organ, whether in a concert hall or cathedral, is a sophisticated and intricately designed piece of musical equipment, with stops, keyboards, pedals and often miles of pipework. It all adds up to creating an instrument with as much of a personality as the people who play it.

"Tales from the Loft" combines the thoughts of players and those who build instruments to evoke a picture of the many facets of the organ. Among those taking part are the international artist Dame Gillian Weir and the organ builder Kenneth Tickell, who we hear putting the finishing touches to a new organ at Lincoln's Inn Chapel in London.

Tame Cat2011050520120113

In Tame Cat by Daphne du Maurier, a young woman returns from finishing school in Paris anticipating a happy reunion with her mother and an introduction to adult life in London society. Unfortunately, she is oblivious to how attractive she has become and the consequences that will have for her...

Tame Cat is taken from The Doll: Short Stories, the newly published collection by Daphne du Maurier. This includes several pieces recently rediscovered by an enthusastic devotee of the famous writer. Written early in her career these stories reveal the dark themes explored in the novels that made her name.

Three other short stories from this collection are being broadcast on Radio 4 on the afternoons of 3-5th May.

Reader: Morven Christie

Abridger: Richard Hamilton

Producer: Lucy Collingwood.

A newly re-discovered story written by a young Daphne du Maurier.

Telling Me Of Elsewhere - Philip Larkin And Radio20120809

On what, had he survived, would be Philip Larkin's 90th birthday, the historian Sean Street explores this much-loved poet's relationship with the radio. In his poem 'Broadcast', which ends this programme, Larkin tries pick out the particular clapping of a lover in the applause of the entire audience in a 'vast' hall.

The poet was listening to a concert such as this evening's broadcast and this inspired one of the finest and most poignant poems of the second half of the 20th century. In 'Livings II' he writes that 'Radio rubs its legs,/ Telling me of elsewhere'. This 'elsewhere' is a major theme in his work and radio both an apt metaphor, and a conduit to it.

But his relationship with radio was complicated. In 'Mr Bleaney' there is a set 'jabbering', he seems to think, inanities. And Philip Larkin, when he read on the radio himself, memorably remarked that this was his first experience of speaking to such a large audience and, "if I have anything to do with it, my last." Though a reluctant broadcaster, Larkin was a great listener, not least to music programmes.

Using the poems, his letters, archive recordings, jazz and the thoughts and recollections of Larkin's friend and biographer Andrew Motion, Sean Street reveals the importance of of the radio and of the act of listening to Philip Larkin's life and poetry.

Producer: Julian May.

Historian Sean Street explores Philip Larkin's relationship with radio.

The Albertopolis Of The South20130825

Lesley Chamberlain explores Prince Albert's German recreation of Britain. Albert made the Great Exhibition happen in 1851 and a revolution in British art and design followed.

Producer: Tim Dee.

The Albertopolis Wine King20100728

Live from the basement of the Royal Albert Hall, Christopher Cook tells the story of a forgotten 19th-century maverick, and takes a chance to sample a few vintage tipples from the wine club he bequeathed to the nation.

In 1874 it was decided that one of the many industrial exhibitions still being held at the Kensington Gardens site should be on the subject of wine. Submissions were invited from around the world, and flooded in. Flooded in, that is, mostly from Portugal. For reasons obscured by the mists of time nobody really heard about it, and the cellars of the Royal Albert Hall ended up stuffed with undrunk vintages. One man had an idea, Major-General Henry Young Darracott Scott, who had been the chief engineer for the completion of the hall itself: a co-operative wine society should be started to polish off the wine.

Today the Wine Society lives on, and tonight we get a chance to sample the kinds of wines drunk in 1874 with the help of Scott's successors at the society.

But there's more to this story than oenophilic extravagance. Scott was a fascinating man in his own right, and with architect Maxwell Hutchinson we discover the extraordinary challenges taken on by Scott when he had to take over the building of the Hall in its final stages.

There's a personal connection too: Scott was a military civil engineer, serving in the same regiment as Hutchinson's father. Could Scott's background explain the somewhat unusual ventilation system the hall opened with, and it's famously problematic acoustic? Look at the frieze around its dome and you'll also find a radical new form of concrete pioneered by Scott and whose secrets are still not fully understood. We get a sense of Scott's more eccentric side too. In his spare time the engineer was attempting to perfect a method of solidifying London's sewage with the aim of turning it to entrepreneurial advantage. By all accounts he didn't get further than creating an almighty stink.

And back at the hall we get a sense of a broader legacy. Scott was a key part of the process which saw money from the 1851 Great Exhibition used for the permanent benefit of everyday people through special events and shows. And it's a legacy surviving to this day, something the custodians of domes and Olympics might well view with interest.

Christopher Cook tells the story of a 19th-century maverick and wine-lover.

The Annual General Boiled Egg Panic20090831

The Art Of Fireworks20111215

Alexandra Harris, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, gives a talk on the history of fireworks, recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at The Sage Gateshead in November.

Roman Candles, rockets, peonies of fire... on New Year's Eve the skies are lit up with ever more ingenious effects, but where did it all begin, and what have fireworks meant across the centuries?

Alexandra Harris won the 2010 Guardian First Book Award with Romantic Moderns. Her most recent work is a short biography of Virginia Woolf.

In her talk entitled The Art of Fireworks, Alexandra Harris draws on music, painting and literature to explore our love affair with pyrotechnics.

Alexandra Harris discusses the history of fireworks at the 2011 Free Thinking Festival.

The Ascent Of Mount Ventoux20120228

In 1336, two brothers set out to climb a famous peak in the Provence area of France:

'At the time fixed we left the house, and by evening reached Malaucene, which lies at the foot of the mountain, to the north. Having rested there a day, we finally made the ascent this morning, with no companions. except two servants.

And a most difficult task it was...

The mountain is a very steep and an almost inaccessible mass of stony soil. But, as the poet has said: "Remorseless toil conquers all." '

The poet Petrarch describes his climb of this mighty mountain, which teaches him things

beyond the merely physical. Translated by James Harvey Robinson.

Reader Carl Prekopp

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Petrarch's account of how he and his brother once set out to climb a mountain in Provence.

The Ballad Of Wash Common20110509

To complement the concert from there, a lyrical evocation of the area around Wash Common, Newbury, by poet Michael Symmons Roberts, who used to live there in the 1980s.

Wash Common is the location of five Bronze Age tumuli and was also the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the English Civil War, the First Battle of Newbury. The area used to be flat open heathland, but since the 19th century, residential housing has gradually encroached on the common. Michael has written on the common, and on its near and more famous neighbour, Greenham Common, in his collections 'Raising Sparks' and 'Burning Babylon'.

Through interviews, sound and poetry, Michael conjures the landscape and the residents of Wash Common, past and present.

Produced by Emma Harding

PRESENTER: Michael Symmons Roberts is a poet, broadcaster, librettist and novelist. His poetry collections include 'Raising Sparks', 'Burning Babylon', which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, and 'Corpus', which won the Whitbread Award for Poetry. His continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas for the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera. Their WNO commission - 'The Sacrifice' - won the RPS Award for opera.

Michael Symmons Roberts with a lyrical evocation of the area around Wash Common, Newbury.

The Barley Bird20100905

In Suffolk they call the Nightingale, the Barley Bird, as its arrival coincides with the sprouting of the barley. The acclaimed nature writer, Richard Mabey, a longtime devotee of the bird, reads extracts from his new book, 'The Barley Bird', and muses on how this mysterious and elusive bird has inspired poets and musicians across the centuries. He recalls too, the famous series of annual outside broadcasts made by the cellist Beatrice Harrison and her accompanist - a nightingale in her garden.

The abridger is Sally Marmion

The producer is Di Speirs.

Richard Mabey reflects on a bird that has inspired poets and musicians - the nightingale.

The Bartered Bride And Arranged Marriages20110520

Ambitious parents, thwarted lovers, scheming marriage brokers and surprise revelations - theatre director, Jatinder Verma considers the place of arranged marriages in Bollywood cinema.

Theatre director Jatinder Verma on the place of arranged marriages in Bollywood cinema.

The Bear20100726

A darkly humorous tale about the personal sacrifices people make to conform by award-winning writer, Jeremy Dyson. A mysterious transformation occurs when an ambitious young lawyer, determined to make a bold statement at his office masquerade ball, turns up in a fabulous antique bear costume.

Reader: Mike Sengelow

Abridged and produced by Gemma Jenkins.

A thought-provoking story about identity by award-winning writer Jeremy Dyson.

The Captain's Apprentice2012082420130607

Roy Palmer explores the history of the traditional song The Captain's Apprentice'. George Crabbe drew on it for his poem The Borough, which in turn influenced Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes. It's basic plot, of an apprentice being taken from the workhouse and fatally mistreated, is unchanged.

This brilliant, if bleak, song was collected in Kings Lynn from the fisherman James Carter by Ralph Vaughan Williams and is still sung by folk singers. But the song dates back to at least the 18th Century and has travelled widely. Roy Palmer, an eminent authority on traditional song, explores this song, its history and influence, with the help of archive and some recent recordings. (Repeat)

Producer: Julian May.

The history of a traditional song that influenced Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes.

This brilliant, if bleak song was collected in Kings Lynn from the fisherman James Carter by Ralph Vaughan Williams and is still sung by folk singers. But the song dates back to at least the 18th Century and has travelled widely. Roy Palmer, an eminent authority on traditional song, explores this song, its history and influence, with the help of archive and some very recent recordings.

