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Letting Go

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 30 December 2012

Mark Tully asks when it is right to relinquish our dreams and how best to leave grief behind? From sporting defeat to the loss of a loved one, this programme looks at the benefits of knowing when to let go, and the consequences of not doing so.

Readings explore the notion of letting go of worldly successes and status symbols in preparation for retirement; the pain of bereavement as the gradual process of forgetting begins; a Hindu tradition of renouncing material possessions and family connections before death; and the joy of finally accepting defeat.

Music featured in the programme includes an excerpt from an opera unfinished by Claude Debussy which he finally let go of by pretending to have burned the score.

And in poetry, Naomi Shihab Nye suggests that if we don't lose things - let them go - we will never, "learn the tender gravity of kindness".

Producer: Adam Fowler
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

Music Played

6 items
  • Image for Michael McDonald

    Michael McDonald I Can Let You Go Now

    Performer: Michael McDonald

    Sweet Freedom, Warner Bros, 2292-41049-2

  • Image for Luigi Dallapiccola

    Luigi Dallapiccola Due Liriche Di Anacreonte

    Performer: Julie Moffat, New London Chamber Choir directed by James Wood, Ensemble Intercontemporain directed by Hans Zender

    Dallapiccola: Canti Di Prigionia, Erato, 4509-98509-2

  • Image for Claude Debussy

    Claude Debussy Prelude of Rodrigue et Chimene

    Performer: Orchestre de L’Opera de Lyon

    Rodrigue et Chimene, Erato, 4509-98508-2

  • Image for John Denver

    John Denver Sweet Surrender

    Performer: John Denver

    The Ultimate Collection, Sony, 88697939312

  • Image for David Bowie

    David Bowie Heroes

    Performer: David Bowie

    Best of Bowie, EMI, CDBOWIE 001

  • Image for Leonard Cohen

    Leonard Cohen Anthem

    Performer: Leonard Cohen

    The Essential Leonard Cohen, Columbia, 497995 2

  • Readings

    Title: ‘Kindness’ from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
    Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
    Publisher: Eighth Mountain Press
    ISBN-10: 0933377290

    Title: The Year of Magical Thinking
    Author: Joan Didion
    Publisher: Harper Perennial
    ISBN-10: 0007216858

    Title: Downshifting
    Author: Andy Bull
    Publisher: Thorsons
    ISBN-10: 0722535660

    Title: Taking on the World
    Author: Ellen MacArthur
    Publisher: Penguin
    ISBN-10: 0141006978


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