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Christopher Reid

1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 15 January 2012

Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the poet Christopher Reid. 'A Scattering', a moving series of elegiac poems for his late wife, the actress Lucinda Gane, who died of cancer in 2005, won the Costa Book of the Year - the first book of poetry to win since Seamus Heaney's 'Beowulf' in 1999. 'A Scattering' was also shortlisted for the 2009 Forward Poetry Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and at the same time, his long poem 'The Song of Lunch', about two former lovers meeting at an old Soho haunt, was made into a BBC film starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. A fomer poetry editor at Faber & Faber (a position once occupied by T.S. Eliot), he is often described as co-founder with Craig Raine of the so-called 'Martian' school of poetry, which applies exotic and humorous metaphors to everyday situations. He runs his own independent publishing house, Ondt & Gracehoper, and is also an illustrator. His Collected Poems have just been published by Faber & Faber.

Christopher Reid's musical tastes extend from a Bach partita for solo keyboard and Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano, both of which he loves for their improvisatory qualities, to a movement from Bartok's Fifth String Quartet, which appeals to him for his folk-based character. He has also chosen Maddy Prior singing a traditional folk song, a piece for bass viol by Tobias Hume, Berio's Agnus, and music by Louis Armstrong and Jerome Kern.

Music Played

10 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Louis Armstrong

    Louis Armstrong Weather Bird

    Performers: Louis Armstrong (trumpet) and Earl Hines (piano)

    CBS 466308-2

  • Image for Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ludwig van Beethoven Violin Sonata in A, Op 47 (The Kreutzer) (3rd movement, Presto)

    Performers: Patricia Kopatchinskaya (violin) and Fazil Say (piano)

    NAÏVE 5146

  • Image for [traditional]

    [traditional] The Blacksmith

    Performers: Maddy Prior (vocals) with Steeleye Span (live)


  • Image for Christopher Reid

    Christopher Reid READING of 'Songbook' (from A Scattering)

    Performers: Christopher Reid

    Areté Press

  • Image for Berio

    Berio Agnus

    Performers: Elise Ross and Mary Thomas (sopranos), The London Sinfonietta/Lucian Berio

    LP: RCA ARLI 0037

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach Partita no 3 in A Minor (4th movement, Sarabande)

    Performers: Rosalyn Tureck (piano)

    PHILIPS 456 976-2

  • Image for Jerome Kern

    Jerome Kern Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    Performers: Thelonious Monk (piano)

    VOGUE 600101

  • Image for Tobias Hume

    Tobias Hume Loves Farewell

    Performers: Jordi Savall (bass viol)

    ASTREE E7723

  • Image for Béla Bartók

    Béla Bartók String Quartet no 5 (3rd Movement, Scherzo alla bulgarese and Trio)

    Performers: The Belcea Quartet

    EMI 394400-2

  • Image for Hellman/Gay

    Hellman/Gay Four or Five Times

    Performers: Sidney Bechet (soprano saxophone), Muggsy Spanier (cornet), Carmen Mastren (guitar), Wellman Braud (bass)

    ASV CD AJA 5107



  1. Image for Private Passions

    Private Passions

    Guests from all walks of life discuss the music they love with Michael Berkeley.

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