Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20210228A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.
A Celebration Of Sport2015062820200315 (R3)The joy, drama and human folly of the sporting calendar from rugby to the Olympics. The readers are Robert Powell and Pippa Bennett-Warner. As people recover from activities for this year's BBC Sports Relief, Words and Music takes us through the British summer sporting calendar from the optimism of April and the Grand National through the three-jerseyed days of the early cricket season into the warmth of Wimbledon, the heat of the British Open Golf, the elegance of Henley and culminating with competitors leaving for the Olympics in June.

Music from Warlock, Weber, Carl Davis and William Alwyn blends with the sometimes surprising words of Shakespeare, Milton and the many writers on sport from the heyday of Edwardian endeavour to the 20th-century frivolity of P G Wodehouse and John Betjeman and on to the enthusiasms of Alison Uttley and the beautiful reflections of the very best cricket writers like Neville Cardus and all-rounder Simon Barnes, with poetry from Roger McGough and John Arlott.

Producer: Tom Alban

Readings
Simon Barnes -The Times: 28th July 2014
John Milton -from Paradise Lost Book 2
Hugh McIlvanney - The Saga of Red Rum from McIlvanney on Horseracing
Alan Ross - from Stanley Matthews
Anon - from A Gravestone at Llanfair Church, South Wales
Alison Uttley - from Carts and Candlestick
Robin Daniels - Cardus Celebrant of Beauty, a Memoir
CLR James - from Beyond a Boundary
William Shakespeare - Henry V, Act I sc 2
E.M.Forster - from A Room With A View - Chapter 15
John Betjeman - from A Subaltern’s Love Song
Steve Fairbairn - The Oarsman’s Song
John Betjeman - Seaside Golf
Roger McGough - The Railings
John Arlott - On a Great Batsman
Alison Uttley - from Carts and Candlesticks
A E Houseman - To An Athlete Dying Young

The joy, drama and human folly of the sporting calendar, from rugby to the Olympics.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

A Celebration Of The Life Of Bach20171224The words of Bach and those who knew him. With readers Roger Allam and David Annen.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

A String Of Pearls2016121120171220 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of pearls, with readings by Aysha Kala and Jude Akuwudike.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Al-andalus: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain20190929As part of Radio 3's focus on Al-Andalus, Words and Music transports you to the city of the Alhambra Palace: Granada, home to one of Spain’s greatest poets, Federico Garcia Lorca and the place more than any other in Andalusia to bear the imprint of Islamic rule. Field recordings made in Granada combine with music and readings connected to this captivating city, from the epigraphic poems that are written into the very walls of the Alhambra, to the medieval verse of Abd Allah ibn al-Simak, through to the verse and letters of Federico Garcia Lorca. Actors Candela Gomez and Khalid Abdalla also read contemporary takes on Granada's Flamenco bars by Victoria Hislop, and a melancholy modern-day visit to the Alhambra from Sameer Rahim's latest novel.

The Spanish soundtrack includes Flamenco specially recorded in one of Granada's historic guitar workshops by singer Juan Panilla and guitarist Francisco Manuel Diaz, pieces by that great Andalusian Manuel Da Falla as well as fellow Spaniards Albeniz and Granados, and a song from the Algerian singer Souad Massi who wrote a whole album inspired by the Arab-Andalusian poets. The music melds with the sounds of Granada's fountains, cicadas and birdsong for this special edition of the programme, as Radio 3 explores Al-Andalus.

Producer: Georgia Mann. Recordings in Granada made by Robert Winter.

READINGS:
Epigraphic poem on the Basin of the Lions at the Alhambra
Epigraphic poem from the Hall of the Two Sisters at the Alhambra
Extract from a letter by Federico Garcia Lorca to Melchor Fernandez Almagro
Garcia Lorca -La Guitarra
Washington Irving - Tales of the Alhambra
Sameer Rahim - Asghar and Zahra
Garcia Lorca - Baladilla de los tres ríos
Ibn Sa’id al-Maghribi -The Battle
Victoria Hislop - The Return
Gerald Brenan - South of Granada
Abu J’far, Ahmad ibn Sa’id - The Procuress
Abd Allah ibn al-Simak - The Garden
Extract from a letter by Federico Garcia Lorca to Benjamin Palencia
Garcia Lorca - Arbolé, Arbolé
Théophile Gautier - The Last Sigh of the Moor
Garcia Lorca - Little Tales of the Wind
Epigraphic poem Comares' Gate at the Alhambra
Garcia Lorca - Holy Week in Granada

Actors Candela Gomez and Khalid Abdalla with readings, music and recordings from Granada.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

All Aboard!2012060320180603 (R3)All Aboard!

Robinson Crusoe is stranded without one, Yann Martel's Pi Patel is stranded with a tiger on one, and Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men are causing chaos mucking about on one. Boats feature frequently in literature and poetry as a means of exploring, escaping or just enjoying the water. Today's Words and Music features famous fictional boats along with important real life vessels such as Captain Cook's explorers, the Titanic, and those used during the Dunkirk landings. Extracts are read by Anne-Marie Duff and Jonathan Keeble and accompanied by nautical music from Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Nick Drake.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

Words and music on the theme of boats. Readings by Anne-Marie Duff and Jonathan Keeble.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

An Autumn Walk2014092820181028 (R3)A selection of poetry and music to reflect autumn.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Animal Kingdom20200816Actors Emily Bruni and Nicholas Farrell with literature and music with animal characters.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

April Showers2017042320170430 (R3)
20180422 (R3)
Texts and music on the theme of precipitation.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Arcadia2017071620200419 (R3)Texts and music about pastoral landscapes, with readers Fiona Shaw and Jamie Glover.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Fiona Shaw and Jamie Glover with poetry, prose and music exploring the vision of Arcadia and harmony with nature across the centuries. Broadcast ahead of Earth Day 2020 on Wednesday April 22nd we move from the pastoral visions of the Ancient Greeks Virgil and Theocritus to the anxieties of the American environmentalist Rachel Carson in 'Silent Spring', via Stephen Spender's exploration of technology coming to an English landscape largely unchanged in centuries and Robinson Jeffers's 'Carmel Point' in which he imagines a time when nature and man can live in harmony. Arcadia includes work by Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Virgil Thomson, Debussy, Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, Evelyn Waugh, Willa Cather and John Clare. You might also be interested in a Free Thinking discussion of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring broadcasting on April 22nd.

Producer: Fiona McLean.

Readings:
Georgics I - Virgil & Cecil Day Lewis
Idyll 7 - Theocritus & Thelma Sargent
Georgics 3 - Virgil & Cecil Day Lewis
Our Forests and National Parks - John Muir
Summer Shower - Emily Dickinson
The Prelude - William Wordsworth
Farmer's Boy - John Clare
Walden - Henry David Thoreau
My Antonia - Willa Cather
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Pylons - Stephen Spender
Carmel Point - Robinson Jeffers
The Amateur Poacher - Richard Jeffries

Readings:
Georgics I - Virgil & Cecil Day Lewis
Idyll 7 - Theocritus & Thelma Sargent
Georgics 3 - Virgil & Cecil Day Lewis
Our Forests and National Parks - John Muir
Summer Shower - Emily Dickinson
The Prelude - William Wordsworth
Farmer's Boy - John Clare
Walden - Henry David Thoreau
My Antonia - Willa Cather
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Pylons - Stephen Spender
Carmel Point - Robinson Jeffers
The Amateur Poacher - Richard Jeffries

Architecture2012082620160904 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of architecture. Readings: Indira Varma and Robert Glenister.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Arrivals And Departures2016091120191230 (R3)Includes music by Purcell, Eno and P\u00e4rt and poems read by Niamh Cusack and Neil Pearson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Includes music by Purcell, Eno and Pärt and poems by Elizabeth Bishop, William Blake, Emily Dickinson and Louis MacNeice read by Niamh Cusack and Neil Pearson.

Readings:

William Blake: Infant Sorrow
Vernon Scannell: First Child
Dannie Abse: Return to Cardiff
Constantine P. Cavafy, translated by Edmund Keeley: Ithaka
Seamus Heaney (translator): Beowulf
Ted Hughes: The Thought Fox
Elizabeth Bishop: Arrival at Santos
Denis Glover: Leaving For Overseas
Emily Dickinson: There came a wind like bugle
Philip Larkin: Poetry of Departures
Louis MacNeice: The Suicide
John Donne: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
Walter de la Mare: Good-Bye

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Audre Lorde's World20201227Jade Anouka and Audre Lorde’s children Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins and Jonathan Rollins read from Lorde’s inspirational poems, novels and her cancer diaries with music choices ranging from recordings by Chineke! and the Kanneh-Mason family, of composers including Florence Price and George Walker, to the singers she listened to including Miram Makeba, Sarah Vaughan and Donna Summer.

Lorde's writing was inspired by her wish to confront and address injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. Brought up a Catholic in New York, she began writing poems as a teenager. In the 1960s she worked as a librarian in New York public schools and became a mother to her two children before divorcing from her husband, who was a white, gay man, in 1970. During her career she held a visiting Professorship at the Free University of Berlin and at various colleges and universities in America, co-founded the first US publisher for women of colour, helped establish Sisterhood in Support of Sisters (SISA) in South Africa to benefit black women who were affected by apartheid and was New York State Poet Laureate. In an African naming ceremony before her death in 1992 at the age of 58 , she took the name Gamba Adisa, which means "Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known".

This year has seen the republication of the journals Audre Lorde kept while undergoing a mastectomy which were originally published in 1980. Her1982 novel, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Essays and poem collections including The Black Unicorn have also been republished in recent years.

You might be interested in this conversation on Free Thinking which features her children, the poet Jackie Kay and performer Selina Thompson:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004my0

Readings include:
Sister Outsider extracts
Zami A New Spelling of My Name extracts
A Litany for Survival
Harriet
On the Night of the Full Moon
A Burst of Light
1984
Letter to Mary Daly
Now That I am Forever with Child
The Cancer Journals extracts
Dahomey

Producer: Debbie Kilbride

Jade Anouka and Lorde's children read from her inspirational poems to her cancer diaries

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Jade Anouka and Audre Lorde’s children Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins and Jonathan Rollins read from Lorde’s inspirational poems, novels and her cancer diaries with music choices ranging from recordings by Chineke! and the Kanneh-Mason family, of composers including Florence Price and George Walker, to the singers she listened to including Miram Makeba, Sarah Vaughan and Donna Summer.

You might be interested in this conversation on Free Thinking which features her children, the poet Jackie Kay and performer Selina Thompson:

Bah! Humbug!20191222Dominic West (The Affair/The Wire) and Ruth Bradley (Guilt/Humans) let out their inner Grinch's to explore the challenging aspects of Christmas: useless presents, tedious board games, relentless relatives, and excruciating office parties to name just a few. We'll hear from Bridget Jones, Dr Seuss, Reginald, Philip Larkin, George Bernard Shaw, and the most infamous Christmas grump of all, Ebenezer Scrooge: but will the Christmas Spirit win out in the end? Featuring music by Sufjan Stevens, Kate Rusby, James Horner, Richard Addinsell, and a host of festive favourites.

The Devils Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr Seuss
Letter to Judy Eggerton - Philip Larkin
A Christmas Poem - Wendy Cope
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Music in London - George Bernard Shaw
Bridget Jones Diary - Helen Fielding
Reginald on Christmas Presents - Saki
Christmas in Bournemouth - Jonathan Raban
Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind from As You Like It - Shakespeare
The 1981 Night Before Christmas - Frank Jacobs
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr Seuss
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Producer: Ruth Thomson

Dominic West and Ruth Bradley explore the challenging aspects of Christmas.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Dominic West (The Affair) and Ruth Bradley (Guilt) let out their inner Grinch's to explore the challenging aspects of Christmas: useless presents, tedious board games, relentless relatives, and excruciating office parties to name just a few. We'll hear from Bridget Jones, Dr Seuss, Reginald, the March Sisters, and the most infamous Christmas grump of all, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?2018072920181231 (R3)The line 'Beautiful world, where are you?' derives from a 1788 poem 'The Gods of Greece' by the German poet Friedrich Schiller which Franz Schubert set in 1819. Between these dates Europe saw profound change, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. The line from Schiller's poem was the theme for the 2018 Liverpool Biennial and it sets the tone for a Words and Music exploring change.

The readers are Nyla Levy and Steve Toussaint. A full list of the words and music can be found on the Words and Music website.

Caliban's the Isle is Full of Noises speech from the Tempest ends darkly, with an injunction to murder Prospero. No-one should listen to promises of Beautiful Worlds and not realise there will be a price to pay. Then there is reaching for the ultimate with John Coltrane and Favourite Things - ecstatic terrifying music. Then those who have tried to think their way to understanding, Pythagoras, Galileo, Ernest Rutherford and Roger Penrose. and those who, faced with reality, take refuge in dreaming like Elizabeth Barrett Browning or John Lennon, reaching into a past he suspects never existed. We lurch from the promise of the Statue of Liberty to the despair of refugees and victims of recent wars and those who refuse to give in to despair. So music and words from around the world and across time, from Hesiod and Nassir Shamma, John Agard and Gillian Clarke, Shelley and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, The Waterboys, Joanna Kavenna, Ambrose, Berthold Brecht and Penelope Lively, Galilei, Simeon ten Holt, Sally Beamish, Bruckner, Max Richter and Josquin des Prez

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

A reflection on upheaval inspired by Schiller, Schubert and the Liverpool Biennial.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Beginnings2013010620201231 (R3)Haydn's Creation, Britten's cradle song and a Purcell overture are amongst the musical choices as Words and Music marks the approach of a new year with a programme on the theme of Beginnings, with readers Geraldine James and Neil Pearson. Tennyson and Spenser poetically mark the new year as a moment for hope and celebration, while Dylan Thomas's In The Beginning retells the biblical story of creation. Birth and the beginning of life is the inspiration for poems by Thom Gunn and Anne Stevenson, while Philip Larkin and AE Housman reflect on the process of renewal, which sees life eternally beginning again and we end with an evocation of the seasons in Paul Simon's song Leaves That Are Green.

Producer: Georgia Mann Smith

Readings:
Alfred Lord Tennyson - Extract from In Memoriam
Edmund Spenser - Extract from The Faerie Queen
The King James Bible - Extract from Genesis
Dylan Thomas - In The Beginning
John Masefield - Dawn
AE Housman - Spring Morning
John Donne - The Sun Rising
Bram Stoker - Extract from Dracula
Charles Dickens - Extract from David Copperfield
Ian McEwan - Extract from The Child In Time
Thom Gunn - Baby Song
Anne Stevenson - Poem for a Daughter
TS Eliot - Extract from Four Quartets
Philip Larkin - Trees

Geraldine James and Neil Pearson with readings from the Bible to Philip Larkin.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Haydn's Creation, Britten's cradle song and a Purcell overture are amongst the musical choices as Words and Music marks the approach of a new year with a programme on the theme of Beginnings, with readers Geraldine James and Neil Pearson. Tennyson and Spenser poetically mark the new year as a moment for hope and celebration, while Dylan Thomas's In The Beginning retells the biblical story of creation. Birth and the beginning of life is the inspiration for poems by Thom Gunn and Anne Stevenson, while Philip Larkin and AE Housman reflect on the process of renewal, which sees life eternally beginning again and we end with an evocation of the seasons in Paul Simon's song Leaves That Are Green.

Readings:
Alfred Lord Tennyson - Extract from In Memoriam
Edmund Spenser - Extract from The Faerie Queen
The King James Bible - Extract from Genesis
Dylan Thomas - In The Beginning
John Masefield - Dawn
AE Housman - Spring Morning
John Donne - The Sun Rising
Bram Stoker - Extract from Dracula
Charles Dickens - Extract from David Copperfield
Ian McEwan - Extract from The Child In Time
Thom Gunn - Baby Song
Anne Stevenson - Poem for a Daughter
TS Eliot - Extract from Four Quartets
Philip Larkin - Trees

Geraldine James and Neil Pearson with readings from the Bible to Philip Larkin.

Geraldine James and Neil Pearson with readings from the Bible to Philip Larkin.

Beginnings And Endings2018111820200101 (R3)One of the most fundamental questions we can ask is ‘where do I come from?’ And poets, philosophers, religions and scientists down the ages and across cultures have fashioned theories and stories to try and answer that question. We can hear their work in Norse mythology, Cherokee creation beliefs and Darwin’s theory of evolution. But what came before the beginning? One theory was chaos and Rebel offers us glimpses of that in musical form. There are also creative beginnings - a 14-year-old Aretha Franklin recorded in her father’s church and Prince rehearsing a new song (Purple Rain) alone at night in his studio. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein stands as an warning of the risks of scientific experimentation while the orphan Pip, from Dickens’ Great Expectations, is forced to create his own origin story from the tiniest of clues. Birth is the theme of Gerald Finzi’s cantata, Dies Natalis, which sets to music the poetry of Thomas Traherne - about being unborn, emerging into the world and what it is to be human.

Endings come in the shape of Haydn’s false endings, Caryl Churchill’s apocalyptic visions and the final words from Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” There are lost loves and lost countries - Amineh Abou Kerech – a 15-year-old Syrian migrant – writes a poetic lament for her homeland accompanied by 19-year-old Palestinian composer Nay Barghothi.

The readers are Julie Hesmondhalgh and Joan Iyiola

Readings:
Cherokee Myth retold by Terry L. Norton: The Three Worlds
Lao Tzu, translated by Lin Yutang: The Tao Te Ching
Snorri Sturluson, translated by Henry Adams Bellows: The Poetic Edda, Vol 1
John Milton: Paradise Lost
Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species
Margaret Cavendish: Of Many Worlds in This World
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
Doctor Who (Chris Chibnall): Episode 1
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
James Joyce: Ecce Puer
Walt Whitman: A child said, What is the grass?
Brendan Behan: A Jackeen Laments the Blaskets
James Berry: Beginning in a City, 1948
Amineh Abou Kerech: Lament for Syria
Sappho: He is More Than a Hero
George Gordon, Lord Byron: When We Two Parted
Jackie Kay: Extinction
Caryl Churchill: Escaped Alone
Samuel Beckett: The Unnamable

Producer: Debbie Kilbride

Poems, prose and music with themes spanning origin myths to the apocalypse.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Endings come in the shape of Haydn’s false endings, Caryl Churchill’s apocalyptic visions and the final words from Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable “I can’t go on, I’ll go on. ? There are lost loves and lost countries - Amineh Abou Kerech – a 15-year-old Syrian migrant – writes a poetic lament for her homeland accompanied by 19-year-old Palestinian composer Nay Barghothi.

One of the most fundamental questions we can ask is ‘where do I come from?’ And poets, philosophers, religions and scientists down the ages and across cultures have fashioned theories and stories to try and answer that question. We can hear their work in Norse mythology, Cherokee creation beliefs and Darwin’s theory of evolution. But what came before the beginning? One theory was chaos and Rebel offers us glimpses of that in musical form. There are also creative beginnings - a 14-year-old Aretha Franklin recorded in her father’s church and Prince rehearsing a new song (Purple Rain) alone at night in his studio. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein stands as an warning of the risks of scientific experimentation while the orphan Pip, from Dickens’ Great Expectations, is forced to create his own origin story from the tiniest of clues. Birth is the theme of Gerald Finzi’s cantata, Dies Natalis, which sets to music the poetry of Thomas Traherne - about being unborn, emerging into the world and what it is to be human.

Endings come in the shape of Haydn’s false endings, Caryl Churchill’s apocalyptic visions and the final words from Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” There are lost loves and lost countries - Amineh Abou Kerech – a 15-year-old Syrian migrant – writes a poetic lament for her homeland accompanied by 19-year-old Palestinian composer Nay Barghothi.

Readings:
Cherokee Myth retold by Terry L. Norton: The Three Worlds
Lao Tzu, translated by Lin Yutang: The Tao Te Ching
Snorri Sturluson, translated by Henry Adams Bellows: The Poetic Edda, Vol 1
John Milton: Paradise Lost
Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species
Margaret Cavendish: Of Many Worlds in This World
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
Doctor Who (Chris Chibnall): Episode 1
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
James Joyce: Ecce Puer
Walt Whitman: A child said, What is the grass?
Brendan Behan: A Jackeen Laments the Blaskets
James Berry: Beginning in a City, 1948
Amineh Abou Kerech: Lament for Syria
Sappho: He is More Than a Hero
George Gordon, Lord Byron: When We Two Parted
Jackie Kay: Extinction
Caryl Churchill: Escaped Alone
Samuel Beckett: The Unnamable

Black Square20171112Lisa Dwan and Peter Marinker present a programme exploring the idea of abstraction.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Blithe Spirit - The Skylark2015072620160619 (R3)Poetry and music inspired by the skylark, with readers Carolyn Pickles and Adrian Lukis.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Bloomsday2019061620201224 (R3)Ulysses, James Joyce's groundbreaking novel of 1922 is the inspiration for this programme. A modernist retelling of The Odyssey, principally following the characters of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom through the city of Dublin across one day (16th June 1904), we track the novel's own winding journey through Ireland's capital, from the shoreline of Sandycove, to the Freemason's Journal, the National Library of Ireland, Davy Byrne's Pub, right through to Molly Bloom's bed in Eccles Street.
As we travel through the city, Stanley Townsend and Kathy Kiera Clarke read extracts from Ulysses itself as well as a host of other works - some referenced directly in Joyce's text such as the Iliad and Shakespeare's Hamlet, plus other writings inspired by Joyce's work. The programme also reflects Joyce's huge passion for music, with works by Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Friedrich von Flotow representing the author's love of opera. Elsewhere we hear two music-hall favourites alluded to throughout Ulysses - James Lynam Molloy's 'Love's Old Sweet Song' and 'Those Lovely Seaside Girls' by Harry B. Norris. Classic Irish folk songs also feature alongside songs by Radiohead and Dublin post-punk band Fontaines D.C., and listen out for a very special traditional number called 'Carolan's Farewell', played on the guitar once owned by none other than James Joyce himself.

You can find a discussion about James Joyce’s book Finnegan's Wake on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking website – Matthew Sweet’s guests include Eimear McBride and New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00061kl

Readings:
Ulysses - James Joyce
Lycidas - John Milton
My Grief on the Sea - Douglas Hyde
Iliad - Lotus Eaters episode - Homer, trans. Alexander Pope
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Excerpt from the introduction to the ‘Dictionary to Dublin’, 1907 - E. MacDowel Cosgrave
James Joyce Interviews and Recollections’ - E H Mikhail
'All About People' - gossip column The Princess's Novelettes magazine, 16th June 1904
Finnegans Wake - James Joyce
Big Fish - Daniel Wallace
The Sixteenth of June - Maya Lang

Producer: Nick Taylor

Stanley Townsend and Kathy Keira Clarke read from James Joyce's Ulysses and other works.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

This week's Words and Music is a special edition to celebrate 'Bloomsday' - an annual celebration of James Joyce's groundbreaking 1922 novel Ulysses. Taking place across one day (16th June 1904), Ulysses is a modernist retelling of The Odyssey, principally following the characters of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom through the city of Dublin. This programme follows the novel's own winding journey through Ireland's capital, from the shoreline of Sandycove, to the Freemason's Journal, the National Library of Ireland, Davy Byrne's Pub, right through to Molly Bloom's bed in Eccles Street. As we travel through the city, Stanley Townsend and Kathy Kiera Clarke read extracts from Ulysses itself as well as a host of other works - some referenced directly in Joyce's text such as the Iliad and Shakespeare's Hamlet, plus other writings inspired by Joyce's work. The programme also reflects Joyce's huge passion for music, with works by Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Friedrich von Flotow representing the author's love of opera. Elsewhere we hear two music-hall favorites alluded to throughout Ulysses - James Lynam Molloy's 'Love's Old Sweet Song' and 'Those Lovely Seaside Girls' by Harry B. Norris. Classic Irish folk songs also feature alongside songs by Radiohead and Dublin post-punk band Fontaines D.C., and listen out for a very special traditional number called 'Carolan's Farewell', played on the guitar once owned by none other than James Joyce himself.

You can also hear a discussion about James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking – Matthew Sweet’s guests include Eimear McBride and New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck.

Ulysses, James Joyce's groundbreaking novel of 1922 is the inspiration for this programme. A modernist retelling of The Odyssey, principally following the characters of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom through the city of Dublin across one day (16th June 1904), we track the novel's own winding journey through Ireland's capital, from the shoreline of Sandycove, to the Freemason's Journal, the National Library of Ireland, Davy Byrne's Pub, right through to Molly Bloom's bed in Eccles Street.
As we travel through the city, Stanley Townsend and Kathy Kiera Clarke read extracts from Ulysses itself as well as a host of other works - some referenced directly in Joyce's text such as the Iliad and Shakespeare's Hamlet, plus other writings inspired by Joyce's work. The programme also reflects Joyce's huge passion for music, with works by Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Friedrich von Flotow representing the author's love of opera. Elsewhere we hear two music-hall favourites alluded to throughout Ulysses - James Lynam Molloy's 'Love's Old Sweet Song' and 'Those Lovely Seaside Girls' by Harry B. Norris. Classic Irish folk songs also feature alongside songs by Radiohead and Dublin post-punk band Fontaines D.C., and listen out for a very special traditional number called 'Carolan's Farewell', played on the guitar once owned by none other than James Joyce himself.

You can find a discussion about James Joyce’s book Finnegan's Wake on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking website – Matthew Sweet’s guests include Eimear McBride and New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck:

Readings:
Ulysses - James Joyce
Lycidas - John Milton
My Grief on the Sea - Douglas Hyde
Iliad - Lotus Eaters episode - Homer, trans. Alexander Pope
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Excerpt from the introduction to the ‘Dictionary to Dublin’, 1907 - E. MacDowel Cosgrave
James Joyce Interviews and Recollections’ - E H Mikhail
'All About People' - gossip column The Princess's Novelettes magazine, 16th June 1904
Finnegans Wake - James Joyce
Big Fish - Daniel Wallace
The Sixteenth of June - Maya Lang

Stanley Townsend and Kathy Keira Clarke read from James Joyce's Ulysses and other works.

Body Beautiful20190915Turn your gaze upon the beauty and art of the human form, with great works about nudity, narcissism, body positivity, the male gaze, physical desire, and physical fitness.

Composers regarding their own image in the mirror include Benjamin Britten, William Horsley, and William Onyeabor, while Sylvia Plath does the same in her post-plastic-surgery poem ‘Face Lift’. Elsewhere, Eavan Boland, Anne Carson, and Christina Rossetti all attempt to grapple with the idea of the female as muse and sitting model, and Claudia Rankine resists a world that would turn her invisible. Meanwhile, Mark Doty hits the gym in an effort to achieve the body beautiful.

The readers for this episode are the beautiful bodies (and voices) of Sophie Robinson and Giles Terera.

Readings:
Osip Mandelstam - Somebody gave me this body
Walt Whitman - I Sing the Body Electric
Robert Browning - Rhyme for a Child Viewing a Naked Venus in a Painting of “The Judgement of Paris”
Eavan Boland - Self-Portrait on a Summer Evening
Christina Rossetti - In an Artist's Studio
Anne Carson - Short Talk On The Mona Lisa
Anne Carson - Short Talk On Hedonism
Lord Byron - She Walks in Beauty
Jan Beatty - Sitting Nude
Maya Angelou - Phenomenal Woman
Claudia Rankine - Citizen - An American Lyric - VII
Rupert Brooke - Thoughts on the Shape of the Human Body
Ella Wheeler Wilcox - I Love You
Federico Garcia Lorca - Casida Of The Reclining Woman
Mark Doty - At the Gym
Craig Raine - Marcel’s Fancy Dress Party
Sylvia Plath - Face Lift
Thomas Hardy - I Look Into My Glass
Constantine P. Cavafy - Remember, Body…

Produced by Jack Howson.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Sophie Robinson and Giles Terera turn their poetic gaze upon the beauty of the human body.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Composers regarding their own image in the mirror include Benjamin Britten, William Horsley, and William Onyeabor, while Sylvia Plath does the same in her post-plastic-surgery poem ‘Face Lift’. Elsewhere, Eavan Boland, Anne Carson, and Christina Rossetti all attempt to grapple with the idea of the female as muse and sitting model, and Claudia Rankine resists a world that would turn her invisible. Meanwhile, Mark Doty hits the gym in an attempt to achieve the body beautiful.

Boredom, Restlessness, Killing Time2018070120200105 (R3)An exploration of the experience of boredom. Whether it's an idle moment or a life sentence, a spur to action or opportunity for contemplation, it's provided writers and musicians with a rich area to explore: Flaubert's Madame Bovary is driven to a disastrous affair, Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim resorts to pulling grotesque faces, Jane Austen's Emma scorns a boring acquaintance, and Beckett's The Unnameable contrives a complex inner life of invention from doing absolutely nothing. In music, the Prince in Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges is dying of boredom, which provokes the courtiers to elaborate entertainments to revive him; for Cole Porter, "practically everything leaves me totally cold"; and the Buzzcocks are "waiting for the phone to ring"....
With readings by Pip Carter and Skye Hallam.

An exploration of boredom. A spur to action or an opportunity for contemplation?

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

An exploration of the experience of boredom. Whether it's an idle moment or a life sentence, a spur to action or opportunity for contemplation, it's provided writers and musicians with a rich area to explore: Flaubert's Madame Bovary is driven to a disastrous affair, Jane Austen's Emma scorns a boring acquaintance, and Saul Bellow asks, what would boredom be without terror? For Cole Porter, "practically everything leaves me totally cold"; and the Buzzcocks are "waiting for the phone to ring"....
With readings by Pip Carter and Skye Hallam.

An exploration of boredom, as spur to action or opportunity for contemplation.

An exploration of the experience of boredom. Whether it's an idle moment or a life sentence, a spur to action or opportunity for contemplation, it's provided writers and musicians with a rich area to explore: Flaubert's Madame Bovary is driven to a disastrous affair, Jane Austen's Emma scorns a boring acquaintance, and Saul Bellow asks, what would boredom be without terror? For Cole Porter, "practically everything leaves me totally cold"; and the Buzzcocks are "waiting for the phone to ring"....
With readings by Pip Carter and Skye Hallam.

Boyhood2015042620170611 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of boyhood, with readings by Roger Ringrose and James Stewart

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Breaking Free: The World Of Yesterday20170101Anton Lesser and Imogen Stubbs explore Stefan Zweig's memoir The World of Yesterday.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Canada 150: From Sea To Sea To Sea20170625William Hope and Jane Perry with music and words reflecting settlers travelling to Canada.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Catalogue Of Trees20180401Poems, prose and music about trees, with readers Emma Fielding and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Circles, Curves And Contours20160605Texts and music exploring circles and contours. Readers: Deborah Findlay and Hugh Fraser.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Circles, Curves And Contours20170521Texts and music about circles, curves and contours. Readers: Deborah Findlay, Hugh Fraser.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Clockwise2015051720170326 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of clocks and timekeeping. With Toby Jones and Romola Garai.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Clouds2017060420200102 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of clouds. With readers Simon Russell Beale and Adjoa Andoh.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Simon Russell Beale and Adjoa Andoh track clouds scudding across the sky, in poems from Yang Chi to Shakespeare and Rilke to Thoreau. With music by Westhoff, Ligeti and Debussy.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY: The Cloud
EDWARD THOMAS: The clouds that are so light
EMILY DICKINSON: A Curious Cloud surprised the Sky
JONATHAN SWIFT: Gulliver’s Travels
WILLIAM SHARP: Clouds
YANG CHI, translated by JONATHAN CHAVES: Nesting among Clouds
WORDSWORTH: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
SHAKESPEARE: Sonnet 33
CLOUD APPRECIATION SOCIETY: The Manifesto of the Cloud Appreciation Society
FROST: Lost in Heaven
RILKE, translated A. POULIN, JR.: These laborers of rain
ROBERT HERRICK: Her Bed
DEREK WALCOTT: A Long, white
SANDBURG: Fog
SHAKESPEARE: Sonnet 34
ALEXANDER POSEY: Two Clouds
YEATS: These are the Clouds
ARISTOPHANES, translated by PETER MEINECK: Chorus of the Clouds, from The Clouds
RUPERT BROOKE: Clouds
ELLEN PALMER ALLERTON: Trailing Clouds
HENRY THOREAU: Journal, 25th December 1851
RILKE, translated by A. POULIN, JR.: Evening Clouds
BRECHT, translated by DEREK MAHON: A Cloud

Elizabeth Arno (producer).

Simon Russell Beale and Adjoa Andoh track clouds scudding across the sky, in poems from Yang Chi to Shakespeare and Rilke to Thoreau. With music by Westhoff, Ligeti and Debussy.

Texts and music on the theme of clouds. With readers Simon Russell Beale and Adjoa Andoh.

Cockneys20160410Texts and music on the theme of cockneys, with readers Jim Conway and Cheryl Fergison.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Commemorating The Liberation Of Auschwitz20200126In this special edition of Words and Music marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, readers Henry Goodman and Maria Friedman read poetry and prose about life and death at the most notorious Nazi concentration camp. We'll hear from survivors like Primo Levi and Victor Frankl, who paint startling pictures of existence at Auschwitz; and from Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played the cello in the Auschwitz Women's Orchestra. She once played Schumann's Träumerei for Dr Josef Mengele, who came to be known as 'the angel of death'.

Despite the hellish conditions, music was made in concentration camps. We'll hear about the fate of Auschwitz's Roma Orchestra and the unexpected presence of Tango at Auschwitz. You'll hear an early recording of the first song to be written in a concentration camp, the ‘Peat Bog Soldiers’, and songs by Ilse Weber, who wrote music for the children of the Theresienstadt camp and is said to have sung to her son and other children as she accompanied them into the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Poetry by survivors András Mezei and Annette Bialik Harchik reminds us that liberation was the end of a nightmarish journey but that living with the aftermath of the Holocaust was a burden which would be carried long after the camps were destroyed.

