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Sport

Duration:
1 hour, 15 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 15 March 2009

Elgar loved football, Debussy composed a tennis match, and Honegger wrote a musical game of rugby. Poet Laureates from William Wordsworth to Wole Soyinka and Gwyneth Lewis have all turned their pen to sporting passions. Sports crowds in return use music and song to raise their hopes and cheer on their flagging sporting heroes, from Sunderland FC, who come out to Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, to Liverpool FC's footballing anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Words and Music this week explores the world of sport. The original Greek Games had their origins in a poetic and musical tradition, and sport - the human endeavour, the triumphs and failures - continues to hold a fascination for writers and composers.

From the obvious sporting worlds of cricket and rugby to the more esoteric, like hang gliding and rock climbing, Ioan Meredith and Angela Wynter read poetry from Ian McMillan to Jean Binta Breeze, with music from Ives, Ravel and Holst, the New Zealand All Blacks and Liverpool FC's triumphant Kop.

Music Played

31 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Lewis Carroll

    Alice in Wonderland extract read by Angela Wynter

  • Image for Various

    Various BBC theme tunes: Test Cricket, Ski Sunday, Grandstand

    BBC Sporting Themes, PWKS648

  • Image for Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

    Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet Montagues and Capulets

    Performer: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Prokofiev/Romeo and Juliet, SACD-1301

  • Classified Football Results

    Reader: James Alexander Gordon (BBC sound archive)

  • Ian Mcmillan

    Home Support read by Ian McMillan

  • Image for Charles Ives

    Charles Ives Yale-Princeton Football Game

    Performer: Orchestra New England

    Ives: Three Places in New England, KOCH 370252

  • Simon Armitage

    The Catch 1992 read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for Gustav Holst

    Gustav Holst Jupiter

    Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra/ David Lloyd-Jones

    NAXOS SVEN2002

  • The Haka

    The New Zealand rugby team (BBC Sports Archive)

  • Gwyneth Lewis

    Reply to the Haka read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for John Hughes

    John Hughes Cwm Rhondda (Bread of Heaven)

    Performer: Bryn Terfel and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera/Gareth Jones

    We’ll Keep a Welcome, DEUTSCHE GRAMOPHON 4635932

  • UA Fanthorpe

    Hang Gliders in January read by Angela Wynter

  • Image for James Rhodes

    James Rhodes Jeux Poème dansé

    Performer: Orchestre National De L’O.R.T.F.

    Debussy: Complete Orchestral Works II, EMI CDM7695882

  • Prageeta Sharma

    Ode to Badminton read by Angela Wynter

  • Image for Fortran 5

    Fortran 5 Heavy Clouds Gather

    Performer: Fortran 5

    Bad Head Park, CD STUMM 104

  • SJ Litherland

    Bad Light read by Angela Wynter

  • Sir Henry Newbolt

    Vitai Lampada ("They Pass On The Torch of Life") read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for Sir Edward Elgar

    Sir Edward Elgar Sospiro

    Performer: English Northern Philharmonic/ David Lloyd-Jones

    NAXOS SVEN2002

  • Wole Soyinka

    Muhammad Ali at the Ringside, 1985 read by Wole Soyinka (Our Souls have Grown Deep Like Rivers) RHINO RHI780122, CD 2 Tr 1

  • Image for Georges Bizet

    Georges Bizet Les Voici! Les Voici!

    Performer: Franco Corelli and chorus

    Bizet: Carmen, RCA 74321252792

  • Jean Binta Breeze

    On Cricket, Sex and Housework read by Angela Wynter

  • Image for Arthur Honegger

    Arthur Honegger Rugby

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Charles Dutoit

    Teldec CD 3984-21340-2

  • Seamus Heaney

    The Salmon Fisher to the Salmon read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for Franz Schubert

    Franz Schubert Piano Quintet in A D667 "The Trout" – II Andante

    Performer: Members of the Belcea Quartet

    Piano Quintets, EMI 5576642

  • Ted Hughes

    Pike read by Ted Hughes (Hughes, Ted: Reading his Own Poetry) HARPER COLLINS HCCD 1165, Track: Tr 9

  • David Craig

    Into Rock read by Angela Wynter

  • Image for Steve Reich

    Steve Reich Music for 18 Musicians

    Phases: A Nonesuch Retrospective, NONESCH 79962

  • William Wordsworth

    Ice-skating extract from The Prelude read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for Maurice Ravel

    Maurice Ravel Bolero

    Performer: Ochestre National De France/ Lorin Maazel

    CBS MDK46501

  • Douglas Dunn

    In Ten Seconds read by Ioan Meredith

  • Image for Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

    Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II - You'll Never Walk Alone and Liverpool v Real Ma

    Performer: The Kop Choir and Peter Jones.

    Fabriclive. 07 John Peel, FABRIC 14, Tr 1 & 23

  • Producer's Notes

    Elgar loved football, Debussy composed a tennis match, and Honegger wrote a musical game of rugby. Poet laureates from William Wordsworth to Wole Soyinka, and Gwyneth Lewis have all turned their pen to sporting passions. Sports crowds in return use music and song to raise their hopes and cheer on their flagging sporting heroes, from Sunderland FC, who come out to Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, to Liverpool FC’s footballing anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.
    Words and Music this week explores the world of sport. The original Greek Games had their origins in a poetic and musical tradition, and the world of sport - the human endeavour, the triumphs and failures - continues to hold a fascination for writers and composers.
    James Alexander Gordon’s football results have a music of their own, and the Haka has the fierce poetry of a war song. I’ve included Soyinka’s ‘Muhammad Ali at the Ringside, 1985’ ahead of the entrance of Bizet’s Escamillo, Ali’s famed beauty in the ring and the dance of the bullfight both colouring the violence of their sports. Jean Binta Breeze’s poem of cricketing seduction follows on in the vein of the steamy attraction of the sporting hero.
    From the obvious sporting worlds of cricket and rugby to the more esoteric, like hang gliding and rock climbing, Ioan Meredith and Angela Wynter read poetry from Ian McMillan to Jean Binta Breeze, with music from Ives, Ravel and Holst, the New Zealand All Blacks and Liverpool FC’s triumphant Kop.

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