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Turning Points

Helena Bonham Carter and Hugh Bonneville feature in a sequence of poetry, prose and music exploring some of life's turning points.

In this edition of Words & Music Helena Bonham Carter and Hugh Bonneville explore Turning Points, from life-changing and epoch-making, to funny and insignificant.

Love is the pivot for many of the programme's turning points. Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, artist Marc Chagall, and Coleridge fall in it; Dorothea (in George Eliot's 'Middlemarch') and Carol Ann Duffy's Eurydice fall out of it; Alan Bennett movingly describes his mother's final days.

Revolutions provide other turning points: the Industrial one provokes opposing reactions from Erasmus Darwin and William Blake; Igor Stravinsky self-consciously remembers his musical one, and Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst recalls her part in an episode in the fight for Women's Suffrage.

The lives of Hilaire Belloc's Matilda and the Bible's Saul are changed forever by versions of the truth, and there's a culinary miracle when eggs and oil emulsify into a mayonnaise, according to Julia Child's instructions.

Music is by Bach, Beethoven, Janacek, Rachmaninov, Vaughan Williams and Erma Franklin, among others.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Carl Nielsen

    Helios Overture (op. 17) (excerpt)

    Performer: Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard (conductor)

    • Dacapo 6220518.
  • Edward Thomas

    The Trumpet, reader Hugh Bonneville

  • 00:05

    Henri Duparc

    L'invitation au voyage

    Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Orchestre Symphonique de l’Opéra National, John Pritchard (conductor)

    • EMI 586652.
  • William Shakespeare

    Antony and Cleopatra (excerpt), reader Hugh Bonneville

  • 00:11

    Claude Debussy

    Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (excerpt)

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (conductor)

    • Deutsche Grammophon 4713322.
  • 00:18

    Igor Stravinsky

    Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) (excerpts)

    Performer: Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez (conductor)

    • Deutsche Grammophon 4354692.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Premiere of Le sacre du printemps

  • Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst

    The Suffragette Movement: An Intimate Account of Persons and Ideals (excerpt), reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 00:23

    Dame Ethel Smyth

    The March of The Women

    Conductor: Philip Brunelle. Orchestra: Plymouth Festival Orchestra and Chorus.

    Performer: Chorus and Orchestra of the Plymouth Music Series, Philip Brunelle (conductor)

    • EMI 5674262.
  • Hilaire Belloc

    Matilda, reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 00:28

    Sergei Prokofiev

    March in B flat major (op. 99)

    Performer: Eastman Wind Ensemble, Frederick Fennell (conductor)

    • Mercury 4343342.
  • 00:30

    Giulio Caccini

    Amarilla mia bella

    Performer: Andrew Lawrence-King (harp)

    • Hyperion CDA6629.
  • Ovid (translated by John Dryden)

    Metamorphoses (Book X, Orpheus & Eurydice) (excerpt), reader Hugh Bonneville

  • Carol Ann Duffy

    Eurydice (excerpt), reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 00:35

    Roy Orbison

    It's Over

    Performer: Erma Franklin

    • Shout SHOUT50.
    • 11.
  • Erasmus Darwin

    The Botanic Garden (excerpt), reader Hugh Bonneville

  • 00:37

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (excerpt)

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    • EMI CDC7493942.
  • William Blake

    Jerusalem, reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 00:40

    Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Aquarium (from Carnival of the Animals)

    Performer: Martha Argerich & Nelson Freire (pianos) & Friends

    • Philips 41 841 2.
  • Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child

    How to Rescue a Split Mayonnaise (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking) (excerpt), reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • George Eliot

    Middlemarch (excerpt), reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 00:44

    Leos Janáček

    String Quartet No. 1 "The Kreutzer Sonata" (first movement)

    Performer: Pavel Haas Quartet

    • Supraphon SU39222.
  • Marc Chagall

    My Life (excerpt), reader Hugh Bonneville

  • 00:50

    Sergey Rachmaninov

    Prelude in D major (op. 23, no. 4)

    Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)

    • Decca 4144172.
  • The Bible (Acts 9: 1 – 20)

    Saul’s Conversion, reader Hugh Bonneville

  • 00:58

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Credo in unum Deum & Patrem omnipotentem (from Mass in B minor)

    Performer: Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki (conductor)

    • BIS1701.
  • 01:01

    Arvo Pärt

    Spiegel im Spiegel

    Performer: Vadim Gluzman (violin) & Angela Yoffe (piano)

    • BIS CD 1434.
  • Alan Bennett

    Untold Stories (excerpt), reader Hugh Bonneville

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Frost at Midnight (excerpt), reader Helena Bonham Carter

  • 01:06

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Adagio un poco mosso (from Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major "Emperor")

    Performer: Murray Perahia (piano), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    • Sony S3K44575 CD 3.

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