The Ipod Series

Jane Austen collected songs all her life but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants.

In this programme, jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs Jane Austen's favourite songs, with new piano and clarinet accompaniment by David Owen Norris.

At Jane Austen's house in Chawton, Hampshire, scholars and biographers discuss how they cast a new light on one of our best-loved writers.

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Episodes

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ROBERT BURNS's Ipod2011112620120125 (BBC7)
20120126 (BBC7)

David Owen Norris considers the songs the Scottish bard might have carried around with him

David Owen Norris and guests listen to Robert Burns's favourite songs in his drinking club in Tarbolton, near Glasgow.

With National Poet of Scotland Liz Lochhead (who has just written a play about Burns), Dr Kirsteen McCue and Professor Nigel Leask - and featuring Burns's own fiddle. We hear the songs with the tunes he wanted - not always the ones which have become famous. 'My Love is like a Red Red Rose' for instance was changed by his publisher against his wishes. Kirsteen McCue is the world expert on Burns's songs, and she reveals the original versions. We also hear a naughty song called 'Nine Inch will Please a Lady'...

Robert Burns's playlist reflects his political vision and also his complex love life. Burns was writing for the high-class Edinburgh ladies who took him up in his 30s, but he was also composing songs in broader Scots about their maids. Songs were a crucial part of his seduction technique - and they seem to have worked for him. He left 15 illegitimate children. Even on his death-bed, Burns was writing songs - for the pretty blonde teenager who was nursing him. That song, 'Oh Wert Thou in the Cold Blast', is one of his most beautiful, and almost unbearably moving. Burns was destitute, he was dying at the age of only 37, and yet he sang to his nurse: 'Oh wert thou in the cold blast, I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee'.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist. He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Audio production for BBC Radio 4.

With National Poet of Scotland Liz Lochhead (who has just written a play about Burns), Dr Kirsteen McCue and Professor Nigel Leask - and featuring Burns's own fiddle.

We hear the songs with the tunes he wanted - not always the ones which have become famous.

'My Love is like a Red Red Rose' for instance was changed by his publisher against his wishes.

Kirsteen McCue is the world expert on Burns's songs, and she reveals the original versions.

We also hear a naughty song called 'Nine Inch will Please a Lady'...

Robert Burns's playlist reflects his political vision and also his complex love life.

Burns was writing for the high-class Edinburgh ladies who took him up in his 30s, but he was also composing songs in broader Scots about their maids.

Songs were a crucial part of his seduction technique - and they seem to have worked for him.

He left 15 illegitimate children.

Even on his death-bed, Burns was writing songs - for the pretty blonde teenager who was nursing him.

That song, 'Oh Wert Thou in the Cold Blast', is one of his most beautiful, and almost unbearably moving.

Burns was destitute, he was dying at the age of only 37, and yet he sang to his nurse: 'Oh wert thou in the cold blast, I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee'.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist.

He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

David Owen Norris hears Robert Burns's favourite songs in his drinking club.

Benjamin Franklin's Ipod20101218

Benjamin Franklin, scientist, inventor and founding father of the USA was also a song-writer.

He wrote drinking songs for his friends, love songs to his wife, and songs of political protest.

David Owen Norris recreates the songs and explores what they reveal about a great eccentric.

On location in Franklin's house in London, he talks to historians Lady Joan Reid, Dr Catherine Jones and Dr Julie Flavell and plays on Franklin's proudest invention - the glass armonica.

With singers Gwyneth Herbert, Thomas Guthrie and Laura Crowther.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Discover the songs written by Benjamin Franklin, scientist, inventor, and founding father.

Charles Dickens' Ipod2010122520120101

Charles Dickens wrote and performed songs all his life. As a little boy, his mother stood him on the table in the local pub to sing; as a successful writer he sang to his guests after dinner. He also wrote the libretto for an opera.

David Owen Norris re-imagines his favourite tunes, beginning with his party piece as a little boy ending with the carol in 'A Christmas Carol'. Recorded on location in Dickens's drawing room, with biographers Claire Tomalin and Michael Slater and actor and writer Simon Callow. With singers Gwyneth Herbert, Thomas Guthrie and Laura Crowther.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Audio Production for BBC Radio 4.

David Owen Norris recreates Charles Dickens's favourite music.

Charles Dickens wrote and performed songs all his life.

As a little boy, his mother stood him on the table in the local pub to sing; as a successful writer he sang to his guests after dinner.

He also wrote the libretto for an opera.

For Christmas Day, David Owen Norris re-imagines his favourite songs, beginning with his party piece as a little boy ending with the carol in 'A Christmas Carol'.

Recorded on location in Dickens' drawing room, with biographers Claire Tomalin and Michael Slater and actor and writer Simon Callow.

With singers Gwyneth Herbert, Thomas Guthrie and Laura Crowther.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

For Christmas Day, David Owen Norris recreates Charles Dickens' favourite music.

Jane Austen's Ipod2010010220100606

Jane Austen collected songs all her life but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants.

In this programme, jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs Jane Austen's favourite songs, with new piano and clarinet accompaniment by David Owen Norris.