Producer Georgia Mann

Extract from a letter by Salmen Gradowski,
The Survivor -András Mezei translated by Thomas Ország-Land
If This is a Man - Primo Levi
Man’s Search For Meaning - Victor E. Frankl, translated by Lisle Lasch
Earrings - Annette Bialik Harchik translated by Rafael Bielobradek
Boots At a Concert of Lydia F - Krzystof Janusz Boczkowkski translated by Adam A. Zych and Andrzej Diniejko
The Librarian of Auschwitz - Antonio Iturbe, translated by trans Lilit Zekulin Thwaites
Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels
Violins of Hope - James A. Grymes
First Thoughts: On Liberation Day From a Concentration Camp - Annette Bialik Harchik
The Survival Syndrome - Adam Alfred Zych translated by June Friedman

With readers Henry Goodman and Maria Friedman

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In this special edition of Words and Music marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, readers Henry Goodman and Maria Friedman read poetry and prose about life and death at the most notorious Nazi concentration camp. We'll hear from survivors like Primo Levi and Victor Frankl, who paint startling pictures of existence at Auschwitz; and from Anita Lasker-wallfisch who played the cello in the Auschwitz Women's Orchestra. She once played Schumann's Träumerei for Dr Josef Mengele, who came to be known as 'the angel of death'.

With readers Henry Goodman and Maria Friedman

Producer Georgia Mann.

Commuters20190203The daily commute isn’t always a grind. Readers Kate O’Flynn and Paul Copley explore the journey to and from work as a space where we consider our place in the world.

It can be a time to fantasise about the familiar strangers around us; where, as the world flashes by the window, we go into reveries, conjuring memories, imagined lives, and lyrics to songs. And while for many of us the journey to work is safe, habitual and easy, for others it’s a time where both the majesty and perils of the world are felt most keenly.

Featuring poetry and prose by Chekhov, Kafka, Theroux and Hardy, and from the Tao Te Ching and the coal mines of Wales, as well as documentary archive from Ethiopia and Patagonia.

Music selections include Franz Schubert, Fanny Mendelssohn, Meredith Monk, Gavin Bryars and Charles Mingus.

Produced by Chris Elcombe.

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

The journey to and from work, where we sit and consider our place in the world.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Poetry and music exploring the daily commute; as a space where we consider our place in the world; where we fantasise about the familiar strangers around us; where, as the world flashes by the window, we go into reveries, conjuring memories, imagined lives, and lyrics to songs. And while for many of us the journey to work is safe, habitual and easy, for others it’s a time where both the majesty and perils of the world are felt most keenly.

Music selections include Franz Schubert, Fanny Mendelssohn, Meredith Monk, Louis Andriessen and Charles Mingus.

Produced by Chris Elcombe for Reduced Listening.

Creatures Of Habit20190106Can you quit, change your habits, follow those New Year Resolutions? Readers John Paul Connolly and Shiloh Coke explore habitual behaviour through poetry and prose. With music by Bach, Steve Reich and This Is The Kit.

The subtle stings of misfortune have James Whitcombe Riley reaching for his pipe, Alain de Botton observes the way our love of the familiar shapes our relationships, Beckett’s Molloy takes habitual behaviour to a compulsive extreme, and Amy Lowell is troubled by a hauntingly persistent idée fixe. But good or bad, logical or absurd, healthy or otherwise, – where would be without these repetitive quirks of behaviour that shape our identity and order our world? And so, when Allen Carr offers you a pain free path to quitting – will you take it? Perhaps the poet knows best the fear of the blank page and the power of routine to conquer it. And so we return to habit and to the setting down of words.

Producer: Laura Yogasundram

An exploration of habitual behaviour, good or bad, logical or absurd, healthy or otherwise

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Can you quit, change your habits, follow those New Year Resolutions? Readers John Paul Connolly and Shiloh Coke explore habitual behaviour through poetry and prose. With music by Bach, Steve Reich and the Portico Quartet.

The subtle stings of misfortune have James Whitcombe Riley reaching for his pipe, Alain de Botton observes the way our love of the familiar shapes our relationships, Beckett’s Molloy takes habitual behaviour to a compulsive extreme, and Amy Lowell is troubled by a hauntingly persistent idée fixe. But good or bad, logical or absurd, healthy or otherwise – where would be without these repetitive quirks of behaviour that shape our identity and order our world? And so, when Allen Carr offers you a pain free path to quitting – will you take it? Perhaps the poet knows best the fear of the blank page and the power of routine to conquer it. And so we return to habit and to the setting down of words.

Crip Creativity20201108Music from Beethoven and Robert Wyatt to performance by percussionist Evelyn Glennie. With readings of Milton, Oliver Sacks, Alice Walker and Sue Townsend. For the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, we feature music by composers and players set with readings by actors from writers who are disabled.

The readers are Jonathan Keeble and Nadia Albina.

Producer: Nick Holmes

Music from Beethoven to Evelyn Glennie. Readings of Milton, Alice Walker and Sue Townsend.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Crossed Wires20200628Tales of telephones and miscommunication, read by Jonathan Keeble and Briony Rawle.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Join readers Jonathan Keeble and Briony Rawle at the end of the line as they tell tales of phones and miscommunication. With music by Poulenc, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Little George Smith, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Berio and Menotti.

Our worlds are shaped by the technology we use to communicate - from phone conversations to text messages to letters of love and loss. Yet so often the tools we rely upon to convey our deepest feelings cause misunderstandings and revelations that we might never have imagined.

Raymond Chandler’s lonely gumshoe Philip Marlowe may yearn for his telephone to plug him into the human race - but a simple ring can also herald the deepest of human emotions: fear, grief, even nostalgia. Sylvia Plath’s half-heard syllables provoke dread, whilst Adrienne Rich and Phillip Gross consider how our ideas and identities are moulded and misshapen by the technology at our fingertips.

A thwarted conversation between Marcel Proust’s Swann and his elderly mother leaves us pondering the hereafter - whilst Carol Ann Duffy muses on the futility of words blinking on an LCD screen. Arthur C. Clarke, meanwhile, suggests a telephonic sting in the tale of a dystopian kind.

Produced by Steven Rajam.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Readings

Raymond Chandler - The Little Sister
Robert Frost - The Telephone
Philip Gross - Mappa Mundi
Sylvia Plath - Words Heard, By Accident, Over The Phone
Tony Harrison - Changing At York
Marcel Proust - The Guermantes Way
Carol Ann Duffy - Text
Thomas Hardy - Tess Of The D’Urbervilles
Adrienne Rich - Cartographies Of Silence
Gail White - Ballade Of Indignation
Arthur C. Clarke - Dial F For Frankenstein
Devin Johnston - The Telephone

Crowds2013060220161230 (R3)An exploration of crowds, whether positive force or destructive mob.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Dante And Blake: The Seven Deadly Sins20160724Poems by Dante and William Blake as well as music by Wagner, Janacek and Tchaikovsky.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Dead Meat20190908The vegetarian versus the carnivore reflected in literature and music. Actors Claire Benedict and Nicholas Farrell read words by Plutarch, Michel Faber and Ogden Nash. with music by Janacek, Vaughan Williams and Tom Waits.

Producer: Paul Frankl

Readings:
Rattlesnake Meat - Ogden Nash
On Meat Eating - Plutarch
Meat - August Kleinzahler
The Waves - Virginia Woolf
To Eat of Meat Joyously - Bertolt Brecht
Under the Skin - Michel Faber
The Time Machine – HG Wells
Angel – Elizabeth Taylor
Grand Union – Zadie Smith
What did I love about killing the chickens? – Ellen Bass
The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft – George Gissing
Vegan Delight - Benjamin Zephaniah

Literature and music that explores the opposing worlds of meat-eating and vegetarianism.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Deception20181007Can you trust your ears? Can you trust your eyes? How often do you tell lies? Watch out for fraudsters here, for cheats, charlatans and spies. Nothing is what it seems. William Wordsworth sees an island that he knows isn’t there. Musical mirages are conjured by Shulamit Ran and Kaija Saariaho. Saariaho’s mirage contains a Mexican shaman bursting free from the deception of ‘reality’ to a greater truth beyond.

There are lovers too. Many lovers. Vernon Scannell’s furtive adulterers. Tony and Maria from West Side Story sharing a delusion that there’s a place for them (there’s not). Meanwhile in the shadowy world of espionage, John Hollander’s undercover operative has a crisis of confidence, Joseph Conrad’s secret agent not only misleads his associates but betrays his wife in a terrible way and, as the Rhinemaidens sing in a performance of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung at the Bayreuth festival in 1942, none of the Nazi officials watching suspects that one of them – contralto Margery Booth – is a British spy.

What of the tricksters? The west African spider god Anansi fools stronger, fiercer animals into parting with gold and even their lives, while the ‘sandy-whiskered gentleman’ lulls Jemima Puddle-Duck into a false sense of security. Sometimes we can’t help being deceived and there are examples here – in the opening poem by Walter Savage Landor and the closing sonnet by Shakespeare – where deception in love is positively welcomed.

But make no mistake: deceiving other people is rarely a good thing, so heed the words in Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Lies and extract the appropriate moral lesson from Pete Seeger singing Oh How He Lied.

The readers are Sheila Atim and Guy Masterson

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Derek Jarman's Garden20200524Tilda Swinton and Samuel Barnett with readings from and inspired by the film-maker's work.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Tilda Swinton and Samuel Barnett are the readers in an episode inspired by the saving of the beachside home of film-maker, painter and writer Derek Jarman following a crowd-funding campaign. Jarman (1942-1994) purchased Prospect Cottage on the shingle shore at Dungeness in 1986 following his diagnosis as being HIV positive and it formed the backdrop for his 1990 film The Garden. This was one of 11 feature films he directed including Caravaggio, The Tempest, The Last of England and Blue - which Radio 3 collaborated on with Channel 4 when that premiered in 1993.

Today's Words and Music brings you music referenced in Jarman's writing and films, from Stravinsky's the Rite of Spring to pop songs by the Pet Shop Boys and Annie Lennox which Jarman directed the videos for. Tilda Swinton reads words from Jarman's books Modern Nature, Chroma, and At Your Own Risk, a moving history of homosexuality in the UK, and Samuel Barnett reads poetry including John Donne's The Sun Rising which is inscribed on the wall of Prospect Cottage.

You can read a news story about the saving of Prospect Cottage and see images of it here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-52120409

Producer: Nick Taylor

Readings:
Modern Nature - Derek Jarman
At Your Own Risk - Derek Jarman
Chroma - Derek Jarman
Funny Weather: Derek Jarman’s Paradise - Olivia Laing
The Sun Rising - John Donne
Metamorphoses - Ovid (trans. Henry Thomas Riley)
Sonnet 126 - William Shakespeare
Conversations with Angels - John Dee
The Garden of Love - William Blake
The Hollow Men (extract) - T.S. Eliot
Remarks on Colour - Ludwig Wittgenstein (trans. Linda L. McAlister)
Ancient Arabic poem - At-Taliq (trans. A. R. Nykl)

Dickens's World2020061420201225 (R3)Sam West reads the letters of Charles Dickens, marking the 150th anniversary of his death

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Sam West with the letters of Charles Dickens, marking the 150th anniversary of his death.

Charles Dickens: tireless novelist, journalist, amateur theatricalist, traveller, socialiser, and liver of life. To mark the 150th anniversary of the death of this literary titan, actor Sam West reads from the letters Dickens sent to correspondents including other greats of the time like Mrs Gaskell and Wilkie Collins; close friends such as actor William Macready and artist Daniel Maclise; and his wife and children at home as he travelled extensively giving public readings to his thousands of adoring fans.

Including observations of his first trip to America at the height of slavery in 1842, reflections on the incumbent British government and the prevailing class system, his traumatic account of the 1865 Staplehurst Rail Crash, guidance for his youngest son on departing for Australia, and the story of hunting a ghost with a shot gun, which turned out to be a sheep.

With music by Haydn, Beethoven, Kathryn Tickell, The Divine Comedy, and Michael Nyman.

Producer: Ruth Thomson

You can find a Free Thinking episode broadcast on the 150th anniversary of Dickens' death on June 9th with Matthew Sweet discussing the writing of Dickens with Laurence Scott, Lucy Whitehead from Cardiff University and the novelist Linda Grant.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jt6c

Charles Dickens: tireless novelist, journalist, amateur theatricalist, traveller, socialiser, and liver of life. To mark the 150th anniversary in 2020 of the death of this literary titan, actor Sam West reads from the letters Dickens sent to correspondents including other greats of the time like Mrs Gaskell and Wilkie Collins; close friends such as actor William Macready and artist Daniel Maclise; and his wife and children at home as he travelled extensively giving public readings to his thousands of adoring fans.

Including observations of his first trip to America at the height of slavery in 1842, reflections on the incumbent British government and the prevailing class system, his traumatic account of the 1865 Staplehurst Rail Crash, guidance for his youngest son on departing for Australia, and the story of hunting a ghost with a shot gun, which turned out to be a sheep.

With music by Haydn, Beethoven, Kathryn Tickell, The Divine Comedy, and Michael Nyman.

On the Free Thinking programme website you can find an episode with Matthew Sweet discussing the writing of Dickens with novelist Linda Grant, New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott and Lucy Whitehead from Cardiff University:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jt6c

Readings:
A Tale of Two Cities
Furnival's Inn, Wednesday Evening, 1835. To Miss Hogarth (future Mrs Charles Dickens)
Greta Bridge, February 1st, 1838. To Mrs Charles Dickens
Baltimore, March 22nd, 1842. To Mr W C Macready
Villa Di Bagnarello, Albaro, July 22nd, 1844. To Mr Daniel Maclise
Devonshire Terrace, January 31st, 1850. To Mrs Gaskell
Tavistock House, January 3rd, 1855. To Monsieur de Cerjat
Folkestone, Oct. 4th, 1855. To Mr W C Macready
Gad's Hill Place, Rochester, Kent, Oct. 15th, 1859. To Monsieur Regnier
Tavistock House, May 3rd, 1860. To Monsieur de Cerjat
Office of "All the Year Round," Oct. 24th, 1860. To Mr Wilkie Collins
Gad's Hill Place, Tuesday Night, Oct. 14th, 1862. To Mr Wilkie Collins
57 Gloucester Place, Hyde Park, Feb. 23rd, 1864. To Mr Marcus Stone
Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent, June 13th, 1865. To Mr Thomas Mitton
1868, to Mr. Edward Dickens (his youngest son) on his departure for Australia
Anon - Announcement of the Death of Mr Charles Dickens, Manchester Guardian, Friday 10th June 1870

Charles Dickens: tireless novelist, journalist, amateur theatricalist, traveller, socialiser, and liver of life. To mark the 150th anniversary in 2020 of the death of this literary titan, actor Sam West reads from the letters Dickens sent to correspondents including other greats of the time like Mrs Gaskell and Wilkie Collins; close friends such as actor William Macready and artist Daniel Maclise; and his wife and children at home as he travelled extensively giving public readings to his thousands of adoring fans.

With music by Haydn, Beethoven, Kathryn Tickell, The Divine Comedy, and Michael Nyman.

On the Free Thinking programme website you can find an episode with Matthew Sweet discussing the writing of Dickens with novelist Linda Grant, New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott and Lucy Whitehead from Cardiff University:

Readings:
A Tale of Two Cities
Furnival's Inn, Wednesday Evening, 1835. To Miss Hogarth (future Mrs Charles Dickens)
Greta Bridge, February 1st, 1838. To Mrs Charles Dickens
Baltimore, March 22nd, 1842. To Mr W C Macready
Villa Di Bagnarello, Albaro, July 22nd, 1844. To Mr Daniel Maclise
Devonshire Terrace, January 31st, 1850. To Mrs Gaskell
Tavistock House, January 3rd, 1855. To Monsieur de Cerjat
Folkestone, Oct. 4th, 1855. To Mr W C Macready
Gad's Hill Place, Rochester, Kent, Oct. 15th, 1859. To Monsieur Regnier
Tavistock House, May 3rd, 1860. To Monsieur de Cerjat
Office of "All the Year Round," Oct. 24th, 1860. To Mr Wilkie Collins
Gad's Hill Place, Tuesday Night, Oct. 14th, 1862. To Mr Wilkie Collins
57 Gloucester Place, Hyde Park, Feb. 23rd, 1864. To Mr Marcus Stone
Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent, June 13th, 1865. To Mr Thomas Mitton
1868, to Mr. Edward Dickens (his youngest son) on his departure for Australia
Anon - Announcement of the Death of Mr Charles Dickens, Manchester Guardian, Friday 10th June 1870

Sam West reads the letters of Charles Dickens, marking the 150th anniversary of his death

Do Keep In Touch20190428An edition of Words and Music about an increasingly frenzied international obsession: communication. Of course, communicating is nothing new and we touch down on good, old-fashioned letters such as those exchanged by F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s; Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath in the 1950s; and fictional, archly manipulative letters between the Viscount de Malmont and Marchioness de Merteuil in Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Getting more up to date, the poet Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Text" highlights text messaging, today's most used, misused and disposable way to keep in touch. Jonathan Franzen's Purity highlight's the tendency of texting to lead to unfortunate, emotional gameplay. We also have literature by JRR Martin, Keats, Hardy, Margaret Atwood and others. Music is by Gershwin, Janacek, Roy Harris, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tom Waits and Faure.

The words are read by the actors Emily Bruni and Paterson Joseph,

Producer: Paul Frankl

Emily Bruni and Paterson Joseph read literature about communication, ancient and modern.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Dreams And Nightmares2018040820191013 (R3)A programme inspired by the words of Martin Luther King as we mark Black History Month with this selection of readings and music which include Sojurner Truth, Aretha Franklin, Langston Hughes and Florence Price. The readers are Jade Anouka and Brid Brennan.

"Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious" said Sigmund Freud. And the unconscious is a storehouse for unacceptable ideas or desires, traumatic memories & emotions we repress. We all dream - and not just while we sleep. So what can our dreams tell us about ourselves and the society we live in?

Producer: Debbie Kilbride.

Readings:
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Land of Nod
Algernon Charles Swinburne: Love and Sleep
Franz Kafka: Metamorphosis
Audre Lorde: 1984
Willam Butler Yeats: The Second Coming
Sojourner Truth: Ain't I A Woman
JM Synge: Travels in Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara
Martin Carter: Looking at Your Hands
Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea
Aodhagán Ó Rathaille, translated by Seamus Heaney The Glamoured
Frances EW Harper: Bury Me in a Free Land
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Carol Ann Duffy: Dreams of a Lost Friend
Langston Hughes: A Dream Deferred
Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams
Sigmund Freud: Dora's Dream
Crazy Horse: Upon Suffering Beyond Suffering.

Main image: Portrait of African-American orator and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth (1797 - 1883), 1860s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Readings by Brid Brennan & Jade Anouka & music including Brahms, Debussy & Aretha Franklin

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Drink And No Drink20191229Much drink will be taken over Christmas and New Year. People will enjoy and regret this. Some will look forward ruefully to dry January. A century ago the prospect for Americans was dry forever, because Prohibition was introduced in January 1920. In this Words and Music, Drink No Drink, Joe Bannister and Sinead MacInnes read works that celebrate booze and reflects too the damage it can do to people and their relationships.

Jack Falstaff praises the virtues of sack. Dorothy Parker delineates the slide from 'just the one' to 'never again'. For Leopold Bloom, in Ulysses, the lingering flavour of burgundy triggers the memory of a tryst; for Laurie Lee imbibing cider leads to the erotic encounter itself. Mahler and Mozart encourage cheerful drinking and Sussex folk singers Bob and Ron Copper praise good ale. There are two stunning hangovers, in prose from Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and song, in Loudon Wainwright III's April Fool's Day Morn, as poignant as its protagonist's behaviour is appalling.

Readings

Psalm 60
Just a Little One - Dorothy Parker
Beowulf - translated by Seamus Heaney
Drinking Alone Under the Moon by Li Bai (Li Po)
Jack Falstaff's paean to sack, Henry IV Part II - William Shakespeare
Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee
I touch a liquor never brewed - Emily Dickinson
The Long Goodbye - Raymond Chandler
Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
The Porter, Macbeth - William Shakespeare
Sloe Gin - Seamus Heaney
Ulysses - James Joyce
Good Morning Midnight - Jean Rhys
John Barleycorn - Jack London
Prohibition - Unknown
Tha an drungair anns an dìg (The drunk is in the ditch) - Iain Crichton Smith translated by Peter Mackay
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Friend with a Mandoilin - Jeremy Hooker

Taking inspiration from toasts, parties and wassailing to the anniversary of Prohibition.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Jack Falstaff praises the virtues of sack. Dorothy Parker delineates the slide from 'just the one' to 'never again'. For Leopold Bloom, in Ulysses, the lingering flavour of burgundy triggers the memory of a tryst; for Laurie Lee imbibing cider leads to the erotic encounter itself. Mahler and Mozart encourage cheerful drinking and Sussex folk singers Bob and Ron Copper praise good ale. There are two stunning hangovers, in prose from Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and song, in Loudon Wainwright III's April Fool's Day Morn, as poignant as its protagonist's behaviour is appalling.

Psalm 60
Just a Little One - Dorothy Parker
Beowulf - translated by Seamus Heaney
Drinking Alone Under the Moon by Li Bai (Li Po)
Jack Falstaff's paean to sack, Henry IV Part II - William Shakespeare
Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee
I touch a liquor never brewed - Emily Dickinson
The Long Goodbye - Raymond Chandler
Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
The Porter, Macbeth - William Shakespeare
Sloe Gin - Seamus Heaney
Ulysses - James Joyce
Good Morning Midnight - Jean Rhys
John Barleycorn - Jack London
Prohibition - Unknown
Tha an drungair anns an dìg (The drunk is in the ditch) - Iain Crichton Smith translated by Peter Mackay
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Friend with a Mandoilin - Jeremy Hooker

Much drink will be taken over Christmas and New Year. But 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of Prohibition. Joe Bannister and Sinead Mac Innes (tbc) read work by Laurie Lee, Dorothy Parker, F Scott Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, and lesser known advocates of abstinence from alcohol. With music By Verdi, Dean Martin, Mozart, The Coppers and Loudon Wainwright III.

The Lips that Touch Liquor Will Never Touch Mine goes one pro-Prohibition song. But in 1929 Milton Ager and Jack Yellen penned Happy Days are Here Again to celebrate the coming end of Prohibition.

Producer: Julian May

Dystopia20180121Samantha Bond and Tobias Menzies read poetry and prose on the theme of dystopia.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Easter20200412Music and readings on the theme of Eastertide, Spring and the Passover including prose by Tolstoy, Richard Yates and Jane Austen, poetry by TS Eliot and Christina Rossetti, and music by Wagner, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Judy Garland. The readers are Samantha Bond, Henry Goodman, Emily Bruni, Sam West, Molly Hanson and Robert Lindsay.

Producer: Nick Holmes

Apologies - the usual list of music and readings may not have uploaded - here are some of the readings

TS Eliot - East Coker
Marge Piercy - The Seder's Order
Michael Chabon - Wonder Boys
Denise Levertov - The Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus
Oscar Wilde - Easter Day
Leo Tolstoy - Resurrection
Charles Dickens - Pictures from Italy
Eleanor Farjeon - Upon Easter Morning
WB Yeats - Easter 1916
Thomas Hardy - I watched a Blackbird
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
Effie Waller Smith - Easter Lilies
Claude McKay - The Easter Flower Poem
Richard Yates - The Easter Parade
Helen Wallen - An Easter Poem for Crap Mummies

This is the music you will hear but not in the right order
Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883): Parsifal - opera in 3 acts
Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963): Stabat mater for soprano, chorus and orchestra
Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 - 1908): Russian Easter festival [Svetliy prazdnik] - overture Op.36
James MacMillan (1959): Stabat mater for chorus and orchestra
Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883): Good Friday music [from 'Parsifal'] - concert version [no voices]
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805 - 1847): Sonata in A major (Easter Sonata) for piano
Carlo Gesualdo (c1561 - 1613): Tenebrae responses for Good Friday for 6 voices
Charles Wood (1866 - 1926): This joyful Eastertide - trad. Dutch carol, arr. for chorus
Muriel Herbert (1897 - 1984): Loveliest of trees for voice and piano
George Butterworth (1885 - 1916): 6 Songs from 'A Shropshire lad' for voice and piano
Gregorio Allegri (1582 - 1652): Miserere mei Deus [Psalm 51] for 9 voices
Lennon/Mccartney: Blackbird
Edvard Grieg (1843 - 1907): 6 Norwegian mountain tunes for piano
E J Moeran (1894 - 1950): Songs of springtime for chorus
Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911): Symphony no. 2 in C minor (Resurrection) for soprano, alto, chorus and orchestra
Judith Bingham (1952): Missa brevis for chorus and organ
Easter Parade Judy Garland and Fred Astaire composed by Irving Berlin

From Easter flowers to Passover meals and midnight church services.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Encoded2016121120161218 (R3)Texts and music inspired by codes, with readers Anna Maxwell Martin and Tim McInnerny.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Entente Cordiale2012120920160221 (R3)Words and music on the theme of Entente Cordiale with Rachel Atkins and Jamie Parker.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Entering The World Of Books2019120120201221 (R3)Stephen Mangan and Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda to Flaubert's Madame Bovary to “The Reading of Young Ladies” (from the American Magazine of Useful Knowledge, December 1836) “Every-one must rejoice that the education of females is considered more important than formerly … But….too much time is spent on novels, few of which are calculated to instruct or to improve”. Starting off a series this week of Words and Music focusing on writing by some key names in literature, today's programmes takes us into the world of books.

The birth of the novel in the early 18th century and their growing popularity with female readers lead to many a male moralist worrying about what these romantic literary adventures were doing to women's expectations. Some of Emma's struggles with marriage in Flaubert's Madame Bovary are traced back to the books she reads and Jane Austen satirised the prim James Fordyce, whose Sermons for Young Women we'll hear from. Fordyce warns about books that commit: 'rank treason against the royalty of Virtue'. There's also a passage from Jilly Cooper's Riders.

Musically we'll journey from Haydn at the fortepiano, a combination Jane Austen would likely have been familiar with, to Thomas Adès's haunting take on Shakespeare's The Tempest and Dire Straits' tribute to a Lady Writer. There are also hymns to reading and writers by the 16th-century composer Robert Jones and The Beatles.

'I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on in the world between the covers of books' said Dylan Thomas in his Notes on the Art of Poetry.

You can find a playlist of discussions about Prose and Poetry on the Free Thinking programme website which includes a discussion of attitudes to women writers and readers https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p047v6vh

Producer Georgia Mann

Readings:
Emily Dickinson - There is no Frigate like a Book
Roald Dahl - Matilda
Mimi Khalvati - Childhood Books
C.K Williams - Prose
Robert Louis Stevenson - The Land of Story-books
James Fordyce - Sermons to Young Women, extract From Sermon IV: On Female Virtue
Flaubert - Madame Bovary
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
George Eliot - Silly Novels by Silly Lady Novelists
Jilly Cooper - Riders
Shakespeare - The Tempest
Author Unknown - Extract from Devouring Books, from the American Annals of Education, January 1835
Robert William Service - Bookshelf
Andrea Levy - The Long Song
Katie Ward - Girl Reading
Dylan Thomas - Notes on the Art of Poetry

Stephen Mangan & Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading in prose & poetry set to music.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Stephen Mangan & Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda to Flaubert's Madame Bovary to “The Reading of Young Ladies” (from the American Magazine of Useful Knowledge, December 1836) “Every-one must rejoice that the education of females is considered more important than formerly … But….too much time is spent on novels, few of which are calculated to instruct or to improve”. As part of the BBC's year-long focus on literature, Words and Music takes you into the world of books.

The birth of the novel in the early 18th century and their growing popularity with female readers lead to many a male moralist worrying about what these romantic literary adventures were doing to women's expectations. Some of Emma's struggles with marriage in Flaubert's Madame Bovary are traced back to the books she reads and Jane Austen satirised the prim James Fordyce, whose Sermons for Young Women we'll hear from. Fordyce warns about books which commit: 'rank treason against the royalty of Virtue'. There's also a passage from Jilly Cooper's Riders.

Musically we'll journey from Haydn at the fortepiano, a combination Jane Austen would likely have been familiar with, to Thomas Adès' haunting take on Shakespeare's The Tempest and Dire Straits' tribute to a Lady Writer. There's also hymns to reading and writers by the 16th century composer Robert Jones and The Beatles.

Stephen Mangan and Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda to Flaubert's Madame Bovary to “The Reading of Young Ladies” (from the American Magazine of Useful Knowledge, December 1836) “Every-one must rejoice that the education of females is considered more important than formerly … But….too much time is spent on novels, few of which are calculated to instruct or to improve”. Starting off a series this week of Words and Music focusing on writing by some key names in literature, today's programmes takes us into the world of books.

The birth of the novel in the early 18th century and their growing popularity with female readers lead to many a male moralist worrying about what these romantic literary adventures were doing to women's expectations. Some of Emma's struggles with marriage in Flaubert's Madame Bovary are traced back to the books she reads and Jane Austen satirised the prim James Fordyce, whose Sermons for Young Women we'll hear from. Fordyce warns about books that commit: 'rank treason against the royalty of Virtue'. There's also a passage from Jilly Cooper's Riders.

Musically we'll journey from Haydn at the fortepiano, a combination Jane Austen would likely have been familiar with, to Thomas Adès's haunting take on Shakespeare's The Tempest and Dire Straits' tribute to a Lady Writer. There are also hymns to reading and writers by the 16th-century composer Robert Jones and The Beatles.

'I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on in the world between the covers of books' said Dylan Thomas in his Notes on the Art of Poetry.

Readings:
Emily Dickinson - There is no Frigate like a Book
Roald Dahl - Matilda
Mimi Khalvati - Childhood Books
C.K Williams - Prose
Robert Louis Stevenson - The Land of Story-books
James Fordyce - Sermons to Young Women, extract From Sermon IV: On Female Virtue
Flaubert - Madame Bovary
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
George Eliot - Silly Novels by Silly Lady Novelists
Jilly Cooper - Riders
Shakespeare - The Tempest
Author Unknown - Extract from Devouring Books, from the American Annals of Education, January 1835
Robert William Service - Bookshelf
Andrea Levy - The Long Song
Katie Ward - Girl Reading
Dylan Thomas - Notes on the Art of Poetry

Stephen Mangan & Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading in prose & poetry set to music.

Everyday Heroism20200830Paterson Joseph and Ruth Bradley celebrate everyday heroes in the context of 2020 and beyond.

New poems by Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay mark the recent experiences of frontline medical staff, and we celebrate the dedication of teachers with an extract from George Dennison’s account of The First Street School in New York, and with Matilda’s favourite teacher at Crunchem Hall Primary, Miss Honey. In domestic life we spare a thought for mums and dads being woken nightly by belligerent toddlers with Anna Bennett, the protagonist of Night Waking by Sarah Moss. Remembering the quiet heroism of rural communities we join Sunset Song’s Chris Guthrie toiling daily on the land of North East Scotland, and encounter shepherd Gabriel Oak bravely battling a treacherous blaze. The global impact of a single bold act of everyday heroism is evoked by Rita Dove’s poem about civil rights icon Rosa Parks before we head back into hospital with a young Irish midwife in Emma Donoghue’s brand new novel, Walt Whitman dressing wounds during the American Civil War, and Roger Robinson's tribute to nurses today.

Featuring music by Arvo Part, Vince Guaraldi, Philip Glass, Beethoven, David Bowie and Charles Ives.

Jackie Kay, Raymond Antrobus and Roger Robinson's poems form part of a free outdoor art & poetry exhibition called Everyday Heroes celebrating keyworkers at London's Southbank Centre from September.

Producer: Ruth Thomson

Raymond Antrobus - On Touch
Jackie Kay - Home
George Dennison - The Lives of Children
Roald Dahl - Matilda
Sarah Moss - Night Waking
Thomas Hardy - Far from the Madding Crowd
Lewis Grassic Gibbon - Sunset Song
Rita Dove - Rosa
Patrick Marber - Closer
Emma Donoghue - The Pull of the Stars
Walt Whitman - The Wound Dresser
Roger Robinson - On Nurses

Poetry, prose and music celebrating everyday heroes.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Paterson Joseph and Ruth Bradley with poetry and prose celebrating everyday heroes from front-line nurses, doctors and midwives, to dedicated teachers and patient parents. Featuring texts by Emma Donoghue, Patrick Marber and Thomas Hardy alongside new poems by Jackie Kay, Raymond Antrobus and Roger Robinson which feature in 'Everyday Heroes', a free outdoor art and poetry exhibition celebrating key workers at London's Southbank Centre from September.

Paterson Joseph and Ruth Bradley with poetry and prose celebrating everyday heroes from front line nurses, doctors and midwives, to dedicated teachers and patient parents. Featuring texts by Emma Donoghue, Patrick Marber, and Thomas Hardy, alongside new poems by Jackie Kay, Raymond Antrobus and Roger Robinson's which feature in 'Everyday Heroes'; a free outdoor art & poetry exhibition celebrating keyworkers at the Southbank Centre from September.

Everything Must Change20190224“Winter turns to spring” and “a wounded heart will heal.” This week’s Words and Music circles around a song by Bernard Ighner, Everything Must Change, heard here in Nina Simone’s powerful 1978 interpretation. The ballad is a meditation on “the way of time” and the truth that life is itself constant transformation.

To look at the news these days is to be reminded of a world in flux, collapse and transition. But zooming out from the posturing and political noise, we are invited to marvel at how all things are interconnected, to sit with the knowledge that, in Thomas Hardy’s words, the elements that make up a “ruddy human life” become the green shoots of a young tree, that bones become coral and eyes, pearls, in the famous imagery of Ariel’s song from The Tempest.

But how do we respond to the miracle of existence and the fact of death? D.H. Lawrence and Marcus Aurelius suggest that to embrace change is to experience life more fully and more naturally. We hear Aretha Franklin and Philip Ayres desperately promise a constant love, immortal, beyond time. We sit by a river with the poet, Wisława Szymborska, and lie with lovers in the tall grass of high summer, savouring the present. The theme-and-variation form is heard in the hands of Rubbra and Schubert. We gaze at the clouds, through the music of John Luther Adams, and turn our awareness inwards to the flow of thoughts “that flash, kaleidoscope-like, now in, now out”, in the words of Alice Dunbar-Nelson. Consciousness is a mystery. As Alice in Wonderland knew all too well, the cells of the body are itching and dancing with life and transformation if we care to notice.

Featuring the voice of Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso, recorded in New Mexico.

Produced by Phil Smith.

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

A meditation on 'the way of time' and life as constant transformation.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Fame2010101020190113 (R3)Poetry and music on the theme of fame and celebrity, read by Imogen Stubbs and Michael Maloney.

This week's programme looks at the value - or cost - of fame. Can recognition itself bring happiness? What happens when the soft caress of the camera is replaced by the harsh gaze of the paparazzi? Why do so many yearn for their 'fifteen minutes of fame'? And how differently do we view those who have earned their celebrity status through great achievements in life rather than in the film studio?

