Texts and music on theme of Empire, with readings by Sian Thomas and Timothy West. Including Kipling, Forster, Derek Walcott, Langston Hughes, and music by Elgar, Debussy, Britten.
The quest to Empire-build - from the sixteenth century Spanish conquistadors to the nineteenth century British Raj - has inspired some powerful and enduring words and music. Readers Sian Thomas and Timothy West read poetry and prose which conjures both the era of empire, Rudyard Kiplings' 'The White Man's Burden' and Forster's 'A Passage to India', and the discomfort and melancholy of the post Imperial world, with Derek Walcott's 'Poems on the Passing of an Empire' and Langston Hughes' 'Roar China'. War poetry offers a disturbing glimpse into the darkest impulses of Empire-building with Hardy's plaintive Drummer Hodge and Wilfred Owen's coruscating 'Dulce et Decorum Est' before the heart-rending opening notes of the 'Sanctus' from Benjamin Britten's 'War Requiem'. Empire-building and enslavement are tragically bound together; in the negro spiritual 'Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen' - sung by Barbara Hendricks - and James Weldon Johnson's poem 'Lift Every Voice And Sing' we hear both the sorrowful reality - and joyful rejection - of slavery.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Queen Elizabeth I
From Elizabeth I’s speech to the troops at Tilbury
Extract from The Tempest
Extract from The White Man’s Burden
Robert Underwood Johnson
The White Man’s Burden
Extract from With Cortez in Mexico
Extract from Two Poems on the Passing of a Empire
Robert Williams Buchanan
The Emperor’s Garden
Dulce et Decorum Est