This brilliant, if bleak song was collected in Kings Lynn from the fisherman James Carter by Ralph Vaughan Williams and is still sung by folk singers. But the song dates back to at least the 18th Century and has travelled widely. Roy Palmer, an eminent authority on traditional song, explores this song, its history and influence, with the help of archive recordings.

The Castle Moreton Jerry20090611
The Colour Of Genius20111014

Ella Spira tells the story of a forgotten American genius, a flag-bearer for gender and racial equality whose career as pianist and composer was destroyed by prejudice and a mother who sculpted her life as a genetic experiment. And what starts out as a simple story ends with an extraordinary and unanticipated connection between presenter and subject.

Philippa Schuyler's life should have been one of fame and reward. Fêted by composer Leonard Bernstein, her work was performed by five leading American orchestras in her teens. She was ranked alongside Aaron Copland, and is rumoured to be the subject of a forthcoming Hollywood movie starring Alicia Keys. But in reality it was a deeply traumatic career, defined by her mixed race and the mother who viewed her as the product of a genetic experiment.

For Ella Spira she is a fascinating enigma, a kindred spirit as a woman in a man's world. But can her talent ever be separated from the complexities which surrounded it, a life as a 'prodigy puppet' ruled by tarot cards and failed love affairs, and her bizarre death in a helicopter accident over Vietnam after recasting herself from black to white?

Contributions from Schuyler's biographer Kathryn Talalay and Grammy-winning conductor John McLaughlin Williams present a deeply complex figure. No wonder - her parents were a controversial black journalist and a blue-eyed Texan who believed that 'the white race is spiritually depleted and American must mate with the Negro to save herself'. Her childhood was a life of raw food, guided by the psychology of John Watson which forbade hugging and kissing, preferring whipping and slapping. She was brought up as an emblem of mixed-race America, touted as a star pianist in the likes of 'Coloured American night at the Pops', but whose concert career was deemed impractical because of her skin colour. A composition career followed, before a political career campaigning for African rights and against female circumcision, and then another diversion as a journalist in the Vietnam war.

Perhaps her life can never be completely decoded, but we get glimpses into her true personality in excerpts from her semi-fictional novels based on conflicts in the Congo and Vietnam, plus we hear the charm of her piano music rediscovered in his childhood piano stool by John McLaughlin Williams. There are glimpses into her tragic love life too, leading Ella Spira down a road which ends up intersecting remarkably with her own family history. Philippa's life turns out to be one ultimately of manipulation and tragedy, but one which holds a revealing mirror to the racial and sexual attitudes of the country which created and then damaged her.

Ella Spira tells the story of a forgotten prodigy, pianist and composer Philippa Schuyler.

The Conductor20130824

"It seemed he'd been waiting all his life for the knock at the door.."

In an extract from Sarah Quigley's novel, all eyes are on Dimitri Shostakovich.

He's sleepy, bumbling around the kitchen, trying to make his morning porridge.

A knock at the door has unsettled him, but that's the least of his concerns.

Where is his wife, Nina? What is happening in his city, Leningrad?

And what about the work he has to do?

Read by Carl Prekopp

Producer Duncan Minshull.

The Courtship Of Mr Lyon20091204

The Death And Life Of The Street20110816

Lynsey Hanley takes to the street to reflect upon the enduring relevance of writer Jane Jacobs and, in its fiftieth year, discusses Jacobs' most influential book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Lynsey Hanley on Jane Jacobs's influential defence of organic and unplanned city life.

The Diaries Of Sofia Tolstoy

The End Of Summer20090925

The Fairy's Curse20090810

The Flirt20090727

The Flirt20100225
The Garden Of Earthly Delights20081128

Tim Healey explores the Goliards, composers of the original songs of Carmina Burana.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Tim Healey finds out what we know about the Goliards, the counter-cultural composers of the original bawdy medieval songs of Orff's Carmina Burana, people often characterised as 12th century hippies and hobos.

The Garden Of Time20100611

The Gardener20121112

To commemorate Armistice Day, Sian Thomas reads Rudyard Kipling's classic story of remembrance, written out of his own grief at losing his son in the First World War, culminating on the killing fields of Northern Europe.

'The Gardener' is the story of a very typical Englishwoman who nobly steps into the breach, taking on the son of her disgraced and now dead brother, who she brings up, and loves as much as is proper, before seeing him of to the war in France. On the news that he is missing presumed dead, she is numbed, living on untouched by events around her. Only on visiting his grave across the Channel, among others struggling with their grief, does she find solance.

Rudyard Kipling was one of the great English short story writers, whose own son John was killed at Loos in 1915. Partly in response to John's death, Kipling helped to set up the Imperial War Graves Commission, the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front.

Producer and abridger: Justine Willett

Reader: Sian Thomas.

The German William Morris20121005

Lesley Chamberlain tells the story of the German artist and architect Heinrich Vogeler, ardent admirer of William Morris and British design. Producer: Tim Dee.

The Ghosts Of Little Russia20090313
The Global Flute Fraternity20120804

Keith Waithe gives Julian May a tour of his collection of 207 flutes from around the globe

James Galway, this afternoon's soloist, plays a flute made of gold - and the penny whistle. These are two extremes of this instrument. People have, everywhere and always, fulfilled their need to make music by blowing into and across a reed or a hollow bone.

Keith Waithe, the Guyanese jazz flautist and composer, has played in the Americas, Africa, India and the Far East and, on his travels, has gathered members of the flute family from all over the world. He now has 207 flutes, of bamboo, bone and even pottery.

For the interval of this matinee he takes Julian May around the collection, around the world, and around his kitchen table, telling the stories of the flutes - their provenance, their use, how he came by them - and he plays them in 'The Global Flute Fraternity'.

Keith Waithe has been a resident with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, his band The Macusi Players, performs widely and he composes for the theatre and radio. He has also made a theatre show using his collection of flutes, performed at BAC.

Producer: Julian May.

The Greatest Poem Never Read20120802

Danny Karlin, Professor of Poetry at the University of Bristol and editor of the complete works of Robert Browning, stands up for one of his poet's least loved and least read poems: 'Sordello'. A long story of a medieval troubadour, the poem was a complete and utter disaster on publication, set the career of its author back by twenty years, and has remained a black hole in Victorian poetry. Can anything of Browning's intentions be recovered, can the poem itself come to life at all? If we could find a way to read 'Sordello' should we? No one knows the poem better than Danny Karlin; can he convince us that we should try it?

Producer: Tim Dee.

Danny Karlin considers Robert Browning's Sordello: is it the best worst poem ever?

The Hothouse20100811

A charming tale by Tove Jansson about two elderly eccentrics who develop an unlikely friendship when they tussle over a bench in the hothouse of a Finnish botanical garden. Read by Andrew Sachs, this thought-provoking story combines sharp observations about human nature with beguiling descriptions of the natural world.

Translator: Silvester Mazzarella

Abridged and produced by Gemma Jenkins

********************************************************************

A charming tale about friendship and old age by the acclaimed Finnish writer, Tove Jansson, best known as the creator of the "Moomin" stories.

Two elderly eccentrics develop an unlikely friendship when they tussle over who gets to sit on a bench in the hothouse of a Finnish botanical garden. Although they are both solitary by nature, they begin to look forward to their weekly encounters in the hothouse and to the lively discussions that ensue.

This thought-provoking story combines sharp observations about human nature with beguiling descriptions of the natural world.

"The Hothouse" is taken from the newly published short story collection, "Travelling Light." Written by Jansson in 1987, this is the first time that these stories have appeared in English.

Reader: Andrew Sachs

A charming tale about friendship and old age by acclaimed Finnish writer, Tove Jansson.

The Human Jukebox2012082820150718 (R3)

Do you sing in the bath, whistle in the corridors, or hum nervously waiting on the phone?

Why do we sing to ourselves, do we even know we are doing it, and what about those infuriating phrases of music that we find stuck in our heads?

It seems that 90% of the population have experienced the mysterious playing of the 'Human Jukebox' - either whole tunes or short repetitive phrases. Whether to hide embarrassment, pass the time in a mundane job, or celebrate a happy moment, unconscious singing or whistling is a common trait.

Peter Curran, a self-hummer, explores a phenomenon which is under increased investigation.

As our understanding of the brain increases, so we can gather more understanding of how we relate to music, and that includes how so we select tunes from our internal jukebox.

Peter Curran, finds out from Professor Paul Robertson, founder of the Medici Quartet, the connection between music and emotion, and Dr Lauren Stewart, Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths University, about her research project into the origination and nature of earworms, (or 'Ohrwurm' as they were originally described in German).

Pop producer Clive Langer, writer David Stafford and an assortment of human jukeboxes also share their compulsion to sing out loud.

Next time you find yourself whistling in the bath, maybe you'll understand more about what you are doing.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall

If you'd like to know more about Dr Lauren Stewarts research project you can look online at:

http://www.gold.ac.uk/music-mind-brain/earworm-project.

Peter Curran finds out why we sing to ourselves, and why sometimes we can't stop it.

As our understanding of the brain increases, so we can gather more understanding of how we relate to muisic, and that includes how so we select tunes from our internal jukebox.

The Imperial Mathematician And The Moon2009120320110125

It's just over 400 years since the publication of the first modern European story of a trip to the moon - astronomer Johannes Kepler's astonishing science fiction novella Somnium (The Dream), written in the summer of 1609 in Prague. Kepler had no rockets in his dream world - he had to call on demons to overcome the immense forces of interplanetary travel, encouraging passengers to arrange their limbs carefully so they weren't ripped apart at lift off! He didn't choose Cape Canaveral but Iceland for his moon base, inspired by stories of volcanoes and lost souls. He imagined a moon world full of huge, fast-growing serpent-like creatures, but he wasn't writing the Renaissance equivalent of a B-Movie!

