Twenty Minutes

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

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


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

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

Afternoon Morning

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

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


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


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

Afternoon Morning

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

Afternoon Morning

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

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

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

Read by Jude Akuwudike


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

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

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

Abridged by Doreen Estall


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


Proms Talk

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Proms Talk

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


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


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


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


Listen Update!

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

Nature is triumphant.


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

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


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

He finds out about new initiatives in music education

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

It remains so to this day.

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


'In states unborn and accents yet unknown'

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


At the Royal Albert Hall, audiences come and go.

But the stewards could be considered as the native population.

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


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


By Margaret Busby.

Nana is a title that means Chief.

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

Read by Glenna Foster-Jones.

Produced by Pam Fraser Solomon


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


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

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


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

His birthplace is now a museum.

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


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

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


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


Summoned by Bells

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

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


Singing in the Dark, Back to Brigg Fair

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

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

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


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


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


Music and arts news.


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Petroc Trelawny discusses 'period performance' on modern instruments.


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Producer: Rosie Childs.

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


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

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

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

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

Producer Simon Elmes.

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


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

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

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

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

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


Indira Varma reads Katherine Mansfield's classic 1921 story set on board an overnight ferry in New Zealand, in which a young girl, Fenella, leaves her father behind to voyage into an unknown future with her sprightly grandmother.

In what is one of Mansfield's most atmospheric tales, the tumultuous night-time voyage becomes more than just a physical journey for the young Fenella.

Author: Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is widely considered one of the masters of the short story, her much acclaimed stories include 'The Garden Party' and 'Bliss'. She was brought up in colonial New Zealand but moved to Britain in 1908 where she led a literary bohemian life among the influential writers of the time.

Reader: Indira Varma

Abridger and producer: Justine Willett

First broadcast in July 2011.

Indira Varma reads Katherine Mansfield's classic 1921 story of a night-time sea voyage.


Arts feature.


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

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


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

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


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

From the Britten Theatre in the Royal College of Music.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

Some books that might be mentioned:


The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes (1942).

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

But Innes was also J.



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


Eliot and in its turn inspired Graham Greene.


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

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

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

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


The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff (1956).

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

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

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


Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (2008).

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


Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler.


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

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

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

Dracula's Guest

Handel Week - The Mouth Of The Lord20090414

Richard Coles, Simon Heighes and Ruth Smith discuss the real meaning of the text Handel set in the Messiah as well as the way succeeding generations have viewed the piece.

A discussion about the real meaning of the text Handel set in Messiah.

James Macmillan20050114

talks to John Tusa about his life and career, and some of the composers who have influenced him.


Richard Holloway explores the myth of Judas Iscariot and his depiction through the ages.

Judas is a name synonymous with betrayal and evil. Remembered for his act of betrayal that set in motion the story of the Passion, Judas the man is himself only briefly sketched in the Gospels and the Church portray him simply as a figure of hate. Richard Holloway explores the myth of Judas Iscariot and discusses some of the many representations of the character in history and fiction including Philip Pullman in his novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ; Anthony Payne in Elgar's Apostles; and historian Herb Krosney in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas.

Presented by Richard Holloway

Kew Gardens2011081420120820

Lindsay Duncan reads Virginia Woolf's sumptuous story of a sweltering summer's day at Kew.

Lindsay Duncan reads Virginia Woolf's classic story celebrating the link between nature and humanity set on a sweltering summer's day in Kew Gardens.

'One couple after another with much the same irregular and aimless movement passed the flower-bed and were enveloped in layer after layer of green blue vapour, in which at first their bodies had substance and a dash of colour, but later both substance and colour dissolved in the green-blue atmosphere. How hot it was! So hot that even the thrush chose to hop, like a mechanical bird, in the shadow of the flowers. Instead of rambling vaguely the white butterflies danced one above another, making with their white shifting flakes the outline of a shattered marble column above the tallest flowers.'

Likened to an impressionist painting, memories are stirred and snapshots of lives filter through the gentle hum of the garden as couples flit like butterflies past Kew's sumptuous flowerbeds, their conversations dissolving into flashes of colour, shape and movement into the steamy atmosphere.

Author: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as one of the foremost literary figures of the twentieth century, one of the greatest innovators in the English language.

Reader: Lindsay Duncan

Producer: Justine Willett

First broadcast in August 2011.

Konstantin Melnikov20091106

Iain Glen reads travel writer and novelist Bruce Chatwin's account of his trip to Moscow to see the reclusive architect Konstantin Melnikov at his famous house.

Iain Glen reads Bruce Chatwin's story of his trip to see the architect Konstantin Melnikov

Letter From The New World Duelling Nationalities20040228

American-ENGLISH poet and novelist, James Lasdun, reports from New ENGLAND on the business of becoming a citizen of the UNITED STATES.

