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The Afterlife

Texts and music on the theme of the afterlife, with readings by Sophie Okonedo and Paul Copley. Including Dante, Milton and Wilfred Owen, plus Britten, Ives, Crumb and Scriabin.

Sophie Okonedo and Paul Copley read poetry and prose on the theme of the Afterlife, from heaven and hell to paradise and purgatory. Ultimately the question of what lies beyond the grave impacts us all.shall we be reunited with lost loved ones or be able to return to those we've left behind in some ghostly form? Shall we find peace at last, eternal damnation, or worse, oblivion?
Hamlet faces his father's ghost, Wilfred Owen's Strange Meeting tells of an encounter between two dead soldiers, and in Paradise Lost Satan considers the advantages of ruling in Hell. Whilst contemporary novelists Julian Barnes and Alice Seebold place their protagonists in very different versions of Heaven.
With a mixture of accompanying music by John McCabe, Charles Ives, Britten, Liszt, Schumann, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Gluck, Keith Jarrett and Johnny Cash.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sun 29 Aug 2010 22:30

Music Played

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

  • Shakespeare

    Hamlet – extract from Act 1 ‘I am thy Father’s Ghost’, Paul Copley

  • 00:00

    John McCabe

    Fear in the Night

    Performer: The Hammer City Orchestra conducted by Philip Martell

    • Silva Screen FILMCD017.
  • 00:03

    Charles Ives

    The Unanswered Question

    Performer: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas

    • RCA 09026637032.
  • Emily Dickinson

    I went to Heaven, Sophie Okonedo

  • Wilfred Owen

    Strange Meeting, Paul Copley

  • 00:12

    Benjamin Britten

    War Requiem – Let us sleep now

    Performer: Peter Pears, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, Galina Vishnevskaya and the LSO conducted by Benjamin Britten

    • Decca 4143832.
  • 00:15


    Fantasia a 6

    Performer: Fretwork

    • Virgin Classics VC5453462.
  • Louise Chandler Moulton

    After Death, Sophie Okonedo

  • 00:17

    Alexander Scriabin

    Sonata No 9 'Black Mass'

    Performer: Roberto Szidon

    • DG 4317472.
  • Milton

    Paradise Lost – extract from Book 1 ‘The Argument’, Paul Copley

  • 00:24

    Franz Liszt

    Faust Symphony – 3rd Movement 'Mephistopheles'

    Performer: The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti

    • EMI CDC7490622.
  • 00:32

    George Butterworth

    The Banks of Green Willow

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox

    • Chandos CHAN 9902.
  • Thomas Hardy

    Transformations, Paul Copley

  • 00:36

    Robert Schumann

    Child Falling Asleep Op 15 No 12 from Scenes from Childhood

    Performer: Lyn Garland

    • Unicorn UKCD2037.
  • Alice Seebold

    The Lovely Bones, Sophie Okonedo

  • 00:38

    Terry Riley

    Requiem for Adam – Ascending the Heaven Ladder

    Performer: Kronos Quartet

    • Nonesuch 7559796392.
  • 00:40

    Steve Reich

    Different Trains – Europe during the War

    Performer: Kronos Quartet

    • Nonesuch 9791762.
  • Dante

    The Divine Comedy – Inferno – Canto III, Sophie Okonedo

  • 00:45

    Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Orfeo & Euridice – Andante & Chorus from Act 2, Scene 2

    Performer: Kammerchor Stuttgart, Tafelmusik conducted by Frieder Bernius

    • Sony Classical SX2K48040.
  • 00:49


    Bring Me Sunshine

    Performer: Morecambe & Wise

    • Virgin VTDCD332.
  • Julian Barnes

    A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters, Paul Copley

  • 00:52

    Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh

    The Best Is Yet To Come

    Performer: Frank Sinatra

    • Reprise 8122735892.
  • Dorothy Parker

    I Shall Come Back, Sophie Okonedo

  • 00:55

    Adolphe Adam

    Giselle – Entre du Prince et apparition de Giselle (Act 2)

    Performer: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Richard Bonynge

    • Decca 4175052.
  • 00:58


    Aint No Grave

    Performer: Johnny Cash

    • American Recordings 2733149.
  • Walt Whitman

    Unnamed Lands, Paul Copley

  • 01:04

    Keith Jarrett


    Performer: Keith Jarrett

    • ECM 8373422.
  • 01:07

    Giovanni de Macque

    Consonanze Strauaganti

    Performer: Lorenzo Ghielmi

    • Winter & Winter 9100552.
  • Dante

    The Divine Comedy – Paradise – Canto XXXI, Sophie Okonedo

  • 01:11

    Gabriel Fauré

    Requiem - In Paradisum

    Performer: Trinity College Choir

    • Conifer CDCF503.


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