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Blood Wedding

Sunday 25 November 2007 22:15-0:00 (Radio 3)

A lifelong admirer of Federico Garcia Lorca, composer Simon Holt has set Lorca's words on many occasions. He selects music, poetry and prose conjuring images of blood, marriage and the moon. As well as works by Bach, Berg, Bowie, Mozart, Manson and Lorca himself, Ian McDiarmid and Nuria Benet read extracts from TS Eliot's Four Quartets, poems by William Empson and Don Paterson, Roberto Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, and Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet.

Duration:

1 hour 45 minutes

Blood Wedding

Ian McDiarmid Ian McDiarmid (reader)

Nuria Benet Nuria Benet (reader)

Simon Holt Simon Holt (curator)

CURATOR'S NOTE

I've often been asked over the last thirty years or so about my continued fascination with the life, poetry and dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca. Why have I chosen to live for much of the year close to Granada, where he was born and wrote the bulk of his work? What is it about this vivid touchstone that inspired a good deal of my early work? I've set several of the poems and also adapted his play Amor de Don Perlimplin con Belisa en su jardin as an opera, premiered nine years ago at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. I have a copy of his selected poems - still the most dangerous book on my shelves as when ever I get it down the need to set something from it is often overwhelming.

I suppose I set the poetry in an attempt to understand what it is that compels me to try and inhabit it musically and get under its skin; to feel a part of its unleashed freedoms and very unEnglish otherness. It's uncompromising certainly, passionately direct and yet strangely elusive. It feeds on simple everyday imagery, but uses it in utterly surprising juxtapositions. In many ways it's song-like already and uses the structure of Arabic poetry and those of cante jondo, or deep song. It comes from the root of something elemental.

The idea for the play Blood Wedding came from a newspaper report about a family feud in the Andalucian town of Nijar. As adapted by Lorca, it relates the story of a young bride who abandons her husband-to-be on their wedding day, escaping with her childhood sweetheart. The play ends with the deaths of both lover and groom, the bride's wedding gown covered in the blood of her lovers, who have killed each other in the forest. Written at lightning speed, possibly is as little as two weeks, Blood Wedding was first performed in 1933 at a time when the then Republican government was attempting to drag Spain into the 20th century. Although the incident that inspired the play was clearly the stuff of tabloids, the play has since become legendary in its radical approach to theatre.

I've chosen music and words which particularly move me using 'blood'
and 'wedding' as my starting-points, and also homed in on another important Lorcan image, the moon. Musically speaking there's everything from recent Marilyn Manson, 70s Bowie and the flamenco singer Tomas Pavon and Bach (who Lorca listened to continuously when writing Blood Wedding, driving the household to distraction in the process) to Berg's Wozzeck (specifically Marie's death scene), myself, and Mozart, Cavalli, Shostakovich and Schoenberg among others.

I've chosen words by Lorca, of course, both from the poems and from the plays, as well as T.S. Eliot, Roberto Calasso, William Empson, Fernando Pessoa and Don Paterson. It's an alarmingly unholy mix, of which I would hope Federico would approve.

¡Que aproveche!

Simon Holt (curator)
Produced by Lindsay Kemp

Playlist

All timings are from the start of the programme
00:00.00
LORCA
Zorongo
Francoise Atlan (voice), Juan Carmona (guitar)
EMPREINTE DIGITALE ED 13062. Track 8

00:02.34
SIMON HOLT
Introduction

00:07.14
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Cantata No 140 'Wachet auf! Ruft uns die Stimme' (opening chorus, excerpt)
Orfeo Catala de Barcelona with orchestra
HMV D2076 Track 1

00:09.11
ROBERTO CALASSO
The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (excerpt)
Translated from the Italian by Tim Parks
Read by Nuria Benet

00:11.26
DMITRY SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 14: (2nd movement)
Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano)
Members of the Academic Symphony Orchestra Moscow
Mstislav Rostropovich (conductor)
TELDEC 0630175142 Track 2

00:13.55
TRADITIONAL ANDALUCIAN
Soleares
Tomas Pavon (voice), Melchor de Marchena (guitar)
ARHOOLIE CD326ARH Track 7

00:16.32
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
La casada infiel
Translated from the Spanish by J.L. Gili
Read by Ian McDiarmid