Writing by Rita Dove, Boris Pasternak, John Clare, Geoffrey Hill, Charles Simic and Emily Dickinson is accompanied by the music of Handel, John Tavener, Stephen Sondheim and Michael Jackson.

Poetry and music on the theme of fame, read by Imogen Stubbs and Michael Maloney.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Feast!20181223Does a feast always conjure images of rich food and eating too much? The actors Tony Gardner and Janie Dee read from a selection of literary feasts including F Scott Fiztgerald’s account of an opulent garden party thrown by Jay Gatsby to the small scale "This Is Just To Say" by William Carlos Williams (a cheeky note left on a fridge admitting to have eaten someone else's plums) and Chinua Achebe's Yam Feast from Things Fall Apart. Plus poems including Flowers in the Interval by Louis MacNeice and All Souls by Kit Wright. Music by Copland, Charpentier, Beyoncé, John Barry, Charles Aznavour and Schubert.

Producer: Paul Frankl

A smorgasbord of literary and musical feasts from Jonathan Swift to Nora Ephron.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Flanerie - A View Of Paris2014051120190217 (R3)An imagined serendipitous journey through Paris's streets, past and present, told through its literature and music, with the actors Tamsin Greig and Neil Pearson

The Flâneur - "that aimless stroller who loses himself in the crowd, who has no destination and goes wherever caprice or curiosity directs his or her steps".

It was Baudelaire, in his "Fleurs du Mal" in the late 19th century, who created flânerie as a literary ideal for evoking the patterns and emotions of modern urban life in Paris; but the concept of the detached observer - casual, directionless, voyeuristic - who finds refuge within the crowded streets of the capital, had been around for some time. Balzac, writing in the years before the advent of Haussman's modern cityscape, had described flânerie as "the gastronomy of the eye". Later, the German writer and social-critic, Walter Benjamin, would use the experiences of the Parisian flâneur as illustrations for socio-political commentary.

In this edition of Words and Music, we - much in the spirit of the flâneur - take a casual musical and literary journey through Paris's imagined streets. Glimpses of buildings bring to mind the city's great history and its inhabitants; its poets, writers and composers. Imagine sauntering past Notre Dame and the neighbouring university: and the ribaldry of medieval Paris fills the mind's eye, evoking the words of Villon and Rabelais; of Victor Hugo describing the medieval skyline and the festive sound of the medieval bells.

Next on to the Louvre and the Marais, and echoes of the grandeur of Paris during the age of the Sun King; of Marie de Rabutin-Chantal de Sévingné's famous letters; of the music of Lully and Charpentier. Turn another corner, and find the youthful Marin Marais, lost and bewildered by the banks of the Seine - his voice, post-pubescent - his services no longer required in the Royal Chapel.

A hundred years on, and in the wretched area of Sainte-Antoine, Charles Dickens watches the abject poor seemingly rehearse events for one the city's least glorious moments; their hands and clothes stained with red wine, like blood.

Balzac lists the varied "physiognomy" of the Parisian back streets in the years just before Haussmann re-invented the city - we follow him into some of Paris's more forbidding and darker haunts; while later - into the Belle Époque and beyond - coursing among the newer buildings, parks and thoroughfares - Baudelaire, Proust and Zola observe Parisian life with a multitude of senses and a painterly eye. As do Fauré, Verlaine and Debussy.

"Among all cities, there is none more associated with the book than Paris", wrote Walter Benjamin. Ernest Hemingway finds refuge in one of the city's necessary cafes, watching and transcribing, while Beria and Bechet set the same thoughts to music.

Finally, our serendipitous journey presents an aspect of the modern Paris: not the beautiful; nor the bustling, fashionable and vibrant; but urban nonetheless. The city at its edge - people at the periphery. The world in the Banlieue: of graffiti and the blues.

An imagined, serendipitous journey through Paris with actors Tamsin Greig and Neil Pearson

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Flights Of Fancy20200621Barbara Flynn and Hugo Speer with readings and music on imaginative and physical flight.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Barbara Flynn and Hugo Speer read poetry and prose on the theme of flight, both literal and imaginative. The readings in this edition of Words and Music have been roughly grouped into three sections that flow seamlessly into each other. They are: flight in nature, human flight and flights of the imagination.

We encounter characters from Shakespeare: Ariel, Queen Mab and one of Titania's fairies, witness a new speed record for seagulls, peruse Dylan Thomas's sleeping fishing village, climb into the wild and majestic mountains with William Wordsworth and face the fantastical monsters of Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft.

We're on the wing with Einojuhani Rautavaara and a flock of migrating with swans. Kevin Volans takes us to South Africa with tribal rhythms that accompany Horatio Clare's observations of African Swallows. Paul Lawrence Dunbar's inability to see the sparrows at his window rings as true now as it would have been when the poem was written over 100 years ago. Kathleen Jamie's insight into the habits of peregrine falcons is as much an insight into her own life as that of the birds.

John Gillespie Magee wrote his sonnet High Flight after flying a Spitfire Mk1 and it has been paired here with Fatboy Slim's vision of the transonic jet fighter plane the Hawker Hunter, also known as the Bird of Prey. Both share the sense of freedom and exhilaration of fast flight.
Vaughan Williams is better known for his pastoral sound but his motet "A vision of aeroplanes" is a veritable whirlwind. He takes a passage from the biblical Book of Ezekiel that seems to prophesy an aeroplane appearing through the clouds and sets it to tumultuous organ and vocal writing.

Flying for humans obviously involves rather more logistics than for birds but there are some airports around the world that add character and spark to what is mostly a necessary evil. We hear a little about the quirks of flying in Bolivia and Ecuador and Britain's only 3 runway airport, Barra, which is on a beach in north Scotland and lit by car headlights.

Readings:
Horatio Clare: A Single Swallow
Kathleen Jamie: Findings
John Gillespie Magee: High Flight
Sarah Arvio: Flying
Lonely Planet: Bolivia - Air travel
Undiscovered Scotland: Barra Airport
Lonely Planet: Ecuador - Air travel
Shakespeare: Where the Bee Sucks there suck I - Ariel, Act 5 Sc 1 The Tempest
Richard Bach: Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 sc 4, Queen Mab speech (Mercutio)
Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream: Over Hill, Over Dale - Fairy, Act 2 sc 1,
Paul Laurence Dunbar: The Sparrow
Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood (To Begin at the Beginning)
William Wordsworth: The Prelude, Book 13 (extract)
Lewis Carroll: Jabberwocky
H.P. Lovecraft: The call of Cthulhu (Chapter III – The Madness from the Sea)

Produced by Barnaby Gordon

Fly Me To The Moon20190721Fifty years ago, on July 20th 1969, humans landed on the moon for the very first time. Or was it in fact the first time?

Some say that adventurers and inventors have been making the trip to the moon for centuries. Just ask Edgar Allen Poe, who documented Hans Phall’s journey by hot air balloon. Or listen to Leoš Janáček, with his opera celebrating Mr Brouček, who made it all the way on a drunken dream. Or read Italo Calvino, whose classic character Qfwfq climbs up there to harvest lunar milk.

In this edition of Words And Music you too can experience the sensation of ascending to the moon and taking a moonwalk, beholding all the wonders lying in wait on the dark side. Your companions for the expedition are today’s readers: Zawe Ashton and Peter Marinker.

Readings:
Orlando Furioso - Ludovico Ariosto
Stoned Moon Drawing - Robert Rauschenberg
Moon Palace - Paul Auster
Night - Etel Adnan
The Unparalleled Adventure Of One Hans Phall - Edgar Allen Poe
I am the moon, and you are the man on me - Claire Askew
A True Story - Lucian of Samosata
The Man In The Moone - Francis Godwin
Thirteen Haiku - Yosa Buson
Lady Chatterley’s Lover - DH Lawrence
There’s a moon inside my body - Kabir
Letter - CS Lewis
Voyage To The Moon - Archibald MacLeish
Various Portents - Alice Oswald
Aniara - Harry Martinson
Moonset - Carl Sandburg
Bad Moon - Claire Askew

Produced by Jack Howson.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

A trip to the Moon, fifty years after Apollo 11, featuring Zawe Ashton and Peter Marinker.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In this edition of Words And Music you too can experience the sensation of ascending to the moon and taking a moonwalk, beholding all the wonders lying in wait on the dark side. Your companions for the expedition are today’s readers: Zawe Ashton and Peter Marinker.

A trip to the Moon, fifty years after Apollo 11, featuring Zawe Ashton and Peter Marinker.

Footloose2017102920190103 (R3)Dancing, marching, washing, binding: with readings by Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

From bare feet to dancing feet and booted feet, with everything in between, the programme features poetry and prose by writers including Cecil Day Lewis, DH Lawrence, Hans Christian Andersen, Pauline Prior-Pitt and Jung Chang, and music by Prokofiev, Victoria, Fats Waller and Kirsty MacColl. The readers are Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst, stars of the TV drama series "Cold Feet".

The notion of a programme about feet might at first seem comical, but once you begin to look at how the image of the foot is used in literature, a wide range of symbolism reveals itself. Phrases such as "best foot forward", "the world at your feet", "falling at your feet" all evoke power and achievement. "Treading on eggshells", "a foot in the door", "pussy-footing around", "getting cold feet", all point towards hesitation and a lack of confidence. The symbolism of Jesus Christ washing his disciples' feet, re-enacted every Maundy Thursday, is one of the most powerful symbolic acts in the Christian liturgical calendar. Just as powerful is the image of an army marching to war. Children's literature and fairy tales are peppered with footprints, from Cinderella trying on the glass slipper to The Little Mermaid, who has to endure the sensation of dancing on sharp knives in order to become human.

Producer Helen Garrison.

Poetry, prose and music on the subject of feet, with Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst.

Foxes And Wolves2017120320181021 (R3)A programme exploring wolves as both wild and nurturing, foxes as both cunning and prey.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

We go into the Forest with Red Riding Hood as Alison Steadman and Tim Dutton read from Aesop to Sarah Hall, Rudyard Kipling to Roald Dahl in a programme exploring wolves as both wild and nurturing, foxes as both cunning and prey.
Tying into BBC Radio 3's Into the Forest season, the landscape changes from woodlands to hunting fields to the plains of America in the film Dancing with Wolves and recent attempts at re-wilding which have seen wolves re-introduced to national parks in the USA and the UK. The musical palette moves from Mozart, Prokofiev and Sondheim to Los Lobos and Jimi Hendrix.
But these seemingly similar creatures are portrayed with very different characteristics. Blues singer Chester Burnett was apparently given the name Howlin’ Wolf by his grandfather who would scare the boy with tales of wolves in the Mississippi woods but the Wolf of Jungle Book is the creature who cares for Mowgli. And the cunning fox from Roald Dahl's Mr Fox gives way to the sexy fox of Sarah Hall's short story, which won her the BBC short story prize in 2013, becoming fox fur worn in David Malouf's poem and in the fate of the heroine of Janáček's opera after she dies at the hands of a poacher.

Producer: Harry Parker.

Image: Sloth, detail from the Seven Deadly Sins, 1485, by Hieronymus Bosch (ca 1450-1516), oil on canvas, 120x150 cm. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images); Madrid, Museo Del Prado.

Free Thinking: The One And The Many20180311A special edition of Words and Music, recorded earlier today in the Glass Box at Sage Gateshead as part of the Free Thinking Festival. Carolyn Pickles and Jonathan Keeble read poetry and prose on the festival's theme of 'The One and the Many'. The programme will explore literary and real people who have thought or acted differently from the crowd - and the crowd's attitude to them. Including texts by George Orwell, Albert Camus and Elizabeth Jennings, and music by Benjamin Britten, Bohuslav Martinu and Igor Stravinsky.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

The One and the Many with readers Carolyn Pickles and Jonathan Keeble.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Free Thinking: The Speed Of Life20170319Music and readings on the theme of 'the speed of life'. With Kim Gerard and Samuel West.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Fruit And Vegetables2020050320210124 (R3)The UN General Assembly designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, and it's also Veganuary, so Paterson Joseph and Jane Whittenshaw read poetry and prose on the theme of the humble Fruit and Vegetable. From Beatrix Potter's lettuce-loving Peter Rabbit to the Campion's tempting Cherry-Ripe; these dietary stalwarts have long been associated with indulgence and, sometimes, misbehaviour. Sometimes they are just pure pleasure, as in William Carlos Williams's poem about 'cold' and 'delicious' plums in an icebox. For Nigel Slater, just 'the rough feel of a runner bean between the fingers' can bring a special sort of comfort. The nutritious soundtrack includes Joplin's Pineapple Rag, Nina Simone's Forbidden Fruit and Handel's Ruddier than the Cherry.

Producer: Georgia Mann

From Nigel Slater to Nina Simone's Forbidden Fruit and Handel's Ruddier than the Cherry.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Genesis20190707Anton Lesser and Stella Gonet with readings from Genesis and poems that cast a sideways glance at these well-known myths.

The first book of the Bible is a wellspring of potent stories that contain deep truths and powerful archetypes. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden shows how we learn to label things as Good or Evil in our search for knowledge; and how this comes at a terrible price. The fratricidal brothers, Cain and Abel, demonstrate the malevolent force of resentment and revenge.

Stella Gonet reads from the classic King James Version of the Bible, a translation whose cadences run through Shakespeare, Milton and all of English literature.

As well as the tales of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Anton Lesser explores the untold stories of the women in Genesis: Eve thrown out of paradise and yearning to lie naked in the grass of Eden once more; a middle-aged and plump Mrs Noah looking back at her passionate youth when she was locked up in an ark full of frisky animals; and Potiphar’s wife, the prototype of a whole line of femmes fatales looking for a “rough and ready man.”

As well as containing great wisdom, these deep-rooted myths can tap into more dangerous aspects of the human psyche, if taken too literally. One of the best-known parts of Genesis is the story of Noah’s flood. The notion of a universal flood sent by God to purify a world that has supposedly fallen into sin is a common theme in many religions. It has allowed the idea that any major flood or catastrophe expresses God’s displeasure. In 2014 it was claimed by some that the UK floods were divine retribution for the British government's introduction of gay marriage. It prompted a Facebook campaign to get the song “It’s raining men” to UK number one. This iconic 80s gay anthem was written for the duo Two Tons o Fun, later known as The Weather Girls.

Also includes music by Messiaen, Dowland, Cole Porter, Berg, Stravinsky, Rossini, Bach, Martin Georgiev, Ligeti, Mozart, Richard Strauss and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Readings:
Extracts from Genesis in the King James Bible translation of 1611
Paradise Lost Book 4 - Milton
Eve - Ella Higginson
Cain and Abel – Kipling
Noah – Siegfried Sassoon
Mrs Noah: Taken After the Flood - Jo Shapcott
Babel - Sir Osbert Sitwell
The Parable of the Old Man and the Young - Wilfred Owen
Joseph's Dreams and Reuben's Brethren - Henry Lawson
Potiphar's Wife - Sir Edwin Arnold

Producer: Clive Portbury

Anton Lesser and Stella Gonet with readings and music inspired by Book one of the Bible.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Anton Lesser and Stella Gonet with readings from Genesis and poems that cast a sideways glance at these well-known myths.

Stella Gonet reads from the classic King James Version of the Bible, a translation whose cadences run through Shakespeare, Milton and all of English literature.

As well as the tales of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Anton Lesser explores the untold stories of the women in Genesis: Eve thrown out of paradise and yearning to lie naked in the grass of Eden once more; a middle-aged and plump Mrs Noah looking back at her passionate youth when she was locked up in an ark full of frisky animals; and Potiphar’s wife, the prototype of a whole line of femmes fatales looking for a “rough and ready man.”

Also includes music by Messiaen, Dowland, Cole Porter, Berg, Stravinsky, Rossini, Bach, Martin Georgiev, Ligeti, Mozart, Richard Strauss and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Anton Lesser and Stella Gonet with readings and music inspired by Book one of the Bible.

George Eliot's World2019112420201223 (R3)From meeting Clara Schumann to the piano playing doctor's wife in Middlemarch - Fiona Shaw, Ellie Kendrick and Philip Bretherton read from the novels, letters and journals of George Eliot, as well as responses to her and her work from the likes of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. The music is what she might have chosen to listen to including pieces by Clara Schumann, Bach, Liszt, Haydn, Handel and Purcell.

George Eliot played the piano all her life, was passionate about music and alludes to it many times in her novels and diaries. In her journal she talked of ‘music that stirs all one’s devout emotions blends everything into harmony – makes one feel part of one whole, which one loves all alike, losing the sense of a separate self’.
She knew and was friends many composers including Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Anton Rubenstein. In 1854 Eliot was travelling across Europe and met a famous pianist and composer in Weimar. It was Clara Schumann, described by Eliot as ‘an interesting, melancholic creature’. In Eliot’s novel, Daniel Deronda, she quotes from Rossini’s Otello, where he set to music Dante’s words:
Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella misseria
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in the midst of misery.

On the Free Thinking website Fiona Shaw shares her insights into George Eliot's Mill on the Floss with a panel chaired by Shahidha Bari https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bf70

Producer: Fiona McLean

Readings:
Daniel Deronda
Woman in France
Silas Marner
Middlemarch
Simone de Beauvoir - Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
The Mill on the Floss
Letter to Maria Congreve
Mr Gilfil's Love Story
Henry James - Letter to his father
Lady Ritchie - on George Eliot
W.L. Courtney - on George Eliot
George Eliot - from her Journal
George Eliot - from Self and Life
Edmund Gosse - on seeing George Eliot
Daniel Deronda
George Eliot- on Finishing Middlemarch
Middlemarch
Virginia Woolf George Eliot

Novels, letters and journals read by Fiona Shaw, Ellie Kendrick and Philip Bretherton.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

This special edition of Words and Music is inspired by the novels, letters and journals of George Eliot, as well as responses to her and her work from the likes of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. The readers are Fiona Shaw, Ellie Kendrick and Philip Bretherton and the music is what she might have chosen to listen to work by Clara Schumann, Bach, Liszt, Haydn, Handel and Purcell.

George Eliot played the piano all her life, was passionate about music and alludes to it many times in her novels and diaries. In her journal she talked of ‘music that stirs all one’s devout emotions blends everything into harmony – makes one feel part of one whole, which one loves all alike, losing the sense of a separate self’.
She knew and was friends many composers including Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Anton Rubenstein. In 1854 Eliot was travelling across Europe and met a famous pianist and composer in Weimar. It was Clara Schumann, described by Eliot as ‘an interesting, melancholic creature’. In Eliot’s novel, Daniel Deronda, she quotes from Rossini’s Otello, where he set to music Dante’s words:
Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella misseria
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in the midst of misery.

Novels, letters and journals read by Fiona Shaw, Ellie Kendrick and Philip Bretherton.

From meeting Clara Schumann to the piano playing doctor's wife in Middlemarch - Fiona Shaw, Ellie Kendrick and Philip Bretherton read from the novels, letters and journals of George Eliot, as well as responses to her and her work from the likes of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. The music is what she might have chosen to listen to including pieces by Clara Schumann, Bach, Liszt, Haydn, Handel and Purcell.

George Eliot played the piano all her life, was passionate about music and alludes to it many times in her novels and diaries. In her journal she talked of ‘music that stirs all one’s devout emotions blends everything into harmony – makes one feel part of one whole, which one loves all alike, losing the sense of a separate self’.
She knew and was friends many composers including Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and Anton Rubenstein. In 1854 Eliot was travelling across Europe and met a famous pianist and composer in Weimar. It was Clara Schumann, described by Eliot as ‘an interesting, melancholic creature’. In Eliot’s novel, Daniel Deronda, she quotes from Rossini’s Otello, where he set to music Dante’s words:
Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella misseria
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in the midst of misery.

On the Free Thinking website Fiona Shaw shares her insights into George Eliot's Mill on the Floss with a panel chaired by Shahidha Bari https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bf70

Readings:
Daniel Deronda
Woman in France
Silas Marner
Middlemarch
Simone de Beauvoir - Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
The Mill on the Floss
Letter to Maria Congreve
Mr Gilfil's Love Story
Henry James - Letter to his father
Lady Ritchie - on George Eliot
W.L. Courtney - on George Eliot
George Eliot - from her Journal
George Eliot - from Self and Life
Edmund Gosse - on seeing George Eliot
Daniel Deronda
George Eliot- on Finishing Middlemarch
Middlemarch
Virginia WoolfGeorge Eliot

Getting Together20200920Poets and novelists reflect on time spent in groups. With readings by Souad Faress and Raj Ghatak.

Gathering together, to share space and time with loved-ones and friends, in groups and as audiences, at ceremonies and casual meet-ups, in crowds, inside... such experiences have been at the core of what it has meant to be human, a normality challenged by the recent months of lockdown and social distancing. How have writers and poets sought to express the feelings and the dynamics at play when we get together?

Amidst food, conversation and candlelight, the guests around Mrs Ramsay’s dinner table become “conscious of making a party together” in a scene from To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Leonard Cohen is reminiscing, urging us to join a late-night scene of song and revelry at Dusko’s Taverna in 1967; and in the desert a family have gathered in the hooghan for a healing ceremony, described by Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso. And soundtracking the socialising we hear chamber music from Haydn, a Verdi drinking song, intimate folk singing and a wedding procession.

Readings:
January Gill O'Neil - In the Company of Women
Eric Miyeni - The Harbour Café
Leonard Cohen - Dusko’s Taverna 1967
Charles Baudelaire - Crowds (tr Arthur Symons)
Virginia Woolf - To The Lighthouse
Kamila Shamsie - Kartography
Thomas Hardy - During Wind and Rain
Mrinal Pande - Two Women Knitting (tr Arlene Zide/Mrinal Pande)
E.M. Forster - Howards End
William Blake - Song: I love the jocund dance
Jane Hirshfield - A Blessing for Wedding
John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath
Luci Tapahonso - Starlore
Robert Frost - A Time To Talk
Walt Whitman - I Sing The Body Electric, 4.

Produced by Phil Smith
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Poets and novelists reflect on time spent in groups. Read by Souad Faress and Raj Ghatak.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Goddesses And Monsters20200308Celebrating International Women's Day with an exploration of women, sacred and profane: Words and Music dives into the worlds of women from Medusa to the Madonna.

This edition with writing and music explores the iconography and inner lives of Greek goddesses, mermaids and sirens, oracles, witches, and Mary, mother of Jesus. The composers include Joan Tower, Amy Beach, Mica Levi and Elena Kats-Chernin among others and readings range from Nikita Gill to HD, Edith Wharton to Audre Lord.

Readers: Keziah Joseph and Jenet Le Lacheur
Producer: Caitlin Benedict

READINGS:
Madeleine Miller - Circe
Bettany Hughes - Venus and Aphrodite
Nikita Gill - Athena to Medusa
Edith Wharton- Pomegranate Seed
HD - Demeter
Mary-Kim Arnold - Self Portrait as Semiramis
Audre Lorde - The Winds of Orisha
Sojourner Truth - Aint I a Woman ?
Vandana Khanna - Blue Madonna
Susan Stryker - My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage
Anne Sexton - Her Kind
Sylvia Plath - Witch Burning
Dr. Veronica Wigberht-Blackwater - The Mermaid, from The Compendium of Magical Beasts
Margaret Atwood - Siren Song
Adrienne Rich - Diving into the Wreck

Celebrating International Women's Day with an exploration of women, sacred and profane.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Using writing and music by women and non-binary authors and composers, this edition explores the iconography and inner lives of Greek goddesses, mermaids and sirens, oracles, witches, and Mary, mother of Jesus with music from Joan Tower, Amy Beach, Mica Levi and Elena Kats-Chernin among others. Readings come from writing by Edith Wharton, Margaret Atwood, Nikita Gill, Mary-Kim Arnold, Radclyffe Hall and Sojourner Truth.

Good Intentions2014052520160103 (R3)John Sessions and Indira Varma set out on linguistic roads paved with good intentions.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Gratitude20200510Florence Nightingale to VE day, Clive James on critics to Audrey Hepburn's note of thanks.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

On VE Day weekend Rory Kinnear and Pandora Colin read diary extracts from 1945, recalling visits to see the royal family waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace and the pubs extending their licensing hours. There’s also an extract from Hadley Freeman’s House of Glass recalling the Friendship Trains sent between America and France, laden with culturally significant gifts. Gratitude to medical staff is much on our minds at the moment and Florence Nightingale was born 200 years ago on May 12th so she makes an appearance, as described by Lytton Strachey and immortalised in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Santa Filomena, where he writes about how: ‘A lady with a lamp shall stand / In the great history of the land’. There are also poems of gratitude to our feline friends, for childhood piano lessons and the simple joys of a morning routine; as well as a thank you letter from Audrey Hepburn to the composer Henry Mancini.
The soundtrack includes Beethoven, writing in thanks for the restoration of his health after illness, a very grateful Pharaoh created by Verdi and The Kinks, who are just thankful for The Days.

Producer: Georgia Mann

Readings

Welcome Morning - Anne Sexton
Extract from I Hear You Say So - Elizabeth Bowen
Pied Beauty - Gerard Manley-Hopkins
Extract from Eminent Victorians - Lytton Strachey
St Filomena - Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow
Gratitude To The Unknown Instructors - Yeats
The Book Of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered - Clive James
Extract from The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
Extract from Twelfth Night - Shakespeare
Audrey Hepburn’s Thank You note to Henry Mancini
Extract from We Shall Never Surrender: British Voices 1939-1945 - Penelope Middelboe and Christopher Grace
Extract from House of Glass - Hadley Freeman
Extract from Wild Gratitude - Edward Hirsch
Extract From My Own Life - Oliver Sacks
Extract from Hope Is The Last To Die - Helen Birenbaum
Thanks In Old Age - Walt Whitman

Greeneland2016040320161228 (R3)Samuel West and Romola Garai celebrate Graham Greene on the 25th anniversary of his death.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Hands2016020720161226 (R3)With music by Tippett, Puccini and Chopin and readings by Imogen Stubbs and Simon Shepherd

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Head To Toe20190324Join readers Harriet Walter and Tim McInnerny in a journey over and through the length of the human body in the company of writers spanning 25 centuries, with music from Beethoven to Chas and Dave.

To begin, neurosurgeon Henry Marsh marvels at the grey jelly that is the source of human consciousness. Walter de la Mare strains his ears in a spooky old house and Milton's blindness helps him imagine Samson's blinded eyes. Cyrano de Bergerac's comically huge nose is followed by two 400-year-old self-help books about the tongue, and Fryderyk Chopin's advice on piano fingering includes the hand's relationship with the wrist, forearm and arm.

At the centre of the journey is the heart. It thumps with John Clare's first love and glows with consummated love in Tennyson's 'Now sleeps the crimson petal'. 'Never give all the heart', warns WB Yeats – too late for broken-hearted Sappho, Emily Dickinson and John Donne.

The ‘huge stuffed cloak-bag of guts' is the belly of Shakespeare's Falstaff, a cue for Guilia Enders to remind us that the gut is an integral part of human feeling and being.

At the gut's end, a 14th-century fart in Chaucer's ‘The Miller’s Tale’ still has the power of a thunder clap and, round the other side, Montaigne bemoans the 'indocile libertie' of the male member which rises to the occasion only at its choosing.

Nearly at journey's end, here are legs and feet. In Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' the aristocratic Natasha delights everyone with her innate ability to dance like a true Russian peasant, something Edward Lear's Pobble would have found difficult.

With Philip Larkin's 'An Arundel Tomb' and the end of life, the human body is represented in stone effigy. Now, 'Only an attitude remains' - and a final, hedged Larkinesque flourish 'to prove/Our almost-instinct almost true:/What will survive of us is love.'

David Papp (producer)

Harriet Walter and Tim McInnerny journey downwards with writers from Sappho to Larkin.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Heroines2018061020190303 (R3)Readings by Tuppence Middleton and Patsy Ferran and a selection of music, from Ethel Smyth to Janelle Monáe , Rokia Traoré to Fanny Mendelssohn, Respighi to Robert Wyatt in praise of heroines: some fictional, like Sally Bowles and Scheherazade, some historical, like Grace Darling and Joan of Arc, some inspirational, like Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks, and some simply anonymous and everyday - like poet Gillian Clarke's mother rescuing a drowning child or WB Yeats' Song of an Old Mother.

As we approach this year’s International Women’s Day next Friday - Words and Music this weekend explores the idea of what a heroine is and the range of qualities which have been praised from patience to protest, from caring to cunning.

We begin with a Concerto for Violin Horn and Piano by Ethel Smyth, the composer who had written The March of the Women in 1910, which became the official anthem of the Women's Social and Political Union. This is followed by folk musician Eliza Carthy's solo version of the Pankhurst Anthem, a new piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3 from composer Lucy Pankhurst which uses the words of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. But if we begin with campaigning energy should we end in a celebratory mood?

Producer: Harry Parker.

Readers Tuppence Middleton and Patsy Ferran, plus figures Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Hey, Little Hen2018070820201228 (R3)Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann are the readers as we peck and scrape our way around the curious world of man's old friend the chicken. Lockdown has seen a rise in people taking up chicken keeping but our readings begin much further back in time with Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Herrick. We'll hear about the hen who escapes being cooked for Sunday lunch, by laying an egg in Clarice Lispector's short story and the chickens coming home to roost in Kay Ryan's poem - whilst in Love Among the Chickens, P.G. Wodehouse writes of the difficulties of a relationship set against an ill-feted get-rich-quick-scheme on a Dorset farm. Musical settings range from Rameau, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saens and Lassus to performances by the folk performer Peter Seeger, blues performer Willie Dixon; and Louis Jordan, the American singer and sax player known as "The King of the Jukebox" in the 40s and early 50s.

Producer: Lindsey Kemp

Readings:
Gary Whitehead - A Glossary of Chickens
John Clare - Hen's Nest
Edward Lear - Oh Brother Chicken! Sister Chick!
Christina Rossetti - A White Hen Sitting
Clarice Lispector - The Hen
P G Wodehouse - Love Among the Chickens
Ted Hughes - The Hen
Herman Melville - Cock-a-doodle doo! or the Crowing of the Noble Cock Beneventano
John Gay - Before the Barn-Door Crowing
Chaucer translated by Neville Coghill - The Nun's Priest's Tale
Katharine Tynan Hinkson - Chanticleer
Elizabeth Bishop - Roosters
Jack Mapanje - The Last of the Sweet Bananas
Edwin Brock - Song of the Battery Hen
Robert Herrick - Cock-crow
Henry Vaughan - Cock-crowing
Kay Ryan - Home to Roost
Mark Roper - The Hen Ark
Heinrich Heine, translated by Charles Godfrey Leland - The Homecoming

Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann enter the curious world of man's old friend the chicken.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann are the readers as we peck and scrape our way around the curious world of man's old friend the chicken. Lockdown has seen a rise in people taking up chicken keeping but our readings begin much further back in time with Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Herrick. We'll hear about the hen who escapes being cooked for Sunday lunch, by laying an egg in Clarice Lispector's short story and the chickens coming home to roost in Kay Ryan's poem - whilst in Love Among the Chickens, P.G. Wodehouse writes of the difficulties of a relationship set against an ill-feted get-rich-quick-scheme on a Dorset farm. Musical settings range from Rameau, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saens and Lassus to performances by the folk performer Peter Seeger, blues performer Willie Dixon; and Louis Jordan, the American singer and sax player known as "The King of the Jukebox" in the 40s and early 50s.

Readings:
Gary Whitehead - A Glossary of Chickens
John Clare - Hen's Nest
Edward Lear - Oh Brother Chicken! Sister Chick!
Christina Rossetti - A White Hen Sitting
Clarice Lispector - The Hen
P G Wodehouse - Love Among the Chickens
Ted Hughes - The Hen
Herman Melville - Cock-a-doodle doo! or the Crowing of the Noble Cock Beneventano
John Gay - Before the Barn-Door Crowing
Chaucer translated by Neville Coghill - The Nun's Priest's Tale
Katharine Tynan Hinkson - Chanticleer
Elizabeth Bishop - Roosters
Jack Mapanje - The Last of the Sweet Bananas
Edwin Brock - Song of the Battery Hen
Robert Herrick - Cock-crow
Henry Vaughan - Cock-crowing
Kay Ryan - Home to Roost
Mark Roper - The Hen Ark
Heinrich Heine, translated by Charles Godfrey Leland - The Homecoming

Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann enter the curious world of man's old friend the chicken.

Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann enter the curious world of man's old friend, the chicken

Sophie Thompson and Alex Waldmann enter the curious world of man's old friend the chicken.

Hinterland2016102320210103 (R3)We travel to an area beyond what is visible or known, and to remote areas of a country away from the coast or the banks of major rivers in this evocation of hinterland.
Olivia Williams and Michael Pennington read poetry and prose from the travel writing of Bruce Chatwin about the lost mythical city of riches hidden in the Andes to the sinister underworld of Virgil’s Aeneid, via contemporary urban byways examined in the Edgelands project of Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, childhood dreams remembered by Australian poet Les Murray and the remote island which the sailor Enoch Arden ends up on in the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson - a poem which has given name to the principle in law that after being missing a certain number of years (typically seven), a person could be declared dead for purposes of remarriage and inheritance. The music includes John Luther Adams' environmentally inspired piece Under the Ice and Walking Song from Meredith Monk, Mussorgsky's Great Gate at Kiev from his Pictures at an Exhibition and Felix Mendelssohn's Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Producer: Felix Carey

Readings:
William Wordsmith - Tintern Abbey
Bruce Chatwin - In Patagonia
Virgil, translated by John Dryden - Aeneid, Book VI
Plato translated by Benjamin Jowett - Republic, Book VII
Christina Rossetti - Somewhere or Other
Les Murray - The Sleepout
Thomas Hardy - The Dead Drummer
Slavomir Rawicz - The Long Walk
Robert Byron - The Road to Oxiana
Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts - Edgelands
Rudyard Kipling - A Song for Travel
Judith Schalansky - Atlas of Remote Islands
Alfred Tennyson - From Enoch Arden
Robert Frost - Once by the Pacific

Olivia Williams and Michael Pennington with readings from beyond what is visible or known.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Texts and music on the theme of hinterland. Readers: Olivia Williams, Michael Pennington.

I Contain Multitudes20190210Ancient and contemporary reflections on the fluidity of gender and sexuality, including personal accounts of the transgender and non-binary experience. Stereotypes are challenged, identity is redefined, and the deities are feminised.

