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Witches and Sorcerers

Texts and music about witches and sorcerers, with readings by Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman. Including Marlowe and Goethe, plus Mussorgsky, Nina Simone, Dukas and Ades.

As Halloween approaches Words and Music takes a suitably dark turn, with a programme built around the theme of witches and sorcerers; those sinister beings who have captured the imagination and chilled the blood of poets, dramatists and composers for centuries. This edition also brings together a critically-acclaimed theatrical duo: Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman.

From Shakespeare's cauldron-stirring hags to Christopher Marlowe's tortured Dr Faustus, this is an exploration of some of literature's most iconic witches and wizards. Music ranges from Mussorgsky's Night on the Bare Mountain to Nina Simone's classic Put a Spell on You; from Dukas's much loved The Sorcerer's Apprentice to Thomas Ades's The Tempest.

On the night associated with creatures of darkness, Words and Music takes you to the land of Oz, home of the Wicked Witch of the West; sweeps you into Goethe's account of the sorcerer's misguided apprentice; and transports you to Prospero's isle, as the wizard-ruler struggles to abandon his magical powers.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sat 29 Oct 2016 18:30

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Mussorgsky arr. Rimsky Korsakov

    A Night on the Bare Mountain

    Performer: Bavarian State Orchestra, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch

    • EMI Classics CDD7638932.
    • 18.
  • Robert Herrick

    The Hag, Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:02


    The Wizard of Oz – excerpt of spoken words from the film, from a commercial soundtrack CD.

    Performer: Margaret Hamilton

    • MGM CDP7933032.
    • 17.
  • 00:02

    Thomas Adès

    Five Fathoms deep from The Tempest

    Performer: Cyndia Sieden (soprano), The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Vasko Vassilev

    • EMI Classics 6952342.
  • William Shakespeare

    The Tempest, Act V, scene I. Henry Goodman.

  • William Shakespeare

    Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I. Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:05

    Betty Garrett/Gerald Dolin

    I'd Rather be Burned as a Witch

    Performer: Eartha Kitt

    • MCA MCLC19120.
    • 15.
  • Christopher Marlowe

    Doctor Faustus, Act I, scene I. Henry Goodman

  • 00:09

    Hector Berlioz

    Symphony Fantastique

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle

    • EMI 2162240.
    • 5.
  • 00:14

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy 

    Performer: Kirov Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev

    • Philips 462114-2.
    • 22.
  • C.S Lewis

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Excerpt from Chapter 3, Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:16

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy 

    Performer: Kirov Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev

    • Philips 462114-2.
    • 22.
  • 00:18

    Antonio Vivaldi

    The Four Seasons, Winter, Allegro con molto.

    Performer: Nigel Kennedy (violin and director), English Chamber Orchestra

    • EMI CDC7495572.
    • 10.
  • Elizabeth Coleridge

    The Witch. Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:22

    Benjamin Britten

    The Turn of the Screw, Act II, scene IV The Bedroom.

    Performer: Ian Bostridge (tenor), Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding.

    • Virgin Classics 4563792.
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    The Sea Spell, Henry Goodman

  • 00:23

    John Dowland


    Performer: Paul O’Dette

    • Harmonia Mundi HMU907160.
    • 10.
  • 00:24

    James Rhodes


    Performer: Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit

    • Decca 425502-2.
    • 8.
  • Willliam Shakespeare

    Macbeth, Act I, scene V, Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:28

    John Williams

    The Devil's Dance (from The Witches of Eastwick)

    Performer: Gil Shaham (violin), Jonathan Feldman (piano)

    • DG 46348-2.
    • 1.
  • Goethe

    The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Henry Goodman.

  • 00:33

    Paul Dukas

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic conducted by James Levine

    • DG 419617-2.
    • 5.
  • William Shakespeare

    Macbeth, Act IV, scene I, Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:41

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Che faceste? Dite Su! from Macbeth

    Performer: Ambrosian Opera Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti

    • EMI classics 5671282.
  • 00:45

    Frank Morgan (Wizard of Oz), Judy Garland (Dorothy)

    The Wizard of Oz – excerpt of spoken words from the film, from a commercial soundtrack CD

    • MGM CDP7933032.
    • 16.
  • 00:45


    We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Performer: Judy Garland, MGM Studio Orchestra and chorus, conducted by Herbert Stothart and George Stoll.

    • MGM CDP7933032.
    • 9.
  • T.H White

    The Once and Future King, Chapter 3, Henry Goodman

  • 00:47

    Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

    I Put a Spell on You

    Performer: Nina Simone

    • Universal 9808087.
    • 15.
  • Stephen Moylan Bird

    The Witch, Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:50

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    The Lark Ascending

    Performer: Nicola Benedetti (violin), London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton

    • DG 4763399.
    • 2.
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson

    The Kraken, Henry Goodman

  • 00:56

    Benjamin Britten

    Storm from Four Sea Interludes, Op. 33a (Peter Grimes)

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharminic conducted by Takuo Yuasa

    • EMI 5654562.
    • 13.
  • 01:00


    Wade in the Water

    Performer: The Charioteers

    • Fremeaux FA008.
  • Anon.

    The Cat Witch, Juliet Stevenson

  • 01:03

    Gioachino Rossini

    Duetto buffo di due gatti

    Performer: Gérard Lesne (Countertenor), Rockwell Blake (tenor), Antomio Pappano (piano)

    • EMI Classics 5556142.
    • 27.
  • Walter de la Mare

    The Witch, Henry Goodman

  • 01:08

    Antonín Dvořák

    The Noonday Witch Op. 108

    Performer: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vaclav Neumann

    • Supraphon 2SUP0028.
    • 2.
  • William Shakespeare

    Macbeth, Act IV, scene I, Juliet Stephenson


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