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To Byzantium

Sunday 14 October 2007 22:15-0:00 (Radio 3)

Yeats' poem Sailing to Byzantium is the starting point for a theme about the journey of man and the vision of eternal life. Andrew Lincoln and Deborah Findlay read a selection of poetry and prose including Keats, Longfellow, John Masefield and Adrian Mitchell. With related music by John Tavener, Messiaen and Gesualdo.


1 hour 45 minutes

To Byzantium

Andrew Lincoln Andrew Lincoln (reader)

Deborah Findlay Deborah Findlay (reader)

Producer's Note
This edition takes as a starting point Yeats' poem Sailing to Byzantium for a meditation on immortality and the journey of the soul. The calls of "phos"/light in John Tavener's Ikon of Light hint of the world to come suggested in Yeats' poem. Charles Causley's poem I am the song and the reading of Traherne are a meditation on mans' existence matched with Biber's extraordinary Mystery sonatas in the vibrant recording by Monica Huggett. It is Pierre Boulez' electroacoustic piece Repons, that takes the listener deep into the impenetrable tomb in Anthony Thwaite's Monologue in the Valley of the Kings. The mysteries of life and death lead to Beethoven's monumental Appassionata sonata in a new recording by Paul Lewis.

There are also lighter moments to life's journey with Adrian Mitchell's affectionate poem Elephant Eternity and the nobel prize winner, Wislawa Szymborska's wry poem Utopia accompanied by the shimmering strings of Stanley Black and his orchestra. But, there is also a sinister tone in TS Eliot's Whispers of immortality followed by the brooding darkness of Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem. The journey from life to death is distilled in Emily Dickinson's poem Chariot with the pulsating rhythms of Reich's Music for mallet instruments, voice and organ and in Don Paterson's new translation of Rilke's poem Parting. The programmes ends with Yeats' Byzantium written three years after Sailing to Byzantium and exploring perfection of the human soul in a city of eternal art.

Jessica Isaacs, Producer


Tavener Ikon of Light Fos 1
Tallis Scholars
Gimmell CDGIM005 Track 1

Yeats: Sailing to Byzantium
read by Deborah Findlay

Auden: Orpheus
read by Deborah Findlay

Messiaen: Vingt Regards Regard de la Croix
Stephen Osborne (piano)
HYPERION CDA673512 Track 7

Music of Ancient Greece Plainte de Tecmessa
Atrium Musicae de Madrid & Gregorio Paniagua
HMA 1951015 Track 4

Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urn
read by Andrew Lincoln

Biber: The Joyful Mysteries. The Annunciation
Monica Huggett and Sonnerie
Gaudeamus CD GAU 350 Track 1

Charles Causley: I am the song
read by Deborah Findlay

Traherne: extract from Centuries of Meditations
read by Andrew Lincoln

Finzi: Intimations of Immortality:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting
Corydon Singer and Orchestra conducted by Matthew Best
Hyperion CDA66876 Track 13

Boulez: Repons
Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Pierre Boulez
DG 4576052 Track 12

Anthony Thwaite: Monologue in the Valley of the Kings
read by Andrew Lincoln

Beethoven: Sonata no 23 "Appassionata" in F minor (2nd and 3rd movements)
Paul Lewis (piano)
Harmonia Mundi 901906.08

Longfellow: I am poor and blind
read by Andrew Lincoln

John Masefield: Troy Town is covered in Weeds
read by Deborah Findlay

Orlando Gibbons: What is our life?
Concordia directed by Mark Levy
with Rachel Elliott (soprano)
Metronome METCD 1039 Track 4

Karger/Wells: From here to Eternity
Stanley Black and his orchestra
Guild GLCD5104 Track 21

Adrian Mitchell: Elephant Eternity
read by Andrew Lincoln

Wislawa Szymborska trans Adam Czerniawski: Utopia
read by Deborah Lincoln

Ravel: Miroirs Noctuelles
Cecile Ousset, piano
EMI CDC7499422 Track 15

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Reflections
read by Andrew Lincoln

Gibbons: Silver Swan
The Hilliard Ensemble directed by Paul Hillier
EMICDC7491972 Track 12

Stockhausen: Stimmung
Hyperion CDA66115 Track 37

TS Eliot: Whispers of Immortality
read by Deborah Findlay

Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem - Lachrymosa
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre Previn
EMI 7243 5 72658 2 CD 2 Track 2

Elizabeth Jennings: Answers
read by Deborah Findlay

JS Bach: Wir Mussen durch viel Trubsal
English Baroque Soloists directed by John Eliot Gardiner
SDG 50G107 Track 14

Crumb: Black Angels (God music)
Kronos Quartet
Nonesuch 9 79394-2 Track 7

Steve Reich: Music for mallet instruments, voices and organ
Amadinda Percussion Group
AMIATA ARNR0293 Track 1

Emily Dickinson: The Chariot
read by Deborah Findlay

Gesualdo: Io Parto e non piu dissi
Collegium Vocale Koln
Maestro CBS M2YK46467

Rilke/Patterson: Parting
read by Deborah Findlay

Messiaen: Vingt Regards - Regard du silence
Steven Osborne (piano)
HYPERION CDA673512 Track 17

Yeats: Byzantium
read by Andrew Lincoln

Tavener Ikon of Light: Epiphania
Tallis Scholars
Gimmell CDGIM005 Track 7

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