Travis Alabanza and Rebecca Root read poetry, prose and drama from the pens of Aaron Apps, Jo Clifford, James Joyce, Michael Field, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf. Featured composers include Bach, Beethoven, Berio, and Burial.

Produced by Jack Howson.

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

On the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

I Love No Leafless Land2013051220170108 (R3)Words and music about trees with readers Lucy Briers and Gerard Murphy.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

I Need A Holiday2014082420160703 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of holidays, with readings by Scott Handy and Jemima Rooper.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

I, Robot2017100820200112 (R3)Kenneth Colley and Yolanda Kettle in an exploration of robots and automata.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Readers Kenneth Colley and Yolanda Kettle. From Descartes' thought experiments on the way clockwork illuminates animal nature, via Hoffmann's humorous but slightly anxious fantasia about the chaos caused when an automaton is introduced into polite society, to modern science fiction's explorations of how humans and robots might ultimately meet in an apocalyptic conflict. With music from Bach, Haydn and Handel, to Ligeti, Stockhausen and Reich, and Aphex Twin.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Image: 26th April 1955: A youth makes his homemade robot walk. (Credit: Keystone / Getty Images)

In Flux2018093020191208 (R3)Owen Teale and Thalissa Teixeira with readings and music exploring ideas about change, chaos and becoming.

'When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self'. So says Dogen, the medieval Japanese philosopher whose words are positioned to respond to Emily Berry's poem The Old Fuel depicting the pain of carrying on with one's emotional routines when external circumstances have changed. The tension between rigidity and flux is a recurring theme. Some of the works featured seem surprised to observe that flux is the condition of all things. If Berry struggles to accept it, Virginia Woolf presents change as being contrary to our every-day expectations, and Carson McCullers' teenager Frankie finds it as baffling as the transition from Winter to Spring. The note of anxiety is picked up by Philip Glass and Haydn. Heraclitus, Nietzsche and Marx brag that they see change as the natural condition of things, but the tone of enthusiasm in their accounts is suspicious. The inevitability of it is better captured by Seamus Heaney's Bog Queen - even in what appears to be stasis, flux rules whether we're excited about it or not. We hear flux and stasis in Steve Reich's Piano Phases, music from SUNN 0))) and Aphex Twin. Marianne Moore, Marcel Proust, and Chuang Tzu, seem more moved by the beauty of transience.

READINGS:
Heraclitus fragments translated by Philip Wheelwright
Edmund Spenser Ruines of Rome
Friederich Nietzsche The Will to Power translated by Walter Kaufmann
Hannah Sullivan Repeat Until Time: The Heraclitus poem
Karl Marx and Friederich Engels The Communist Manifesto
Marianne Moore A Jellyfish
Chuang Tzu from the Book of Chuang Tzu
Carson McCullers The Member of the Wedding
Emily Berry The Old Fuel
Dogan Genjo Koan
Gerard Manley Hopkins Pied Beauty
Ovid Metamorphosis Book VIII translated by Samuel Garth
Ted Hughes Tales from Ovid
Seamus Heaney Bog Queen
Virginia Woolf Orlando
Marcel Proust Swann's Way translated by CK Scott Moncrieff
Edmund Spenser Two Cantos of Mutabilitie

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Owen Teale and Thalissa Teixeira with a programme exploring the idea of change.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In Hirsuite Of The Truth2013021720161229 (R3)Poetry, prose and music on a theme of the object of commerce and symbol of virility - hair

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In Pursuit20200119Is the chase sometimes better than the catch? Perhaps it depends on what you’re pursuing. In this edition, the quarry ranges from an otter to the Holy Grail. The net closes in on fugitives from justice. A ghost is chased and so are rainbows. There’s a suffragette composer, jailed for her pursuit of equality. A priest scans the sea, in search of religious revelation, while in the Kalahari, a bushman sings a hunting song. And there’s also music by Puccini, Ethel Smyth, Weather Report, J.S. Bach and Judy Garland, amongst others.

Readings:
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) – Pursuit
Alexander Pushkin (trans. D.M. Thomas) – The Bronze Horseman
John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Sign of Four
Richard Matheson – Duel
Henry Williamson – Tarka the Otter
Anon (trans, Burton Raffel) – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Lewis Carroll – The Hunting of the Snark
Thomas Hardy – The Glimpse
Sylvia Plath – Pursuit
Alfred Lord Tennyson – Idylls of the King
Pascale Petit – Snow Leopard Woman, Mama Amazonica
R.S. Thomas – Sea-watching
Edward Thomas – The Unknown Bird

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Is the chase sometimes better than the catch? Readings by Heather Craney and Clive Hayward

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Is the chase sometimes better than the catch? Perhaps it depends on what you’re pursuing. In this edition, the quarry ranges from an otter to the Holy Grail. The net closes in on fugitives from justice. A ghost is chased and so are rainbows. There’s a suffragette composer, jailed for her pursuit of equality. A priest scans the sea, in search of religious revelation, while in the Kalahari, a bushman sings a hunting song. And there’s also music by Puccini, Ethel Smyth, Weather Report, J.S. Bach and Judy Garland, amongst others.

Readings:
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) – Pursuit
Alexander Pushkin (trans. D.M. Thomas) – The Bronze Horseman
John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Sign of Four
Richard Matheson – Duel
Henry Williamson – Tarka the Otter
Anon (trans, Burton Raffel) – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Lewis Carroll – The Hunting of the Snark
Thomas Hardy – The Glimpse
Sylvia Plath – Pursuit
Alfred Lord Tennyson – Idylls of the King
Pascale Petit – Snow Leopard Woman
R.S. Thomas – Sea-watching
Edward Thomas – The Unknown Bird

Readings:
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) – Pursuit
Alexander Pushkin (trans. D.M. Thomas) – The Bronze Horseman
John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Sign of Four
Richard Matheson – Duel
Henry Williamson – Tarka the Otter
Anon (trans, Burton Raffel) – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Lewis Carroll – The Hunting of the Snark
Thomas Hardy – The Glimpse
Sylvia Plath – Pursuit
Alfred Lord Tennyson – Idylls of the King
Pascale Petit – Snow Leopard Woman, Mama Amazonica
R.S. Thomas – Sea-watching
Edward Thomas – The Unknown Bird

In The Dark20170416Texts and music about 'being in the dark'. Readers: Emily Bruni and Robert Bathurst.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In Therapy20200216Over the last decade, we have turned in increasing numbers to talking therapies in order to try and make sense of ourselves, our mental health and our world. Featuring the words of some of the psychotherapeutic profession’s most significant figures (Freud and Jung) as well as poetic reflections on the healing process from a host of young British poets, this edition of Words and Music explores how writers from a variety of ages have examined stories of self and suffering. Music by Charles Mingus and Anton von Webern is treated to psychoanalytic reading, while John Dowland’s call, “lend your ears to my sorrow ?, suggests that the desire to be heard and understood is not so new a feeling. Participating in our radio therapy sessions are readers Buffy Davis and Simon Tcherniak.

Readings:
Caroline Bird - A Surreal Joke
Joe Dunthorne - I Decided To Stop Therapy
Anna Freud - Problems of Technique in Adult Analysis
Robert Pinsky - Essay on Psychiatrists
Batsheva Dori-Carlier - Couples Therapy (translated by Lisa Katz)
Gael Turnbull - It Was As If
John Milton - Samson Agonistes
Thomas Mann - The Magic Mountain (translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter)
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
C.G. Jung - Modern Man In Search Of A Soul
Robert Louis Stevenson - Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Peter Shaffer - Equus
William Shakespeare - Hamlet
Edmund Pollock - Edmund Pollock - Liner notes to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus
Hans & Rosaleen Moldenhauer - Anton Von Webern, a Chronicle of His Life and Work
Emily Berry - Picnic
Nadia Lines - Talking to my Therapist about Climate Anxiety
Theresa Lola - Two Photographs
Emily Dickinson - After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372)

Produced by Phil Smith
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Buffy Davis and Simon Tcherniak explore the therapeutic relationship in poetry and prose.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Over the last decade, we have turned in increasing numbers to talking therapies in order to try and make sense of ourselves, our mental health and our world. Featuring the words of some of the psychotherapeutic profession’s most significant figures (Freud and Jung) as well as poetic reflections on the healing process from a host of young British poets, this edition of Words and Music explores how writers from a variety of ages have examined stories of self and suffering. Music by Charles Mingus and Anton von Webern is treated to psychoanalytic reading, while John Dowland’s call, “lend your ears to my sorrow”, suggests that the desire to be heard and understood is not so new a feeling. Participating in our radio therapy sessions are readers Buffy Davis and Simon Tcherniak.

Incarceration2019060220201004 (R3)Readings by Sian Clifford and Michael Maloney reflecting all sorts of incarceration. We'll hear from a hostage in Beirut, a schoolgirl in a young offenders institute, a bored employee, and a housewife trapped by her husband's good intentions. Plus a long-planned prison escape penned by Stephen King and made famous by Steven Spielberg. With music from Anna Meredith, Arvo Part, John Adams, Sam Cooke and Matvei Pavlov-Azancheev, a Russian guitarist who spent a decade in a Soviet Gulag.

Readings:
The Panopticon (1791) - Jeremy Bentham
The Panopticon (2012) - Jenni Fagan
Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room - William Wordsworth
Grey is the Colour of Hope - Irina Ratushinskaya
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
De Profundis - Oscar Wilde
How soft this Prison is - Emily Dickinson
An Evil Cradling - Brian Keenan
To Althea, from Prison - Richard Lovelace
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King

Producer: Ruth Thomson

Sian Clifford and Michael Maloney read poetry and prose on the theme of incarceration.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Readings by Sian Clifford and Michael Maloney reflecting all sorts of incarceration. We'll hear from a hostage in Beirut, a schoolgirl in a young offenders institute, a bored employee, and a housewife trapped by her husband's good intentions. Plus a long-planned prison escape penned by Stephen King and made famous by Steven Spielberg. With music from Anna Meredith, Arvo Part, John Adams, Sam Cooke and Matvej Pavlov-Azancheev, a Russian guitarist who spent a decade in a Soviet Gulag.

Readings:
The Panopticon (1791) - Jeremy Bentham
The Panopitcon (2012) - Jenni Fagan
Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room - William Wordsworth
Grey is the Colour of Hope - Irina Ratushinskaya
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
De Profundis - Oscar Wilde
How soft this Prison is - Emily Dickinson
An Evil Cradling - Brian Keenan
To Althea, from Prison - Richard Lovelace
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King

Infidelity2016062620170212 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of infidelity. Readers: Fenella Woolgar and Timothy Watson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

It's Not Dark Yet20161009Texts and music centring on how artists articulate tragedy and the human spirit.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang!20170806Molls, murder and mean streets with Henry Goodman and Tracy-Ann Oberman.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Latin America: Spears, Jaguars And Eagles20201018The Spanish colonisation of the Americas depicted in poems and journals by the Aztecs, Incas and other indigenous peoples, and in the writings of the invading European Conquistadors. Spanish actor Enrique Arce (Money Heist) reads from accounts of Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a soldier who participated in the 1521 conquest of Mexico, Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican Friar who documented the atrocities committed against the native communities, and Garcilaso de la Vega, son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman born in the early years of the conquest. Brazilian born actress Thalissa Teixeira (Two Weeks to Live) reads poems and perspectives from the Acolhua philosopher Nezahualcoyotl, Nahua writer Chimalpahin, and other first hand sources documented in Camilla Townsend's acclaimed new history of the Aztecs, Fifth Sun. Alongside Spanish Baroque there's music by Mexican guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela, Bolivian singer and champion of indigenous rights Luzmila Carpio, who sings in the Andean Quechua language, and the Afro-Colombian group Sexteto Tabalá.

Readings
Trad Nahuatl: Nothing but flowers...
Christopher Columbus trans. J.M.Cohen: extract from The Four Voyages
Scarlet Macaws: Pascale Petit
Bernal Diaz trans. J.M Cohen: 'Early next day'...extract from The Conquest of New Spain
Trad Nahuatl: The City is Spread out in Circles of Jade
Camilla Townsend: ‘The frightened girl’…extract from Fifth Sun
Bernal Diaz trans. J.M Cohen: 'The great Montezuma'...extract from The Conquest of New Spain
Mills, Taylor, Graham: ‘You have told us that we do not know’…extract from Colonial Latin America
Garcilaso de la Vega trans. H.V Livermore: The Royal Commentaries of the Incas
Bartolome de la Casas: A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Camilla Townsend: ‘The walls of the adobe houses’ extract from Fifth Sun
Juan Battista: 'There was more raging and shouting;... extract from the Annals of Juan Batista
Bernal Diaz trans. J.M Cohen: 'As there was such a stench'...extract from The Conquest of New Spain
Bernardino de Sahagún: 'The smell of burning bodies'...extract from the Florentine Codex
Bernal Diaz trans. J.M Cohen: 'Many interested readers'...extract from The Conquest of New Spain
Camilla Towsned: 'The Quill'...extract from Fifth Sun
Nezahualcoyotl: Flowers are our only garments

Producer: Ruth Thomson

The Spanish colonisation of the Americas depicted by indigenous peoples and the invaders.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Latin America: Spears, Jaguars, And Eagles20201018The Spanish colonisation of the Americas depicted in poems and journals by the Aztecs, Incas and other indigenous peoples, and in the writings of the invading European Conquistadors. Spanish actor Enrique Arce (Money Heist) reads from accounts of Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a soldier who participated in the 1521 conquest of Mexico, Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican Friar who documented the atrocities committed against the native communities, and Garcilaso de la Vega, son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman born in the early years of the conquest. Brazilian born actress Thalissa Teixeira (Two Weeks to Live) reads poems and perspectives from the Acolhua philosopher Nezahualcoyotl, Nahua writer Chimalpahin, and other first hand sources documented in Camilla Townsend's acclaimed new history of the Aztecs, Fifth Sun. Plus contemporary poetic reflections and music of the time.

Producer: Ruth Thomson

The Spanish colonisation of the Americas depicted by indigenous peoples and the invaders.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Less Is More20200223Lent starts this week, a time when many people give up something they love in the run up to Easter. But the value of ‘less’ to the human experience can be so much more than self-deprivation and abstinence, as this programme attempts to prove.

Minimalist artists and designers have shown that “less is more ? Poets have long understood how to offer much with few words: like Basho and Buson, the Japanese masters of the haiku, or Edgar Allan Poe using repetition in The Bells.

American writer Joan Didion offers a personal experience of how mundane events take on painful but rich significance when we lose a loved one; Walt Whitman enjoys a sun bath in his birthday suit; and Sappho’s Fragments suggest art is all the more beguiling when only shards of the original work remain.

Join readers Jane Lapotaire and John Heffernan to experience the power of miniatures, memories, absence and simplicity to stir the spirit and spark the imagination. With music by Joseph Haydn, Duke Ellington, Marin Marais and Ann Southam.

Readings:

Robert Herrick - To Keep a True Lent
W. H. Davies - Money, O!
Haikus by Basho, Boncho and Onitsura (translated by Geoffrey Bownas)
Juan Ramón Jiménez - Eternidades
Walt Whitman - A Sun Bath: Nakedness
John Pawson - In Praise of Minimalism (excerpt)
Turner Cassity - The grateful Minimalist
Edgar Allan Poe - The Bells: IV (excerpt)
Kalpa Sutra - Life of Mahâvîra, Lecture 5 (excerpt) (translated by Hermann Jacobi
Caleb Femi - My Father Wore a terrible story of poverty
Madeleine L’Engle - For Lent, 1966
John Keats - Ode on a Grecian Urn (excerpt)
W. B. Yeats - Never Give All The Heart
Joan Didion - Year of Magical thinking (excerpt)
Sappho - Fragments (translated by Anne Carson)
Rabindranath Tagore - The Gardener: II

Produced by Chris Elcombe
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Jane Lapotaire and John Heffernan enter the world of the simple, the small and the lost.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Minimalist artists and designers have shown that “less is more”. Poets have long understood how to offer much with few words: like Basho and Buson, the Japanese masters of the haiku, or Edgar Allan Poe using repetition in The Bells.

Let's Write A List2017070920190101 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of list-making, with readers Jon Strickland and Emma Powell.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Let's write a list. From the week's shopping to the Ten Commandments, from the pop charts to people of the year, life is full of lists. This exploration of our obsession with list-making includes Mozart's Don Giovanni's conquests, Maria's Favourite Things from the Sound of Music, Polonius's advice to Laertes, Bridget Jones's New Year Resolutions and Herman Melville's catalogue of whales. Readings by Jon Strickland and Emma Powell.

Life On The Ocean Wave20170219Music and readings reflecting nautical life, read by Lesley Sharp and John Shrapnel.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Life Rafts20190818Life Rafts can be made of anything – from an empty honey jar to a planet called Earth. Stowaways on rafts can have unexpected consequences. Rafters require common sense on board. Strictly Speaking. That said, Life Rafts are good for most things. A few bits and pieces of suitable strength and buoyancy properly lashed together will provide hours of splashy pleasure on a shallow pond or stream. Or, on the right current, get you across the Pacific. They can certainly make the difference between life and death – just ask a Fire Ant. Or Noah. Or yourself. With music from David Fanshawe, Baaba Maal, Joao Gilberto, Rachel Porter, Elena Kats-Chernin, Herbie Hancock and more.

With the voices of Alia Alzougbi and Shaun Mason.

READINGS:
Mary Coleridge - I Had a Boat
Thor Heyerdahl - The Kon-Tiki Expedition by Raft Across the South Seas
R M Ballantyne - Man on the Ocean: A Book about Boats and Ships
Michael Rosen - The Raft
Anne Carson - Short Talk on the Total Collection
Julian Barnes - A History of the World in 10½ Chapters
Ken Thompson - Where do Camels Belong by Ken Thompson
Alfred Russel Wallace - The Geographical Distribution of Animals
Rachel Rooney - Survival Advice from a Caterpillar
Robert Crawford - Crannog
Bert Hölldobler, Edward O. Wilson - The Ants
Dina Nayeri - The Ungrateful Refugee
Daniel Trilling - Lights in the Distance
A A Milne - Winnie the Pooh
Edward Lear - The Jumblies
Yann Martel - Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Emily Dickinson - “'Hope' is the Thing with Feathers’
Sir Ernest Shackleton - South!
Kathleen Jamie - The Blue Boat
Lola Ridge - Interim
Mark Twain - Huckleberry Finn
James Carter - Who Cares? (by permission of the poet and forthcoming in Weird, Wild and Wonderful by James Carter (Otter-Barry Books 2021)

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Clinging on for dear life with music and poetry and prose read by leading actors.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Life Rafts can be made of anything – from an empty honey jar to a planet called Earth. Stowaways on rafts can have unexpected consequences. Rafters require common sense on board. Strictly Speaking. That said, Life Rafts are good for most things. A few bits and pieces of suitable strength and buoyancy properly lashed together will provide hours of splashy pleasure on a shallow pond or stream. Or, on the right current, get you across the Pacific. Life Rafts can be both physical and psychological life-savers. They can get you off a desert island, out of a harsh existence or help resist potentially fatal despair. They can certainly make the difference between life and death – just ask a Fire Ant. Or Noah. Or yourself.

Life Through A Screen20190901It is through computer monitors and handheld devices that so much of existence is experienced today. We view the world through screens, living and loving via smartphones and laptops. Contemporary poets and songwriters have been quick to delight in and reflect upon our age of collapsed distances, global connection and moments of beauty caught and shared via a phone camera. “Your world / is gleaming in my hands” writes Victoria Gatehouse in Phosphorescence.

But the pervasiveness of technology and the increase in “screentime” come at a cost, challenging our notions of time, privacy, intimacy and human contact. As a dialogue by poet Leontia Flynn sets out, Ours is the Age of Interruption, or the Age of Participation, depending on how you see it. And, as Shakespeare’s Portia swipes through a list of suitors, or E.M. Forster’s Kuno longs for human contact without the aid of “the machine”, our contemporary ways of dating and communicating and sharing ourselves appear not so new after all.

Aoife McMahon and William Hope are our readers, viewing the world through glass screens and handheld devices, with music from Mozart, Holst, Richard Hawley and Kate Tempest.

Readings:
Leontia Flynn - Malone Hoard
Clint Smith - FaceTime
Imtiaz Dharker - Flight Radar
William Shakespeare - The Merchant Of Venice
Sherman Alexie - The Facebook Sonnet
John Donne - Elegy V: His Picture
Victoria Gatehouse - Phosphorescence
Andrew Marvell - The Gallery
Leontia Flynn - Poems Conceived As Dialogues Between Two Antagonistic Voices, Third Dialogue
Jill McDonoguh - Twelve-Hour Shifts
Debora Greger - The War After The War, I.
D.H. Lawrence - From A College Window
Amy Lowell - Towns in Colour, I. Red Slippers
Amy Lowell - Towns in Colour, V. An Aquarium
Dannie Abse - X-ray
Charles Eisenstein - The EcoSexual Awakening
E.M. Forster - The Machine Stops
J. Krishnamurti - Freedom From The Known

Produced by Phil Smith
A Reduced Listening Production for BBC Radio 3

Aoife McMahon and William Hope view the world through glass screens and handheld devices.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Light2014102620200531 (R3)From space to painting, science to belief. Readings by Cheryl Campbell and William Houston

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Cheryl Campbell and William Houston are the readers in a montage of music and speech inspired by ideas of light. The programme looks at different aspects of light from a metaphor for love, birth, innocence, and purity; as a fundamental particle of science; as an expression of the presence of the Divine, observations in the diaries of Antarctic traveller Apsley Cherry-Garrard or made about the paintings of JMW Turner, or quite simply, as our evenings become longer, as a marker of the cyclical day. With music by composers including Haydn, Handel, Eric Whitacre, Thomas Adès and John Tavener.

Producer: Chris Wines

Readings:

Hymn of Apollo - Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hymn 50 Surya from The Rigveda - Anon
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The World - Henry Vaughan
The Divine Comedy - Paradise - Canto XXXIII - Dante
I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great - Stephen Spender
Brief Lives - JMW Turner - Peter Ackroyd
Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory - Introduction - Werner Heisenberg
2001 - A Space Odyssey - Arthur C Clarke
The Talmud - Anon
The Little Match-Seller - Hans Christian Andersen
Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines - Dylan Thomas
Romeo and Juliet - Act 2 Scene 4 - William Shakespeare
We Grow Accustomed To The Dark - Emily Dickinson
The Dunciad - Book IV - Alexander Pope
Great Expectations - Chapter 8 - Charles Dickens
Present Past - Past Present - Eugéne Ionesco
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - Dylan Thomas
The Barracks - Chapter 7 - John McGahern

Light In The Darkness20201213From Philip Pullman's fictional north to an account of seeing the aurora borealis, the candlelight in a Hanukkah poem and John Donne's Nocturne to St Lucy to a midwinter visit to Maeshowe by poet Kathleen Jamie - we look at ideas about light and darkness at this time of year in nature, art, belief and traditional storytelling. With music from composers including Mahler, Ligeti, Nielsen, Hildur Gudnadóttir, Arvo Part, Johann Johannsson and Brian Eno.

Producers: Kevin Core and Paul Frankl

From Philip Pullman and music inspired by the aurora borealis to candlelight in poetry.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Light!20141026
Looking Back On Childhood20200712Poets and writers reflect on their childhoods. Read by Rebecca Lacey and Abraham Popoola.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Poets and writers reflect on their childhoods. With readings by Rebecca Lacey and Abraham Popoola.

What was it like to be a child? What was expected, and what did we wish for? What experiences in the present prompt us to remember? This episode of Words and Music explores how it feels to look back on different stages of childhood.

In a Louis MacNeice poem, the smell of a particular brand of soap is enough to inspire a flood of involuntary memories; while Jackie Kay is watching on the shore as the girl she was walks “out to sea [...] further and further away.” There is part of the poet Alice Oswald that has not yet left her childhood hiding place, inside a laurel bush “in Berkshire somewhere.” Jan Morris’s memoir reflects on how it felt to be “born into the wrong body.”

Youth was a wandered-through, clambered-over landscape for the nature poet Wordsworth; for Adrienne Rich, childhood was a time when knowledge was “pure”, even “pleasurable”, contained in encyclopedias, lacking the contradictions and complications of the adult world. Seamus Heaney invokes the imaginative play of siblings at home whose sofa is transformed into a train. Driving in his car listening to Sly and the Family Stone, the poet A. Van Jordan is pulled over by the police. The encounter prompts a lyrical meditation on music, manhood and racism. The music in this episode comes from Charles Ives, Georges Bizet and Stevie Wonder.

Readings:
Alice Oswald - Aside
Melissa Stein - Anthem
Seamus Heaney - A Sofa In The Forties
William Wordsworth - The Prelude: Book 1: Childhood and School-time
Adrienne Rich - From Morning-Glory to Petersburg
James Baldwin - Sonny’s Blues
Laurie Lee - Cider With Rosie
A. Van Jordan - Que Sera Sera (© 2007 by A. Van Jordan, in arrangement with W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.)
Louis MacNeice - Soap Suds
Thomas Hood - Past and Present
Jan Morris - Conundrum
D.H. Lawrence - Piano
Jackie Kay - The Past

Produced by Phil Smith
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Lost And Found2017042320200202 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of being lost, with readers Harriet Walter and Don Warrington

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Lost thoughts, lost paths, lost time, lost love, lost innocence. Harriet Walter and Don Warrington read poetry and prose on the idea of being lost, both physically and metaphysically. The programme ventures into areas of life which can make us fearful; places where emotional states can be raw, some of the writers here are caught up in the emotion of the moment, occasionally bitter, but many are reflective, considering the truths uncovered in moments when the familiar and the known are gone, or obscured. Does this lead to confusion and regret, or to a eureka moment of clarity? The music includes Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Jerome Kern and Charles Ives.

Producer: Janet Tuppen

READINGS
Dante Alighieri - Inferno Canto I
William Blake - Little Boy Lost
Georgia Douglas Johnson - Lost Illusions
Ian McEwan - Atonement
John Clare - I Am
Stevie Smith - Not Waving But Drowning
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - 100 Years of Solitude
Thoreau - Walden: The Village
Silas Weir Mitchell - Idleness
Adelaide Anne Proctor - A Lost Chord
George MacDonald - Lost and Found
Ivor Gurney - To His Love
Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Grief
Tennyson - In Memoriam AHH
Emily Dickinson - Part Four: Time and Eternity
Zadie Smith - White Teeth
Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass: Continuities
Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland

Lost thoughts, lost paths, lost time, lost love, lost innocence. Harriet Walter and Don Warrington read poetry and prose on the idea of being lost, both physically and metaphysically. The programme ventures into areas of life which can make us fearful; places where emotional states can be raw, some of the writers here are caught up in the emotion of the moment, occasionally bitter, but many are reflective, considering the truths uncovered in moments when the familiar and the known are gone, or obscured. Does this lead to confusion and regret, or to a eureka moment of clarity? The music includes Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Jerome Kern and Charles Ives.

READINGS
Dante Alighieri - Inferno Canto I
William Blake - Little Boy Lost
Georgia Douglas Johnson - Lost Illusions
Ian McEwan - Atonement
John Clare - I Am
Stevie Smith - Not Waving But Drowning
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - 100 Years of Solitude
Thoreau - Walden: The Village
Silas Weir Mitchell - Idleness
Adelaide Anne Proctor - A Lost Chord
George MacDonald - Lost and Found
Ivor Gurney - To His Love
Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Grief
Tennyson - In Memoriam AHH
Emily Dickinson - Part Four: Time and Eternity
Zadie Smith - White Teeth
Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass: Continuities
Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland

Texts and music on the theme of being lost, with readers Harriet Walter and Don Warrington

Magic Numbers20201101Numbers are beautiful, and mathematics is an art: that is the formula for this episode, in which Sule Rimi and Alibe Parsons read work from poets and philosophers entranced by the beauty, order, irrationality, and infinite wisdom to be found in digits, numerals, and counting.

In addition, they are accompanied by music from composers embedding numerology and codes into their work, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Olivier Messiaen and Iannis Xenakis.

Readings:

Bertrand Russell - The Study of Mathematics (Extract)
Mary Cornish - Numbers
Philip Larkin - Counting
Jo Shapcott - Shapcott's Variation on Schoenberg's orchestration of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, St Anne (Prom 24)
Carl Sandburg - Number Man
Ben Jonson - VI. - To the Same
Emily Dickinson - It’s all I have to bring today
Daniil Kharms - A Sonnet
Velimir Khlebnikov - Numbers
Plato - Epinomis (Extract) (trans. Edith Hamilton, Huntington Cairns)
Emily Dickinson - ‘Tis One by One - the Father counts -
Edna St. Vincent Millay - Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare
Wisława Szymborska - Pi
Jakob Bernoulli - Treatise on Infinite Series
Douglas Goetsch - Counting
Paul Erdos - a famous quote
Michael Donaghy - Two Spells for Sleeping

Produced by Jack Howson.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Sule Rimi and Alibe Parsons find beauty and wisdom in digits, numerals, and counting.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Making Music20170903Sylvestra Le Touzel and Paul Jesson explore, via readings, what we do when we make music.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Man's Best Friend2018031820181226 (R3)Actors Robert Lindsay and Claire Benedict read from Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians, Jack London's Call of the Wild and Dorothy Parker's mischievous Verse for a Certain Dog in this selection of poems, prose and music of all kinds celebrating mankind's greatest ally in the animal kingdom - dogs. With music by Gershwin, Elgar, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. From puppy love to fawning, from fetching a stick to disobedience and the clip of a dog and deer that went viral.

Producer: Paul Frankl

Actors Claire Benedict and Robert Lindsay read poems and prose about all things canine.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Maps2015011120170102 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of maps, with readings by Hugh Bonneville and Barbara Flynn.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Memory2015022220170103 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of memory, with readings by Tom Hiddleston and Eleanor Bron.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Metal2018020420200329 (R3)Jemima Rooper and Ewan Bailey read works relating to metallic elements in our bodies, our jobs and our land from authors including Wilfred Owen, Afua Cooper & Homer set to music by composers including Shostakovich, Sanna Kurki-Suonio and Kraftwerk.

We'll meet the people who work with it - blacksmiths in operas by Verdi and Franz Schreker and foundry workers in Henry Green's novel Living. Metal can make extraordinary sounds too, whether it's being blown through by a brass quartet playing a funeral march by Edvard Grieg, or struck to create a clangorous John Cage soundscape. But there's a darker side to metal as well - whether it's the lust for gold inspiring acts of cruelty by Spanish conquistadors in John Adams's El Dorado, or the terrible fate, described by Lavinia Greenlaw, of the young women who painted luminous clock faces and were poisoned by radium.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

READINGS:
Russell Edson - Metals Metals
Ovid (translator AD Melville) - Metamorphosis
Henry Green - Living
Rudyard Kipling - Cold Iron
Ted Hughes - The Iron Man
Edgar Allen Poe - Eldorado
Lavinia Greenlaw - The Innocence of Radium
William Shakespeare - Timon of Athens
Afua Cooper - Red Eyes
Charles Simic - Poem Without a Title
Wilfred Owen - Arms and the Boy
Homer (translator Richmond Lattimore) - the Iliad

Jemima Rooper and Ewan Bailey present poetry and music relating to metallic elements.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Jemima Rooper and Ewan Bailey read works relating to metallic elements in our bodies, our jobs and our land from authors including Wilfred Owen, Afua Cooper & Homer set to music by composers including Shostakovich, Sanna Kurki-Suonio and Kraftwerk.

Mindfulness And 'i': The Sense Of Self2017092420200103 (R3)Poetry, prose and music reflecting on the meaning of our existence.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Poetry, prose and music reflecting on the meaning of our existence. This edition takes you through an imagined mindfulness session, opening up a path of self-awareness. The programme flows as a carefully driven stream of consciousness, but also aims to place the listener in a pre-meditative state. it's a personal journey into your inner-self so the texts mostly an explore the first person, mirroring ordinary human interaction, through feelings like love and anguish, whilst also revealing deeply felt responses to our everyday contact with the outer world, with nature and our environment.
Prose and verse, read by Aiysha Hart and Jonathan Aris, come from writers and thinkers from both East and West, ancient and new, such as Hermann Hesse, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Octavio Paz, W.B. Yeats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Stuart Mill, Jorge Luis Borges, T.S. Eliot, Rabindranath Tagore, Carl Jung, as well as traditional Chinese poets, among them Du Fu and Li Po.

Readings:
Walt Whitman: Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass
Lao Tzu: There is no need to run outside
Kabir: Don’t go outside
Carl Jung: The attainment of wholeness
W.B. Yeats: Still Water
John Stuart Mill: The Art of Living
Oliver Wendell Holmes: What lies behind us
Hermann Hesse: Sometimes
Nisargadatta Maharaj: I Am That
Walt Whitman: Me Imperturbe
Walt Whitman: Facing West from California’s Shores
Li Po: The birds have banished into the sky
Li Po: The Sun
Lao Tzu: We Are a River
Octavio Paz: Between Going and Staying
Henry David Thoreau: Walden
TS Eliot: Four Quartets, No. 1 - Burnt Norton
Jorge Luis Borges: Elegy for a Park
Anonymous (ancient): Self is everywhere
Scarlett Thomas: The End of Mr. Y
Lao Tzu: We Are a River
Emily Dickinson: The Consciousness that is aware
Christina Rossetti: The Thread of Life
Fernando Pessoa: Whether we write or speak or do but look
Nisargadatta Maharaj: I Am That
Octavio Paz: Wind, Water, Stone
George Eliot: I grant you ample leave
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self-Reliance
Walt Whitman: One-self I sing
Traditional Chinese proverb: Renew thyself completely each day

Producer Juan Carlos Jaramillo.

Poetry, prose and music reflecting on the meaning of our existence. This edition takes you through an imagined mindfulness session, opening up a path of self-awareness. The programme flows as a carefully driven stream of consciousness, but also aims to place the listener in a pre-meditative state. it's a personal journey into your inner-self so the texts mostly an explore the first person, mirroring ordinary human interaction, through feelings like love and anguish, whilst also revealing deeply felt responses to our everyday contact with the outer world, with nature and our environment.
Prose and verse, read by Aiysha Hart and Jonathan Aris, come from writers and thinkers from both East and West, ancient and new, such as Hermann Hesse, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Octavio Paz, W.B. Yeats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Stuart Mill, Jorge Luis Borges, T.S. Eliot, Rabindranath Tagore, Carl Jung, as well as traditional Chinese poets, among them Du Fu and Li Po.