In 1609 Kepler was at the height of his powers, publishing his laws of planetary motion which would help take us to the moon. But he was also man with dangerous ideas. Just like Galileo, Kepler supported the new astronomy which put the Sun at the centre of the solar system, instead of a static Earth. Kepler's story was a mind-blowing thought experiment, to shift the reader's frame of reference to the Moon, so they could see that Earth never stood still. But unlike Galileo, it wasn't his own life he endangered with his ideas - it was his mother's. Bad tempered old herbalist Katharina Kepler was far too much like the Icelandic demon summoner and space-travel specialist of the story - Fiolxhilde with her astronomer son. When a neighbourhood quarrel left Katharina accused of witchcraft, people turned to manuscript copies of the Somnium and thought 'Aha! See, even her own son says so!' A horrified Kepler rushed to her rescue. Did he get there in time?

Andrew Brown on astronomer Johannes Kepler's science fiction novella Somnium: The Dream.

The Invitation20120814

Invitations of whatever kind invariably create a range of emotions and challenges, both for those who issue them and those who receive them.

Here the author and critic Ian Sansom, incoming Professor of English at the University of Warwick, explores the concept of invitation from a wide range of angles including the social, philosophical, literary, musical and religious. He is inspired by a very special invitation he received earlier this year announcing " - the Master of the Household had received Her Majesty's command to invite me to a Reception to be given at Buckingham Palace by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh...."

Sansom says he finds an invitation "a complex site for the staging of human desire and human power". Here he explores the minefield that is the etiquette around social and official invitations. He also visits St Paul's Cathedral to stand before the Divine Invitation embodied in one of the most famous paintings in the world.

Did Sansom accept The Invitation to the Palace? You'll have to listen to the programme to find out.

Producer: Martin O'Brien.

Author Ian Sansom explores the meaning and mystery of invitation giving and receiving.

The Kerry Connection20100205

The Keyed Serpent20090821

The Laius Complex20130313

Before the performance of 'Oedipus Rex', the 'opera-oratorio after Sophocles' by Stravinsky, Paul Allen sets a millennia old injustice to rights in a provocative illustrated essay, 'The Laius Complex'.

Who, he asks, was really the guilty party in Thebes in 1000 (or thereabouts) BC? The finger has always been pointed at Oedipus, and it's true, he did kill his father and sleep with his mother. Sigmund Freud took the story and made all men feel guilty. Allen lays the blame elsewhere: who started the fight at the place where three roads meet? Laius, the father, and it's Laius, who should have a syndrome named after him.

There are many more instances of fathers killing their sons than sons killing their father in the great myths. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac. In 'The Orphan of Zhao', the great Chinese epic dating back to roughly the same period as Sophocles (now being staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company), a doctor sacrifices his own son to save another baby. More recently, Rudyard Kipling drove his son Jack to enlist and fight in the First World War when he really wasn't fit.

This is emblematic of all young men sent off to war or other kinds of conflict by old men. Freud himself fell into this pattern... just why did he disinherit his son Martin when it came to the succession of fashionable psychoanalysis? Freud installed Jung as his psychoanalytic heir and even talked of formally adopting him; his son Martin never recovered, remaining erratic for the rest of his life.

Illustrated by Sophocles, James Fenton's version of 'Zhao', some Kipling, the Old Testament and Freud's biograhy biography, Paul Allen enquiries seriously, but lightly of touch, into the nature of the father and son relationship in 'The Laius Complex'.

Producer: Julian May.

The Last Days Of Summer20131014

The novelist Claire Messud was commissioned by Radio 3 and Vogue Magazine to write a story about the end of summer. Her two characters, a mother and daughter, spend time on the beach at Martha's Vinyard, keenly aware that other things are ending too...

Reader, Lydia Wilson

Producer, Duncan Minshull.

The Last Heretic20120825

In 1612, Edward Wightman, described as the 'Jacobean equivalent of a pub bore' became the last person to be burned at the stake for heresy in England. He'd decided he was the third person of the Holy Trinity, prophesied the day of the Last Judgement and bothered the King and Archbishop of Canterbury with presentation copies of his self-scribbled books wherein he denounced the Church of England as radically corrupt and heretical.

Today we'd consider Wightman's eccentricities to be absolutely harmless. We might move away from him on the bus or block him on Twitter but we certainly wouldn't want him to be killed, and we'd be horrifed at the thought of executing anyone by burning them alive, even for the most heinous crimes. Journalist and writer Andrew Brown and Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford, look at why such cruel punishment was once accepted as absolutely necessary and how that perception changed.

The programme will include extracts from Wightman's own prophecy of the end of the world. Wightman's words are read by actor Simon Tait.

Andrew Brown and Diarmaid MacCulloch consider why we burned heretics and why we stopped.

The Life And Genius Of Michael Rabin20121211

He was "without weakness, none." The verdict of the great violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian on one of his young students, Michael Rabin.

Michael Rabin was born in New York in 1936. His gift for playing the violin was exceptional and he made his debut on stage at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14. To his admirers he was one of the twentieth century's greatest violinists, ranking alongside Heifetz, Oistrakh and Menuhin.

But Michael Rabin's life was marked by isolation and at times anxiety and during the early 1960s this lead to him cancelling concerts. His career was undergoing a revival by the late 1960s but then, in 1972, at the age of just 35, Rabin died from a head injury sustained in a fall at his New York apartment.

To mark the fortieth anniversary of Michael Rabin's death Jonathan Coffey speaks to some of those who knew Rabin best and assesses his legacy.

The Light In Darkness20120413

In summer the sun barely sets, bringing long nights of partying and heavy drinking. But in Lapland, as winter closes in, the lights go on, not to be extinguished until the sun finally begins to rise again above the horizon nearly three months later. Some find the seemingly endless darkness forbidding, but others find it comforting, enjoying the way the starry blackness allows their minds to play over thoughts of the infinite...

Programme makers Hannu Karisto from Finland and his Swiss colleague Jean-Claude Kuner were shortlisted last year in the prestigious Prix Italia for their contemplative documentary feature exploring the pleasures and profound pessimism that this ineluctable seasonal flux brings on. In this English language version of the programme first broadcast by Finnish radio, the programme makers travel to the far north of the country in both seasons to catch the spirit of those 'endless days and nights'.

A documentary contemplating the 'endless days and nights' that affect Finland.

The Light In The Darkness20111201

In summer the sun barely sets, bringing long nights of partying and heavy drinking. But in Lapland, as winter closes in, the lights go on, not to be extinguished until the sun finally begins to rise again above the horizon nearly three months later. Some find the seemingly endless darkness forbidding, but others find it comforting, enjoying the way the starry blackness allows their minds to play over thoughts of the infinite...

Programme makers Hannu Karisto from Finland and his Swiss colleague Jean-Claude Kuner were shortlisted last year in the prestigious Prix Italia for their contemplative documentary feature exploring the pleasures and profound pessimism that this ineluctable seasonal flux brings on. In this English language version of the programme first broadcast by Finnish radio, the programme makers travel to the far north of the country in both seasons to catch the spirit of those 'endless days and nights'.

A contemplation of the 'endless days and nights' that affect northern Scandinavia.

The Meaning Of Maturity20120524

'The Ripening' is Josef Suk's masterpiece. So it has overshadowed the work that inspired it - and from which Suk took his title. 'The Ripening', sometimes translated as 'Maturity', is a poem by Antonin Sova. He was a shy librarian who suffered from a spinal disease. But he was a signatory to the major modernist literary manifesto - the 'Ceská moderna' - in 1895, and became a leading Czech Impressionist and Symbolist poet in the early part of the 20th century.

This was a time when what would soon become Czechoslovakia was in intellectual, cultural, linguistic and political ferment. Suk's composition was premiered by Václav Talich in 1918 while the country still awaited the Treaty of Versailles which would, after centuries of oppression, free it from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Sova was deeply affected by the death of his mother, and Suk had also suffered personal losses - his wife (Dvorak's daughter) - as well as his parents had died. So the maturity of the title might be both the country's and Sova and Suk's own ripening - Suk was in his forties when he composed the piece. Paul Allen sets the context with the aid of Czech music specialist Geoff Chew, and, examines a poem barely known in English - illustrated by a new translation of it.

Paul notes, too (in Olympic year), that Suk won a silver medal for composition at the Los Angeles Olympics 14 years later.

Producer Julian May.

The Modern Soul2011080420120622

Katherine Mansfield's story is written from the perspective of a witty female who befriends a buffoonish professor. The guests at a German pension decide to take part in a concert. Fraulein Sonia performs a theatrical dance and Herr Professor plays his trombone. The narrator describes this performance with quiet amusement and cynicism.

Katherine Mansfield applies her characteristic wit to this story, The Modern Soul, first published in the collection In a German Pension.

Read by Sophie Thompson

Produced by Lucy Collingwood.

Written from the perspective of a witty female who befriends a buffoonish Professor, the guests at the German Pension decide to take part in a concert. Fraulein Sonia performs a theatrical dance and Herr Professor plays his trombone. The narrator describes this performance with quiet amusement and cynicism.

Katherine Mansfield applies her characteristic wit to this story The Modern Soul which was first published in the collection In a German Pension.

In Katherine Mansfield's story, guests at a German pension perform in a private concert.

