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05/07/2009

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 05 July 2009

Cheryl Campbell and Douglas Hodge explore the world of science in poetry and prose with work by Miroslav Holub, Mary Shelley, Thomas Hardy, Fleur Adcock and Emily Dickinson and music by Philip Glass, Dvorak, Takemitsu and Bach.

  • Producer's Notes - In the Microscope

    For this week’s Words and Music I’ve chosen poetry and prose on the theme of science: astronomy, the chemistry lab, the pleasures of technology, biology, palaeontology, the beauty of mathematics.

    ‘In the Microscope’ begins with Ennio Morricone’s ‘Galileo’ with Emily Dickinson’s ‘A Science so the savants say’. Thomas Hardy’s ‘Heredity’ is heard with Holst’s ‘Lament’ from his ‘Double Concerto for two violins and orchestra’, conducted by his daughter Imogen, herself a composer and musician. The science of astronomy is heard in Takemitsu’s ‘Orion’, in Fleur Adcock’s ‘The Ex-queen among the Astronomers’ and in Robert Frost’s ‘On looking up by chance at the Constellations’.

  • .....

    Robert Frost was a poet with a life long interest in science. At school he had a part-time job selling magazine subscriptions so that he could afford a telescope. Then, teaching at Amherst, he became friends with the Nobel Prize winning Danish physicist Niels Bohr, a relationship which developed his fascination with atomic structure.

    A passage from Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ in which the monster comes to life is heard with the ‘Elegia’ from Bartok’s ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ in which the composer used the ‘golden section’, a mathematical underlying symmetrical structure. You’ll also hear part of ‘Suite no 3 in C Major’ by Bach, another composer who made use of formal mathematical patterns.

    The Italian writer Primo Levi worked as a chemist all his life. ‘In the Microscope’ ends with one of the last poems he wrote before his suicide in Turin in 1987. ‘Almanac’, a bleak poem about man’s capacity to destroy the planet is heard alongside ‘Pestilence’ from Arthur Bliss’ great score from the 1936 film ‘Things to Come’, adapted from H.G. Wells’ apocalyptic novel about the destruction of the world.

    Fiona McLean (producer)

  • Details of Readings and Music

    Times are from the start of the programme

    00:00:00
    ENNIO MORRICONE
    Galileo – Lunare Primo
    Bruno Nicolai – conductor
    CAM CSE055

    00:01:38
    EMILY DICKINSON
    A Science so the savants say
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

    00:02:10
    OLIVER MESSIAEN
    Huit Preludes
    Le nombre leger
    Roger Murano – piano
    ACCORD 4616462

    00:03:50
    EDWIN MORGAN
    Pleasures of a Technological University
    Douglas Hodge (reader)

    00:04:51
    TOM LEHRER
    The Remains of Tom Lehrer
    The Elements
    RHINO R279831

    00:06:16
    RITA DOVE
    The Fish in the Stone
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

    00: 07:16
    THOMAS HARDY
    Heredity
    Douglas Hodge – reader

    00:07:25
    GUSTAV HOLST
    Lyric Movement
    Double Concerto for two violins and orchestra – Lament
    English Chamber Orchestra
    Imogen Holst – conductor
    LYRITA SRCD223

    00:11:32
    DANNY KAYE
    The Very Best of Danny Kaye
    Inchworm
    Gordon Jenkins and his Chorus and Orchestra
    MCLD 190049

    00:14:47
    JO SHAPCOTT
    Love in the Lab
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

  • ....

    00:16:06
    JONI MITCHELL
    For the Roses
    Electricity
    ASYLUM K253007

    00:19:06
    MIROSLAV HOLUB
    In the Microscope
    Douglas Hodge (reader)

    00:19:25
    KRONOS QUARTET
    Requiem for a Dream
    Lux Aeterna
    NONESUCH 7559796112

    00:23:13
    FLEUR ADCOCK
    The Ex-queen among the Astronomers
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

    00:25:00
    PHILIP GLASS
    The Essential Philip Glass
    Bed from Einstein on the Beach
    SONY CLASSICAL SK64133

    00:28:40
    BELA BARTOK
    The Orchestral Masterpieces
    Concerto for Orchestra – Elegia
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Sir George Solti – conductor
    DECCA 4705162

    00:28:50
    MARY SHELLEY
    Frankenstein
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

  • .....

    00:35:10
    RANDY NEWMAN
    Little Criminals
    Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America
    WARNER K256404

    00:38:01
    TORU TAKEMITSU
    Orchestral Works
    Orion and Pleiades – Orion
    BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Paul Watkins - cello
    Tadaaki Otaka - Conductor
    BIS CD760BIS

    00:28:59
    ROBERT FROST
    On looking up by chance at the constellations
    Cheryl Campbell (reader)

    00:42:58
    GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
    I am like a slip of comet
    Douglas Hodge (reader)

    00:44:33
    J.S. BACH
    Cello Suites 1-6
    Suite no 3 in C Major – Bouree
    Yo-Yo Ma – cello
    CBS M2K37867

    00:47:55
    PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
    The Cloud
    Douglas Hodge and Cheryl Campbell (readers)

    00:48:56
    CLAUDE DEBUSSY
    Nocturnes – Nuages
    The Cleveland Orchestra
    Pierre Boulez – conductor
    DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4398962

    00:55:10
    PRIMO LEVI
    Almanac
    Douglas Hodge (reader)

    00:56:17
    ARTHUR BLISS
    Suite from Things to Come – Pestilence
    London Symphony Orchestra
    Sir Arthur Bliss – conductor
    DUTTON LABORATORIES CDLXT2501

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