Readings:
Walt Whitman: Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass
Lao Tzu: There is no need to run outside
Kabir: Don’t go outside
Carl Jung: The attainment of wholeness
W.B. Yeats: Still Water
John Stuart Mill: The Art of Living
Oliver Wendell Holmes: What lies behind us
Hermann Hesse: Sometimes
Nisargadatta Maharaj: I Am That
Walt Whitman: Me Imperturbe
Walt Whitman: Facing West from California’s Shores
Li Po: The birds have banished into the sky
Li Po: The Sun
Lao Tzu: We Are a River
Octavio Paz: Between Going and Staying
Henry David Thoreau: Walden
TS Eliot: Four Quartets, No. 1 - Burnt Norton
Jorge Luis Borges: Elegy for a Park
Anonymous (ancient): Self is everywhere
Scarlett Thomas: The End of Mr. Y
Lao Tzu: We Are a River
Emily Dickinson: The Consciousness that is aware
Christina Rossetti: The Thread of Life
Fernando Pessoa: Whether we write or speak or do but look
Nisargadatta Maharaj: I Am That
Octavio Paz: Wind, Water, Stone
George Eliot: I grant you ample leave
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self-Reliance
Walt Whitman: One-self I sing
Traditional Chinese proverb: Renew thyself completely each day

Mirrors And Reflections2016112020201229 (R3)Readings by Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon as we peer at our reflections and think about what the mirror tells us. From the topsy-turvy world in Alice's Looking Glass to the corrupted image in Walt Whitman's hand mirror, the cracked shaving mirror in Joyce's Ulysses and Rilke's languid Lady at the Mirror, and Captain Beefheart's Mirror Man to Britten's version of the Greek myth of Narcissus. We begin with Guillaume de Machaut's Ma fin est mon commencement and end with Jackson Hill's version. On the way we'll encounter the music written by Lalo Schifrin for a Bruce Lee film in which Lee confronts his enemy in a mirrored room, Haydn’s Symphony No. 47 - sometimes called ‘The Palindrome’ because of its third movement, the Menuet al Roverso in which the second part of the Minuet is the same as the first, but backwards and Arvo Pärt's infinity mirror Spiegel Im Spiegel in which the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Sylvia Plath - Mirror
Walt Whitman - A Hand Mirror
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge - The Other Side of the Mirror
Charles Simic - Mirrors At 4am
Lewis Carroll - Alice Through the Looking Glass
Louis MacNeice - Reflections
Seamus Heaney - Personal Helicon
Charles Baudelaire trans. Roy Campbell - Man and the Sea
Thomas Traherne - Shadows in the Water
James Joyce - Ulysses
Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Edward Snow - Lady at the Mirror
Thomas Hardy - Moments of Vision

Readings by Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon. Music includes Haydn, Lalo Schifrin, Arvo P\u00e4rt.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Readings by Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon as we peer at our reflections and think about what the mirror tells us. From the topsy-turvy world in Alice's Looking Glass to the corrupted image in Walt Whitman's hand mirror, the cracked shaving mirror in Joyce's Ulysses and Rilke's languid Lady at the Mirror, and Captain Beefheart's Mirror Man to Britten's version of the Greek myth of Narcissus. We begin with Guillaume de Machaut's Ma fin est mon commencement and end with Jackson Hill's version. On the way we'll encounter the music written by Lalo Schifrin for a Bruce Lee film in which Lee confronts his enemy in a mirrored room, Haydn’s Symphony No. 47 - sometimes called ‘The Palindrome’ because of its third movement, the Menuet al Roverso in which the second part of the Minuet is the same as the first, but backwards and Arvo Pärt's infinity mirror Spiegel Im Spiegel in which the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth.

Sylvia Plath - Mirror
Walt Whitman - A Hand Mirror
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge - The Other Side of the Mirror
Charles Simic - Mirrors At 4am
Lewis Carroll - Alice Through the Looking Glass
Louis MacNeice - Reflections
Seamus Heaney - Personal Helicon
Charles Baudelaire trans. Roy Campbell - Man and the Sea
Thomas Traherne - Shadows in the Water
James Joyce - Ulysses
Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Edward Snow - Lady at the Mirror
Thomas Hardy - Moments of Vision

Readings by Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon. Music includes Haydn, Lalo Schifrin, Arvo P\u00e4rt.

Texts and music centred on mirrors and reflections. Readers: Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon

Readings by Henry Goodman and Lisa Dillon. Music includes Haydn, Lalo Schifrin, Arvo P\u00e4rt.

Money20210221

A financial theme as Jonathan Keeble and Emily Pithon perform readings from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and from Martin Amis's 1984 novel Money, from George Eliot's Silas Marner, which depicts a lonely weaver who hoards gold coins and Imtiaz Dharker's poem about today's consumerist society, The Garden Gnomes are on Their Mobile Phones, to Michael Lewis's investigation of investors on Wall Street, The Big Short. The music includes Wagner and Pink Floyd.

The programme was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the decimalisation of sterling. In “old money”, there were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. After Decimal Day, February 15 1971, there were 100 “new pence” in a pound. You can find a recent Free Thinking episode exploring different aspects of Money.

Producer: Nick Holmes

Jonathan Keeble and Emily Pithon with readings from Trollope to Larkin and Imtiaz Dharker.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Monkey Business2016082120181104 (R3)All things ape with Philip Franks and Rosalie Craig.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

It begins in mischief and ends in confusion. Monkeys are the lords of misrule. They're as entertaining as they are mischievous. In their needs and affections they can also seem almost human. Are we monkeys or are they men? In Monkey Business the actors Rosalie Craig and Philip Franks will be leaping about between the probable and the improbable. Searching for airborne fun rather than earthbound enlightenment. They'll be swinging from the cosmology of 16th-century China to the simian aspirations of The Jungle Book and will conjure mayhem from Satie, Beethoven, Britten and Ligeti to hasten them on the way. As Kipling put it - "here we go in a flung festoon, half-way up to the jealous moon."

Producer: Zahid Warley

Moonstruck2010052320160117 (R3)Music, poetry and prose about the moon, with readings by Art Malik and Alexandra Gilbreath

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Mothers And Daughters2018030420200322 (R3)On Mothering Sunday, this edition of Words and Music explores mothers and daughters. The readers are real-life mother and daughter Samantha Bond and Molly Hanson. From Shakespeare's domineering Lady Capulet and bewildered Juliet to Austen's neurotic Mrs Bennet and her brood of daughters, the mother and daughter relationship is one fraught with concern and competition but also - often - full of love. From the adoration of Christina Rosetti in her Sonnets are full of love to the tussle over identity in Gillian Clarke's Catrin, this is a journey through one of life's most multi-faceted relationships with music by Ives, Dvorak, Laurie Anderson and Richard Strauss.

Producer: Georgia Mann

Readings

Sylvia Plath – Morning Song
Christina Rossetti - Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Shakespeare – extract from Romeo and Juliet Act One, Scene 3
Angela Carter – extract from Extract from The Bloody Chamber
Anne Sexton - Extract from letter
Anne Sexton - Dreaming The Breasts
Jane Austen - Extract from Pride and Prejudice
Gillian Clarke – Catrin
Erica Jong - Extract from Mother
Sophocles translated by Anne Carson - Extract from Elektra
Jeanette Winterson - Extract from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Louisa M Alcott - Extract from Little Women
Lola Ridge – Mother
Carol Ann Duffy - The Light Gatherer
Dodi Smith - Extract from I Capture the Castle
Elizabeth Akers Allen - Extract from Rock Me to Sleep

Words and Music on the theme of Mothers and Daughters.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Nature And The City20190630Poets and composers have long sung the virtues of the green spaces and the wildlife encountered in our urban centres. Ottorino Respighi celebrates the birds and pine trees of Rome, and Rufus Wainwright sings through all weathers and the wild flowers of Berlin’s Tiergarten park. Matthew Arnold, in Kensington Gardens, marvels at the 'endless, active life' he finds all about him at his feet and in the air.

Human cities might, though, be viewed as islands too, pushing out and paving over the natural world, towering evidence of the anthropocentric. For the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, 'the big cities are not true; they betray the day, the night, animals and children' while Edna St Vincent Millay mourns the loss of the 'thin and sweet' music of dancing tree-leaves, drowned out in the 'shrieking city air' of horns and alarms and industry evoked in the music of Steve Reich. And as some writers begin to dream of green hills and escaping the din of the metropolis, the forces of nature are already gathering inside the city walls: rabbits, herds of deer, bears and the sea begin to re-wild and reclaim the human spaces, reminding us that, for all our skyscrapers, we are not separate from but of nature.

Produced by Phil Smith
A Reduced Listening Production for BBC Radio 3

Poetry and prose on plants and people in the metropolis.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Night Owls20190127The night time is the right time’, as John Lee Hooker sings…. Words and Music joins birds and humans hunting, playing, and hounding each others’ souls between dusk and dawn. We find owls and nightingales fighting each other while just outside the wood the army of Shakespeare’s Henry the Fifth prepares itself for battle. In Italy, an exiled Shelley sighs his sorrows to the chant of the little owl, his wife is inside facing the night time terror of Frankenstein. Poets Helen Dunmore and John Burnside write of all those on the night shift and others who cannot sleep….to an accompaniment of the hoots, screeches and soulful squeaks of tawny, little, long-eared and barn owls. With the sounds of John Lee Hooker, William Sharpe, Ma Rainey and Dolores Keane plus Chopin, Wagner and Debussy, Elgar, Sonny Rollins, Public Service Broadcasting and John Tavener. Readings from naturalists like Neltje Blanchan, Leigh Calvez and Gilbert White. The poetry of John Burnside, George MacBeth, Caroline Carver, Fiona Wilson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Douglas Stewart, Tennyson and Walter Scott. The readers are Sam Dale and Carolyn Pickles
Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Bird and human life and creatures of the mind alive between dusk and dawn as we go owling.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Owls generally hoot in B Flat and one early naturalist knew a brown owl that lived a whole year without water. Hear a cacophony of myths and mayhem inspired by the grimalkin in feathers, the hunter of rats, mice, voles, birds and beetles, omen of death for some, totem of wisdom for others. But what of the other creatures of the night? Ghosts, bogeymen, and competitive songsters and humans at work, play and devilment are night owls all. Sam Dale and Carolyn Pickles read poetry and prose from John Burns, Caroline Carver, Thomas Gray, Sylvia Plath, Douglas Stewart and Fiona Wilson, Walt Whitman, Gilbert White, Neltje Blanchan, Mary Shelley. Songs and music from Ma Rainey, Elgar, Dolores Keane, Haydn and Sonny Rollins, Beethoven, Public Service Broadcasting and Trout; and of course the songs and screeches of tawny, long-eared and barn owls and their great competitor the nightingale

Birds, human life and creatures of the mind alive between dusk and dawn as we go owling.

Night Owls2019012720210131 (R3)The night time is the right time’, as John Lee Hooker sings…. Words and Music joins birds and humans hunting, playing, and hounding each others’ souls between dusk and dawn. We find owls and nightingales fighting each other while just outside the wood the army of Shakespeare’s Henry the Fifth prepares itself for battle. In Italy, an exiled Shelley sighs his sorrows to the chant of the little owl, his wife is inside facing the night-time terror of Frankenstein. Poets Helen Dunmore and John Burnside write of all those on the night shift and others who cannot sleep….to an accompaniment of the hoots, screeches and soulful squeaks of tawny, little, long-eared and barn owls. With the sounds of John Lee Hooker, William Sharpe, Ma Rainey and Dolores Keane plus Chopin, Wagner and Debussy, Elgar, Sonny Rollins, Public Service Broadcasting and John Tavener. Readings from naturalists like Neltje Blanchan, Leigh Calvez and Gilbert White. The poetry of John Burnside, George MacBeth, Caroline Carver, Fiona Wilson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Douglas Stewart, Tennyson and Walter Scott. The readers are Sam Dale and Carolyn Pickles.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Bird and human life and creatures of the mind alive between dusk and dawn as we go owling.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Nomads20190519Emma Paetz and Nicholas Farrell read from Cervantes, Louise Doughty, to Abd al Qadir as today's journey of words and music moves from the desert to tramping along English country roads.
Our past is nomadic. Our ancestors roamed around, moving according to the seasons and the availability of food. The historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests that our subsequent adoption of settled, agricultural lives represented a massive blow to human well-being, bringing with it unstinting labour and disease. Does this go some way to explaining the distrust and unease with which the settled have tended to regard nomads? Is there an atavistic envy at its root? That desire to wander still burns within many of us. We may be tethered to a particular part of the world by our work, our homes, our families, but we are restless, forever planning journeys to somewhere distant, somewhere new.

This programme explores the relationship between the nomad and that settled world. Nomads not just in the sense of traditionally itinerant people (including Bedouin, some Native American tribes and Roma – referred to as ‘gypsies’ by some of the writers here), but also those who are homeless or refugees. In short, those who have no fixed abode. So we hear field recordings both of Tuareg singers with a traditional Danse de tazengharaht, and an unnamed homeless man singing a hymn in Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. The chorus of Hebrew slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco echoes the painful longing for a lost homeland experienced by refugees through the ages, while songs by Sibelius and Schubert show the figure of the wanderer in nature, gripped by both a sense of freedom and existential melancholia.

Readings:

Bakhu Al-Mariyah - My longing for a tent
Abd al Qadir - The Life of the Nomad
T.E. Lawrence - The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - To the Driving Cloud
Louise Doughty - Fires in the Dark
Miguel de Cervantes - La Gitanilla
Matthew Arnold - The Scholar Gypsy
Thomas Hardy - A Trampwoman's Tragedy
Dominic Hand – Borderlines
Martha Sprackland - Refugees [juvenilia]
J.M. Coetzee - Waiting for the Barbarians
John Masefield - Sea Fever

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Emma Paetz and Nicholas Farrell read from Cervantes, Louise Doughty and Abd al Qadir.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Emma Paetz and Nicholas Farrell read from Cervantes, Louise Doughty to Abd al Qadir as today's journey of words and music moves from the desert to tramping along English country roads. The music includes Sibelius, Takemitsu, Tinariwen and Gavin Bryars 1971 composition Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet which features a homeless man singing.

Nonsense2016052920171226 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of nonsense. Readers: Griff Rhys Jones and Debra Stephenson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Nordic Noir2020020220200301 (R3)
20201230 (R3)
The actors Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards, The Killing, Borgen and Ride upon the Storm) and Vera Vitali (star of the mega-hit series Bonus Family) read from the misdemeanour, magic and poetry of Scandinivian gloom and Nordic Noir - the term given to a genre of crime writing established in the Martin Beck series of novels by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Other crime writing featured in the programme includes Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, along with the philosophising of Søren Kierkegaard and prose by William Heinesen that straddles the spirit-world and imagination. As ever, music shapes and charges the atmosphere even further. Sibelius, Nielsen, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Björk and Gyða Valtýsdóttir all feature.

You might be interested that tomorrow night Radio 3 broadcasts a documentary about the Immortal North in which Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough dives into a frozen Norwegian lake on her journey exploring ideas about ageing and mortality.

Image courtesy of Robin Skjoldborg.

Producer: Paul Frankl

Readings:
Jo Nesbo - The Snowman
Stieg Larsson - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
William Heinesen - The Tower At The Edge of the World
Per Petterson - Echoland
Tomas Transtromer - Alcaic
William Heinesen - The Tower At The End of the World
Dorthe Nors - Karate Chop
Lars Gustafsson - Snow
Arnaldur Indridason - The Shadow District
Sjowall & Wahloo - The Locked Room
Henning Mankell - The Fifth Woman
Soren Kierkegaard - The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

Lars Mikkelsen and Vera Vitali read from a dark seam of Nordic literature.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The actors Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards, The Killing, Borgen and Ride Upon the Storm) and Vera Vitali (star of the mega-hit series Bonus Family) read from the misdemeanour, magic and poetry of Scandinivian gloom and Nordic Noir - the term given to a genre of crime writing established in the Martin Beck series of novels by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Other crime writing featured in the programme includes Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, along with the philosophising of Søren Kierkegaard and prose by William Heinesen that straddles the spirit-world and imagination. As ever, music shapes and charges the atmosphere even further. Sibelius, Nielsen, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Björk and Gyða Valtýsdóttir all feature.

You might also be interested in a new three-part series called Nordic Sounds, presented by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, which starts tonight on Radio 3.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Northern Lights: The North Pole2015120620180101 (R3)Texts and music related to the North Pole. Readers: Olivia Williams and Charles Edwards.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Nostalgia2017051420180909 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of nostalgia, with readings by Samantha Bond and Scott Handy.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

O Albion2017052820171221 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of England, with readings by Meera Syal and Philip Franks.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Obsession2011072420190407 (R3)'Obsession requires a commendable mental agility', according to Nick Hornby and this edition of Words and Music wrestles with ideas that inexorably take hold of the brain. Readers are Olivia Colman and Toby Stephens.

There is nothing more absorbing than being in the throes of love, and the more unrequited it is, the more obsessive the lover becomes - from the idée fixe of Berlioz, in his almost gothic passion for Harriet Smithson, to the hormone-fuelled obsession with the teen idol, as suffered by the young Allison Pearson.

But this passion can disintegrate into something more sinister, and so enter the stalker, courtesy of Ian McEwan and The Police, and the narcissist, taken to fantastical extreme in The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

And there are those whose minds work in a way they struggle to control - Dr Johnson may have had a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, there is the hoarder, the hypochondriac, and the keeper and interpreter of minutiae, like Nick Hornby's football obsessive.

And finally the all-absorbing, all-encompassing epic grand passion, the inability to concentrate on anything else - Ahab's quest for the white whale, and the Arthurian knight's mission to find the Holy Grail.

Music from jazz, pop, rock and classical, including Cole Porter's rather unsettling (in this context) "Night and Day", the romanticism of Schubert, Berlioz and Wagner, and the joyous piling up of insistent ostinati by Herbie Hancock.

Olivia Colman and Toby Stephens with words and music on the theme of obsession.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

On The Edge20170129A sequence of poetry, prose and music exploring the idea of 'on the edge'.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Once Upon A Time...2016050820171227 (R3)Texts and music about fairy tales, with readings by Jim Broadbent and Helen McCrory.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Only Connect20200607Inspired by the words of EM Forster, we look at some ways in which we connect.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

On the 50th anniversary of EM Forster's death, we focus on the words ‘Only connect…’ - the epigraph to his novel Howards End - and consider some of the many connections that we might experience. Attempts to connect with others and the pain when those attempts fail. The solace provided by seeking a connection with nature, communication with alien species, the ingenious process of deduction, the technology that connects us to one another, the associations we draw from treasured objects. And there are musical connections from Brahms, Kate Bush, Messiaen, Suzanne Ciani and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan among others.

Readings:

EM Forster – Howards End
Robert Browning – Two in the Campagna
Samuel Taylor Coleridge – To Nature
Paul Muldoon – Milkweed and Monarch
John Masefield – Up on the downs
Adrienne Rich – Face To Face
RS Thomas – They
Wendy Cope – For My Sister, Emigrating
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Stockbroker’s Clerk
Ivor Gurney – The Telegraph Post
Jenny Erpenbeck – Go Went Gone
Anne Sexton – When Man Enters Woman
John Keats – On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer
Naomi Mitchison – Memoirs of a Spacewoman
George Herbert – Deniall

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

In the Free Thinking playlist and available as an Arts and Ideas download - you can hear the authors Deborah Levy and Laurence Scott discussing with Shahidha Bari What's So Great About EM Forster in a discussion recorded with an audience at the British Library in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0873lxv

Out Of My Head20190505Out of My Head is a binaural journey about intoxication and inspiration.
Like any good party we begin with an invitation from Kurt Weill as he staggers from bar to bar in Alabama Song. He’s joined by Baudelaire and Rimbaud but age and time are elastic and before long we are battering down Huxley’s Doors of Perception and entering the psychedelic realm of Jefferson Airplane. It will sound like it too, particularly if you put on headphones, as the programme is a binaural transmission. You will hear the sun moving across the stereo picture talking to Frank O’Hara and nightingales jamming with Clive Bell’s shakuhachi flute; you will hear rain and footsteps as you enter the upside down world of Thomas Traherne's great metaphysical poem, Shadows in the Water. Imagination is our vehicle – the imagination that leads Sasha Dugdale to conjure the grieving spirit of William Blake’s wife, Catherine: or allows us to leap with Anne Sexton into the heart and mind of an old woman stricken with Alzheimer’s but still able to recall a favourite tune as writers conjure different images of mental health.

The voices you’ll be hearing in your head are those of the actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones.
Producers: Zahid Warley, Christopher Rouse and Georgia Mann Smith

READINGS:
Baudelaire - Be Drunk
Aldous Huxley - Doors of Perception
Rimbaud - Deregulation of the Senses
Lewis Carroll - The Hunting of the Snark
Emily Dickinson - The brain is wider than the sky
James Merrill - Voices from the Other World
Shakespeare - Ophelia's soliloquy from Hamlet
Sasha Dugdale - From Joy
Anne Sexton - Mister Wait
Rumi - The Turn
Clare Shaw - Tree
Frank O'Hara - A True Account of Talking to the Sun on Fire Island
Thomas Traherne - Shadows in the Water

Actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones & a journey of intoxication, inspiration and loss.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Out Of My Head - A Binaural Words And Music20190505Out of My Head is about intoxication and inspiration; it’s about what happens when laughter, love, desire or disease shakes the mind’s envelope and something falls out; it’s a boomerang hurled out into the kingdom of infinite space so prepare to duck or you’ll be beaned!

Like any good party there’s an invitation – an embossed one from Kurt Weill as he staggers from bar to bar in Alabama Song. He’s soon joined by Baudelaire and Rimbaud but age and time are elastic and before long we are battering down Huxley’s Doors of Perception and entering the psychedelic realm of Jefferson Airplane. It will sound like it too as the programme is a binaural transmission. You will hear the sun talking to Frank O’Hara and nightingales jamming with Clive Bell’s shakuhachi flute.

Imagination is our vehicle – the imagination that leads a poet such as Sasha Dugdale to conjure the grieving spirit of Blake’s wife, Catherine or Shakespeare to find the words for Ophelia in her madness. Imagination is also the spark that ignites our empathy and allows us to leap with Anne Sexton into the heart and mind of an old woman stricken with Alzheimer’s but still able to recall a favourite song and a time of happiness.

The voices you’ll be hearing in your head are those of the actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones; the words range from Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson and Rumi to James Merrill and Thomas Traherne; the musical counterpoint is provided by amongst others, Barbara Hannigan, Doris Day, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Cecil Taylor and Hildegard von Bingen.

Producers: Zahid Warley, Christopher Rouse and Georgia Mann Smith

READINGS:
Be Drunk – Baudelaire, Doors of Perception – Aldous Huxley, Deregulation of the senses – Rimbaud, The Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Carroll, The brain is wider than the sky –Emily Dickinson, Voices from the Other World – James Merrill, Ophelia’s soliloquy from Hamlet – Shakespeare, From Joy – Sasha Dugdale, Mister Wait- Anne Sexton, The Turn - Rumi, Tree – Clare Shaw, a True Account of Talking to the Sun on Fire Island –Frank O’Hara, Shadows in the Water – Thomas Traherne.

Actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones and a journey of intoxication, inspiration and loss

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Out of My Head is a binaural journey about intoxication and inspiration.
Like any good party we begin with an invitation from Kurt Weill as he staggers from bar to bar in Alabama Song. He’s joined by Baudelaire and Rimbaud but age and time are elastic and before long we are battering down Huxley’s Doors of Perception and entering the psychedelic realm of Jefferson Airplane. It will sound like it too, particularly if you put on headphones, as the programme is a binaural transmission. You will hear the sun moving across the stereo picture talking to Frank O’Hara and nightingales jamming with Clive Bell’s shakuhachi flute; you will hear rain and footsteps as you enter the upside down world of Thomas Traherne's great metaphysical poem, Shadows in the Water. Imagination is our vehicle – the imagination that leads Sasha Dugdale to conjure the grieving spirit of William Blake’s wife, Catherine: or allows us to leap with Anne Sexton into the heart and mind of an old woman stricken with Alzheimer’s but still able to recall a favourite tune as writers conjure different images of mental health.

The voices you’ll be hearing in your head are those of the actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones.
Producers: Zahid Warley, Christopher Rouse and Georgia Mann Smith

READINGS:
Baudelaire - Be Drunk
Aldous Huxley - Doors of Perception
Rimbaud - Deregulation of the Senses
Lewis Carroll - The Hunting of the Snark
Emily Dickinson - The brain is wider than the sky
James Merrill - Voices from the Other World
Shakespeare - Ophelia's soliloquy from Hamlet
Sasha Dugdale - From Joy
Anne Sexton - Mister Wait
Rumi - The Turn
Clare Shaw - Tree
Frank O'Hara - A True Account of Talking to the Sun on Fire Island
Thomas Traherne - Shadows in the Water

Actors Grace Cookey-Gam and Toby Jones & a journey of intoxication, inspiration and loss.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes20180916Lindsey Marshal and Richard Harrington are the readers in a programme that explores the mysterious link between wisdom and innocence. As well as often making us smile with what they say, children sometimes come out with surprisingly perceptive comments that can elude even the most intelligent adults. It is as if, in some way, there were a relationship between wisdom and innocence. This relationship has been explored at length in literary and televisual/cinematic narratives where children outwit the grown-ups, usually in a comic manner, but occasionally it also presents itself in extraordinary real-life characters, such as Anne Frank.

Lindsey Marshal has performed leading roles in many theatre productions, including alongside James McAvoy in the 2009 West End production Three Days of Rain, and in Greenland at the National Theatre. She also appeared in The Hours, BBC period drama Garrow's Law, and most recently in the TV series Trauma. Richard Harrington has had starring roles in Hinterland, Bleak House, Jimmy McGovern's Gunpowder, Treason & Plot, and Gavin Claxton's comedy feature film The All Together.

Producer’s note (Dominic Wells)

Earlier this year my life was turned upside down with the arrival of my son, whose voice opens this edition of Words and Music: Out of the Mouths of Babes. This phrase (biblical in origin) refers to surprisingly insightful words of wisdom uttered by the young, and while I can’t pretend my son’s brief contribution offers anything especially wise, it seemed like a good way to start. Thomas Traherne’s depiction of the infant Christ coming into the world provides a rather more profound statement, as does the child Christ, who appears to the Selfish Giant in Oscar Wilde’s children’s story, promising solace to the reformed character. On a lighter note there’s Arthur Weir’s amusing account of how a baby, simply by gurgling and giggling, can outwit a supposedly clever, powerful, magical creature. The magic continues courtesy of the trio of spirit children in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, guiding various characters along the right path. Similarly, in the TV series Stranger Things, it is invariably the kids who demonstrate greater wisdom than the grown-ups. But the relationship between wisdom and innocence is not limited to children, and we momentarily consider its adult counterparts through two historical archetypes: the Wise Fool (a favourite Shakespearean character) and the Wise Virgin, who finds voice in the music of the extraordinary 12th-century composer, poet and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. The final reading and music ties all three of these elements together with an excerpt from the very last entry in the diary of Anne Frank, whose level of perception – not only about others, but also about herself – reflects a wisdom far beyond her years.

Music and words that explore the mysterious link between wisdom and innocence

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Partition20170820A sequence of music and readings about the Partition of India and its legacy.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Passing The Time Of Day2014011220161222 (R3)Texts and music about the duration of a day. Readers: Sally Phillips and Jonathan Keeble.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Passion Play2015040520190310 (R3)In Words and Music this evening the actors Houda Echouafni and Patrick O'Kane explore the story of The Passion and the way that it reverberates in our minds today. Christ's betrayal, the crucifixion and resurrection conjure up powerful images that many of us have grown up with, but images whose clarity, paradoxically, cloak much that is mysterious. The Passion has always inspired writers and composers and their very different ways of understanding it determine the path taken by Houda and Patrick – beginning with the Easter call to prayer of the Orthodox Church in Greece and Romania and traversing the more familiar territory of Handel's Messiah, Bach's St John Passion, as well Arvo Part's Passio and John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary. The words too combine the known with the less well known: the King James Bible with Housman, Michael Symmons Roberts with Philip Pullman and Colm Toibin.

Producer: Zahid Warley

The Passion seen through ancient and modern eyes with Patrick O'Kane and Houda Echouafni.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Pastiche And Parody2015041220201206 (R3)In tribute to the actor John Sessions (11 January 1953 – 2 November 2020) another chance to hear him and Debra Stephenson displaying their vocal talents with an impression of Alan Rickman reading from Craig Brown’s Lost Diaries which satirises the writing style of various literary diarists, Shaw’s Pygmalion in the style of Rex Harrison, an imitation of a Greek epigram read in the voice of Helena Bonham Carter and Judi Dench giving a speech from Twelfth Night. Music includes a version of Thespis by Arthur Sullivan, Percy Grainger's Mock Morris and a piano performance by Dudley Moore as Little Miss Britten followed by Benjamin Britten's music for the wall scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream as the programme presents examples of pastiche and parody from characters in novels or operas pretending to be something, or someone, they are not, to examples of out-and-out fakery.

Producer - Ellie Mant

Readings:
Poems of Ossian by James McPherson read by John Sessions
Twelfth Night by Shakespeare read by Debra Stephenson as Judi Dench
The Lost Diaries by Craig Brown read by John Sessions as Alan Rickman
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray read by Debra Stephenson
Ode 1.22 (In the Style of Edgar Allen Poe) read by John Sessions as Ian McKellen
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith read by Debra Stephenson
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris read by John Sessions
The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet by Caryl Wetmore read by Debra Stephenson as Maggie Smith
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald read by John Sessions
Fragment in Imitation of Wordsworth by Catherine Maria Fanshawe read by Debra Stephenson as Penelope Wilton
The Darkening Ecliptic by Ern Malley read by John Sessions
Small World by David Lodge read by Debra Stephenson
A Guidebook to Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Marks, Copyright and Designs by The Rt. Hon. Sir Robin Jacob, Daniel Alexander, Lindsay Lane read by John Sessions
To Mr. Pope. An Imitation of a Greek Epigram in Homer by Elijah Fenton read by Debra Stephenson as Helena Bonham Carter
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw read by John Sessions as Rex Harrison
The Ballad of Imitation by Henry Austin Dobson read by Debra Stephenson as Imelda Staunton.

The late John Sessions and Debra Stephenson with a range of impersonations.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

In tribute to the actor John Sessions (11 January 1953 – 2 November 2020) another chance to hear him and Debra Stephenson displaying their vocal talents with an impression of Alan Rickman reading from Craig Brown’s Lost Diaries which satirises the writing style of various literary diarists, Shaw’s Pygmalion in the style of Rex Harrison, an imitation of a Greek epigram read in the voice of Helena Bonham Carter and Judi Dench giving a speech from Twelfth Night. Music includes a version of Thespis by Arthur Sullivan, Percy Grainger's Mock Morris and a piano performance by Dudley Moore as Little Miss Britten followed by Benjamin Britten's music for the wall scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream as the programme presents examples of pastiche and parody from characters in novels or operas pretending to be something, or someone, they are not to examples of out-and-out fakery.

Debra Stephenson and the late John Sessions with a range of impersonations.

Peace And Protest2019031720200802 (R3)It is 50 years since John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-Ins For Peace. Actors Juliet Stevenson and Jamie Glover mark the anniversary with readings and music exploring themes of calm, tranquillity and activism.

John Lennon said of peace that it “is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”. What Lennon did, with his new wife Yoko Ono, was to stage two “bed-ins”, one in Montreal and one in Amsterdam; welcoming the world's press to join at their bedsides. While in Montreal, Lennon recorded his 'Give Peace a Chance' anti-war song. We also hear Yo-Yo Ma’s Donna Nobis Pacem (Give us Peace) followed by Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, written when he was a prisoner of war in German captivity and first performed by his fellow prisoners. And in Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha, Mahatma Gandhi makes a plea for non-violent resistance to injustice. The selection of readings includes All of these People by Michael Longley, Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye and Ann Pettitt’s Walking to Greenham.

The selection of readings includes Between Waves, Heather Glover’s winning poem in the Poems for Peace competition run by the Royal Society of Literature. We also explore the peace of nature in WB Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree, in which the poet longs for the tranquillity of the island where he went as a boy, away from his adult life in the city. He imagines a life similar to that of the American Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, who lived this idyllic existence on Walden Pond. We end with Denise Levertov’s Making Peace on the need for poets to write of peace, creating an energy field more intense than war.

Producer: Fiona McLean

Marking the 50th anniversary of John Lennon's Bed-In for Peace - poetry and music on peace

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Actors Juliet Stevenson and Jamie Glover with readings and music exploring themes of activism, protest and the search for peace as part of a pairing of Words and Music episodes marking the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

John Lennon said of peace that it “is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono staged two “bed-ins”, one in Montreal and one in Amsterdam; welcoming the world's press to join at their bedsides. While in Montreal, Lennon recorded his 'Give Peace a Chance' anti-war song. We also hear Yo-Yo Ma’s Donna Nobis Pacem (Give us Peace) followed by Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, written when he was a prisoner of war in German captivity and first performed by his fellow prisoners. And in Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha, Mahatma Gandhi makes a plea for non-violent resistance to injustice. The selection of readings includes All of these People by Michael Longley, Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye and Ann Pettitt’s Walking to Greenham.

The selection of readings also includes Between Waves, Heather Glover’s winning poem in the Poems for Peace competition run by the Royal Society of Literature. We also explore the peace of nature in WB Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree, in which the poet longs for the tranquillity of the island where he went as a boy, away from his adult life in the city. He imagines a life similar to that of the American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, living in nature at Walden Pond. We end with Denise Levertov’s Making Peace on the need for poets to write of peace, creating an energy field more intense than war.

Readings:
Archive BBC World Service John Lennon and Yoko Ono
How the World Split in Two - Moniza Alvi
All of These People - Michael Longley
Immigrant Blues - Li-Young Lee
Jerusalem - Naomi Shihab Nye
Between Waves - Heather Glover
Walking to Greenham - Ann Pettitt
Prince Charming - Christopher Logue
The Iliad - Homer trans Martin Hammond
The Peace of Wild Things - Wendell Berry
The Lake Isle of Innisfree - WB Yeats
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Walden - David Henry Thoreau
Making Peace - Denise Levertov

Poetry and music on peace marking the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Perchance To Dream2012123020160124 (R3)Words and music on the subject of dreams. Readings by Sophie Thompson and Chiwetel Ejiofor

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Pictures Of The Floating World20180902With readings by Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker, this programme moves from Japanese haikus to the Antarctic and ballooning in the Chiltern hills.