The Music Of Radio Times20130828

The first edition of Radio Times magazine hit the bookstands in September 1923. Nine decades later, radio historian Simon Elmes discovers that music, and particularly classical music has always been a staple ingredient of its success formula.

From weekly programme notes by eminent music scholars on the major concert of the radio week, to anguished discussion of "highbrow" and "lowbrow" compositions, the early years of one of Britain's most successful and enduring publications were awash with music theory, argument and appreciation. "Is Bartok mad?" launched a fierce debate on new music, while a lengthy disquisition on the Church Cantatas of Bach heralded a huge series of weekly broadcasts comprising the complete canon of the choirmaster of Leipzig.

Picture features celebrated the glamorous sopranos, contraltos and 'lady violinists' of the week, and the harpist Sidonie Goossens, still performing at the Proms in the last decades of the 20th century, was already a regular photographic favourite in its third. Meanwhile, in 1924, the celebrated diva Dame Clara Butt even went so far as to share with Radio Times readers her great musical dream: "I would like my singing to do something to bring to pass the glorious day 'when war shall be no more'. Is it only a dream?".

Sadly, as events 15 years later were to prove, it was.

The Musical Path Through Dementia20100728

For 10 years former headmaster, Edward Jones, cared for his wife as she became lost in her own world through dementia; he discovered that music was the link that continued to connect her to this world and to him. Whether it was his own self-taught piano playing or CDs of everything from Beethoven to Bob Dylan, music built a bridge to their past life: all five children had played instruments, she herself the clarinet. Music would calm her, as would reading to her - she used to be an English lecturer.

Familiar with TS Eliot's exhortation that old men ought to be explorers, Edward considered there could be no better ground for him to explore than the care of a beloved. "In these ways I kept my wife with me. We remained very close. Most of the elements that make up the round of daily human life had been stripped away; only the essence of what had existed between us - that thing we call love - remained, and it was wonderful."

Two years after her death, Edward remembers the life and love that cannot, in Rilke's words, be "cancelled" and continues to be grateful for the closeness her last years brought them.

Edward Jones reflects on caring for his wife through dementia and the new love they found.

The Musicians Of Ingo20090726

The Ospreys Of Loch Garten20130621

Nature writer Rob Cowen travels to the Abernethy Forest in Scotland, the last tract of wild Caledonian Forest, to tell the remarkable story of the rare and beautiful osprey, and their recent return to the waters of Loch Garten.

Ospreys were once a familar sight in Scotland, but were hunted to extinction in the 19th century, but since the 1950s, they have been making a tentative return to nest and fish in the Abernethy Forest.

Recorded on location at Loch Garten.

Written and read by Rob Cowen

Produced by Emma Harding

About the author: Rob Cowen is an author, award-winning journalist and outdoorsman. Growing up on the Yorkshire moors instilled a passion for the natural world that has been central in his life ever since. He is the co-author of a recent book, Skimming Stones: And Other Ways of Being in the Wild (with Leo Critchley). He has written extensively on travel and nature for The Independent, The Telegraph and The Express and currently writes a column on woodland for the Independent on Sunday. He has also appeared on BBC 2's The Culture Show and Channel 4's Time Team as a wild food expert. He now lives and writes in North Yorkshire.

The Picture Vanishes20110821

"A hundred years ago, August 1911, an Italian painter and decorator slipped from the cupboard in the Louvre where he had been hiding all night, stepped up to the Mona Lisa, freed her from her frame and left the building apparently unseen..."

The art critic and author Laura Cumming recalls the period after this infamous theft took place. Who was behind the caper? Why did France and Italy nearly come to blows? And was that face, sans eyebrows, really worth taking in the first place? She investigates in a specially commissioned essay to mark centenary of the event.

Laura Cumming tells the amazing story of

when the Mona Lisa went missing a century ago...

Laura Cumming recalls the theft from the Louvre in 1911 of the Mona Lisa.

The Planets20130807

Music journalist and cultural commentator Paul Morley on finally seeing the future in Gustav Holst's 'The Planets'.

'The Planets' was the first classical album that Paul Morley ever bought. As a teenager into experimental German electronic music and psychedelic rock, he expected it to take him into the realms of science fiction. But has was disappointed. It seemed irrelevant, old-fashioned, nothing to do with the future. Decades on, however, 'The Planets' has become for Morley the music of the future, for the future, and it's pop and rock that sound dated and quaint in comparison.

Written and read by Paul Morley

Produced by Justine Willett.

The Pleasure Of Noise20110218

A symphony orchestra can be as loud as a road drill. Although they sound as loud as each other, the noise they make can have a very different effect on the listener. The sound of a full symphony orchestra can be a visceral thrill, a physical pleasure.

Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at Salford University, speaks to members of the BBC Philharmonic about making loud music - not just the sound but the thrill of playing in the orchestra. Does the excitement of creating loud music cause purely physical pleasure or is something more subtle at work?

Trevor also speaks to a rock fan and a hip hop fan about the loud music they enjoy; does it need to be constantly loud for them to derive pleasure from it?

Professor Trevor Cox of Salford University explores the physical pleasure of noise.

The Poem Of The End20130904

Marina Tsvetaeva's poetic masterpiece, charting the final moments of a passionate affair in Prague 1924. Two lovers walk across the bridges of Prague, as they build themselves up to cross the final bridge - of separation.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) was one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century. She lived through and wrote about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In 1922, Tsvetaeva left Russia and lived with her family in impoverished exile in Paris, Berlin and Prague, where she had an affair with Konstantin Rozdevitch, a former military officer. She wrote about this relationship in several poems, including Poem of the End.

Tsvetaeva returned to Moscow in 1939. Her husband Sergei Efron and her daughter Alya were arrested on espionage charges in 1941 and her husband was later executed. Tsvetaeva committed suicide in 1941. Her work inspired a number of great poets including Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak, Rainer Maria Rilke, Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky.

Written by Marina Tsvetaeva and translated by Elaine Feinstein

Performed by Imogen Stubbs and David Seddon

Produced by Emma Harding

The Rain Horse20120321

In Ted Hughes haunting tale, a young man returns to the landscape of his youth - no longer the green and pleasant land of his memories, but something darker, cruel and unforgiving. As the rain lashes down, he faces nature red in tooth and claw in the form of a ghostly black horse, which appears to be following him - Infused with Hughes' muscular, poetic language, this is a powerful story both of man against nature, and a man fighting his own hidden demons.

Author: Ted Hughes was one of the greatest English poets of the 20th century, and famously the former husband of Sylvia Plath. His collections include 'Hawk in the Rain' and 'Birthday Letters'. He was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death.

Produced and abridged by Justine Willett

Reader: David Warner.

Ted Hughes's short story about a man attacked by a ghostly black horse while out walking.

The Reef20130805

When Marg realises that her husband yearns for change, she agrees to a round Australia trip, and a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.

Evie Wyld?s first novel, 'After the Fire, A Still Small Voice', was shortlisted for the Impac Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her work has been broadcast on The Verb, The Culture Show and Radio 4?s Afternoon Reading. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.

Producer: Robert Howells.

The Rise Of The Cossacks20130802

As Vladimir Putin promotes Cossack values in Russia, and amid Cossack protests against contemporary art, Alexander Kan considers how The Cossack has been portrayed in art, literature, and music.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

The Rite Of Autumn20100907

The Orchestre National de France is about to perform 'The Rite of Spring', but spring is long past, the long summer of concerts is drawing to its close and the autumn equinox is a fortnight away. Doc Rowe, who since the 1960s has been recording and filming the traditions, vernacular arts, folklore, song and dance of Britain and Ireland, explores the rites of autumn. With recordings of such events and customs as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Punkie Night in Hinton St George, and the wild bonfires of Kent and Sussex, and talking to those involved, he reveals how people here mark the gathering dark.

Producer: Julian May.

Doc Rowe explores how in Britain we mark the onset of of autumn.

The Roma Today20090724

The Songs I Have Made For Thee20090829

The Sound Artist20110809

Sebastiane Hegarty takes a walk through our sonic environment and discusses the music inspired by natural sound.

As a sound artist, he says, he doesn't search for particular sounds, but instead immerses himself in a noise-rich world and uses what comes to him.

Out on the moors, he finds "the gnawing of wasps on a wooden fence, the chaotic percussion of rain on barbed wire, the desolate spatial collapse of a barn door closing....Listening, like walking, allows us to discover or perhaps uncover what is already there: to apprehend the unfamiliar within the familiar."

Sebastiane introduces us to his some of his own work, and discusses the influence of other sound artists and composers including John Cage.

Sebastiane Hegarty explores the music inspired by natural sound.

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping20120224

It is 40 years since American composer Steve Reich first performed his Clapping Music; his aim to "create a piece of music that needed no instruments beyond the human body", but his fascinating experiment in phasing and rhythm was by no means the first or the last time clapping has played a part in music.

Musician David Bramwell explores the art of the clap in creating and teaching music - the most widespread forms of rhythm making across the world. He hears from Al Guerra, Miami based creator of the Interactive Metronome, a technique of clapping therapy that helps the brain damaged and uncoordinated.

At Chichester College Jazz Course, saxophonist Simon D'Souza and guitarist Dave Murrell give insight into the way rhythm is taught to the most sophisticated of musical ears - how well you think you can keep time may be challenged, while teacher and performer Lorraine Bowen brings clapping into her pupils lessons with such joy that she makes everyone wish she had been their piano teacher. Finally, world famous composer Steve Reich and Zen guru Bart Simpson aid the revelation of what the sound of one hand clapping is really like.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Musician David Bramwell explores the art of the clap in creating and teaching music.