00:18.28
ANONYMOUS, 16th-CENTURY SPANISH
Ay luna que reluzes
Montserrat Figueras (soprano)
La Capella Reial de Catalunya / Jordi Savall (director)
ASTREE ES9951 Track 3

00:22.50
FERNANDO PESSOA
The Book of Disquiet (excerpt)
Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith
Read by Ian McDiarmid

00:25.27
DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in F major, Kk6
Skip Sempe (harpsichord)
PARADIZO PA 0003 Track 5

00:27.32
FERNANDO PESSOA
The Book of Disquiet (excerpt)
Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith
Read by Ian McDiarmid

00:29.33
DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in D minor, Kk517
Skip Sempe (harpsichord)
PARADIZO PA 0003 Track 15

00:30.55
FERNANDO PESSOA
The Book of Disquiet (excerpt)
Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith
Read by Ian McDiarmid

00:32.46
DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in C major, Kk513
Skip Sempe (harpsichord)
PARADIZO PA 0003 Track 8

00:35.53
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
Sorpresa
Spanish read by Nuria Benet
English translation by J.L.Gili read by Ian McDiarmid

00:36.26
SIMON HOLT
. era madrugada
Nash Ensemble / Lionel Friend (conductor)
NMC NMCD008 Track 1

00:48.01
WILLIAM EMPSON
Missing Dates
Read by Ian McDiarmid

00:49.18
MARILYN MANSON
If I was your vampire
From Album 'Eat Me, Drink Me'
INTERSCOPE 1736524 Track 1

00:55.09
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
Monologue of the Moon (from 'Blood Wedding')
Spanish read by Nuria Benet
English translation by J.L.Gili read by Ian McDiarmid

00:58.00
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG
Der kranke Mond (from 'Pierrot lunaire)
Mary Thomas (voice), London Sinfonietta / David Atherton (conductor)
DECCA 4256262 Track 15

01:00.12
TS ELIOT
Four Quartets (excerpt)
Read by Ian McDiarmid

01:01.20
DMITRY SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 14: (10th movement)
Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano)
Members of the Academic Symphony Orchestra Moscow
Mstislav Rostropovich (conductor)
TELDEC 0630175142 Track 10

01:06.57
TS ELIOT
Four Quartets (excerpt)
Read by Ian McDiarmid

01:08.16
GEORGE CRUMB
Todas las tardes en Granada (from 'Ancient Voices of Children')
Jan DeGaetani (mezzo-soprano)
The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Arthur Weisberg (conductor)
ELEKTRA NONESUCH 7559791492. Track 4

01:11.00
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Bei Mannern (from Act 1 of 'Die Zauberflote')
Rosa Mannion (soprano), Anton Scharinger (baritone)
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (conductor)
ERATO 0630127052. Disc 1 Track 10

01:13.53
ALBAN BERG
Death of Marie (from Act 3 of 'Wozzeck')
Angela Denoke (soprano), Bo Skovhus (baritone)
Hamburg State Opera Orchestra / Ingo Metzmacher (conductor)
EMI CDS5568652 CD2 Track 2

01:19.33
DAVID BOWIE
Be my wife
From Album 'Low'
EMI CDP7977192 Track 6

01:22.24
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA, after traditional Andalucian
Ojos, a la sombra
Read by Nuria Benet

01:22.57
FRANCESCO CAVALLI
La Calisto (Act 2, excerpt)
Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), James Bowman (counter-tenor)
English Chamber Orchestra, Raymond Leppard (conductor)
DECCA 4362162 Disc 2 Track 1

01:29.57
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA after traditional Andalucian
Death in the rose-bush
English translation by J.L.Gili read by Nuria Benet

01:30.29
SIMON HOLT
Death in the Rose Bush (No. 3 of 'Canciones')
Fiona Kimm (mezzo-soprano)
Nash Ensemble / Lionel Friend (conductor)
NMC NMCD008. Track 4

01:35.19
FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
Romance de le luna, luna
Read by Nuria Benet

01:36.48
ANONYMOUS
Nana del carino
Francoise Atlan (voice)
EMPREINTE DIGITALE ED 13062. Track 7

01:38.56
DON PATERSON
The Eyes
Read by Nuria Benet




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