Pictures of the floating world have a way of lodging in our minds. Whether we realise that they’ve actually fluttered there all the way from 17th century Japan or not. Just think for a moment – a huge, spume-topped wave curling and about to crash; a symmetrical snow-capped peak; ornamental cherry blossom against an equally ornamental moon; black- haired courtesans in silky sleeves stooping to serve tea or sake to their customers; threads of rain stitched onto a landscape; or maybe just lovers locked in a close embrace. These are just some of the images we associate with Edo – or Tokyo as we now call it – a place where peace has reigned for more than two hundred years and where however hierarchical the society the common goal is pleasure. It's somewhere that bears more than a passing resemblance to our own world and this evening’s Words and Music takes this as a starting point. Almost immediately we’re in the “pleasure district” - the realm of sex and fashion and the heart of any floating world with a simple invitation to follow our heart’s desire. Side by side with this urgent hedonism though there’s the kind of quiet contemplation that gave rise to the haiku – each a kind of snapshot but also a spell, like the one cast by the Kyoto water chime that you’ll hear near the beginning of the programme. Before long the emphasis shifts and the idea of floating takes over and we drift from century to century. This is not without jeopardy as falling is one aspect of floating.
The actors, Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker take us on a trip from Basho and Saikaku, via Pope and Coleridge to Ian McEwan, Jenny Diski and James Hamilton-Paterson. Mendelssohn, Django Reinhardt, Takemitsu and Ravel amongst others keep us sonically buoyant - all you’ll need are your ears, a mind prepared for weightlessness and maybe some metaphorical water wings!

Producer: Zahid Warley

With readings by Peter Marinker and Alice St Clair.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Pilgrimage2016082820190421 (R3)Robert Powell and Josette Simon with words and music about pilgrimage through the ages.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Robert Powell and Josette Simon with an anthology of words with music reflecting the spirit and idea of pilgrimage through the ages, from Canterbury to Graceland.

We begin in Kent, encountering some of Chaucer's famous travellers and music by George Dyson, a contemporary of Vaughan-Williams, whose "Canterbury Pilgrims" is his undoubted masterpiece. Music by Handel suggests the crusades matched with a marvellously researched French novel by Zoe Oldenbourg,

The story of Christian pilgrimage changes with the Reformation. Josette Simon reads an anonymous mediæval lament to the shrine at Walsingham, which also inspired recusant and keyboard composer William Byrd. Arguably the greatest of all English pilgrimage texts is that by John Bunyan, which inspired multiple pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams. We hear his opera, A Pilgrim's Progress but you could say each of his musical settings of this text form a king of pilgrimage.

We also hear Joseph Conrad's powerful account of Muslims crossing terrible seas on the Hajj in Lord Jim and in contrast, the almost calming account of a visit to shrines by the 17th-century poet Matsuo Bashō - Japanese master of the haiku

Not all pilgrimages are religious and for the 19th-century Romantics, a journey to the "land where lemons grow" was de rigueur so I have chosen Lord Byron's Childe Harold, mirrored by the music of Berlioz and Liszt. And then there is the "temple" on the little hill at Bayreuth and Saint Wagner - as Mark Twain described the composer.

Our journey ends beside the grave of Oscar Wilde in Paris, now surrounded by plate glass to protect the Epstein monument from the pilgrims who come to kiss the stone with lipstick.

Producer: Chris Wines.

Plague, Pox And Pestilence2018010720181125 (R3)From Daniel Defoe to WB Yeats. The readers are Michael Fenton Stevens and Josette Simons.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Razor Sharp20201122From barbers to seashells, sharp notes to cutting remarks. With readings by Clare Corbett and OT Fagbenle, today's programme plays with the phrase ‘razor sharp’, revelling in the drama and disruption inherent in these two short words. We'll hear the writing of Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker and Sandra Cisneros, and an example of the wonderful one-upmanship of Ethel Merman singing Anything You Can Do. Robert Graves looks at the unshaven ‘Face in the Mirror’ and Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd compete to showcase their particular wares. Gangs of youths from Peaky Blinders to Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock emanate menace, razors glinting in the sunshine, or tucked neatly into caps. Dizzee Rascal might be looking sharp, but it’s the words of Malcolm X which cut through. You can hear how he moves from sharp-suited youth to the civil rights activist whose racially charged words challenge white Americans in the 1960s. Musically, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and JS Bach play with sharp keys, while Handel’s music floats across the water as the 18th-century pleasure barge organised by the Sharp family glides down the Thames.

Producer: Katy Hickman

READINGS
The Razor Shell - Vernon Watkins
Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells - Helen Scales
The Good Sharps - Hester Grant
Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
The Face In The Mirror - Robert Graves
The Massacre - Walter De la Mare
Tired - Langston Hughes
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
Miscast I - Amy Lowell
The Autobiography - Malcolm X
Loose Woman - Sandra Cisneros
Emma - Jane Austen
Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare
Interview - Dorothy Parker

From clam shells to barbers, sharp words to sharp notes.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Reach For The Sky2014030920171126 (R3)Texts and music about mankind's yearning to fly. Readers: Kate Fleetwood and Will Howard.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Rebel, Rebel20181230Words and Music this week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American novelist, J.D. Salinger, whose classic novel The Catcher in the Rye told the story of the troubled teenager Holden Caulfield, at odds with a world he feels is cruel and unfeeling. First published as a novel for adults it’s become popular with teenagers around the world: it’s very hard to believe it was first published at the end of WWII. Rebel Rebel visits the world of those who don’t obey from composers and performers including the wild living Debussy and the minimalism of the pioneer Erik Satie and later the American composer Steve Reich who broke all the rules from the very start of his career in the 1960s, fighting against the musical establishment with his groundbreaking style. And, of course, you’ll hear the work of Mozart who did everything from composing his country’s national anthem to writing cruel parodies of his contemporaries’ work to make fun of them. You’ll also hear Don’t Rain on My Parade from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s musical Funny Girl, performed by Barbra Streisand who has had a hugely successful long career in Hollywood while refusing to conform to the rules. Samuel West and Natalie Simpson read words including poetry from the maverick Emily Dickinson who refused to live in the real world and the French writer Arthur Rimbaud who wrote nearly all his work between the ages of 16 and 20 before he abandoned poetry. Yearning to get away from the conventions of society he chose to give up his artistic life for that of a vagabond in East Africa. You’ll also see Samuel read from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind and Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, poems by two writers who broke all the rules, moral and artistic, both involved in the social and political problems of their revolutionary age. Byron said of himself that he was ‘born for opposition’. Natalie reads from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, a character who, like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, begin their difficult early lives as passionate, intelligent and defiant children. And in a special linking up with the Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network, Jade Cuttle and Aisha Mango Borja’s writing is featured.

Producer: Fiona McLean

Marking JD Salinger's birth on January 1 1919 - a programme of teenage tearaways.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Poetry and music on rebellion with works by Shelley, Jane Austen, Steve Reich and Debussy.

Reconciliation20180429In our personal lives or on the world stage, reconciliation is an essential part of humankind's co-existence and civility. It can sometimes be a painful process, admitting our mistakes or failings, but it can also be a moment of celebration where we achieve redemption and forgiveness; where we can put the past behind us and move forward with great hope and optimism. Actors Harriet Walter and Oliver Dimsdale read poetry by John Donne, Peter Porter and Christina Rossetti, with music by Tchaikovsky, John Adams and Nick Cave.

Texts and music related to reconciliation. Readings by Harriet Walter and Oliver Dimsdale.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Remembering Weimar 1919-193320191110The Weimar Republic may barely have spanned fifteen years from the adoption of a new German constitution in August 1919 (following the abdication of the Kaiser in November 1918) to the beginning of 1933 but there can rarely have been a more disturbing and yet thrilling period in Germany’s history. Political turbulence and violence were matched by radical developments in the arts and a new kind of sexual candour. Germany’s military was still smarting after defeat in the First World War but that conflict’s violence seemed to have found a fresh outlet in social and political upheaval. As the demand for war reparations began to bite the economy collapsed; housewives found that they needed barrow loads of cash to buy their groceries and by 1933 there were six million people out of work. At the same time, and maybe in part, because of the hardship and social turmoil, cabaret culture flourished; ragtime took over from the waltz; Berg and Schoenberg forged a new musical language; Brecht began to create a revolutionary theatre; Dada was born; the satire of Otto Dix and George Grosz sharpened its claws; Alfred Doblin and Robert Musil wrote books that would become landmarks of modernist fiction; and the Bauhaus, through its teaching as well as its practice, began to transform our understanding of architecture and design.
This edition of Words and Music with Sheila Atim and Philip Franks is about the historical Weimar, of course, but it’s also about how we continue to think about Weimar.

You'll be introduced to the quintessential Weimar woman – Vicki Baum’s ash blonde, Ypsi Lona, as well as to the emblematic figure of Moosbrugger, the murderer who haunts Musil’s novel, The Man without Qualities. The artist George Grosz gives a first-hand account of what it was like to live in Weimar’s capital, Berlin and we hear one of the pieces dedicated to him by the Dadaist composer, Erwin Schulhoff. There’s also an encounter with one of the very first examples of Schoenberg’s twelve tone composition and a chance to hear soprano Barbara Hannigan’s Berg- like account of Gershwin’s But Not for Me , recorded just a couple of years ago. Berg and Gershwin admired each other’s work and actually met in Vienna in 1928 so the affiliation is historical as well as aesthetic. Berg figures in his own right too, of course, with extracts from his two great prophetic operas, Lulu and Wozzeck. You’ll find more links between Weimar and the myth of Weimar in two famous film performances – Marlene Dietrich’s cabaret number, Falling in Love Again, from Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel and Joel Grey from the sound track of Bob Fosse’s Seventies classic, Cabaret.
As with the music so with the words.... take Marc Behm’s thriller, Queen of the Night from which I’ve chosen an extract. Its set in the Twenties at the height of the Weimar period but was published in America in 1977 – testament to the period’s way of jumping out of time. Chronology is also deliberately jumbled in the programme’s ending where the great star of the Weimar stage, Lotte Lenya, gives a twentieth century tone to the words of the nineteenth century philosopher, Nietzsche. It may be a hundred years since the establishment of the Weimar Republic but it seems somehow perfectly natural that many of the ideas and impulses of that time find echoes in the present as well as in the past.

Readings:
Ypsi Lona by Vicki Baum translated by Don Reneau
Moosbrugger by Robert Musil translated by Sophie Wilkins
A Small Yes and a Big No by George Grosz translated by A.J. Pomerans
Queen of the Night by Marc Behm
Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist by Erich Kastner translated by Cyrus Brooks
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Erinnerung an die Marie A by Bertolt Brecht translated by David Constantine and Tom Kuhn
First Dada Manifesto by Hugo Ball translated by Ralph Mannheim
What I saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33 by Joseph Roth translated by Michael Hofmann
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin translated by Michael Hofmann
What I saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33 by Joseph Roth translated by Michael Hofmann
Vereinsamt Nietzsche freely translated by M Z Warley

Producer: Zahid Warley

Poems, prose, song and music inspired in and by the brilliant but doomed German republic.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Remembrance2014110920161113 (R3)Texts and music remembering those who died in war over the last century.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Rest And Respite20200705This is a moment of pause and peace. Even with the cosmic stop-button pushed by the pandemic and global lockdown, it can still seem that the world is obsessed with speed: hyperactive work patterns, immediate information transfer, group video conferencing, a psychological drive towards ever-increasing productivity, more and more of everything all at once.

Slowing things down for a short while, David Ajao and Florence Roberts read sedentary and still poetry, where resting is a human right, a spiritual act, a conversation with nature, a rebellion and resistance, a naughty break from normality. Meanwhile, musical evocations of rest and repose come from Jacques Ibert, Meredith Monk, Henry Purcell, and William Walton.

If you need permission to let your body and mind recover and rejuvenate, rest here a while...

Readings:
Phyllis Webb - Sitting
John Brehm - Layabout
A.E. Housman - Yonder see the morning
Mardsen Hartley - The Very Languor
Goldwin Smith - The True Business Of Live (Epigrams, V, 20)
Emily Dickinson - I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl (443)
Rhina P. Espaillat - “Find Work”
Paul Laurence Dunbar - A Lazy Day
Percy Bysshe Shelley - The Triumph Of Life (extract)
Shuntaro Tanikawa - I Sit (trans. Takako U. Lento) from “The Art Of Being Alone: Poems 1952-2009” © Takako U. Lento, a Cornell East Asia Series book published by Cornell University Press. Used by permission of the publisher.
Thierry Paquot - The Art Of The Siesta (extract - trans. Ken Hollings)
Douglas Dunn - Modern Love
Anne Boyer - Extract from “No” © Anne Boyer, from A Handbook of Disappointed Fate, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, in 2018.
Audre Lorde - A Burst Of Light: Living With Cancer (extract)
Miyo Vestrini - Schedule (trans, Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig)
Kwame Dawes - Before Winter
Wendell Berry - The Peace Of Wild Things © 2012 by Wendell Berry, from The New Collected Poems. Broadcast by permission of Counterpoint Press.
Kei Miller - The Longest Song
Dora Maar - I rested in the arms of my arms
John Berger - Once In A Poem (extract)
Yehuda Amichai - I, Who Am Still Living, May I Rest In Peace (trans. Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfield)

Produced by Jack Howson.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Poems of pause and peace, read by David Ajao and Florence Roberts.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Rivers20190512As part of Radio 3's week long focus on Rivers, today's Words and Music is a journey along some of the world's greatest, from the Nile to the Yangtze, the Ouse to the Severn and the Suck. Readers Nicola Coughlan and Raymond Fearon take us from the 'sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal' of a river in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, to the 'waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth' in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The musical flow includes Gerald Finzi's luscious A Severn Rhapsody, Joni Mitchell's haunting River and Sun Ra's atmospheric evocation of The Nile.

Producer: Georgia Mann Smith.

READINGS:
Kenneth Grahame -The Wind in the Willows
Joseph Conrad - The Heart of Darkness
Alice Oswald - A Sleepwalk on the Severn
Olivia Laing - To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface
Langston Hughes - The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Michael Longley - The Man of Two Sorrows
Leigh Hunt - A Thought of the Nile
Jane Clarke - The River
Sarah Howe - Yangtze
Wordsworth - Sonnets from The River Duddon: After-Thought

Nicola Coughlan and Ray Fearon with readings about the Nile and the Yangtze to the Ouse.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

As part of Radio 3's week long focus on Rivers, today's Words and Music is a journey along some of the world's greatest, from the Nile to the Yangtze, the Ouse to the Severn and the Suck. Readers Nicola Coughlan and Raymond Fearon take us from the 'sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal' of a river in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, to the 'waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth' in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The musical flow includes Michael Tippett's exquisite arrangement of the Spiritual Deep River, Joni Mitchell's haunting River and Florence Price's Mississippi River Suite.

Rooms2014122820160327 (R3)A sequence of poetry, prose and music on the theme of rooms.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Russia After The Revolution20171105A sequence of readings and music from Russia spanning the century since the Revolution.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Saints And Sinners2015021520171228 (R3)Texts and music focusing on saints and sinners. Readers: Jonathan Pryce and Jenny Agutter.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Secrets And Discoveries20191117Secrets and Discoveries is a theme that immediately suggests not only the realms of science and investigation, but the inner world of the human heart. This edition of Words & Music takes its theme from this year’s Being Human Festival, and takes inspiration from some of the research projects involved.

We begin with the first secret, and the first discovery: in the Garden of Eden. Genesis, and the story of the Tree of Knowledge is presented in Polari, the coded patois that was utilised in the underground gay culture of 20th century Britain. Meditations on the Apple, the Tree, and the Fall of Man from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman to Haydn show the sheer range of interpretations that story has bred.

The dramatic potential of secret love is a recurring theme, from American poet Lola Ridge’s obscure Secrets to Barbara Strozzi’s secular song L’amante segreto (The Secret Lover), and the mysterious thirteenth variation of Elgar’s Enigma Variations begins a section dealing with coded expressions of affection. Each variation was named for a friend of Elgar’s, and this highly romantic movement, given only as “***” is suspected to refer to Helen Weaver, who was once engaged to the composer. Brahms’s Sextet for Strings no. 2 and Berg’s Lyric Suite both spell out the names of women with whom their composers were infatuated.

What E.M. Forster refers to as “a great unrecorded history” of LGBT+ love stories are revealed in the next section. De Profundis, the great letter Oscar Wilde wrote, ostensibly to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, during his time imprisoned in Reading Gaol, introduce a swathe of queer love letters – from Tove Jansson to Vivica Bandler, from E.M. Forster about his lover Mohammed el-Adl, from Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West, and Benjamin Britten to Peter Pears. A E Housman’s Because I Liked You Better, about a doomed and possibly unrequited secret love between men and never published during Housman’s lifetime, is given in contrast to Perfume Genius’s Alan, which depicts the delicate, casual intimacy of a marriage between men today.

The link between discoveries inside the human soul and out in the wide universe begins with Alan Turing, who kept the secret of his sexuality whilst making game-changing discoveries during the second world war, is the subject of James McCarthy’s Codebreaker oratorio. Musical and written accounts of Turing’s enigmatic persona and major codebreaking discoveries give way to Thomas Hardy’s reflection on seeing an archaeopteryx fossil In A Museum, Emily Dickinson’s much-debated metaphoric treatment of the earth’s surface in The reticent volcano keeps, and to two very different takes on archaeology. Mike Pitts’ history of British archaeology resonates with eerie ancient Scandinavian music performed on a bone flute, reconstructed from an archaeological discovery made in Sweden.

Anna Meredith’s Blackfriars, a piece Meredith refuses to ascribe or reveal any meaning to, accompanies fragments of American poet Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. Colin Matthews’ completion of Holst’s The Planets, adds Pluto – the Renewer. Pluto was discovered as a planet well after Holst wrote his Planets suite, and then tragically demoted from planet status after Colin Matthews went to the effort of writing it into the suite.

This edition of Words & Music ends a journey from secrecy to discovery on a complicated note: Margaret Atwood’s Journey to the Interior expresses an uneasy desire to venture out into the undiscovered worlds of the wilderness and the self, whilst out of the multi-layered chaos of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach, a love story to rise to the surface: lovers on a park bench. Not a million miles away from the garden we started in.

"And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story, a story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new."

Actors: Bettrys Jones and Kingsley Ben-Adir
Producer: Caitlin Benedict

Hidden messages, secret loves and journeys of discovery in poetry, prose and music.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

From a Polari version of the biblical description of the Tree of Knowledge to Christina Rosetti's poetry of self-discovery - today's Words and Music is inspired by the theme of this year's Being Human Festival and looks at Secrets and Discoveries. The music choices include a sound portrait of Alan Turing in Codebreaker by James McCarthy and the hidden message of his mistress's name put into the score of his Lyric Suite by composer Alban Berg.

Being Human puts on a series of free public events showcasing new research taking place at universities across the UK. You can also hear interviews about some of the projects on Free Thinking this week.

Hidden messages, new attributions and journeys of discovery in poetry, prose and music.

Serpentine2016041720171219 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of snakes. Readers: Tracy-Ann Oberman and Ewan Bailey.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Seven2018052720191223 (R3)Seven days in the week, colours in the rainbow, notes in the diatonic scale; The number seven is considered lucky, mystical and holy in many different cultures and religions and appears frequently in nature as well as literature. Hayley Atwell and Simon Callow read texts and poems related to this most important of numbers, including last words, deadly sins, veils, brides, brothers, and dwarfs. With music by Haydn, Bartok, Strauss and Bowie.

Readings

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Peter Clayton and Martin Price
Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm translated by DL Ashliman
Serenade - Edgar Allen Poe
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
As I was going to St Ives - Anon
The Seven Dials Mystery - Agatha Christie
As You Like It - William Shakespeare
Seven Times the Moon Came- Jesse Belle Rittenhouse
The Parson's Tale - Chaucer translated by Larry D Benson
Seven Times One - Jean Ingelow
Seven last words - The Bible
Bluebeard - Charles Perrault translated by Andrew Lang
The Prisoner of Chillon - Byron
Monday's Child - Traditional
The Seven Sorrows -Ted Hughes
The Rainbow - Christina Rossetti
Salome - Oscar Wilde
Nightfall - Giovanni Pascoli translated by Arlotte M Abbott
Secret Seven - Enid Blyton
In the Seven Woods - WB Yeats
As I Walked Out One Evening - WH Auden

Producer - Ellie Mant.

Hayley Atwell and Simon Callow read texts and poems related to the number seven.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Seven days in the week, colours in the rainbow, notes in the diatonic scale; the number seven is considered lucky, mystical and holy in many different cultures and religions and appears frequently in nature as well as literature. Hayley Atwell and Simon Callow read texts and poems related to this most important of numbers, including last words, deadly sins, veils, brides, brothers and dwarfs. With music by Haydn, Bartok, Strauss and Bowie.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

Seven Ages Of Love20180211Samuel West and Hattie Morahan with poems and prose on love from young to old.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Seven Ages Of Love2018021120210214 (R3)Samuel West and Hattie Morahan with poems and prose on love from young to old.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Shakespeare - Youth And Age20160424Student actors from the Shakespeare Institute with prose and poetry on the theme of youth

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Shakespeare And Jealousy20160423Music and Shakespearean texts on jealousy. Readers: Juliet Stevenson and Tim Pigott-Smith.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Shakespeare And Power2016042320160716 (R3)Juliet Stevenson and Tim Pigott-Smith with readings and music on the power of royalty.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

So Emotional2019033120191231 (R3)There are seven universal emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise and contempt. Readers Brid Brennan and Iain Glen take us on an emotional roller coaster with words ranging from the 17th century lusciousness of Milton to the high impact sparseness of 'insta-poet' Rupi Kaur.

Our emotional journey begins with the laughter of a four year old, Judy Garland bidding us to 'Get Happy' and Jack Underwood's touching portrait of Happiness. But sadness has a beauty of its own and Milton hails Melancholy, while the 14th century mystic Margery Kempe immerses herself in the misery of Christ's suffering. No one does misery like Morrissey so The Smiths are here to tell us: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now. Dylan Thomas and Elvis Costello deliver some explosive anger, while Dorothy Parker and Lulu have a surprise for their disappointing lovers. Roald Dahl's truly disgusting description of Mr Twit's beard will put you off extravagant facial hair for life, while Henry James and Benjamin Britten deliver the fear-factor in the spine-chilling Turn of the Screw. Our emotional journey ends with the chillingly inhuman contempt of Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho and a look back to the medieval practice of fasting to fine-tune human emotions.

You can find a collection of discussion programmes exploring different emotions recorded at the 2019 Free Thinking Festival in a collection on the programme website
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07vq5kw

Readings:
Jack Underwood: Happiness
Aatish Taseer: Extract from The Twice Born: Life and Death on the Ganges
Milton: Extract from Il Penseroso
John Clare: I Am!
Margery Kempe translated by Barry Windeatt: Extract from The Book of Margery Kempe
Rupi Kaur: What is Stronger than the Human Heart?
Dylan Thomas: Not This Anger
Charlotte Brontë: Extract from Jane Eyre
Ted Hughes: Crow Blacker Than Ever
Roald Dahl: Extract from The Twits
Sara Teasdale: Fear read by Iain Glen
Henry James: Extract from The Turn of the Screw
Dorothy Parker: Surprise
Bret Easton Ellis: Extract from American Psycho
Translated by Hetta Howes: Extract from Speculum Sacerdotale

Producer: Georgia Mann

Iain Glen and Brid Brennan journey through the seven universal emotions.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

There are seven universal emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise and contempt. Readers Brid Brennan and Iain Glen take us on an emotional roller coaster with words ranging from the 17th-century lusciousness of Milton to the high impact sparseness of 'insta-poet' Rupi Kaur.

Our emotional journey begins with the laughter of a four year old, Judy Garland bidding us to 'Get Happy' and Jack Underwood's touching portrait of Happiness. But sadness has a beauty of its own and Milton hails Melancholy, while the 14th-century mystic Margery Kempe immerses herself in the misery of Christ's suffering. No one does misery like Morrissey so The Smiths are here to tell us: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now. Dylan Thomas and Elvis Costello deliver some explosive anger, while Dorothy Parker and Lulu have a surprise for their disappointing lovers. Roald Dahl's truly disgusting description of Mr Twit's beard will put you off extravagant facial hair for life, while Henry James and Benjamin Britten deliver the fear-factor in the spine-chilling Turn of the Screw. Our emotional journey ends with the chillingly inhuman contempt of Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho and a look back to the medieval practice of fasting to fine-tune human emotions.

Inspired by the theme of this year's Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival, Words and Music is So Emotional this week, exploring the seven universal emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise and contempt. Readers Brid Brennan and Iain Glen take us on an emotional roller coaster with words ranging from the 17th-century lusciousness of Milton to the high impact sparseness of 'insta-poet' Rupi Kaur.

Our emotional journey begins with the laughter of a four-year-old, Judy Garland bidding us to 'Get Happy' and Jack Underwood's touching portrait of Happiness. But sadness has a beauty of its own and Milton hails Melancholy, while the 14th-century mystic Margery Kempe immerses herself in the misery of Christ's suffering. No-one does misery like Morrissey so The Smiths are here to tell us: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now. Dylan Thomas and Elvis Costello deliver some explosive anger, while Dorothy Parker and Lulu have a surprise for their disappointing lovers. Roald Dahl's truly disgusting description of Mr Twit's beard will put you off extravagant facial hair for life, while Henry James and Benjamin Britten deliver the fear-factor in the spine-chilling Turn of the Screw. Our emotional journey ends with the chillingly inhuman contempt of Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho and a look back to the medieval practice of fasting to fine-tune human emotions.

Producer: Georgia Mann

Solo2014020920171022 (R3)Actor Toby Jones performs all the readings on the terrain between loneliness and solitude.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Somewhere Or Other2018022520201115 (R3)With actors Georgie Glen and Rupert Holliday Evans.
Songs, poems and notes of yearning over love, life and death and the exuberance of the sheer unquantifiable, marvellous, strange, exuberant nature of existence. Somewhere or other must surely be... a love lost or never found, hugely enjoyed or deeply regretted; somewhere or other the perfect home awaits... or a terrible death... or a lesson hard learned... or extraordinary luck... or an encounter of no significance at all which happened once - never to be repeated but never forgotten.

The readings come from Christina and Gabriel Rossetti, Kevin Crossley Holland, W B Yeats, Federico Garcia Lorca, A A Milne, Freya Stark, Donald S Murray and Mark O'Connor amongst others; with the voices of Van Morrison, the Salzburg Boys' Choir, Elizabeth Söderström and Ella Johnson plus the melodies of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, Judith Weir, Dave Brubeck, Benjamin Britten, Aram Khachaturian, Peter Maxwell Davies and others.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

In search of the perfect person, the perfect place and things that happen along the way.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The readings come from Christina and Gabriel Rossetti, Kevin Crossley Holland, W B Yeats, Federico Garcia Lorca, A A Milne, Freya Stark, Donald S Murray and Mark O'Connor amongst others; with the voices of Van Morrison, the Salzburg Boys' Choir, Elizabeth Söderström and Ella Johnson plus the melodies of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, Judith Weir, Dave Brubeck, Benjamin Britten, Aram Khatchaturian, Peter Maxwell Davies and others.

Sons And Daughter Of The Soil2017011520181209 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of working on the land read by Emilia Fox and Alex Jennings.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Emilia Fox and Alex Jennings with a selection of readings and music reflecting the lives of those who work the land, including poems by
Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy, Sasha Dugdale, Dylan Thomas and Virgil. Music of an agricultural nature comes from Benjamin Britten, Debussy, Duke Ellington, Scott Walker and Ivor Gurney among others.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Sound Frontiers: Rebirth20160925A live reading of poetry and music reflecting feelings of renewal in the postwar world.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Sound Frontiers: Turning Points2016100220171222 (R3)John Sessions and Juliet Stevenson with forward-looking prose and poetry with music.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Star Light, Star Bright2016073120180128 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of stars, with readers Lorelei King and John Paul Connolly.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Lorelei King and John Paul Connolly are looking heavenwards, with poetry and music on the beauty, science and influence of the stars.

Includes poetry by Keats, Whitman, Katherine Mansfield and Gerard Manley Hopkins, plus wise words from theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, and music from John Cage, Vaughan Williams, Kraftwerk and Britten, to name only a few.

Producer Note
This edition of Words and Music celebrates the ancient pastime, art and science of star-gazing, beginning and ending with whatever secret wish upon a star you need to make...
The sheer vastness of the starry height is described for us by Katherine Mansfield and Gerard Manley Hopkins, accompanied by silvery starlit music from Eriks Esenvalds and a violin concerto by Oliver Davis that takes as its inspiration the NASA Voyager probe, speeding through the galaxies. And Jerry Goldsmith's expansive Star Trek theme morphs into Holst's "Venus" - we know now it's a planet, but it was known to ancient civilisations as both the morning and the evening star...
Poetry from Louise Gluck and prose from Thomas Hardy express the feeling of human insignificance when set against the rolling night sky, as Jennifer Higdon's piano quintet "Scenes from the Poet's Dreams" races through stars, and as Robert Frost, underdog, leaps and barks with the great overdog - Canis Major.
Walt Whitman's poetic impatience with the learned astronomer's facts and figures is understandable perhaps, but those astronomers of old, the Magi, embraced both science and theology in their quest for the Star of Bethlehem. And staying with the theology for a while, Mary was commonly known as Our Lady, Star of the Sea in medieval times - a symbol of hope and guidance.
But back to the science - Philip Glass wrote his piece "Orion" as an evening-long piece for the 2004 Athens Olympics, as the constellation is visible from both hemispheres. We hear part of "Australia", complete with didgeridoo, accompanying Sir Patrick Moore with a brief excerpt from "The Sky at Night" in which he runs through part of his own "Caldwell Catalogue" of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman has no objection, as you might expect, to speaking of the wondrous science of astronomy, and we have an... unexpected contribution from Professor Stephen Hawking as well. The words in the electro-pop offering from Kraftwerk tell us that "From the deeps of space radio stars are transmitting pulsars and quasars". Christine Paice's poem "A star against the eye" was written for National Science Week 2010 - "Science Made Marvellous".
A change of pace next with music by William Herschel, who not only was a composer of numerous symphonies, sonatas and concertos but was also Court Astronomer to George III and the discoverer of the planet Uranus. I have also included part of "Atlas eclipticalis" by John Cage, a piece of music that is made by superimposing musical staves over star charts, He writes that the piece is "a heavenly illustration of nirvana," and a performance "should be like looking into the sky on a clear night and seeing the stars."
We can't ignore the effects of stars on lovers, courtesy of Shakespeare, Keats and Puccini's aria from Tosca, whereas the hope or perhaps fear that the movements of the stars affects human fate is expressed by Siegfried Sassoon, Peter Grimes in Britten's opera, and in a catalogue of the stars in the zodiac in Vaughan Williams "Sons of Light".
The programme draws towards a close with hymns to the stars of evening, and finally, against a backdrop of Terry Riley's quirky "Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector", Louis MacNeice wrestles with the mind-blowing concept that the light from the stars began its journey millennia before we were born, and that we will never see the light that is setting out on that journey right now. Easier perhaps, to wish upon a star than to comprehend one...

Streetlife2014042020200503 (R3)Words and music about life on the streets, with readings by Toby Jones and Mariah Gale.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Toby Jones and Mariah Gale read literature about life on the streets by Charles Dickens, James Joyce and Baudelaire, with music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Janacek and Bernstein.

Producer: Clara Nissen

Readings:
TS Eliot - The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist
Stephen Crane - Maggie
Elizabeth Gaskell - North and South
Various news reports
Monica Ali - Brick Lane
Charles Baudelaire - Twilight from Les Fleurs du Mal translated by William Aggeler
James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
Kenneth Slessor - Choker's Lane
Matthew Arnold - West London
James Norman Hall - Fifth Avenue in Fog

Suburbs2013071420170226 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of the suburbs, with readers Emily Joyce and Philip Frank.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Such Sweet Sadness20170618A sequence of poetry, prose and music, with readings by Siobhan Redmond and Harry Anton.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Summer Nights2016080720160814 (R3)Texts and music about summer nights. The readers are Simon Russell Beale and Sian Thomas.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Summer Nights2016081420200726 (R3)Simon Russell Beale and Sian Thomas read prose and poetry reflecting on the final hours on a summer’s day.

“Oh, how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but a sunless, yet unclouded day, descending upon earth with dews and shadows and refreshing coolness” was how the American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described the twilight hours. The English landscape is evoked in Vaughan Williams' setting of “The Water Mill” by Fredegond Shove and in John Clare’s “Summer Evening” in which he captures the fearful animals, insects and birds disturbed by ‘proud man’.

American summers are evoked in the description of one of the famous parties in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” where, in Gatsby’s blue gardens, there is a “sea-change of faces and voices under the constantly changing light” heard with Miles Davis’ “Once upon a Summertime”. The overwhelming heat of New York is brilliantly caught by Langston Hughes and by Sara Teasdale’s description of the ‘fragrant darkness’ of the Hudson river.

T.S. Eliot’s mysterious evocation of the summer midnight rituals of man and woman “in daunsinge, signifying matrimonie” is heard with Philip Glass’ “Hymn to the Sun” from Akhnaten. Carol Ann Duffy’s” The Midsummer Night” is heard with Mendelssohn’s Notturno from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Wallace Stevens’ poem, ”The House was Quiet and the World was Calm”, captures the calm of the poet’s home as he sits reading a book alongside the calm of the universe on a summer night and the poet’s desire to be one “to whom The summer night is like a perfection of thought”. The poem is heard with the American composer Samuel Barber’s “Nocturne”, a piano setting which may well be exploring a similar ‘access of perfection’ to Stevens’ poet’s dream.

Summer Nights ends with A. E. Housman’s “When Summer’s End is Nighing”, an elegy for lost youth which ends with the hope of a new beginning. As summer’s end nears the poet’s heart is reawakened:

‘The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.’