The Soviet Valkyrie20130723

In 1940, the famed Soviet film director Sergey Eisenstein was suddenly invited to stage a production of Wagner's Die Walküre at the Bolshoi. Wagner was unlikely fare at this time - the Soviet Union was largely hostile to foreign art, especially that of its great political rival in Europe, Germany. Yet the signing of the Soviet-Nazi non-aggression pact in 1939 opened up a brief window for the oddest of reconciliations. The historian Philip Bullock considers Eisenstein's involvement in the production, and explores Russian interest in Wagner more generally, asking what happens when works of art get caught up in politics, propaganda and international diplomacy?

The Squire's Daughter2011073120130423

appears in Alexander Pushkin's Tales of Belkin. It is an amusing story about the enmity that exists between two landowners, and the antics of their children, Aleksey and Liza.

Alexander Pushkin wrote Tales of Belkin in 1830, and in a fictional introduction to the collection, he claims that the author was a recently deceased landowner, Ivan Petrovich Belkin, who was a great collector of stories. He goes on to say that each of the five short works was told to him by various people, and that it was Miss K.I.T who recounted the amusing story of The Squire's Daughter.

The Squires Daughter by Alexander Pushkin was translated by Ronald Wilks. The reader is Hattie Morahan. The abridger and producer is Elizabeth Allard.

The Squire's Daughter appears in Alexander Pushkin's Tales of Belkin. It is an amusing story about the enmity that exists between two landowners, and the antics of their children, Aleksey and Liza.

Pushkin's story about the enmity between two landowners and the antics of their children.

The Stone That Moved20110825

Wales's first National Poet, Gwyneth Lewis was brought up with the myth of Taliesin, the sixth-century Welsh poet and shape-shifter. One wet summer holiday in Aberystwyth in the 1960s, her mother decided they should go in search of the Taliesin stone. A Celtic relative of the Blarney stone, it's said that if you sleep with your head on it, it'll either turn you into a poet or mad. Maybe even both. Gwyneth has a small black and white photo of her and her Mum standing around this undistinguished boulder imbued with remarkable powers and realises that it was an important quest for her. What else remains from that holiday? A memory of buying worthy but dull Welsh woollen capes, and falling asleep to the sound track of Shane, the best Western ever made.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis recalls a wet childhood day in mid Wales in search of Taliesin.

The Story Of The Cross20120405

During their persecution under the Roman Empire, many early Christians used the sign of the fish as a symbol of faith and identity. It's said that the sign was used to mark secret meeting places or tombs and as a kind of code for identifying and communicating with other Christians. The sign of the fish - or "icthys" - is still used by some Christians today. But it's the simple cross - two intersecting straight lines - that has come to be the dominant symbol of Christianity. In this Twenty Minutes for Easter Jonathan Coffey uncovers the story of how this most profound of symbols came into being.

Jonathan Coffey on the story of the cross and how it became the symbol of Christianity.

The Suit2009112020100806

A funny and provocative look at dress, class, ageing and the philosophical life from Ian Sansom. An eccentric and perfectly tailored feature, prompted by a visit to a gentleman's outfitters, where Ian is measured for a new suit. He's reminded of the men in his family - his working-class grandfathers trussed up uncomfortably in clothes designed for the sedentary professional classes, collected in a family album of black and white photos that brings to mind John Berger's essay, 'The Suit and the Photograph' in which Berger writes about the great German photographer August Sander. This leads on to reflections on famous suit wearers in history and literature, and to a series of thoughts about, among others, Benjamin Franklin, John F. Kennedy, Michael Nyman, Franz Kafka, and Anthony Powell.

Ian Sansom is a critic and writer of both fiction and non-fiction, whose series of detective stories featuring a mobile librarian in rural Northern Ireland has gathered fans around the world. He has previously broadcast for Radio 3 on WH Auden, his passion for concrete, his adopted city of Belfast and bibliomania.

Producer: Sara Davies.

Writer Ian Sansom reflects on dress, class and the philosophical life.

The Summer House20100811

In Norway you'd call it a sommerhus, in Finland a mokki, in Russia a dacha and in Sweden a stuga. In English there is no adequate word for these havens in the forests and by the water where our northern neighbours withdraw for the summer.

Kate Clanchy, who has spent time in mokkis and stugas, reveals how these are not mere second homes for the wealthy - most people have access to one. Nor are they places of total relaxation: there are logs to be chopped, potatoes to be grown and mushrooms and berries to be gathered. The summer house is where people reconnect with the land, with nature, with each other and themselves.

She contemplates the atmosphere and the light, and the way this imbues so much of the music and writing we love, the work of Grieg, Sibelius, Chekhov, Nabokov and Tove Jansson, author of 'The Summer Book'.

Producer: Julian May.

Kate Clanchy on the importance of the summer house to people in Scandinavia and Russia.

The Sunken City20120726

Welsh writer Phil Carradice investigates the legend of a lost realm submerged beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay. A well-known story in Wales, recorded as early as the ninth century, it has striking similarities with Breton stories of a kingdom drowned on account of the folly and arrogance of its citizens. Whether or not it embodies a folk memory of catastrophic inundation is debatable. But as the sea level rises and threatens coastal settlements, the tale is as relevant today as in the past.

Phil Carradice investigates a lost kingdom submerged beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay.

The Sweetness Of The Garden20110722

In the Spring of 1829, Washington Irving - who'd been invited to Spain to explore newly open archive in Madrid - made as he put it "a rambling expedition from Seville to wander among the romantic mountains of Andalusia to Granada." America's first world-celebrated writer (and the author of such classics as 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'), Irving was permitted to sojourn in the magnificent palace of the Moorish rulers, the Alhambra: "Who can do justice to a moonlight night in such a climate and such a place?" The resultant 'Tales of the Alhambra' - which Irving wrote in a "rambling set of empty, unfurnished rooms" - celebrate the enchantment of the palace, described by Arabs as 'a pearl set in emeralds' for the brilliance of its ornamentation and the lush verdure of its many gardens. The Moors were famous makers of gardens - paradise on earth, as the Prophet called them - refuge from the aridity and heat of the desert, supplied with fragrance and, above all, luxuriant in water, its sound and coolness.

In this illustrated interval talk, Graeme Fife takes us on a virtual tour of the Alhambra's famous gardens, their tiled courtyards and pools and basins of living water - using readings from Irving's 'Tales of the Alhambra', and comparing them with his own recollections and the descriptions provided by Arabic poets of the day.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Graeme Fife on the famed gardens of the Alhambra, through Washington Irving's writings.

The Trials Of The Chorus Master20130712

This Prom has five different choruses, which is pretty remarkable even for the Proms.

In this interval feature we gather together three of the chorus masters of tonight's concert to talk about the art of the chorus master.

This is a job which requires going along to many rehearsals on wet Tuesday nights and putting up with some terrible attendances and unmusical politics. Then, after all the hard work, when the choir is drilled to perfection, in comes the star conductor and takes the glory. Is it tricky? We ask them.

The Trojan Horse Has Bolted20120722

Paul Allen examines how, despite losing the war, the Trojans have shaped Western culture.

In the second interval of the Prom performance of 'Les Troyens' by Berlioz, Paul Allen makes the case for the cultural comeback, and continuing importance, of the Trojans. There were on the 'wrong' side in the war that bears their name, but nonetheless when the first Roman Emperor sought a cultural and ethnic ancestry for his parvenu rule, Virgil produced it for him - with the Trojans - in the Aeneid. Even the winning Greeks acknowledge Hector's heroism; he is clearly valiant and noble in Homer's depiction in the Iliad. And in 'Trojan Women' Euripides creates one of world's greatest anti-war plays.

Then, in the 16th century, the myth that English royalty was descended from the Trojan Brutus was conjured up as a way of giving legitimacy to another parvenu empire. Today an heroic race gives its name to a computer virus and is identified by trick played on it by Odysseus. But think of all the tragic heroes and heroines the Trojan side of those epics spawned: Troilus and Cressida (Chaucer and Shakespeare), Andromache (Racine), Dido (Purcell), Priam (Tippett) to say nothing of the man who gave Berlioz his first name. And there are the dodgier characters: Paris, Pandarus.

Paul Allen, with classicists Oliver Taplin (Greek), Llewelyn Morgan (Latin) and Shakespeare expert Carol Rutter, looks to all these in a cultural biography and restitution of the 'topless towers of Ilium.'

Producer: Julian May.

The Visitors' Book20100906

In Sophie Hannah's commissioned story, read by Fenella Woolgar the contents of an old volume become sinister to Katherine as she recalls certain lines when walking home in the fading light.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Katherine recalls the contents of an old volume when walking home in the fading light.

The Voyage2011072920120827

Indira Varma reads Katherine Mansfield's classic 1921 story set on board an overnight ferry in New Zealand, in which a young girl, Fenella, leaves her father behind to voyage into an unknown future with her sprightly grandmother.

In what is one of Mansfield's most atmospheric tales, the tumultuous night-time voyage becomes more than just a physical journey for the young Fenella.

Author: Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is widely considered one of the masters of the short story, her much acclaimed stories include 'The Garden Party' and 'Bliss'. She was brought up in colonial New Zealand but moved to Britain in 1908 where she led a literary bohemian life among the influential writers of the time.

Reader: Indira Varma

Abridger and producer: Justine Willett

First broadcast in July 2011.

Indira Varma reads Katherine Mansfield's classic 1921 story of a night-time sea voyage.