At Jane Austen's house in Chawton, Hampshire, scholars and biographers discuss how they cast a new light on one of our best-loved writers.A rare insight into the family life of Jane Austen through her favourite songs.

She collected songs all her life, but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants.

Jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs some of these songs.

Professor Richard Jenkyns inherited a pile of music manuscripts which are only just being looked at by the Austen scholars.

He shows us what he found: some have been laboriously copied out by Jane herself - among the music manuscripts in Jane's handwriting is a piano piece which he believes she composed.

David Owen Norris brings him together with scholars Deirdre Le Faye and Samantha Carrasco at Jane Austen's house in Chawton, Hampshire.

Together they cast a new light on one of our best-loved and most enigmatic writers.

Some of the songs included are:

A romantic song by Robert Burns, to which she changed the words, so that the final words referred to herself -the charms of your Jane."

A tragic French song, "Les Hirondelles", which ends with imprisonment and death.

Jane's sister in law Eliza had lived in France, and her first husband was guillotined in the Terror.

"The Ploughboy" - a popular song of the time, witty, and with a politically subversive message about corrupt politicians who are only interested in money, and manage to buy their way into power.

"Goosey Goosey Gander" - Jane had a lot of nursery rhymes, and was constantly surrounded by boisterous nephews and nieces.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs Jane Austen's favourite songs."

Oscar Wilde's Ipod20111203

David Owen Norris and guests listen to Oscar Wilde's favourite songs, in the room in the Cadogan Hotel, Knightsbridge, where he was arrested.

The guests include Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, who has unearthed a whole series of popular songs about Wilde.

This was before his disgrace, while Wilde was a celebrity, and the songs are satirical but affectionate - we hear 'The Flippety Flop Man' and 'Quite Too Utterly Utter'.

Other guests are Wilde scholar Owen Dudley Edwards and Franny Moyle, the author of the recent biography of Wilde's wife Constance.

Constance and Oscar gave great parties in their 'house beautiful' in Chelsea, and visitors would write poems - and songs - in their autograph books.

David Owen Norris digs these out of the British Library, and discovers a song written by George Grossmith of 'Diary of a Nobody' fame - a song about a party, so we hear it, 'Keep on Talking.' Also from the autograph books comes a song about Mrs Wilde and her baby son; a now-forgotten side of Wilde, as a family man.

We hear too the favourite song of Wilde's lover and nemesis 'Bosie', Alfred Douglas, a Mozart aria about seduction, deception, and ruin.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist.

He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Audio production for BBC Radio 4.

Queen Victorias Ipod20111119

In Buckingham Palace; David Owen Norris and guests listen to Queen Victoria's favourite songs.

We have been given access to Victoria's own gold piano, on which we'll hear music written specially by Mendelssohn for her to play in a duet with Albert.

We also hear an amorous serenade written for her by Prince Albert, and a song which was sung in the streets after their first child was born, 'Queen Victoria's Baby'.

David Owen Norris has also discovered a startling popular song of the period about the Great Exhibition - the excitement of setting off to see the Queen as a gold statue -and the reality of fleas, dirt, crowds, and dubious dark alleys where it was all too easy to lose one's virtue and return pregnant...

Listening to the music are Royal biographer Kate Williams, cultural critic Matthew Sweet, and expert on Victorian music Professor Jeremy Dibble.

They'll be discussing what Queen Victoria's favourite songs reveal about a very musical monarch.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist.

He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Audio production for BBC Radio 4.

In Buckingham Palace, David Owen Norris and guests hear Queen Victoria's favourite songs.

Samuel Pepys' Ipod20101204

Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, loved music.

It outlasted all his other passions- even his passion for women.

He left hundreds of his favourite songs, some covered in wine stains, relics of drunken musical evenings.

David Owen Norris explores the songs in the Pepys Library in Cambridge with historians Richard Luckett, Jenny Uglow and Basie Gitlin, and recreates the music he loved best.

With singers Gwyneth Herbert, Thomas Guthrie and Laura Crowther.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Samuel Pepys, diarist, politician and womaniser, as revealed in his favourite songs.

Thomas Hardy's Ipod20111210

David Owen Norris and guests listen to Thomas Hardy's favourite songs in the house he built for himself - Max Gate, in Dorset.

Hardy's playlist is extraordinarily varied; it begins with music his violinist father played, and which he later used in one of the great novels.

We hear Hardy's favourite song as a young man about town, 'How Oft Louis', a song which obsessed him because he was in love with an unobtainable girl called Louisa.

There is the now-forgotten opera version of 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles', which Hardy thought was so good that he considered a career as a professional song-writer.

And there is the music he listened to with his friend Lawrence of Arabia, on a wind-up gramophone with a huge horn, the two men spending evenings together in a tiny attic room in Lawrence's house 'Cloud's Hill'.

Guests for this programme are Professor John Mullan, Professor Derek Scott, and Dr Jacqueline Dillion, a Hardy scholar who lives at Max Gate.

They listen to the music and discuss what it reveals about Hardy's life.

Presenter David Owen Norris is a broadcaster, composer and concert pianist.

He has arranged the songs, which are performed by Thomas Guthrie and jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Audio production for BBC Radio 4.

David Owen Norris hears Thomas Hardy's favourite songs in his house Max Gate in Dorset.