Words and Music ends with Vaughan Williams' “The Lark Ascending”, his beautiful evocation of the English countryside, written on the eve of war in 1914 and imagining the losses to come

Readings:

Oh, how beautiful - Henry Longfellow
Night Drive - Seamus Heaney
Summer Evening - John Clare
The Prelude - William Wordsworth
Moonlight, Summer Moonlight - Emily Brontë
Song - Walt Whitman
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Summer Stars - Carl Sandburg
Summer Evening - Sara Teasdale
The Four Quartets - TS Eliot
The House Was Quiet - Wallace Stevens
Summer Night - Langston Hughes
Midsummer Night - Carol Ann Duffy
When summer's end is nighing - AE Housman

Music set against seasonal prose and poetry read by Sian Thomas and Simon Russell Beale.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Sunday20180812Frances Barber and Greg Wise read texts and poems covering many Sunday-related occupations and states of mind, as well as thoughts about the very purpose of Sunday. A full list of the music and readings can be found on the Words and Music programme website.

Jane Eyre is enduring a freezing cold walk to church, Jim Dixon is nursing the mother of all hangovers, Peter Grimes is fishing and William Brown is looking forward to creating havoc on a Sunday School outing. For some Sunday is a day of rest, a chance to play sports, cook a roast, and read the papers. For others it's planned around one, or in the case of Samuel Pepys, several trips to church. For children it can be a day of utter tedium, captured beautifully by Margaret Atwood in her poem Bored. But for adults Sunday can be an opportunity for a rare day off, to take a moment to dream about the past, as Edward Hirsch does in his poem Early Sunday Morning, or to contemplate the week ahead. Extracts include works by Jane Austen and Graham Swift, with Sunday-themed music by Vaughan Williams, Haydn, Sondheim, and Ellington.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

Enjoy your day of rest with a literary and musical celebration of Sunday.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Tanglewood Jungles20160110Anna Chancellor and Julian Rhind-Tutt in prose and poetry evocative of tanglewood jungles.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Temperatures Rising20190804From John Clare’s white wool-sack clouds to the daydreaming figure under Meleager’s plane tree, summer days have long been a time for writers to wander into fantasies and idylls.

But summer can be a time for extreme weather too - cathartic storms and raging wildfires burst forth in the music of Vivaldi and the epic accounts of Imru’ al-Qais and Cassius Dio. And the fierce sun inspires a particular vividness in the African desert of H. Rider Haggard and the noontime scene in southern India that Kamala Das conjures.

These extremes may have had an exotic appeal in the past; but now, they hint at what is likely to become far more familiar, as temperatures rise.

Pack your sunscreen and join readers Raad Rawi and Pearl Chanda in the hot landscapes of past, present and future, with music by Debussy, Orff and Jobim.

Readings:
Sonnet - John Clare
Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt
Still Life with Sea Pinks and High Tide - Maura Dooley
King Solomon’s Mines - H. Rider Haggard
Wasteland - T. S. Eliot
A Hot Noon in Malabar - Kamala Das
A Something In a Summer’s Day - Emily Dickinson
The Day-dream - Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Epigram 196 - Meleager
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan - Isabella Bird
On the Idle Hill of Summer - A. E Housman
Hyperobjects - Timothy Morton
A Mancunian Taxi-driver Foresees His Death - Michael Symmons Roberts
Sonnet - Antonio Vivaldi
Ode - Imru’ al-Qais
Roman History - Cassius Dio
In A Dark Time - Theodore Roethke

Produced by Chris Elcombe.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Raad Rawi and Pearl Chanda evoke lush summer and parched deserts.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Pack your sunscreen and join readers Raad Rawi and Pearl Chanda in the hot landscapes of past, present and future, with music by Debussy, Orff and Jobim.

Produced by Chris Elcombe.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Raad Rawi and Pearl Chanda evoke lush summer and parched deserts.

The 1920s20210117From the Harlem Renaissance and the world of the Charleston, the Great Gatsby and the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb to the financial crash at the end of the decade. Today's programme hears readings by Adjoa Andoh & Guy Burgess of poems and prose by authors including Langston Hughes, Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf and Jean Toomer with music by Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith, Ravel and Vaughan Williams.

The 1920s were known variously as the Roaring Twenties, the Golden Twenties, the Jazz Age and the Flapper Era. It was also the decade of the Wall Street Crash, the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, the first talking pictures and dance crazes like the Charleston and the samba. In many ways it was a period of transition from the pre-First World War order to a more recognisably modern age. Words and Music reflects this change in the novels, poetry, songs and compositions from a century or so ago. There are readings from the fiction of F Scott Fitzgerald, Rosamund Lehman, Richmal Crompton and Virginia Woolf, verse from TS Eliot, Frances Cornford, Thomas Hardy, Edith Sitwell and poets of the Harlem Renaissance while the music ranges from Prokofiev, Poulenc and Puccini to Gershwin, Ellington and Bessie Smith, from Ravel and Nadia Boulanger to Weill and Vaughan Williams via Louis Armstrong and Carmen Miranda.

Producer: Harry Parker

From the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Gatsby to the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Art Of Forgetting2017101520180513 (R3)Claire Benedict and David Neilson read literary musings on forgetting and forgetfulness.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

As part of Radio 3's Why Music? The Key to Memory weekend in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection this week's Words and Music is called "The Art of Forgetting", Actors Claire Benedict (The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency) and David Neilson (Coronation Street) read literary musings on forgetting and forgetfulness. With prose and poetry from Ogden Nash, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Philip K Dick, Milan Kundera and others. Music includes Debussy, Purcell, Philip Glass, Villa-Lobos and Jacques Brel. The programme starts with humour and gravitates to more serious matters, exploring what an essential human quality it is to forget. The Art of Forgetting embraces the story of "S", the Russian mnemonist whose memory demonstrated no distinct limits, a lost soul who was simply unable to forget.

The Black Sun: Marking 75 Years Since The First Atomic Bomb20200809This edition of Words and Music marks 75 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and 9th August 1945, and explores the fallout from that world-defining moment in poetry, prose and music. Readers Iain Glenn and Kae Alexander (who was born in Kobe in Japan) read work by Japanese writers, including Hiroshima survivors Nakamura On and Sadako Kurihara; and poetry by Allen Ginsberg, John Donne, Ukrainian poet and Chernobyl survivor Liubov Sirota and the British writer Susan Wicks.

The programme includes excerpts from journalist John Hersey’s Hiroshima, first broadcast on The Third Programme in 1948, an unflinching account of some of the survivors Hersey met. There’s also an excerpt from John Osbourne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger, capturing the cynicism and sense of dread that reverberated across the world in the years after the atomic bombings.

Musically, Japan is evoked by shakuhachi player Toshimitsu Ishikawa and koto player Kimio Eto. There’s also music by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Electronic pioneer Isao Tomita. You’ll also hear part of Krzysztof Penderecki’s harrowing piece Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, and music from Hildur Gudnadottir’s award-winning score for the television series Chenobyl – plus songs by country duo The Louvin Brothers, pop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Kate Bush, dealing with the fear and ferment of the nuclear age.

The Black Sun: marking 75 years since the first atomic bomb.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Body20201129From the tattoos on Queequeg in Moby Dick to the schoolboys in Nicholas Nickleby, the diaries of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison to the experience of excavating an Iron Age tomb, medieval manuscripts to studies of the gut - today's programme reflects research into different aspects of the body undertaken by New Generation Thinkers.

As Radio 3 marks the fact that 100 early career academics have now come through the scheme run in conjunction with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to turn research into radio - this episode features new non fiction writing by ten New Generation Thinkers read by the actors Deeivya Meir and Ewan Bailey with published authors Sarah Jackson, Sandeep Parmar, Preti Taneja and Peter Mackay reading their own poems and prose.

The musical pieces range from Mahler to the Delta Rhythm Boys via Scriabin and Missy Mazzoli.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

You can find a playlist of discussions, short documentaries and Essays featuring New Generation Thinkers on the Free Thinking programme website.

From tattoos to massage, pregnancy to posture devices, excavations to emotional outbursts.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Bridge2017012220191208 (R3)
20200913 (R3)
An exhilarating leap in the dark and a feat of engineering. Bridges shape our world, whether they're constructions thrown across a raging torrent, or synaptic sparks that help us understand each other converting incomprehension into meaning.

In the year which has seen Tower Bridge across the Thames marking its 125th anniversary this Words and Music features readings by Paapa Essiedu and Alice St Clair.

We travel from west to east on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, which links Europe to Asia; move to the fateful Tallahatchie Bridge in Mississippi made famous in Bobby Gentry's song; and brood on the rainbow bridge that inspired Wagner. Other musical choices range from George Gershwin and Benjamin Britten, to Sonny Rollins, who practised his saxophone alone on the Williamsburg Bridge to Sally Beamish "Bridging the Day". There’s a bit of loitering under the arch of a railway bridge while W. H. Auden cocks an ear to a lover’s song; Thomas Hood's influential Victorian poem about a suicide on Waterloo Bridge; and a dizzy descent into the mechanical heart of Tower Bridge where Iain Chambers recorded his musique concrete composition – Bascule Chambers.

Readings:
Geert Mak First sight of the Galata Bridge 3 extracts.
W. H. Auden As I walked out one Evening
Thomas Hood The Bridge of Sighs
Seamus Heaney Scaffolding
Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Leonard Cottrell Pont du Carrousel
T. S. Eliot From The Waste Land, The Burial of the Dead
William Wordsworth Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
R. S. Thomas Ninetieth Birthday
Octavio Paz translated by Eliot Weinberger The Bridge
Geert Mak From The Bridge (Last sight of the Galata Bridge)

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Readings by Paapa Essiedu and Alice St Clair take us from London to Paris and Istanbul.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

An exhilarating leap in the dark and a feat of engineering. Bridges shape our world, whether they're constructions thrown across a raging torrent, or synaptic sparks that help us understand each other converting incomprehension into meaning.
In the year which has seen Tower Bridge across the Thames marking its 125th anniversary this Words and Music features readings by Paapa Essiedu and Alice St Clair.

We travel from West to East on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul which links Europe to Asia; move to the fateful Tallahatchie Bridge in Mississippi made famous in Bobby Gentry's song; and brood on the rainbow bridge that inspired Wagner. Other musical choices range from George Gershwin and Benjamin Britten, to Sonny Rollins, who practised his saxaphone alone on the Williamsburg Bridge to Sally Beamish "Bridging the Day". There’s a bit of loitering under the arch of a railway bridge while W. H. Auden cocks an ear to a lover’s song; Thomas Hood's influential Victorian poem about a suicide on Waterloo Bridge; and a dizzy descent into the mechanical heart of Tower Bridge where Iain Chambers recorded his musique concrete composition – Bascule Chambers.

The Chessboard20180617Readings from Adjoa Andoh and Henry Goodman. Music from Shostakovich to The Rolling Stones via Chopin, Louis Armstrong and Rokia Traore. Authors include Han Kang, Shakespeare, Philip Larkin and Omar Khayyam in a programme that zig zags like a knight, soars like a bishop and plods like a pawn taking in music played only on white notes, race in America and the bright white magic of an anchovy shoal glimpsed in the pitch dark - a journey from white to black and back...for further illumination consult the producer note below!

Producer: Zahid Warley.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Detectives2015041920171229 (R3)Readings and music inspired by some of fiction's greatest detectives.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Fight Between Carnival And Lent2017050720180218 (R3)Texts and music inspired by a 1559 Bruegel painting. Readers: Jenny Agutter, Peter Wight.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Jenny Agutter and Peter Wight with readings and music inspired by the 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The painting depicts the folk traditions surrounding Carnival and Lent in the German lands in the early decades of the Reformation. The selection of music and readings explores the more universal struggle, between the desire to eat, drink, and let lose, embodied in Carnival, and the spirit of restraint and self-control personified in Lent. Including readings from Rabelais, Baudelaire, Donne, and Emily Dickinson, and music from Verdi, Mozart, Bach and Penderecki.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

First broadcast in May 2017 as part of Radio 3's Breaking Free season of programming exploring the impact of Martin Luther's Revolution.

The Garden2018011420190526 (R3)Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts encompassing public gardens, secret gardens, magical gardens, and paradise gardens.

Jane Eyre is hiding in one, Peter Rabbit is escaping from one, the collector of plants John Tradescant is tending one, and the gothic novel heroine Rebecca de Winter's has been completely taken over by nature. Whether a place to relax, play, be seen or to hide, the garden serves many purposes in literature, as in life. There are public gardens such as Spring Gardens in Vauxhall, the place to be seen in the mid-18th century, boasting summer concerts and a fine statue of Handel. Oscar Wilde describes Paris’s equivalent, the Jardin des Tuileries, a painting of which is included in Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition. Including music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Sofia Gubaidulina, Rebecca Clarke and Takemitsu.

Producer: Ellie Mant

Readings:
Anon: Genesis from The Bible (King James Version)
James Merrill: A Vision of the Garden
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass
WB Yeats: Down by the Salley Gardens
Elizabeth Jennings: Her Garden
Philippa Gregory: Earthly Joys
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Beloved, thou has brought me many flowers
Sir John Hawkins: A General History of the Science and Practice of Music
Charles Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby
Oscar Wilde: Le Jardin des Tuileries
Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca
Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
WH Auden: Their Lonely Betters
Edwin Arlington Robinson: The Garden
John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids
Alfred Tennyson: The Gardener’s Daughter
Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden

Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts on the theme of The Garden.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Gift20181202Readers Kenneth Cranham and Nadine Marshall explore the excitement (and occasional disappointment) of giving and receiving. From the beleaguered sisters in Little Women, contemplating Christmas without presents, to the court of the Ottoman Emperor in the 16th century, where Elizabeth I's envoys are presenting an extravagant musical gift. The gift of love and sex is explored by Shakespeare, John Donne and Andrew McMillan, and Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole reminds us how important totally useless gifts can be at Christmas time. The mildly festive musical gift wrap for this edition ranges from Nina Simone's Little Girl Blue to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and Poveri fiori from Francesco Cilèa's opera Adriana Lecouvreur, where the tragic Adriana has just opened a mysterious birthday present containing the wilted remains of the violets she once gave her beloved Maurizio.
Producer: Georgia Mann-Smith

Exploring the excitement (and occasional disappointment) of giving and receiving presents.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Great Escape2017091020190102 (R3)From holidays to prison breaks, sleep and death, with Adrian Dunbar and Jade Anouka.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Adrian Dunbar and Jade Anouka with readings which look at escaping life, love, war and family. From the terror of a monstrous battle in Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, to the thrilling Prisoner of War break-out in Paul Brickhill's novel The Great Escape. There's also the more existential desire to escape one's gender or relationship, dealt with by the likes of Christina Rossetti and Sylvia Plath. Then there's the escape we find in sleep and eventually death, explored by Shakespeare and Yeats. Mirroring the mood of our escapees is a soundtrack which features everything from Dowland to Ligeti, Elena Kaats-Chernin to Vaughan Williams.

Producer: Georgia Mann-Smith

Exploring the theme of The Great Escape with Adrian Dunbar and Jade Anouka.

The Long And Winding Road20180415Roads join the here and the there, the past and the present, the known and the unknown. They provide that important interim stage when change lies ahead. With readers Claire Rushbrooke and Paul Higgins, we'll go wandering down all sorts of roads, from the Road of the Wanderer to the Road of Paradise, with a selection of poetry and prose by Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Nelson Mandela and Christina Rossetti among others. The musical accompaniment to our ramble comes courtesy of Vaughan Williams, Janacek, Haydn and The Hollies.

Producer: Dominic Wells.

Words and Music on the theme of The Long and Winding Road.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Messenger2017031220191224 (R3)A sequence of poetry, prose and music, with readings by Ewan Bailey and Clare Perkins.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

From the message of the Angel Gabriel to the Go-Between and Juliet's nurse in Shakespeare's play - today's programme looks at the bringing of news, of assignations, birth and death and defeat on battlefields. With music from Gustav Holst and Carl Orff to John Adams, and poems and prose from Robert Browning and Anne Bronte to Vera Brittain. The readers are Ewan Bailey and Clare Perkins.

Readings
The Go-Between - LP Hartley
Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare
The Burial at Thebes - Seamus Heaney
Mary and Gabriel - Rupert Brooke
Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain
The Messenger - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Gabriel - Adrienne Rich
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë
Understanding Media - Marshal McLuhan
How They Brought the Good News from Aix to Ghent - Robert Browning
The Electric Michaelangelo - Sarah Hall

Producer: Robyn Read.

The Mighty Oak20180624With readings by Sian Phillips and Joseph Mydell and music from Verdi, Smetana and Britten

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Moon2017123120190714 (R3)The silvery goddess loved by poets and composers including music actually sent to the Moon

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

What would Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata sound like if it was played by the Moon? Tune in to this evening's edition of Words and Music and you can hear for yourself, thanks to a piece conceived by the sound artist Katie Paterson. Katie's piece, Earth-Moon-Earth, is part of a programme which celebrates the Moon - whether metaphorical green cheese or cruel, silvery goddess.
The Moon has always dazzled and puzzled us. Composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Schoenberg and writers such as Larkin, Auden and Emily Dickinson have all fallen under her spell, and tonight's programme, featuring the actors Fenella Woolgar and Patrick O'Kane, is an invitation to succumb once more to her enchantment.

Producer: Zahid Warley

Readings:
Nocturne - James Attlee
This Lunar Beauty - W.H. Auden
With how sad steps - Sir Philip Sidney
Sad Steps - Philip Larkin
I watched the Moon around the house - Emily Dickinson
Drinking Alone - Li Po (trans Arthur Waley)
The Moon and the Yew Tree - Sylvia Plath
Preface to Frankenstein -Mary Shelley
Strange fits of Passion - William Wordsworth
Autumn - T.E. Hulme
Moon Landing - W.H. Auden
Icaromenippus - Lucian (trans Thomas Francklin)

What would Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata sound like if it was played by the Moon? Tune in to this evening's edition of Words and Music and you can hear for yourself thanks to a piece conceived by the sound artist, Katie Paterson. Katie's piece - Earth-Moon-Earth is part of programme which celebrates The Moon whether metaphorical green cheese, or cruel, silvery goddess.
The Moon has always dazzled and puzzled us. Composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Schoenberg and writers such as Larkin, Auden and Emily Dickinson have all fallen under her spell - and tonight's programme , featuring the actors, Fenella Woolgar and Patrick O'Kane, is an invitation to succumb once more to her enchantment.

Readings:
Nocturne - James Attlee
This Lunar Beauty - W. H. Auden
With how sad steps - Sir Philip Sidney
Sad Steps - Philip Larkin
I watched the Moon around the house - Emily Dickinson
Drinking Alone - Li Po (trans Arthur Waley)
The Moon and the Yew Tree - Sylvia Plath
Preface to Frankenstein -Mary Shelley
Strange fits of Passion - William Wordsworth
Autumn - T. E. Hulme
Moon Landing - W.H. Auden
Icaromenippus - Lucian (trans Thomas Francklin)

What would Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata sound like if it was played by the Moon? Tune in to this evening's edition of Words and Music and you can hear for yourself, thanks to a piece conceived by the sound artist Katie Paterson. Katie's piece, Earth-Moon-Earth, is part of a programme which celebrates the Moon - whether metaphorical green cheese or cruel, silvery goddess.
The Moon has always dazzled and puzzled us. Composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Schoenberg and writers such as Larkin, Auden and Emily Dickinson have all fallen under her spell, and tonight's programme, featuring the actors Fenella Woolgar and Patrick O'Kane, is an invitation to succumb once more to her enchantment.

Readings:
Nocturne - James Attlee
This Lunar Beauty - W.H. Auden
With how sad steps - Sir Philip Sidney
Sad Steps - Philip Larkin
I watched the Moon around the house - Emily Dickinson
Drinking Alone - Li Po (trans Arthur Waley)
The Moon and the Yew Tree - Sylvia Plath
Preface to Frankenstein -Mary Shelley
Strange fits of Passion - William Wordsworth
Autumn - T.E. Hulme
Moon Landing - W.H. Auden
Icaromenippus - Lucian (trans Thomas Francklin)

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The News20180715From early morning radio bulletins and a daily paper, to TV and social media, The News is at the centre of our lives. It shapes conversations. It affects our mood. This edition travels from the 19th century, when newspapers were seen as noble messengers, to the 21st, with 24-hour rolling news on every screen.

Comical newshounds in novels by Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Trollope, populate the first half of the programme, and poets Carol Ann Duffy and Wendy Cope point a cynical finger at the tabloid press. Then the mood darkens as Siegfried Sassoon's WWI soldier humours a naïve war reporter, and Joan Barton poignantly recalls watching the outbreak of WWII on a cinema newsreel. John Adams wrote his opera Nixon in China, inspired by the president's 1972 visit and the mythology surrounding it. Meanwhile the gut instincts and determination of investigative reporters Bernstein and Woodward were eventually to bring Nixon down.

Music, poetry and archive clips reflect key moments in history, such as Paul Simon's moving Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night, as Dr Martin Luther King visits Atlanta and America anticipates five more years of war in Vietnam, and Roger Woddis's outcry against the UK race riots in 1981. 20 years later, Andrew Marr watches the 9/11 terrorist attacks unfold in real time on a 24-hour rolling news service.

We hear themes used for news programmes by Malcolm Arnold, John Williams and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and incidental music for plays and films, such as Samuel Barber's School for Scandal and Bernard Herrmann's score for Citizen Kane.

Newsreader Kathy Clugston and Miles Jupp, host of BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz, are the readers for a special edition of Words and Music exploring the evolution of how we get our news.

Producer Helen Garrison.

Poetry, prose and music about the news media, with readers Miles Jupp and Kathy Clugston.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Plastic Tide2018092320210110 (R3)Fiona Shaw and Robert Glenister perform readings where anxiety meets beauty as we mark a year that will see COP26 - the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties taking place in Glasgow in November. It’s unknown how much unrecycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean but research at the University of Georgia estimates between 5.3 and 14 million tons just on coastal regions. In this programme we appreciate nature through the poems of John Clare and Edward Thomas and the music of Oliver Messiaen and John Luther Adams. Our fear at the dangers facing the environment come in Lavinia Greenlaw's The Recital of Lost Cities, Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi and Alan Hovhaness's And God Created Great Whales. Our love of plastics is captured in an extract from Richard Yates' novel, Revolutionary Road, in which his characters drive candy and ice cream coloured automobiles, ("a long bright valley of coloured plastic and plate glass and stainless steel"). And a possible outcome of our abuse of our environment comes in Byron's prophetic Darkness, written in 1816 after a volcano eruption cast enough sulphur into the atmosphere to reduce global temperatures and cause abnormal weather across much of north-east America and northern Europe.

The producer is Fiona McLean.

Readings:

James Honeyborne and Mark Brownlow - from The Blue Planet
Ira Levin - from The Stepford Wives
Denise Levertov - It Should be Visible
Iain Hamilton Finlay - Estuary
Luke Kennard - The Persistence of Rubbish
Jane Commane - Circa
Richard Yates - from Revolutionary Road
Lord Byron - from Darkness
Anna Kavan - from Ice
Simon Armitage - The Last Snowman
Lavinia Greenlaw - The Recital of Lost Cities
Sonali Deraniyagala - from Wave
Edward Thomas - First Known when Lost
John Clare - All Nature has a Feeling
Alice Oswald - A Short History of Falling
Henry David Thoreau - from Walden
Rachel Carson - from Silent Spring

You can find this playlist of discussions about Green Thinking on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking website which includes an exploration of Rachel Carson's influential book The Silent Spring https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2

If you feel inspired and would like to find out more about the actions you can take to help make a difference – go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/453T5Gp3FP6kmMrJBRS09d/resources

Poetry and music inspired by the environment. With Fiona Shaw and Robert Glenister.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

A journey in poetry, prose and music inspired by the environment. 2018 is the year that “plastic” was dubbed Children’s Word of the Year by the OUP, an indication of the young’s awareness and passion for their world. David Attenborough's Blue Planet II focused on the fears of whole ecosystems being on the verge of destruction. It’s unknown how much unrecycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean but research at the University of Georgia estimates between 5.3 and 14 million tons just on coastal regions.

Fiona Shaw and Robert Glenister perform readings where anxiety meets beauty and humour. We appreciate nature through the poems of John Clare and Edward Thomas and the music of Oliver Messiaen and John Luther Adams. Our fear at the dangers facing the environment come in Lavinia Greenlaw's The Recital of Lost Cities Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi and Alan Hovhaness's And God Created Great Whales. Our love of plastics is captured in an extract from Richard Yates' novel, Revolutionary Road, in which his characters drive candy and ice cream coloured automobiles, ("a long bright valley of colored plastic and plate glass and stainless steel"). And a possible outcome of our abuse of our environment comes in Byron's prophetic Darkness, written in 1816 after a volcano eruption cast enough sulphur into the atmosphere to reduce global temperatures and cause abnormal weather across much of north-east America and northern Europe.

If you feel inspired and would like to find out more about the actions YOU can take to help make a difference – go to www.bbc.com/plasticsaction

The Play's The Thing20160424Poems, songs, readings and music celebrating Shakespeare's legacy in theatre and acting.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Power Of Alchemy2014051820161223 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of alchemy. Readers: Sian Phillips and Donald Sumpter.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Power Of Music20200719As the 2020 BBC Proms gets under way Words and Music explores The Power of Music in a special programme featuring recordings by all the BBC-affiliated performing groups. Readers Clarke Peters and Maggie Service read poetry and prose exploring the unique place music has in our lives, from the 'thousand twangling instruments' which magically fill the air in Shakespeare's The Tempest, to the 'mute glorious Storyvilles' that Philip Larkin imagines when he hears Sidney Bechet play. We'll feel the jealousy and awe that Mozart inspired in Salieri in Peter Schaffer's Amadeus, and the erotic urgency of Langston Hughes' Harlem Night Club. In this special edition of Words and Music the BBC orchestras play a starring role. There are special remote recordings from members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and BBC Singers, and Rachel Weld, a viola player from the BBC Philharmonic, has recorded a series of postcards reflecting on life as an orchestral musician, and what the enforced distance from her fellow players has been like during lockdown.

All the music in this special edition is recorded by BBC performing groups and affiliated orchestras and ranges from the BBC Philharmonic playing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales playing Shostakovich, to the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing with Lianne La Havas. There's also Britten played in a special remote recording by BBC Symphony Orchestra harpist Louise Martin, Haydn from a BBC Philharmonic Orchestra quartet and Cole Porter's Night and Day sung by members of The BBC Singers.

READINGS

Saturday - Ian McEwan
I Am In Need of Music - Elizabeth Bishop
The Tempest - Shakespeare
If Bach had been a beekeeper - Charles Tomlinson
For Sidney Bechet - Philip Larkin
My Last Dance - Julia Ward Howe
The Harlem Dancer - Claude McKay
Amadeus - Peter Schaffer
An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
Harlem Night Club - Langston Hughes
Grace Notes - Bernard MacLaverty
Siege and Symphony - Brian Moynhan
Tess of the d’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Music when Soft Voices Die - Percy Bysshe Shelley
Everyone Sang - Siegfried Sassoon
Howard's End - EM Forster

Readings by Clarke Peters and Maggie Service plus a musician's lockdown diary.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Pre-raphaelites2019012020191226 (R3)“They meant revolt, and produced revolution”: that's how one critic described the group of late 19th-century artists, poets and writers who came to be known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Actors Jamie Glover and Skye Hallam read words by the Pre-Raphaelites themselves, alongside the sources and subject matter that so fascinated them. Our journey through their artistic universe takes us from Malory’s Arthurian legends and the love poetry of Dante Alighieri in the 13th century, to the sometimes coruscating reviews of Victorian contemporaries like Charles Dickens.

Pre-Raphaelite art is full of woeful maidens with flowing hair, and many suggest that the real women who posed for the likes of Rossetti and Millais were exploited. We'll hear the death of Ophelia described by Shakespeare's Gertrude alongside poetry by Elizabeth Siddal, the celebrated muse who posed for Millais' painting Ophelia, spending days on end fully clothed in a bath full of freezing water.

Musically, we start with Gilbert and Sullivan's Overture to Patience, an operetta that included a character satirising the ever-so-slightly pompous Pre-Raphaelites. There’s also the glistening sound of Debussy's cantata La Damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damozel), based on Rossetti's poem of the same name, and a song from modern-day Pre-Raphaelite Florence Welch.

We finish with words by the only female member of the Pre-Raphaelite clan, Christina Rossetti, musing on how a painter's gaze always renders “One face” looking “out from all his canvases”. That's set against Martha Wainwright's heart breaking song Proserpina, bringing to mind Rossetti’s famous painting of Proserpine – a captive goddess looking out of the Pre-Raphaelite canvas.

An exhibition called Pre-Raphaelite Sisters runs at the National Portrait Gallery until January 26th.

Readings:
William Michael Rossetti: Extract from Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art
The Times, 1851: Extract from The Times May 7th 1851
Malory: Extract from Le Morte D'Arthur, King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table
Tennyson: Extract from The Lady of Shalott
Christina Rossetti: Extract from The Convent Threshold
Keats: La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad
Dante Alighieri translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Extract from La Vita Nuova
Charles Dickens: Extract from a review in Household Words of Millais’ Painting ‘Christ in the House of his Parents’
Sappho translated by Stanley Lombardo: Fragment 16
Algernon Charles Swinburne: Extract from Sapphics
Robert Buchanen: Extract from The Fleshly School of Poetry
Christina Rossetti: Extract from Goblin Market
Jeanette Winterson: Extract from Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Shakespeare: Extract from Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act 4 Scene 7
John Updike: Extract from Gertrude And Claudius
Elizabeth Siddal: The Lust of the Eyes
Christina Rossetti: In an Artist's Studio

Producer: Georgia Mann

A sonic painting inspired by the late 19th-century artistic revolutionaries.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

“They meant revolt, and produced revolution ?: that's how one critic described the group of late 19th-century artists, poets and writers who came to be known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Actors Jamie Glover and Skye Hallam read words by the Pre-Raphaelites themselves, alongside the sources and subject matter that so fascinated them. Our journey through their artistic universe takes us from Malory’s Arthurian legends and the love poetry of Dante Alighieri in the 13th century, to the sometimes coruscating reviews of Victorian contemporaries like Charles Dickens.

We finish with words by the only female member of the Pre-Raphaelite clan, Christina Rossetti, musing on how a painter's gaze always renders “One face ? looking “out from all his canvases ? That's set against Martha Wainwright's heart breaking song Proserpina, bringing to mind Rossetti’s famous painting of Proserpine – a captive goddess looking out of the Pre-Raphaelite canvas.

The Seven Ages Of Woman2015030820170305 (R3)Poetry, prose and music exploring the lives of women from birth to death.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Seven Deadly Sins2017121020181227 (R3)Adjoa Andoh and Rory Kinnear with poetry and music exploring human sins.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Adjoa Andoh and Rory Kinnear visit the sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth with poetry and prose by Milton, Carol Ann Duffy, Spenser, Shakespeare, Stevie Smith, Emily Dickinson and Christopher Marlowe and music by Kurt Weill, Mahler, Takemitsu, Verdi and Shostakovich. Rory and Adjoa explore the misery of sin experienced by Hamlet, Iago and Lady Macbeth alongside the idle enjoyment felt by Huckleberry Finn, the exhilaration on discovering that Einstein was a fellow Scot and the thrill of a feast in Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Producer: Fiona McLean

The Silver Swan2017020520191225 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of swans, with readers Anthony Calf and Louise Jameson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Graceful swans, magical swans, migrating swans; swans loyal and, on occasion, cynical; swans living and dying. A miscellany of poetry and prose by WB Yeats, Hans Christian Andersen, Louise Glück, Gillian Clarke, Rilke, Tennyson and "Banjo" Paterson floats above music that includes works by Saint-Saëns, Villa-Lobos, Tchaikovsky, Rautavaara (complete with the sounds of arctic swans) and Sibelius, whose 5th Symphony was inspired by the sight of sixteen swans - "One of the great experiences of my life!" he wrote, " God, how beautiful."

The readers are Anthony Calf and Louise Jameson.

Readings:
W B Yeats: The Wild Swans at Coole
Gillian Clarke: Migrations
Hans Christian Anderson trans. M R James: The Ugly Duckling
Trad: The Children of Lir
Lawrence Durrell: Swans
Humbert Wolfe: Love is a Keeper of Swans
Rainer Maria Rilke trans Susan Ranson and Marielle Sutherland: The Swan
Keats: To Charles Cowden Clarke
Aesop trans Willliam Ellery Leonard: The Swan and the Goose
Louise Glück: Parable of the Swans
Randall Jarrell: The Black Swan
Tennyson: The Dying Swan
Edna St Vincent Millay: Wild Swans
A.B. ‘Banjo’ Peterson: Black Swans
Edward Plunkett (Lord Dunsany): The Return of Song

Producer: Elizabeth Funning

Graceful swans, magical swans, migrating swans; swans loyal and, on occasion, cynical; swans living and dying. A miscellany of poetry and prose by WB Yeats, Hans Christian Andersen, Louise Glück, Gillian Clarke, Rilke, Tennyson and "Banjo" Paterson floats above music that includes works by Saint-Saëns, Villa-Lobos, Tchaikovsky, Rautavaara (complete with the sounds of arctic swans) and Sibelius, whose 5th Symphony was inspired by the sight of sixteen swans - "One of the great experiences of my life!" he wrote, "God, how beautiful."

Producer: Elizabeth Funning

The Singer And The Song2016031320210101 (R3)Jessie Buckley and Julian Ovenden, both actors who sing themselves, with words and music that celebrate classical and traditional singing. You'll hear descriptions of the arrogant opera singer in Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", Thomas Hardy's poem about a Ballad Singer and Marge Piercy's admiration of opera, James Joyce's reflections on the tenor Caruso and evocations of wartime concert parties to an amateur choral society's rendition of "Messiah". With vocal music including mezzo Anne Sophie Von Otter with an evening hymn from Purcell, Janet Baker with Edward Elgar's Sea Slumber Song and Elkie Brooks performing her hit Pearl's a Singer.

Jessie Buckley was recently seen in Charlie Kaufman's film I'm Thinking of Ending Things and the TV series Fargo and Chernobyl. She's also in an upcoming TV film of Romeo and Juliet shot by the National Theatre.
Julian Ovenden has starred on Broadway, in the West End, and at the Proms. He was in Ivo van Hove’s All About Eve at the National Theatre and on TV he was in Bridgerton and Adult Material.

