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Illusions of Power

A sequence of poetry, prose and music on the theme of power, with readings by Sheila Hancock and Tom Hollander.

With poems from Percy Shelley, Ted Hughes, Rudyard Kipling and Margaret Atwood, as well as music by Prokofiev, Ligeti and Handel.

Please note this programme contains strong language.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    Carl Orff

    O Fortuna from Carmina Burana

    Performers: New Philharmonia Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

    • EMI CDM 7 69060 2.
  • 00:02

    Iannis Xenakis


    Performers: Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Arturo Tamayo

    • Timpani 1C1062.
  • King James Bible

    Revelation 6:12-16 read by Sheila Hancock and read by Tom Hollander

  • 00:04

    Black Sabbath

    The Illusion of Power

    Performers: Black Sabbath

    • IRS 7243 8 30620 2 7.
  • 00:04

    Maurice Duruflé

    Tantum ergo from Quatre Motets sur des themes grégoriens

    Performers: Vasari Singers, Jeremy Backhouse

    • Signum SIGCD 163.
  • Shelley

    Fragment read by Sheila Hancock

  • 00:08

    George Frideric Handel

    Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne

    Performers: Robin Blaze (countertenor), The Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Cleobury (conductor)

    • EMI 7243 5 57140 2 2.
  • 00:11


    MacDougall's Gathering

    Arranger: Bonnie Rideout Performers: Bonnie Rideout (viola), Simon O’Dwyer (Bronze Age Horns)

    • TM 504.
  • 00:15


    The Darkling Plains

    Performers: Spiro

    • Realworld Records CDR 50 37005 00048 8.
  • Maura Stanton

    The Conjurer read by Sheila Hancock

  • 00:19

    Alexander Mosolov

    Zavod – Iron Foundry

    Performers: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Riccaro Chailly

    • Decca 436 640-2.
  • 00:22

    Pink Floyd

    Welcome to the Machine

    Performers: Pink Floyd

    • CBS 35DP4.
  • Kit Wright

    Ode to Didcot Power Station read by Tom Hollander

  • 00:25

    Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No 5 [final movement]

    Performers: Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vanska

    • BIS CD 863.
  • Joseph Seamon, Jr. Cotter

    from Out of the Shadows: An Unfinished Sonnet-Sequence read by Tom Hollander

  • 00:34

    Percy Grainger

    The Power of Love

    Performers: Susan Gritton (soprano), City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

    • Chandos CHAN 9653.
  • 00:38

    György Ligeti


    Performers: Sudwesfunk Orchestra, Ernest Bour (conductor)

    • EMI 7243 8 55322 2 1.
  • Margaret Atwood

    From: Circe / Mud Poems read by Sheila Hancock

  • 00:39

    Luigi Nono

    Prometeo, Tragedia dell'ascolto

    • Col legno WWE 25ACD 20605.
  • Toads read by Tom Hollander

    Philip Larkin

  • 00:41

    Dmitri Shostakovich

    String Quartet No 8 – 1st mvt

    Performers: The Shostakovich Quartet

    • Regis 2029.
  • Amir Gilboa [adapted from Hebrew by Dannie Abse]

    Blood not paint ... read by Sheila Hancock

  • 00:46

    Benjamin Britten

    War Requiem

    Performers: The Bach Choir and London Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Highgate School Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, Peter Pears (tenor), Benjamin Britten (conductor)

    • Decca 414 383-2.
  • Wilfred Owen

    Anthem for Doomed Youth read by Tom Hollander

  • Freud

    from Civilization and its Discontents read by Sheila Hancock

  • Landscape with distant relatives: Sirens

    Heiner Goebbels

  • 00:58

    John Adams

    The Laboratory from Doctor Atomic Symphony

    Performers: Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson [conductor]

    • Nonesuch 7559 79932 8.
  • Peter Porter

    Your Attention Please read by Tom Hollander

  • 01:01

    Krzysztof Penderecki

    Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima

    Performers: National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw

    • Polskie Nagrania.
  • 01:03

    Sergei Prokofiev

    Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet

    Performers: London Symphony Orchestra, Andre Previn (conductor)

    • EMI 2 67967 2 CD 5.
  • Ted Hughes

    Eagle read by Sheila Hancock

  • William Blake

    The Tyger read by Tom Hollander

  • 01:07


    Agnus Dei from Requiem

    Performers: The Tallis Scholars

    • Gimmell CDGIM 207.
  • Rudyard Kipling

    If read by Sheila Hancock

  • 01:12

    Dmitri Shostakovich

    Symphony No 15 [finale]

    Performers: Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    • Decca 028942506923.


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