Light Music/roger Roger20091013

Martin Handley talks to the BBC Concert's Orchestra's conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth and members of the orchestra about light music.

With an update on the BBC CO's learning and outreach activities, and a look at the revival of interest in the work of pioneering French composer Roger Roger.

Martin Handley talks to Barry Wordsworth about light music.

Plus the Roger Roger revival.

Mendelssohn *20090730

Louise Fryer is joined by Prof John Deathridge and Mendelssohn's great-great-great-great niece Sheila Hayman to discuss the composer's life and work.

Louise Fryer and guests discuss the life and works of Felix Mendelssohn.


A discussion about Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov, published in 1859 featuring a hero who is considered to be the greatest couch-potato in literature.

A discussion about Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov.

Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov" was published in 1859 and depicted, in its hero, the greatest couch-potato in literature.

So appealing is Oblomov's habit of never really getting up that his name has become synonymous with a sort of fatalistic laziness.

So prevalent a character trope did Oblomovism become in Russia that Lenin said that three revolutions had not been able to defeat it.

Lesley Chamberlain explores the book and its legacy.

Producer Tim Dee (rpt)."

Piano, By Jean Echenoz *20090213

David Horovitch reads an excerpt from Jean Echenoz's prize-winning comic novel celebrating the life and times of a concert pianist.

Although Max Delmarc lives quietly in Paris with his wife, his life is in chaos - he has begun to fear performing and has started to drink to forget his problems.

Max's cynical agent employs a minder to look after him, and a strange and touching relationship blossoms between the two as each evening, seconds before the curtain rises, there are new terrors to deal with.

David Horovitch reads from Jean Echenoz's novel celebrating the life of a concert pianist.

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A look at how views from windows affect moods and emotions.

Susannah Clapp explores her own view of a LONDON square and how that view has changed.

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James Naughtie talks to Renee Fleming about her life, career and the music she is performing in tonight's Prom.


Today, the sixteenth of June, is the one hundredth anniversary of 'Bloomsday', the day on which James Joyce set Ulysses, perhaps the most important novel of the twentieth century.

To celebrate that anniversary, three Joyce enthusiasts revisit the book and its author.


Modern in spite of itself

James Joyce's IRELAND seems to be a backward British colony on the far western fringe of Europe.

In the twenty-first century it is of course a bastion of modernity, but Professor Declan Kiberd suggests it was always so.

One hundred years ago, however, the modern impulse in IRELAND had to be disguised by dressing it up in the trappings of the past, so James Joyce's most modern of novels was disguised by cloaking it in the most ancient of Greek myths.

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Janet Suzman reads the moving story of Walter Benjamin's escape across the Pyrenees from occupied FRANCE into Spain with a precious cargo in tow - the Arcades Project.

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Christopher Cook and Professor Steven Connor survey Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project.

Assembled in the 30s and 40s, this study of the social and architectural fabric of nineteenth-century PARIS is now hailed by historians as one of the most important undertakings of the twentieth century.

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In three programmes this week, Christopher Ricks, editor of the OXFORD Book of ENGLISH Verse, presents an eclectic choice of poetry.

In the first programme, he introduces the 19th-century Irish poet James Henry.

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The first of two programmes on famous Irish theatre companies.

The Abbey Theatre At 100 The early years of IRELAND's National Theatre, founded in 1903 by WB Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory.

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Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric porcelain collector (1/5).

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The second of four programmes in which NEW YORK writers and artists respond to Brooklyn Bridge.

In 'Bridge & Tunnel' Bill Buford, NEW YORKer fiction editor drives in from New Jersey and listens out on Bleeker Street on Friday night.

He reveals how the romance of Manhattan lies in its being an island, how that romance is sustained by those who don't live on it but have to cross to it, and how the Manhattanites resent the daily invasion of what they call 'the B&T crowd'.

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Poet and critic Ian Hamilton champions some of the lost poets of the last century.

2: Norman Cameron and Weldon Kees.

Cameron (1905-1953) wrote only 70 poems, and Weldon Kees (1914-1955) about 150.

Their merits and real talents have been obscured not only by their slender outputs but in Cameron's case alo by his famous friends, and in Kees's case by his bizarre end - he disappeared without trace.


Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric collector of porcelain (2/5).


Ian McDiarmid reads Bruce Chatwin's story about an eccentric collector of porcelain (3/5).

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A series of six programmes looking at life in the slow lane.

5: `Slow Love'.

Biographer and novelist Victoria Glendinning explores the opposite of love at first sight.

Using personal anecdote, biblical narratives and literary luminaries, she marvels at the love that can grow between old friends, and wonders at the wistful hope of deferred gratification.