The World Orchestra For Peace20100805

A profile of the World Orchestra for Peace, founded by Sir Georg Solti in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UN. Although Solti only conducted the orchestra once before his sudden death, the World Orchestra for Peace continues to go from strengh to strength, gathering only for special occasions to promote peace and celebrate the encompassing power of music. Contributors include Lady Solti, general manager Charles Kaye and the orchestra's current conductor Valery Gergiev. We also hear from some of the players, drawn from the greatest orchestras around the world. Presented by Tom Service.

Tom Service profiles the World Orchestra for Peace, founded in 1995 by Georg Solti.

There Are Precious Things20121220

A new short story by Alison MacLeod inspired by Byrd and Tallis's sacred music. Set on the London Underground's central line seasonal worries give way to a discovery of the precious things in life.

Alison MacLeod is the author of the novels The Changeling and The Wave Theory of Angels as well as a collection of short stories Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction. Her short fiction has also been published by Prospect, London Magazine, Pulp.Net and Virago. The Heart of Denis Noble appeared in the anthology Litmus and was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2011.

There Are Precious Things by Alison MacLeod.

Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

There's Something About The Cello20110811

For ceramics expert Lars Tharp it was a choice between studying the cello or archaeology. To the benefit of Antiques Road Show viewers, but perhaps to the loss of the music audience, he chose archaeology.

Ever since, he's been struck by how often people comment, 'I wish I'd played the cello', with a yearning rarely displayed in connection with other instruments. Is it because its range and tone is closer to the human voice than any other instrument, or is it the heartstring-tugging repertoire that's grown up around it?

Lars seeks the answer in the company of Julian Lloyd Webber who, immediately after the interval, will be playing a newly re-discovered piece for the cello, Invocation, by Gustav Holst, followed by Elgar's universally-acclaimed Enigma Variations. And Graham Fitkin, whose newly composed Cello Concerto for Yo-Yo Ma will be premiered in Prom 61 on 31 August, discusses the merits of the cello and the problems it poses for the composer.

Lars Tharp asks Julian Lloyd Webber why the cello arouses such strong passions.

This Country Called Russia20130813

Lesley Chamberlain tells the story of the Red Princess, Sofka Skipwith, posh supporter of the Soviet Union and personal assistant to Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

Producer: Tim Dee

Women in exile are often forced to lead brave and extraordinary lives. Sofka Skipwith (1907-1994) has been called The Red Princess. She was born Princess Dolgorouky. After fleeing the revolution with her family and ending up in London she did a series of jobs, including personal assistant to the actor Laurence Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh. It wasn't easy to keep body and soul together, but her grand manner and her toughness carried her through. The love of her life and briefly her husband was killed at the beginning of the war. During the war in which she was active saving Jewish lives she was interned by the Nazis in occupied France. With her second husband, to whom she referred as 'my prole', she lived in the wilds of Bodmin Moor. At the same time, for many years she guided tourists on visits to the Soviet Union, of which she was a posh supporter. Never having wanted to leave her native country, she maintained a loyalty to the last. Both the British and Israeli governments recognized her wartime achievements. She wrote excellent memoirs and one of the first Russian cookery books in English.

This Dreaming Sea20130727

A new sequence of poems by Lavinia Greenlaw which trace the theme of vision through Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Through interior monologues from the perspectives of both of the lovers, Greenlaw explores how we choose to see or not to see, and how we create what we see.

Read by Lavinia Greenlaw and David Seddon.

Produced by Emma Harding.

About the poet: Lavinia Greenlaw is the author of four collections of poetry including, most recently, The Casual Perfect. Her collection Minsk was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes. She has also published novels and works of non-fiction which include The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. She has won a number of prizes and held residencies at the Science Museum and the Royal Society of Medicine. Her work for BBC radio includes programmes about the Arctic, the Baltic, Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop.

This New Strange World20120830

By Clare Wigfall. A new short story inspired by Berlin.

A new and specially commissioned short story by the award winning writer Clare Wigfall about Berlin, the city where she lives. Told through the eyes of a circus elephant as old as the Berlin Wall, the intertwined fates of the city and the elephant reveal strange parallels. The story accompanies this evening's Prom performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Clare Wigfall won the BBC National Short Story Award, 2008 for The Numbers, the opening story in her debut collection, The Loudest Sound and Nothing, which was well received by reviewers and critics. Clare is currently working on a second short story collection, and a novel set in British Malaya in the early half of the last century.

Clare Wigfall on writing this new story:-

"While researching this commission somehow my focus kept returning to the history of the Berlin Wall and the suddenness with which it was erected in 1961. When, by chance, I came across this same date as being paralleled with the birth of an Indian elephant called Pia who was brought over to East Berlin to perform in the GDR State Circus, I knew I'd found that strange kernel of truth from which a story could blossom. Imagining the contrasts was what intrigued me - I could picture this elephant's journey from the wilds of India to communist Germany, and the disparity she found to encounter the sequined-sparkle and magic of circus life so totally incongruous with the grey bleakness of East Berlin. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to Pia after the Wall fell, but sadly it would appear she is now deceased. Likewise, with the demise of the GDR, its official state circus disbanded in 1990."

Read by Ayesha Dharker

Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

Tibet On The Banks Of The Clyde20100819

George Bogle - Britain's first emissary to Tibet in 1774 - struck up a remarkable friendship with the country's then spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama. He was there to try to establish trade relations with China, to help his lucrative career in the East India Company, but he also had the time of his short life, falling in love with Tibet, and Tibetans. After his death in 1781, two little girls he'd fathered by an unknown mother were sent back to his family at Daldowie near Glasgow. The family story was that they were his daughters by a high ranking Tibetan lady called Tichan. The name looked genuine and the tradition also surfaced in other families close to the Bogles. The great Tibetan scholar Hugh Richardson was convinced. But was this story true? A generation of Tibet scholars have pored over the 'judiciously arranged' (and probably censored) family records, trying to find clues to their origins. Alas the beautiful story is crumbling, but in doing so is giving us an insight into something even more important and poignant, the fate of mixed race children being sent 'home' from India to Scotland. Even with hefty dowries in landed families, they could not marry into the same class. They could have problems making a life in Scotland - emigration back out into the Empire was often their best prospect. They would be wrenched from their Indian family forever, with no thought for the grief of a mother parted from her child. Despite all this, the Tibetan wife story was perhaps a father's last gift to his daughters, hoping to make them more acceptable to his strict Presbyterian family back home in Scotland. Glasgow novelist, Louise Welsh, investigates one of the more complex and unexpected legacies of the city's imperial past.

Louise Walsh asks if the first British envoy to Tibet had two children with a local woman.

Tiny Tales20111102

" When it seems we have finally decided to stay home of an evening, have slipped into our smoking jackets, are sitting at a lit table after supper, and have taken out some piece of work or game, we get up, change into a jacket, and straightaway look ready to go out... "

A reading of six pieces by Franz Kafka, translated by Michael Hoffman, that offer an exquisite study in restlessness and our need to walk everywhere...

Reader Carl Prekopp

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Six pieces by Franz Kafka exploring ideas of restlessness and our need to walk everywhere.

To Build A Fire20121126

In this classic tale by Jack London, a man and his dog walk

the frozen Yukon back to base camp. But conditions will

worsen and it becomes a fight for survival in the gathering

gloom. How far, then, is base camp?

Reader Stuart Milligan

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Total Eclipse20090820

Tredegar House, Gwent20130331

Katie Derham tours Tredegar House in Wales with Baroque expert Lars Tharp and Derw Thomas of The National Trust for a closer look at the baroque achievements of the Morgan family.

Twenty Minutes: Goethe And The West-eastern Divan20120721

To complement the series of Beethoven concerts by the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, Paul Farley explores Goethe's poetic sequence, The West-Eastern Divan, from which Daniel Barenboim's orchestra takes its name.

In his later years, the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was new-fired by his reading of eastern poetry - particularly the work of the Persian poet Hafiz. Goethe's life-affirming and sensual poetic cycle, The West-Eastern Divan (1814-18) is essentially a love poem to Hafiz.

In the first of two linked features, Paul Farley explores Goethe's fascination with Arabic literature, and his admiration for Hafiz, whom he admired as both a hedonist and an enemy of dogmatic orthodoxy. The Divan is also, more poignantly, a way of mapping Goethe's own love affair with a young married woman, Marianne von Willemer - the real subject of the many sensual 'Suleika' poems.

Paul examines Goethe's role as a champion of eastern literature in the west and talks to poets and historians about the lasting legacy of the ideas that inform The West-Eastern Divan.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Ulysses20040616

Today, the sixteenth of June, is the one hundredth anniversary of 'Bloomsday', the day on which James Joyce set Ulysses, perhaps the most important novel of the twentieth century.

To celebrate that anniversary, three Joyce enthusiasts revisit the book and its author.

2.

Modern in spite of itself

James Joyce's IRELAND seems to be a backward British colony on the far western fringe of Europe.

In the twenty-first century it is of course a bastion of modernity, but Professor Declan Kiberd suggests it was always so.

One hundred years ago, however, the modern impulse in IRELAND had to be disguised by dressing it up in the trappings of the past, so James Joyce's most modern of novels was disguised by cloaking it in the most ancient of Greek myths.

Viva La Musica! Viva Il Duce!20090807

Wagner In France20130804

That most German of composers, Wagner, had a consistent and interesting relationship with France throughout his life. From 1848 when he stood on a revolutionary barricade fired with the spirit of the French revolution to the rewriting of Tannhauser at the behest of the Emperor Napoleon. Indeed, the disastrous premiere of Tannhäuser in Paris in 1861, when laughter and whistling broke out and the whole was invaded by members of the 'Jockey Club', brought the curtain down on Wagner's attempts to conquer Paris, the capital city of Opera. Professor Tim Blanning and Dr. Sarah Hibberd swap notes on Wagner's very personal Franco-German alliance.

