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1 hour, 15 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 19 February 2012

Abundance: plenty, excess and enough. Hayley Carmichael and Nicholas Farrell read poems by Ted Hughes, Louis MacNeice and Thomas Campion with music from Prokofiev, Dutilleux and Thomas Tallis.


Music Played

27 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Benjamin Britten

    Benjamin Britten Bacchus, Six Metamorphoses After Ovid,

    Performer: Helen Jahren

    BIS CD737

  • Ted Hughes

    Midas, Tales from Ovid, reader, Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach Aria, Goldberg Variations

    Performer: Angela Hewitt

    Hyperion CDA67305, 01

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius Autumn; North Country Sketches

    Performer: Ulster Orchestra, Conducted by Vernon Handley


  • Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Hurrahing in Harvest, reader, Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for Harvey Schmidt; Words by: Tom Jones

    Harvey Schmidt; Words by: Tom Jones My Cup Runneth Over (Young Gifted and Black Outtake)

    Performer: Aretha Franklin

    Rhino B000S75BQI

  • Agnes Newton Keith

    A Birthday: Japanese Prison Camp, Kuching, Borneo, 5 April 1944, reader, Hayley Carmichael

  • Image for Tchaikovsky

    Tchaikovsky Chocolate: SpanishDance; Nutcracker

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Mackerras

    TELARC CD80137Or

  • Image for [anonymous]

    [anonymous] La plus grant chière

    Performer: Orlando Consort

    Harmonia Mundi HMU907314

  • Chaucer (trans Forrest A Hainline)

    The Franklin, from the General Prologue, The Canterbury Tales, reader Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

    Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev Scene and Waltz of the Diamonds; from Suite from the Stone Flower

    Performer: Scottish National Orchestra , conducted by Neeme Järvi


  • Gustav Flaubert; trans Gerard Hopkins

    Madame Bovary (extracts); reader Hayley Carmichael

  • Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, trans Archibald Colquhoun, reader Nicholas Farrell

    The Leopard (extract), reader Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for Ray Davies

    Ray Davies Maximum Consumption

    Performer: The Kinks

    Koch B000IONTAG

  • Thomas Campion

    There is a Garden in her Face, reader Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for John Dowland

    John Dowland The Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Lisle, his Galliard

    Performer: Nigel North

    NAXOS 8556840

  • Image for Henri Dutilleux

    Henri Dutilleux Cello Concerto, II Regard (Extrêmement calme)

    Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich (cello), Orchestre de Paris conducted by Serge Baudo

    Hyperion EMI CDC 7493042

  • Elizabeth Jennings

    My Grandmother, reader Hayley Carmichael

  • Seamus Heaney

    Blackberry Picking, reader Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for [anonymous]

    [anonymous] Izhe khieruvimui

    Performer: Tallis Scholars

    GIMELL 4549022, 8

  • Image for Claude Debussy

    Claude Debussy Feux d'Artifice, Preludes, Book 2

    Performer: Walter Giesking (Paino)

    EMI CDH7610042, 24

  • Image for Dmitri Shostakovich

    Dmitri Shostakovich Barrel Organ Waltz, from The Gadfly

    Performer: Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner

    EMI CDC7490432

  • Arnold Bennet

    Journal, 1905 A Roundabout in Montmartre, reader Hayley Carmichael

  • Image for Jacques Brel

    Jacques Brel Il Neige sur Liège

    Performer: Jacques Brel

    BARCLAY 9808169

  • Image for Franz Liszt

    Franz Liszt Etudes d'exécution transcendante, NoXII in B flat minor, Chasse-neige

    Performer: Boris Berezovsky

    TELDEC 4509984152

  • Louis Macneice

    Snow, reader Nicholas Farrell

  • Image for Thomas Tallis

    Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium (motet à 40 voix pour 8 chœurs)

    Performer: New College Oxford Choir

    K617 K617010

  • Producer's Note

    Abundance: enough, plenty, too much.

    Midas’ wish for an abundance of gold, granted by Bacchus, here in Britten and Ted Hughes’ Metamorphoses, is a tale which retains chilling resonance: simple greed with complicated consequences.

    The dizzying swoon of Gerard Manley Hopkins, overwhelmed by the glory of God and Nature’s beauty and bounty is reflected in Delius’ scudding clouds and soughing winds whilst Aretha Franklin’s song takes a phrase from the Psalms and applies it to a more secular love, capturing a heart that swells with love and pride like the mother here describing her boy’s generosity with his birthday feast in a prisoner of war camp. And Bach’s Aria begins the copia of the Goldberg Variations.

    Feasting, food and maximum consumption just this side of gluttony and disaster is celebrated: there’s chocolate from the Nutcracker, Emma Bovary’s forays into high society feasting, Chaucer’s Franklin’s epicurean flights and the tantalising macaroni pies from The Leopard as well as a taster of Dowland from the Musicall Banquet and a song from the fifteenth century about La plus grant chière, “The grandest banquet ever …”.

    Elizabeth Jennings’ My Grandmother describes a woman whose life was full if things but not love and Izhe khieruvimui is the music contained in one of the first eggs designed by Faberge for the Russian Tsars.

    The programme ends with snow, the “variousness” of Louis Macneice’s world and the layered accumulation of Thomas Tallis Spem in Allium.


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