Producer : Elizabeth Funning

Readings:
Richard Llewellyn - How Green Was My Valley
Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Kubla Khan
Robert Louis Stevenson - Bright is the Ring of Words
Andrew Marvell - The Fair Singer
John Clare - Ploughman Singing
Thomas Hardy - The Ballad Singer
Marge Piercy - One Reason I Like Opera
Flaubert - Madam Bovary
James Joyce - The Dead
Dylan Thomas - Quite Early One Morning
Siegfried Sassoon - Concert Party (Egyptian Base Camp)
Charlotte Bronte - Shirley
Thomas Hardy - Under the Greenwood Tree
Mark Doty - Messiah (Christmas Portions)
D. H. Lawrence - Piano
Conrad Aiken - Evensong

Jessie Buckley and Julian Ovenden with words and music on the theme of singing.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Texts and music on the theme of singing, with readers Jessie Buckley and Julian Ovenden.

The Sticking Place2014040620160807 (R3)Texts and music about risk and failure. Readers: Sylvestra Le Touzel and Peter Marinker.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Sun2016091820191227 (R3)Anne-Marie Duff and Greg Wise read poetry and prose on the theme of the sun.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Anne-Marie Duff and Greg Wise read poetry and prose on the theme of the sun. As a giver of life, a force of nature and an inspiration for worship, poetry and music, the sun has special significance in many cultures. We’ll hear Shelley and Stravinsky's depiction of Apollo and Egyptian King Akhnaten's Hymn to the Sun set to music by Philip Glass. Romeo describes his beloved Juliet as the sun, and Louis XIV chose it as his emblem, declaring himself the Sun King. The sun also has its dangers, as discovered by Icarus and Ted Hughes' Crow. Real life aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery crash-lands in the unforgiving heat of the Sahara Desert, and Mark Twain describes the terror of a solar eclipse. The effects of global warming are debated by Ian McEwan’s characters in his novel Solar, while an unusually hot summer exacerbates the problems for schoolboy Leo in L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between. Includes music by Haydn, Lili Boulanger, Ravel and Schoenberg.

Readings:
Genesis from The Bible (King James Version)
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Hymn of Apollo
Nicolaus Copernicus: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies
L.P. Hartley: The Go-Between
William Shakespeare: Sonnet 33
Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
John Donne: The sun rising
Wilfred Owen: Futility
Josephine Preston Peabody: Old Greek Folk Stories told anew
Thomas Hardy: The sun on the letter
Ted Hughes: Crow’s Fall
Ian McEwan: Solar
Antonia Fraser: Love and Louis XIV
William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, trans Lewis Galantiere Picador: Wind, Sand and Stars
Molly Fisk: Winter sun
Lord Mifflin: Helios
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A sunset

Producer - Ellie Mant

The Uncanny20180506A programme exploring both the familiar and the eerie in music and readings, which are performed by actors Morfydd Clark and Arinzé Kene. The idea of the uncanny is associated with a sense of being unsettled and Freud published an essay in 1919 - Das Unheimliche - in which he looked at horror, disgust and idea of hidden and repressed experiences and emotions. This selection of words and music takes listeners on a path through stories, poems and sounds by Edgar Allan Poe, Benjamin Britten, Miles Davis and Stevie Smith among others.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Morfydd Clark and Arinze Kene both the familiar and the eerie in music and readings.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Wedding20180520On the day after Prince Harry ties the knot with Meghan Markle, Words and Music leads you up the aisle with a series of poetry, prose and music on the theme of the wedding. From the bridal marches of Wagner and Mendelssohn, to Saint-Saëns' confection of piano and strings in the Wedding Cake Valse-Caprice, the joyful ritual of the wedding ceremony has inspired some timeless music. Anna Maxwell Martin and Jamie Glover read work which explores the enduring romance of wedded bliss and the darker moments of married life. Poetry by Shakespeare and Keats meditates on the nature of love and takes us to a sumptuous Grecian wedding feast; while Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice returns us to a time of marriage as an aid to social mobility. Dickens' Great Expectations introduces us to one of literature's most haunting brides: the jilted Miss Haversham, who resides in her faded wedding dress alongside the clock which stopped at twenty to nine on her wedding day, the moment she discovered her heart had been broken.

Producer: Georgia Mann.

Anna Maxwell Martin and Jamie Glover read poetry and prose on the theme of 'The Wedding'.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

The Window20191006From David Bowie's Breaking Glass to Mozart's serenade from his opera Don Juan, from the religious inspiration behind Respighi's Church Windows to the diner scene conjured by Suzanne Vega - today's Words and Music weaves together music and poetry which takes us both sides of the glass as we look at literal and metaphorical windows with readings from Adjoa Andoh and John Rowe - more usually found together in deepest Ambridge on Radio 4. They squint, stare and dream glassy-eyed with Baudelaire; glance over their shoulders with Robert Frost, muse on escaping a mother's rage in the poem by Mary Jean Chan and today's programme contains one piece of strong language in a Philip Larkin poem. We look at the idea of our eyes as windows, our souls as windows, the words of a poem framing a view of the world and get a sense of windows opening and closing with some of the musical tracks being more transparent than others.

READINGS:
Baudelaire: Les Fenêtres translated by Arthur Symons, read by John Rowe in four extracts.
Emily Dickinson: The Wind Tapped Like a Tired Man
Marcel Proust: The Way by Swann translated by Lydia Davis
George Herbert: The Windows
J. L. Carr: A Month in the Country
Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Robert Frost: After Apple Picking
Seamus Heaney: Glanmore Sonnet IX from Field Work
Howard Nemerov: Storm Windows
Philip Larkin: High Windows
Mary Jean Chan: The Window
RP Lister: Defenestration
Baudelaire: Les Fenêtres translated by Arthur Symons

Producer: Zahid Warley

Adjoa Andoh and John Rowe are the readers as we move from Messiaen to Mary Jean Chan.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

One of the ways in which we become aware of the world is by looking. At first what we see is blurry – not much more than shapes and a sense of light and shade. Then, as our sight and our brains develop we see more and more. Our eyes are the first windows. Light streams in and our brains sift its changing patterns to make sense. Our sense of ourselves depends in part on how others see us – more windows – and then with language we give our understanding another frame. Words are like little windows through which we see or recover objects. Little surprise then that poets have been known to call the eyes the windows of the soul.

Adjoa Andoh & John Rowe are the readers as we move from Bowie to Messiaen & Mary Jean Chan

The Worst Form Of Government2012093020191027 (R3)This week's Words and Music explores the theme of democracy. Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Winston Churchill's now famous quote underpins today's edition. Democracy is hailed as a force for good - promoting freedom, equality and self-governance - but has been used and misused for personal gain and political oppression. Nelson Mandela describes his astonishment in his memoir Long Walk to Freedom, on meeting Inuits from Northern Europe, that people from 'the top of the world' should have any knowledge of his political struggle at the southern tip of Africa. Television, he writes, had become a force for promoting democracy.

Throughout the programme, we hear the voices of colonised and marginalised peoples as they struggle for their right to be heard, their right to vote, and their right to live a free life.

With music from Copland & Shostakovich to Somalian poet and rapper K'naan, and readings performed by Lisa Dillon and Ray Fearon.

Producer: Gavin Heard

Aeschines: Democracy
Langston Hughes: Democracy
Emma Lazarus: The New Colossus
Walt Whitman: Election Day November 1884
Dorianne Laux: Democracy
John Adams: Letter
Arthur Rimbaud: Democracy
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Mahmoud Darwish: The Girl/The Scream
William Shakespeare: Caesar
George Szirtes: Unter den Linden
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Songs for the People

Poetry and music on the theme of democracy with readings by Lisa Dillon and Ray Fearon.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

There Will Be Blood2013081120170402 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of blood, with readings by Indira Varma and Rory Kinnear.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Things Fall Apart20171001Emma Fielding and Robert Glenister with readings on decay and decadence.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

This Haunted Land20201025From Emily Bronte's wild moors; the ghosts in stories by M R James & Benjamin Britten's opera Turn of the Screw, Schubert's lamenting song cycle Winterreise to film music for The Shining & The Wicker Man: Tim McInnerny & Ayesha Antoine are the readers in a Halloween episode.

A soundtrack is provided by a range of classical composers including Ligeti, Mozart, Beethoven, Purcell, and a harking back to the 1970s TV series Children of the Stones which was once called "the scariest programme ever made for children" and film soundtracks including Mica Levi's compositions for Under the Skin; Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elkind for The Shining and Paul Giovanni for The Wicker Man.

The readings include the thoughts of philosopher Mark Fisher from his book Ghosts of My Life; a ghost story from the BBC Domesday project, an evocation of mosquitos in the poem Horns by Ghanaian poet Kwame Dawes, The Terrors of the Night in the Elizabethan pamphlet written by Thomas Nashe and in Mary Karr's poem Field of Skulls which imagines fears which come "drinking gin after the I Love Lucy reruns have gone off".

Producer Luke Mulhall

READINGS:
Archive of Ghost Story from the BBC Domesday project read by Mabel Barber
James Hogg: The Mysterious Bride
Mark Fisher: Ghosts of My Life
Algernon Blackwood: The Haunted House
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights
M R James: Oh, whistle and I’ll come to you
John Masefield: On the Downs
Edward Thomas: Aspens
Claire Gradidge: I will haunt you in small change
Thomas Hardy: At Castle Boterel
Cynthia Huntington: Ghost
Thomas Nashe: The Terrors of the Night
Kwame Dawes: Horns
John Clare: Written in Northampton County Asylum
John Donne: Nocturnal Upon St Lucy’s Day
Mary Karr: Field of Skulls

Readings from Donne, M R James, Mary Karr. Music includes The Wicker Man, Britten, Bartok

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Three2013061620200426 (R3)The power of trios, trinities and triangles. Hattie Morahan and Jonathan Slinger read words by Wordsworth, Donne and Christina Rossetti with music by Prokofiev, Janacek and Bach.

Producer: Natalie Steed

Readings
Macbeth - William Shakespeare
The Three Ravens - Anon
I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice" - Billy Collins
Beattie is Three - Adrian Mitchell
Three Years She Grew - William Wordsworth
My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close - Emily Dickinson
Break, Break, Break - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Eumenides - Aeschylus, translated by Richard Latimer
Holy Sonnet IXV - John Donne
A Triad - Christina Rossetti
Three Violins Are Trying Their Hearts - Carl Sandburg
In Defence of Adultery - Julia Copus
The Inferno, Canto V - Dante Alighieri, translated by Paul Batchelor
The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy, translated by Benjamin Tucker

A sequence of words and music about all things 3 with Hattie Morahan and Jonathan Slinger

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Town And Country2016061220181225 (R3)Julian Rhind-Tutt and Lia Williams in an exploration from Roman times to the present day.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Julian Rhind-tutt and Lia Williams in an exploration from Roman times to the present day.

Trapped20160515Texts and music about being trapped. Readers: Kate Phillips and Tobias Menzies.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Travelling Fairs And Circuses2014113020200517 (R3)The weekly sequence of music, poetry and prose takes time out to visit the world of excitement, bargains, colour, debauchery and petty crime that is the fair, with words by Hardy, Evelyn, Bunyan, Wordsworth, Dickens and Lorca, and music by Debussy, Stravinsky and Richard Rodgers, June Tabor and The Beatles among others. Joanne Froggatt and James Bolam are the readers.

Music, poetry and prose on the subject of travelling fairs and circuses

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Treason And Plot2016110620191103 (R3)Readers Art Malik and Frances Barber range from Shakespeare and le Carr\u00e9 to Hilary Mantel.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

It would seem ideas about treason and plot are always with us. Art Malik and Frances Barber evoke the French Revolution in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, conspiracies in Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello and the world of spies conjured by both John le Carré and Hilary Mantel; whilst the musical selections move us from Bonfire Night and fireworks via Stravinsky and Berlioz through to John Tavener's requiem for Anna Akhmatova, the Russian poet who commemorated the struggles of the Russian people against the Soviet regime; and Nick Cave's Red Right Hand, which quotes a line from Milton's Paradise Lost referring to the vengeful hand of God, and has been newly popularised by the TV series Peaky Blinders.

Producer: Georgia Mann Smith.

Readings:
Trad: The Fifth of November
Milton: Paradise Lost
Shakespeare: Othello Act I Scene III
Shakespeare: Macbeth Act I Scene V
Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall
John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
Anna Akhmatova: Requiem
Shakespeare: Julius Ceasar Act III, Scene 2
Shelley: The Mask of Anarchy
Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
Wordsworth: The Prelude
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Concord Hymn

Truth20190922"The truth is rarely pure and never simple" Morfydd Clark and Neil Dudgeon with a selection of prose and poems mixed with music on a theme inspired by National Poetry Day 2019, which is crowd-sourcing poems that tell the truth about something that matters to you, or deliver a home truth.

National Poetry Day is on October 3rd.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Readings:
Emily Dickinson – Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant
John Keats – Ode on a Grecian Urn
Stephen Crane – XXVIII [Truth, said a traveller]
Thomas Hardy – Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hans Christian Andersen – The Emperor’s New Clothes
WB Yeats – To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Nothing
Selima Hill – Why I Left You
Vernon Scannell – Where Shall We Go?
Hilaire Belloc – Matilda
Philip Gross – Severn Song
Charles Bukowski – Confession
Meena Alexander – Diagnosis

'The truth is rarely pure and never simple.' Readings by Morfydd Clark and Neil Dudgeon.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple" Morfydd Clark and Neil Dudgeon with a selection of prose and poems mixed with music in a theme inspired by the 2019 National Poetry Day which is crowd sourcing poems which tell the truth about something that matters to you, or deliver a home truth
#nationalpoetryday is on Oct 3rd.

Under The Baobab Tree2013031020160522 (R3)Poetry, prose and music focusing on Africa. Readers: Nikki Amuka-Bird and Richie Campbell.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Under the Microscope2018080520210207 (R3)With Rachael Stirling and Paul Bentall. Poetry, prose and music on the world opened up by microscopy, from fleas to micro-organisms. A full list of the readings and music can be found on the Words and Music programme website.

Microscopes are devices for looking beyond immediate appearances to find the truth. So a programme about microscopes could include material exploring how truth is elusive, non-obvious, problematic. The most obvious examples of explorations of this theme here come from John Donne and Emily Dickinson, and also from Democritus, who opens the programme. His words are accompanied by a piece of 'music' devised by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, who've written an algorithm that converts results obtained by the Collider into musical notes.

More immediately, there is some great writing from the 17th century that captures the thrill of discovery that surrounded the first systematic use of microscopes - represented here by Francis Bacon, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, and Henry Power. The sense that a new world was being opened up is so palpable in these writings that the use of music from Haydn's operetta The World on the Moon, and Gorecki's Copernicus Symphony, seemed quite appropriate. The microcosm and the macrocosm are internally related, after all, and this is an idea explored in some of the more recent poets sampled here: Ruth Padel and Miroslav Holub both see the wider universe when they look through a microscope.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Under The Microscope20180805With Rachael Stirling and Paul Bentall. Poetry, prose and music on the world opened up by microscopy, from fleas to micro-organisms. A full list of the readings and music can be found on the Words and Music programme website.

Microscopes are devices for looking beyond immediate appearances to find the truth. So a programme about microscopes could include material exploring how truth is elusive, non-obvious, problematic. The most obvious examples of explorations of this theme here come from John Donne and Emily Dickinson, and also from Democritus, who opens the programme. His words are accompanied by a piece of 'music' devised by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, who've written an algorithm that converts results obtained by the Collider into musical notes.

More immediately, there is some great writing from the 17th century that captures the thrill of discovery that surrounded the first systematic use of microscopes - represented here by Francis Bacon, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, and Henry Power. The sense that a new world was being opened up is so palpable in these writings that the use of music from Haydn's operetta The World on the Moon, and Gorecki's Copernicus Symphony, seemed quite appropriate. The microcosm and the macrocosm are internally related, after all, and this is an idea explored in some of the more recent poets sampled here: Ruth Padel and Miroslav Holub both see the wider universe when they look through a microscope.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Untitled2013060920160101 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of the untitled. Readers: Andrew Scott and Amelia Lowdell.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Utopia2016021420161227 (R3)Music and poetry inspired by utopia, marking the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's book.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Village Minstrel2013110320160131 (R3)Texts and music inspired by John Clare's poetry. Readers: Karl Johnson and David Annen.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Violins2016101620190104 (R3)Tara Fitzgerald and Giles Terera read poems about violins, including Yeats and Whitman.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Walks In Two Worlds2017111920181228 (R3)An exploration of different worlds in text and music including Coleridge, Chopin and Satie

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Theseus went into the maze, Orpheus into the dark of Hades. Heroes that they were, both emerged again to the light of the day. Alexandra Gilbreath and Neil Pearson are our guides to worlds galore, of magic and myth, and of love... for two people may share the same space but their thoughts? Who knows? How many worlds do we each inhabit as memory bends time back on itself?
So the familiar becomes the strange, with poetry from an Anglo-Saxon riddle, John Burnside, Vahni Capildeo, Ciaron Carson, Cecil Day-Lewis, Robert Devereux Earl of Essex, Thom Gunn, W S Graham, Selima Hill, Mervyn Peake, Warsan Shire, and prose from Paul Kingsnorth and Michael Ondaatje; with the music of Satie and Mussorgsky walking us through from one world to the next, plus Birtwistle, Britten, Chopin, Klami, George Lewis, James MacMillan and Jean Redpath.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Welcome To Heartbreak20200209There cannot be a phenomenon in all the world that inspires poets and composers more than heartbreak. It is a universal experience, and yet at the same time feels utterly unique.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, why not indulge yourself in expressions of exquisite pain from the likes of Audre Lorde, Alice Meynell, Don Paterson and Derek Walcott, whose words take you through the stages of despair, denial, regret, acceptance and so on. All of it accompanied, of course, by lovelorn, lovesick music courtesy of Leoncavallo, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Tom Waits.

Living through the operatic emotions of a broken heart alongside you are readers Zubin Varla and Katie West.

Readings:
Derek Walcott - The Fist
Walt Whitman - Sometimes with One I Love
Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Sean Bonney - In Fear of Memory (after Pasolini)
Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Alice Meynell - Renouncement
Percey Bysshe Shelley - When the Lamp is Broken
Anon - Donal Og (translated by Lady Augusta Gregory)
Don Paterson - A Vow
Pablo Neruda - Sonnet LXV (translated by Stephen Tapscott)
Lynn Emanuel - Frying Trout While Drunk from ‘The Nerve Of It: Poems Selected and New’ (2015). Aired by permission of University Of Pittsburgh Press.
Ernest Dowson - Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae
Ovid - Remedia Amoris (translated by Rolfe Humphries)
Kahlil Gibran - On Pain
Edna St. Vincent Millay - Time does not bring relief
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Excrucior
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Odi et Amo
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Id faciam
Kit Wright - My Version
Christina Rossetti - Mirage
Audre Lorde - Movement Song
Derek Walcott - Love After Love
Louis MacNeice - Autumn Journal: Canto XIX

Produced by Jack Howson.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.

Zubin Varla and Katie West guide you through the operatic emotions of a broken heart.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, why not indulge yourself in expressions of exquisite pain from the likes of Audre Lorde, Alice Meynell, Don Paterson and Derek Walcott, whose words take you through the stages of despair, denial, regret, acceptance and so on. All of it accompanied, of course, by lovelorn, lovesick music courtesy of Leoncavallo, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Tom Waits.

Living through the operatic emotions of a broken heart alongside you are readers Zubin Varla and Katie West.

Readings:
Derek Walcott - The Fist
Walt Whitman - Sometimes with One I Love
Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Sean Bonney - In Fear of Memory (after Pasolini)
Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Alice Meynell - Renouncement
Percey Bysshe Shelley - When the Lamp is Broken
Anon - Donal Og (translated by Lady Augusta Gregory)
Don Paterson - A Vow
Pablo Neruda - Sonnet LXV (translated by Stephen Tapscott)
Lynn Emanuel - Frying Trout While Drunk from ‘The Nerve Of It: Poems Selected and New’ (2015). Aired by permission of University Of Pittsburgh Press.
Ernest Dowson - Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae
Ovid - Remedia Amoris (translated by Rolfe Humphries)
Kahlil Gibran - On Pain
Edna St. Vincent Millay - Time does not bring relief
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Excrucior
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Odi et Amo
Frank Bidart - Catullus: Id faciam
Kit Wright - My Version
Christina Rossetti - Mirage
Audre Lorde - Movement Song
Derek Walcott - Love After Love
Louis MacNeice - Autumn Journal: Canto XIX

Zubin Varla and Katie West guide you through the operatic emotions of a broken heart.

West Country Dreaming20190811Sarah Parish and John Nettles celebrate the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

'And citizens dream of the south and west' writes Hardy in his much-loved poem 'Weathers', and who indeed can resist the lure of the westerning sky? West-country memories and images in this week's programme range from family holidays to romantic medieval legend, and from the warmth of Betjeman's Dawlish to the unfriendly air of Hardy's Egdon Heath. Water is always near, whether beating the Cornish cliffs, flushing the boat of Brutus, son of Aeneas, up the River Dart (local legend says he came that way to found Britain), or flooding the fields of Glastonbury. And the West Country's own local talents are celebrated in poems by Charles Causley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the music of The Fishermen's Friends (Cornwall), The Yetties (Dorset), and Bristol bands Spiro and Portishead.

Producer: Lindsay Kemp

John Nettles is a Cornish actor who starred in the TV series Bergerac and Midsomer Murders, and more recently in Poldark as Ray Penvenen.
Sarah Parish was born in Yeovil, Somerset, and her most recent work has included W1A, Bancroft, and Series 3 of Broadchurch.

Readings:
Weathers (excerpt) - Thomas Hardy
The Seasons - Charles Causley
Beeny Cliff - Thomas Hardy
Idylls of the King (excerpt) - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In Search of England (excerpt) - H.V. Morton
Dart (excerpt) - Alice Oswald
The Return of the Native (excerpt) - Thomas Hardy
Dawlish - John Betjeman
Five on a Treasure Island (excerpt) - Enid Blyton
Lines composed while climbing the left ascent of Brockley Coombe, May 1795 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Grassing (excerpt) - Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Letter - Sylvia Plath
The Land’s End (excerpt) - W.H. Hudson
Grave by the Sea - Charles Causley

Sarah Parish and John Nettles with westward-looking readings including Betjeman and Hardy.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

What Is Modern Art?2019102020200405 (R3)From scoffing critics to celebrations of invention - prose, poetry and music inspired by art with readings by Peter Wight and Indra Ové.

READINGS and TV clips
Jeremy Paxman interviews Damien Hirst on Newsnight 2012
Albert Wolff: Review of an 1876 Impressionist Exhibition
Susan Sontag: Against Interpretation
Andy Rooney asks When Did This Become Art?
Wallace Stevens: The Man With the Blue Guitar
Plato: The Republic Book 10 translated by Robin Waterfield
Leon Battista Alberti: On Painting published 1450 translated by John R Spencer
Elizabeth Jennings: Caravaggio's Narcissus in Rome
John Donne: Witchcraft by a Picture
Bruno Alfieri: Review of Jackson Pollock quoted in a Time magazine article "Chaos, Damn It!" 1950
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Marcel Proust: The Guermantes Way translated by Mark Treharne
Yasmina Reza: Art translated by Christopher Hampton
John Rothenstein on Bridget Riley: Modern Painters Volume III
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts: Harlem is Nowhere
Frank O'Hara: To Larry Rivers
Robert Hughes from his TV series The Shock of the New 1980

Producer: Luke Mulhall

We hear from TV presenter Jeremy Paxman questioning Damien Hirst, the Director of the Tate 1938–64 John Rothenstein's analysis of Bridget Riley's art of optical illusion and predictions about the future of art from the influential Australian Robert Hughes - presenter and author of the Shock of the New 1980 documentary television series.

Readings include Christina Rosetti's poem In an Artist's Studio, extracts from Plato on what making art is; the American critic Susan Sontag's argument for a new erotics of art; John Donne's poem Witchcraft by a Picture; a speech from the hit play Art, written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, which depicted the response of his friends to a man buying a completely white painting and the views of residents in Harlem to photographs of their streets in an essay from Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.

Claude Debussy scorned the term Impressionism but it didn't stop critics using it to describe his compositions and the music choices in this programme include Debussy's La Mer performed by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Don McLean's Vincent inspired by Van Gogh's painting of Starry Nights, Clarence "Pinetop" Smith's Boogie Woogie and Four Organs by composer Steve Reich, one of the people sharing their view of an art work from the collection of MOMA, in New York in the new podcast and Essay series The Way I See It - which you can find on BBC Sounds and available to download.

You might also be interested in the Free Thinking programme collection of discussions of visual art and debates about running a museum recorded with Frieze London Art Fair https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026wnjl

From scoffing critics to celebrations of invention-prose, poetry and music inspired by art

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Claude Debussy scorned the term Impressionism but it didn't stop critics using it to describe his compositions and the music choices in this programme include Debussy's La Mer performed by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Don McLean's Vincent inspired by Van Gogh's painting of Starry Nights, Clarence "Pinetop" Smith's Boogie Woogie and Four Organs by composer Steve Reich, one of the people sharing their view of an art work from the collection of MOMA, in New York in the new podcast and Essay series The Way I See It - which you can find on BBC Radio 3 at 10.45pm or available to download.

Scoffing critics to celebrations of invention - prose, poetry and music inspired by art.

Who Has Seen The Wind?20160501Texts and music on the theme of the wind. Readings by Cheryl Campbell and Neil Pearson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Windrush: Some Kind Of Homecoming2018101420190623 (R3)Seven decades after the docking of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury, Lenny Henry and Josette Simon explore the experience and emotions of the Windrush generation through its poetry and prose, set against music from calypso to classical: Lord Kitchener to Ligeti, Beethoven to Bob Marley and gospel to Errollyn Wallen.

In Sam Selvon's 1956 novel The Lonely Londoners, the hungry Galahad furtively filches a park pigeon for his lunch; Grace Nichols' and Merle Collins' evocative poems express the heartache of long-delayed, never-achieved returns to Caribbean warmth; John Agard and Benjamin Zephaniah are angry and frustrated in the face of cultural appropriation and racism; Floella Benjamin's shock at the cold of her first British winter turns to delight with her first sight of snow. And woven through the programme are the dual threads of John Berry's Lucy who writes home with bewilderment and affection for her adopted home and, from the BBC Caribbean Service, advice to would-be West Indian migrants on what to expect and how to behave in the UK, from appropriate winter clothing to dealing with a dodgy village squire umpire at the local cricket club.

Readings:
Archive from The Colony (1964 BBC TV documentary directed by Philip Donnellan)
Going to Britain? Labour Exchange - A BBC Caribbean Service pamphlet
To Sir With Love - ER Braithwaite
Lucy’s Letter - James Berry
Going to Britain? Climate - A BBC Caribbean Service pamphlet
Coming to England - Floella Benjamin
Like a Beacon - Grace Nichols
The Lonely Londoners - Sam Selvon
In Praise of Love and Children - Beryl Gilroy
Going to Britain? Church - BBC Caribbean Service pamphlet
From Lucy - James Berry
To Bo - Marsha Prescod
Checking Out Me History - John Agard
Colonisation in Reverse - Louise Bennett
Going to Britain? Cricket - BBC Caribbean Service pamphlet
Beyond a Boundary - CLR James
From Lucy - James Berry
The Race Industry - Benjamin Zephaniah
Seduction - Merle Collins
Two Old Black Men on a Leicester Square Park Bench - Grace Nichols

Producer: David Papp

Lenny Henry and Josette Simon explore the experience of the Windrush generation.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

This weekend is the anniversary of the docking of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury, Lenny Henry and Josette Simon explore the experience and emotions of the Windrush generation through its poetry and prose, set against music from calypso to classical: Lord Kitchener to Ligeti, Beethoven to Bob Marley and gospel to Errollyn Wallen.

Seven decades after the docking of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury, Lenny Henry and Josette Simon explore the experience and emotions of the Windrush generation through its poetry and prose, set against music from calypso to classical: Lord Kitchener to Ligeti, Beethoven to Bob Marley and gospel to Errollyn Wallen.

Wine20161225Texts and music on the theme of wine, with readings by Tamsin Greig and Tom Hollander.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Witches And Sorcerers2010103120161029 (R3)Texts and music about witches and sorcerers. Readings by Juliet Stevenson, Henry Goodman.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Within Limits20190609Anthony Howell and Amaka Okafor with readings exploring ideas of constraint in art and life, including poems from Fulke Greville, Wallace Stevens, and Christina Rossetti, and music ranging from Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, to the Velvet Underground.
The title ‘within limits’ is taken in the widest possible sense. There are readings and music in here which reflect upon the limits of human experience, on what we can and can’t do with language, and plenty in which writers and composers have worked within specific limits they've set for themselves: music composed at random within a set of defined parameters, a novel written without any words containing the letter ‘e’, the same insignificant incident retold again and again in different styles, a few experiments with the sonnet form.
There are also a few pieces of music that are supposedly test the limits of performers by being notoriously difficult to perform.

Readings:
Pensées - Pascal (tr. C. Kegan Paul 1885)
Proslogion - St Anselm
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
The Library of Babel - Jorge Luis Borges (tr Andrew Hurley)
Exercises in Style - Raymond Queneau - 4 excerpts (tr Barbara Wright)
Sonnet 100 - Sir Fulke Greville
Peace - Gerald Manley Hopkins
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - Ludwig Wittgenstein (tr. Pears & McGuinness)
The Unnameable - Samuel Beckett
Trying To Learn - Lydia Davis Collected Short Stories:
A Void - Georges Perec (tr Gilbert Adair)
The Idea of Order at Key West - Wallace Stevens
Sonnet - Elizabeth Bishop
Of Circumnavigation - Matthew Francis
No, Thank You, John - Christina Rossetti

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Anthony Howell and Amaka Okafor explore ideas of constraint in art and life.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Women Beware Women2014021620160228 (R3)Texts and music on the theme of women, with readings by Anne Reid and Michelle Terry.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Women In Love2015062120170702 (R3)Texts and music inspired by the love between women. Readers: Diana Quick and Sophie Ward.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Women Walking Alone20161204Texts and music about women walking alone. Readers: Nina Sosanya and Natalie Simpson.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Women Writing War20181111From the poets and journalists of WW1 to the mothers of soldiers in Afghanistan Carolyn Pickles and Lara Rossi tell of the experiences of women in warfare.

We begin with Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman before our collaboration with the Big Ideas Project, Motherhood Loss and the First World War, brings letters from the mothers of soldiers in the First World War. Their words are heard with commissioned music by Clare Connors.

Then Helen Thomas, the young wife of the poet Edward Thomas remembers their last night together before he returned to the Front, heard with George Butterworth’s The Bank of Green Willow: both Thomas and Butterworth did not return from the war.

The great American journalist Martha Gellhorn’s report on the devastation in Madrid is set alongside Samuel Barber’s A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, inspired by the death of a soldier in the Spanish Civil War.

Much closer in time is the war in Afghanistan. The music of Miles Davis is heard as the American Iraq veteran and poet Chantelle Bateman remembers her post traumatic stress on returning from the conflict. And the poets Bryony Doran and Isabel Palmer tell of their experiences of being the mothers of young soldiers in Afghanistan.

Women Writing War ends with May Wedderburn Cannan’s July 1919 and her final lines, ‘Never for us is folded War away, Dawn or sun setting, Now in our hearts abides always our war’ are heard with Elgar’s Carissima.

Producer: Fiona McLean

With poetry and prose by the mothers of soldiers and music by Messiaen and PJ Harvey.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Wordsworth's World2020092720201222 (R3)Noma Dumezweni reads from the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, and Roger Ringrose reads a selection of her brother's poems in a programme marking the anniversary of the Lakeland poet (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850).

Dorothy's journals are a unique insight into everyday life for the Wordsworth siblings at Grasmere, and in this edition you can hear Dorothy's rich descriptions of locations and events, set against the poems they inspired in William, including Lines Written in Early Spring and Composed upon Westminster Bridge. The musical backdrop includes Wordsworth's contemporary Beethoven, but also features music by Fanny Mendelssohn (who, like Dorothy, knew about having a celebrated sibling), Benjamin Britten and Schubert.

Producer: Georgia Mann

Noma Dumezweni reads from Dorothy's journals - Roger Ringrose reads her brother's poems.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.

Noma Dumezweni reads from the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth - Roger Ringrose her brother's poems - in a programme marking the anniversary this year of the Lakeland poet (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850). Dorothy's journals are a unique insight into everyday life for the Wordsworth siblings at Grasmere, and in this edition you can hear Dorothy's rich descriptions of locations and events, set against the poems they inspired in William, including Lines Written in Early Spring and Composed upon Westminster Bridge. The musical backdrop includes Wordsworth's contemporary Beethoven but also features music by Fanny Mendelssohn (who like Dorothy, knew about having a celebrated sibling), Benjamin Britten and Schubert.

On the Free Thinking website you can find an episode in which a pair of Wordsworth scholars from the University of Lancaster's Wordsworth Centre share their research:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gw70

Producer: Georgia Mann

Readings: Extracts from Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal are interspersed with the following poems
Lines Written in Early Spring
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
To A Butterfly
The Excursion, Book IV
I Grieved for Buonaparte
Composed By The Sea-Side, Near Calais, August 1802
Elegiac Verses in Memory of My Brother, John Wordsworth
Extract from Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

Noma Dumezweni reads from the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth - Roger Ringrose her brother's poems - in a programme marking the anniversary this year of the Lakeland poet (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850). Dorothy's journals are a unique insight into everyday life for the Wordsworth siblings at Grasmere, and in this edition you can hear Dorothy's rich descriptions of locations and events, set against the poems they inspired in William, including Lines Written in Early Spring and Composed upon Westminster Bridge. The musical backdrop includes Wordsworth's contemporary Beethoven but also features music by Fanny Mendelssohn (who like Dorothy, knew about having a celebrated sibling), Benjamin Britten and Schubert.

Readings: Extracts from Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal are interspersed with the following poems
Lines Written in Early Spring
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
To A Butterfly
The Excursion, Book IV
I Grieved for Buonaparte
Composed By The Sea-Side, Near Calais, August 1802
Elegiac Verses in Memory of My Brother, John Wordsworth
Extract from Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

Noma Dumezweni reads from Dorothy's journals - Roger Ringrose reads her brother's poems.

Yours Sincerely20160306Texts and music on the theme of letters, with readings by Rosalie Craig and James D'Arcy.

A journey of discovery, weaving music with poetry and prose read by leading actors.