Producer: James Cook.

Wajda: Voice Of A Generation20130117

Ian Christie explores the career and influence of the legendary Polish film director, Andrzej Wajda,

Andrzej Wajda is one of the twentieth century's greatest filmmakers. He burst into prominence in the early 1950s with his harrowing depictions of the Warsaw ghetto under Nazi occupation, such as A Generation and Kanal. When revolution swept through the shipyards of Gdansk, Wajda charted both the pre-revolutionary Soviet era through his tale of a stakhanovite worker, Man of Marble, pursuing the story through the revolution in Man of Iron. Today, with Poland a thriving democracy within the EU, and with a generation of younger filmmakers behind him, Wajda, at the age of 86 is still at work, making final adjustments to his latest film, Walesa, chronicling the hero of Gdansk.

Ian Christie, with the help of archive recordings, charts Wajda's career, and explores the influence he has exercised on European film for sixty years.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Walking On Snowdon20110301

"The climb becomes much steeper once you get past the barracks, and it's the moment for Rachel to ask: Is this mountain male or female? It's certainly enveloping. During the religious revivals in the early part of the twentieth century, people of Snowdonia underwent baptisms in freezing mountain lakes, swooned and fainted and spoke in tongues. But Rachel's take on the place is distinctly her own: the mountain is huge, she says..."

It is St David's Day and novelist Russell Celyn Jones

recalls a memorable climb up Mount Snowdon, when mists,

hawks and injuries beckon...

Russell Celyn Jones climbs Mount Snowdon and considers our need to walk places.

"The climb becomes much steeper once you get past the barracks, and it's the moment for Rachel to ask: Is this mountain male or female? It's certainly enveloping. During the religious revivals in the early part of the twentieth century, people of Snowdonia underwent baptisms in freezing mountain lakes, swooned and fainted and spoke in tongues. But Rachel's take on the place is distinctly her own: the mountain is huge, she says..."

Wallace And Gromit: Feet Of Clay20120729

Poet Michael Rosen visits the Aardman Studios to meet Nick Park and Wallace and Gromit.

It is Prom time and to celebrate the work of the Aardman studios Poet Michael Rosen visits the Studios to meet Nick Park, Merlin Crossingham where Wallace and Gromit were created. We also hear from composer Julian Nott who talks about composition with Gromit and reveals some creative secrets.

Walter Benjamin's Paris, Part 120001010

Janet Suzman reads the moving story of Walter Benjamin's escape across the Pyrenees from occupied FRANCE into Spain with a precious cargo in tow - the Arcades Project.

Walter Benjamin's Paris, Part 220001010

Christopher Cook and Professor Steven Connor survey Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project.

Assembled in the 30s and 40s, this study of the social and architectural fabric of nineteenth-century PARIS is now hailed by historians as one of the most important undertakings of the twentieth century.

Wayne Marshall20010526
What Childhood Of Christ?20111222

Christianity is founded on the story of Jesus' birth and the three years before his death. But what happened in between? Jesus' boyhood, adolescence and young adulthood are absent from the New Testament Gospels. But early Christian communities found value in swapping stories of Christ's youth; imagining his miraculous powers in the hands of a child; rebelling in school and creating birds from clay. Helen Bond roots among the scriptures and the apocrypha for evidence of Christ's missing years and examines how this absence affects our understanding of Christ and of children. In doing so she touches on the great 19th century controversy over the historicity of Christ and whether thinking about Christ's missing years is a valid response to his humanity or a misunderstanding of the purposes of the gospel story.

Prod - James Cook.

Helen Bond analyses the Scriptures and the Apocrypha to discover Christ's missing years.

What Visions Have I Seen20130816

"What visions I have seen," declares Titania on awaking from her charmed amorous slumber with Bottom in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Michael Tippett?s opera 'The Midsummer Marriage has an ancient, ritual and magical aspect. It features a character called Kingfisher, based on the mythical Fisher King, and another, Sosostris, a name that appears as a ?famous clairvoyante?with a wicked pack of cards? in ?The Waste Land?

To complement this, in the interval of this evening's Prom performance, Steve Roud, one of the country's foremost authorities on British folklore and song, surveys the summer customs of Britain. He explains what they are and when, who is involved and suggests some meanings. His piece is illustrated with with recordings of events such as Crying the Neck in Cornwall, well-dressing in Derbyshire, and the solstice celebrations at Stonehenge.

When Tolkien Stole Wagner's Ring20130726

Tolkien always vehemently denied any connection between his Lord of the Rings and Wagner's Ring Cycle. He once said: 'Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceased'.

But there is almost certainly more to it than that. Tolkien used the same Norse legends as Wagner for inspiration in 'Lord of the Rings', but it also seems likely that he took the original idea of an all-powerful and corrupting ring directly from Wagner. So why did he deny it? Perhaps Tolkien felt the taint of the Nazi associations that surrounded Wagner's music at the time he was writing. Perhaps he simply found Wagner's conclusions distasteful. Was Tolkien's work, in fact, conceived as a kind of antidote to Wagner's take on ultimate power.

Susan Hitch explores the connections between the pair of them.

Wigmore Hall 110th Anniversary20110531

In the interval of the gala concert celebrating the 110th anniversary (to the day) of its opening, Christopher Cook tells the story of the Wigmore Hall. He traces the hall's history from its beginning, as a recital room built by Bechstein's, whose showrooms were close by, to showcase their pianos, to today, when this beautiful Edwardian building is one of the most highly regarded chamber music venues in the world. Audiences love its architecture, its acoustic, and the adventurousness of its programming.

The Wigmore Hall was designed by Thomas Colcutt, who also designed state rooms on P&O liners. He loved the Renaissance, hence its alabaster and marble walls, flooring and stairway. In the First World War hostility to German businesses compelled Bechstein's to sell the hall (to Debenhams). It had had cost £100,000 to build but the hall itself, its studios, offices, warehouses and 137 pianos fetched only £56,500. It was refurbished in 2004, and every week Radio 3 broadcasts one of its concerts, live.

Great people have performed there, including Prokofiev, Poulenc and Britten and Pears - several of Britten's chamber and vocal works were given their first performances at the Hall; Jacqueline du Pré played the cello; the Amadeus Quartet gave many memorable concerts. Now its programming includes jazz, too.

Christopher explores the building's history and talks to musicians, and audience members, about its future, too.

Producer: Julian May.

On its 110th anniversary Christopher Cook tells the story of the Wigmore Hall.

Wild Swimmers20110818

New presenting talent Rachael Kinley joins 'wild swimmer' Kate Rew as she swims in a remote freshwater loch on Skye, where the Cuillin hills reflect in its peaty water.

Kate explains her love of 'wild swimming', "we're very constrained in our daily lives and jobs. Society places a lot of demands on the individual to be a civilised person, but ultimately we are just animals and everybody once in a while, wants to experience the physical, non-thinking part of themselves. Going wild swimming allows us to reset ourselves on some kind of base level."

Skye is also home to the famous Faerie Pools, incredibly cold, clear and magical, where another 'wild swimmer' Daniel Start entices Rachael into the water. Many 'wild swimmers' have thrown themselves into the water because of a book written by Roger Deakin, who set out in 1996 to swim through the British Isles. On her trip to Skye, Rachel shares Roger Deakin's lyrical prose with the wild swimmers she meets, giving a beautiful snap shot of Britain's lochs, rivers, canals and sea.

Rachael Kinley follows 'wild swimmer' Kate Rew as she swims in a freshwater loch on Skye.

William Byrd And Catholicism20120305

How did the recusant William Byrd manage to flourish as a Catholic composer during the reign of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth 1st? The Rev Richard Coles talks to musicologist Dr David Skinner and historians Tracy Borman and Professor Peter Marshall.

Producer Helen Garrison.

The Rev Richard Coles hosts a discussion on how William Byrd survived as a recusant.

Wunderkind20090826

Wunderkind20100402
You Only Sing When You're Winning20110910

With the idea of an audience singalong becoming enshrined not only in the Proms last night traditions but also in the concert programme itself, Simon Townley tells the story of one of tonight's chosen numbers. 'You'll Never Walk alone' might have started as a Broadway hit but its hold on the national psyche has more to do with its emergence in the 1960s and 70s as the anthem of Liverpool Football club's famous Kop, the embankment at one end of their Anfield ground.

Simon recalls how, as a budding young pianist and serious minded classical music enthusiast the power of the Anfield anthem was thrust upon him while on an exchange visit to Paris. Billetted with a family of fanatical French football fans Simon made his name by predicting that their beloved St Etienne FC would come off second best on a visit to Liverpool for an important European cup tie. They did, but it was the crowd singing that astonished the young Simon.

Why 'You'll never walk alone' worked as a singalong piece, how its impact reflected the mordant wit of the football terrace and why it's appropriate that it should be picked up by a Prom audience as a piece that tells us as much about the singers as the song, is the theme of Simon's talk.

Simon Townley celebrates the Broadway and footballing anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

Zipper And His Father2011020220120131

"Why, I asked, was Arnold's older brother never photographed?

He was named Caesar. It seemed this name had proved a burden to the boy, had set him tasks for which he was not born. He had either to be a genius or a scoundrel. With a name like that who coulde ever satify his parents? "

Precisely. And when Herr Zipper, Caesar's father, decides that the boy must learn the violin all hell lets loose. The boy goes to lessons for two years before Herr Zipper makes a shocking discovery, which leads to family confrontation.

This extract from the author's famous novel about musical aspirations going comically

off course is read by Jonathan Firth.

The producer is Duncan Minshull.

"Why, I asked, was Arnold's older brother never photographed?

He was named Caesar. It seemed this name had proved a burden to the boy, had set him tasks for which he was not born. He had either to be a genius or a scoundrel. With a name like that who could ever satisfy his parents?"

Precisely. And when Herr Zipper, Caesar's father, decides that the boy must learn the violin all hell's let loose. The boy goes to lessons for two years before Herr Zipper makes a shocking discovery, which leads to a family confrontation.

This extract from the author's famous novel about musical aspirations going comically off course is read by Jonathan Firth.

Reading from Joseph Roth's novel about a father's musical aspirations for his son.

He was named Caesar. It seemed this name had proved a burden to the boy, had set him tasks for which he was not born. He had either to be a genius or a scoundrel. With a name like that who coulde ever satify his parents? "

01Emotional Breakdown, Glory20110606

The first in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as tragedy, glory or romance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is glory, with composer Anna Meredith and Aurora Orchestra's principal conductor Nicholas Collon talking to Suzy about Handel, Sibelius and Messiaen.

Presenter: Suzy Klein

Producer: Lyndon Jones.

Suzy Klein discusses glory with composer Anna Meredith and conductor Nicholas Collon.

01James Henry19991109

In three programmes this week, Christopher Ricks, editor of the OXFORD Book of ENGLISH Verse, presents an eclectic choice of poetry.

In the first programme, he introduces the 19th-century Irish poet James Henry.

01My Summer Job

01Requiem For A Garden Of Eden2009112720120706

Scholar and writer Professor Janet Todd stumbled across the abandoned Garden of Eden on the Venetian island of La Giudecca by accident. Curious about this lost and neglected paradise she set about discovering its magical literary past.

Created in 1884 by Sir Anthony Eden's great uncle Frederick Eden and his wife, the garden was a heavily scented romantic haven visited by a host of writers including Proust, Jean Cocteau and Henry James. It was the backdrop to countless love affairs and quarrels, passing from the Edens to Greek royalty and ending up in the hands of the eccentric Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who preferred nettles and brambles to roses and lilies.

Today the garden is overgrown and locked. Todd's requiem to this little known jewel hidden behind high walls recalls the perfumed years when artists and aesthetes revelled in its beauty.

01Stravinsky Ballets, The Firebird/petrushka20090728
01The Abbey Theatre At 10020031022

The first of two programmes on famous Irish theatre companies.

The Abbey Theatre At 100 The early years of IRELAND's National Theatre, founded in 1903 by WB Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory.

01To Chekhov's Memory2010012220100917

By Alexander Kuprin.

Structured around 'a day in the life', this essay provides a unique contemporary perspective on Anton Chekhov in his later years. The author Alexander Kuprin paints a vivid a picture of Chekhov's life in Yalta - the regular visits from aspiring writers, his sensitivity to critics, and Chekhov's uneasy relationship with his two dogs - Tusik and Kashtan.

Alexander Kuprin was a hugely popular writer in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Tolstoy hailed him as the natural successor to Chekhov, and Nabokov styled him as a Russian Kipling - as well as writer, he was a pilot, explorer and adventurer.

Read by Ben Whishaw.

Produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

A unique, first-hand portrait of Anton Chekhov. Read by Ben Whishaw.

01Two Welsh Hills

01Two Welsh Hills, Horatio Clare20090803
01 OF 5Utz20020708

Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric porcelain collector (1/5).

02A View From The Bridge20040110

The second of four programmes in which NEW YORK writers and artists respond to Brooklyn Bridge.

In 'Bridge and Tunnel' Bill Buford, NEW YORKer fiction editor drives in from New Jersey and listens out on Bleeker Street on Friday night.

He reveals how the romance of Manhattan lies in its being an island, how that romance is sustained by those who don't live on it but have to cross to it, and how the Manhattanites resent the daily invasion of what they call 'the B&T crowd'.

02Against Oblivion20000324

Poet and critic Ian Hamilton champions some of the lost poets of the last century.

2: Norman Cameron and Weldon Kees.

Cameron (1905-1953) wrote only 70 poems, and Weldon Kees (1914-1955) about 150.

Their merits and real talents have been obscured not only by their slender outputs but in Cameron's case alo by his famous friends, and in Kees's case by his bizarre end - he disappeared without trace.

02Emotional Breakdown, Defiance20110608

The second in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as melancholy, glory or romance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is defiance, with choreographer Siobhan Davies and composer/artist Tom Phillips talking to Suzy about Britten, Stravinsky and Berlioz.

Siobhan Davies and composer/artist Tom Phillips talk to Suzy Klein about defiance.

02My Summer Job

02My Summer Job, My Summer Job - Julia Blackburn20100729

Award-winning writer Julia Blackburn recalls the summer she spent writing dictionary definitions for 'H' and 'L'. Now she sees an autobiographical thread in her apparently objective definitions.

Winner of the Penn-Ackerley biography prize 2009, Julia Blackburn lived for two years in Majorca as a young woman. Trying to become a writer, she found herself too afraid of words to write. They were 'all so fickle and prone to exaggeration or misinterpretation'.

A summer job compiling a dictionary came along via a friend of her father's and so she took charge of two letters, with instructions to define her words according to English 'as it is spoken today', including new words and colloquialisms. Her definitions had to be original, and where a word was difficult to understand or ambiguous in meaning it needed to be illustrated with a short phrase. These phrases reveal Julia's preoccupations and passions at the time: her love of animals; a love affair just ended; her bohemian lifestyle.

Writing definitions changed Julia's relationship with words. She began to 'forgive their shiftiness, their lack of absolute clarity' and especially loved 'the more simple ones which carried a complex responsibility of meaning... the strange poetry that jumped from 'hazardous' to 'haze', from 'long-winded' to 'loofah', from 'lop-sided' to 'loquacious'.

The second in a series of talks for the Proms.

Award-winning writer Julia Blackburn recalls a summer job as a lexicographer.

02On Life And Picnics

02On Life And Picnics, A Taste Of Heaven, By Jane Feaver20090816
02Two Welsh Hills

02Utz20020709

Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric collector of porcelain (2/5).

02 LASTTwo Welsh Hills, Osi Rhys Osmond20090803
03Emotional Breakdown, Melancholy20110615

The third in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as tragedy, hope or defiance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is melancholy, with composer Tarik O'Regan and arts critic Charlotte Higgins talking to Suzy about Dowland, Mozart and Bartók.

Presenter: Suzy Klein

Producer: Lyndon Jones.

Suzy Klein talks about melancholy in music, discussing Dowland, Mozart and Bartok.

03My Summer Job

03My Summer Job, Al Kennedy20100808

The award-winning author AL Kennedy's grandmother was an exacting, furious woman who loved the particularities of wood. A meticulous, experienced French polisher, she knew how to apply thin alchemical layers of varnishes and lacquers to make surfaces gleam with a deep, inner shine. AL Kennedy describes the charcteristic "cheap whip and spring of young pine, or the dry and intelligent complications of restored mahogany, the sharp density of beech, the melancholy heat in oak", all qualities that were familiar to her grandmother.

In this moving testimony to her grandmother's hard won craft and exacting skill, AL Kennedy honours the work of a generation of artisan craftsmen and women.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

AL Kennedy on the summer she spent working with her grandmother, a furniture polisher.

03Utz20020710

Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric collector of porcelain (3/5).

04Emotional Breakdown, Tragedy20110622

The fourth in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as tragedy, glory or romance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is tragedy, with Aurora Orchestra's principal conductor Nicholas Collon and composer Anna Meredith talking to Suzy about Bach, Richard Strauss and Shostakovich.

Presenter: Suzy Klein

Producer: Lyndon Jones.

Suzy Klein discusses tragedy in music, focusing on Bach, Strauss and Shostakovich.

04My Summer Job

04My Summer Job, Claire Messud20100813

Novelist Claire Messud remembers the summer jobs she had before she became a writer. They included pushing elderly Americans in their wheelchairs and slaving in offices for tyrannical bosses.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Claire Messud on having worked pushing the elderly in wheelchairs and slaving in offices.

05Emotional Breakdown, Romance20110704

The fifth in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as tragedy, hope or defiance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is romance, with choreographer Siobhan Davies and composer/artist Tom Phillips talking to Suzy about Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

Presenter: Suzy Klein

Producer: Lyndon Jones.

Suzy Klein is joined by Siobhan Davies and Tom Phillips to talk about romance in music.

05My Summer Job

05 LASTMy Summer Job, Tim Pears20100901

Novelist Tim Pears remembers his early working life before he became a writer. Summer jobs and winter jobs: chimney sweep and caravan park attendent.

Novelist Tim Pears remembers his early working life before he became a writer.

06 LASTEmotional Breakdown, Hope20110706

The last in a six-part series of lively conversations examining how and why certain pieces of music make us feel the way they do. In each programme, presenter Suzy Klein and two guests explore a theme such as tragedy, romance or defiance. They champion favourite pieces that evoke the theme and discuss just what it is about the music that pulls these emotional strings. Tonight's theme is hope, with arts critic Charlotte Higgins and composer Tarik O'Regan talking to Suzy about Handel, Richard Strauss and Reich.

Presenter: Suzy Klein

Producer: Lyndon Jones.

Suzy Klein is joined by Charlotte Higgins and Tarik O'Regan to talk about hope in music.