Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

All Aboard!

Poetry, prose and music on the theme of boats, with readings by Anne-Marie Duff and Jonathan Keeble. With music from Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Nick Drake.

All Aboard!

Robinson Crusoe is stranded without one, Yann Martel's Pi Patel is stranded with a tiger on one, and Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men are causing chaos mucking about on one. Boats feature frequently in literature and poetry as a means of exploring, escaping or just enjoying the water. Today's Words and Music features famous fictional boats along with important real life vessels such as Captain Cook's explorers, the Titanic, and those used during the Dunkirk landings. Extracts are read by Anne-Marie Duff and Jonathan Keeble and accompanied by nautical music from Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Nick Drake.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Jun 2018 17:30

Music Played

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

  • Shipping forecast

    from Radio 4, read by Nick Miller

  • John Masefield

    Cargoes, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:01

    The Shanty Crew

    Rolling Coal

    Performer: The Shanty Crew

    • BREWHOUSE BHCD9601.
  • Evelyn Waugh

    Brideshead Revisited, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:04

    Hoagy Carmichael

    Riverboat Shuffle - extract

    Performer: Hoagy Carmichael (voice/piano) Performer: Perry Botkin and His Orchestra

    • TIMELESS CBC1011.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle

    J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:06

    Richard Wagner - Overture to The Flying Dutchman

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Performer: Seiji Ozawa (conductor)

  • Brian Patten

    There is a boat down on the quay, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:09

    Frank Bridge

    Sea Idyll - extract

    Performer: Kathryn Stott (piano)

    • CONIFER CDCF186.
  • Jerome K. Jerome

    Three Men in a Boat, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:13

    Frank Loesser

    Sit down you're rocking the boat from 'Guys and Dolls'

    Performer: David Healey (voice) and Ensemble

    • MUSIC FOR PLEASURE CDMFP5978.
  • William Shakespeare

    Sonnet 80, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:17

    Jean Sibelius

    Chorus of Winds from 'The Tempest' Suite No. 2

    Performer: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Leif Segerstam (conductor)

    • ONDINE ODE9142.
  • Kenneth Grahame

    The Wind in the Willows, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:24

    Claude Debussy

    En Bateau (Petite Suite)

    Performer: Claude Helffer and Haakon Austbo (pianos)

    • HARMONIA MUNDI HMA 190957.
  • 00:27

    Carl Nielsen

    Paraphrase on 'Nearer My God to Thee'

    Performer: Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra Performer: Clark Rundell (conductor)

    • CHANDOS CHAN10038.
  • Robert W Daniel (Philadelphia Banker)

    Geoff Tibballs: The Titanic, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • Alan Jenkins

    The Sailor's Vow, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:30

    All About Eve

    Martha's Harbour

    Performer: All About Eve

    • MERCURY 8342602.
  • Daniel Defoe

    Robinson Crusoe, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:35

    Jacques Offenbach

    Robinson Crusoe – Sea Symphony (Act 2)

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Alun Francis (conductor)

    • OPERA RARA ORC7.
  • Herman Melville

    Billy Budd, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:39

    Benjamin Britten

    Billy in the Darbies (Billy Budd)

    Performer: Simon Keenlyside (baritone) Performer: London Symphony Orchestra Performer: Richard Hickox (conductor)

    • CHANDOS CHAN9826.
  • Yann Martel

    Life of Pi, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:46

    Igor Stravinsky

    The Owl and Pussycat

    Performer: Adrienne Albert (soprano) Performer: Robert Craft (piano)

    • SONY CLASSICAL SM2K46298.
  • J.M. Barrie

    Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 00:50

    Maurice Ravel

    Une Barque sur l'Ocean

    Performer: Boston Symphony Orchestra Performer: Seiji Ozawa (conductor)

    • DG 4158452.
  • Martial, translated Pott and Wright

    Epigrams Book 10, reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 00:58

    Nick Drake

    River Man

    Performer: Nick Drake (vocals/guitar)

    • ISLAND CID871.
  • Dava Sobel

    Longitude, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 01:03

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    A Sea Symphony (3rd movt – The Waves) – extract

    Performer: Liverpool Philharmonic Choir Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Vernon Handley (conductor)

    • EMI CDEMX2142.
  • Radio archive requesting boats

    29 May 1940, read by Alan Howard

  • Arthur D. Divine

    The Story of the Second World War (compiled Henry Steele Commager), reader Jonathan Keeble

  • 01:08

    Ivor Gurney

    War Elegy - extract

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra Performer: David Lloyd-Jones (conductor)

    • DUTTON CDLX 7172.
  • Richard Henry Wilde

    Barcarola, reader Anne-Marie Duff

  • 01:11

    Felix Mendelssohn

    Gondellied

    Performer: Daniel Levy (piano)

    • EDELWEISS ED1024.

Words and Music: All Aboard!

All Aboard – Producer’s Note

Robinson Crusoe is stranded without one, Yann Martel’s Pi Patel is stranded with a tiger on one, and Jerome K. Jerome’s  Three Men are causing chaos mucking about on one. Boats feature frequently in literature and poetry as a means of exploring, escaping or just enjoying the water.  Today’s Words and Music features famous fictional boats along with important real life vessels such as Captain Cook’s explorers, the Titanic, and those used during the Dunkirk landings. Extracts are read by Anne-Marie Duff and Jonathan Keeble and accompanied by nautical music from Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Nick Drake.

The programme begins with John Masefield’s famous poem Cargoes, with its vivid description of a dirty British coaster, accompanied by a sea shanty sung by hard-working sailors carrying the same cargo of Tyne coal. Quite a contrast to the decadence of guests on board a 1920’s cruise liner in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Arthur Conan Doyle was fascinated by the mystery of the Marie Celeste, and Wagner’s Flying Dutchman and the following poem by Brian Patten also use the idea of ghostly ships, or crews. For Jerome K Jerome’s 3 Men, a boat is just a way of having a good day out, while Shakespeare’s Sonnet 80 compares a scorned lover to a worthless boat; and the Shakespeare link continues with incidental music Sibelius wrote for his play The Tempest.  A Philadelphia banker’s real-life account of the sinking of The Titanic is accompanied by Nielsen’s Paraphrase on Nearer my God to Thee, written to commemorate all the Danish lives lost in the disaster; this incorporates the hymn tune which some claim was played by the band as the ship sank. Robinson Crusoe is desperately trying to build a boat to escape his surroundings; Offenbach wrote a little-known comic opera based on the novel, while Hermann Melville’s Billy Budd can only escape his predicament by death, poignantly captured by Benjamin Britten’s music. Yan Martel’s Pi is trapped on a boat with only a Bengal tiger and a hyena for company; Edward Lear has a less intimidating cat sailing with an owl to get married in his famous poem, set here to music by Stravinsky. And we stay with a child’s view-point for JM Barrie’s depiction of a boy sailing a stick boat on a pond, and imagining the adventurers on board. The Roman poet Martial muses on the salvation of a mariner by a boat which won’t float, while Captain Cook was more interested in the life-saving properties of sauerkraut on board his explorers. Arthur D Divine describes the horror of taking part in the Dunkirk landings, and the huge importance of amateur sailors to bring the troops back to safety, and Ivor Gurney also dwells on the subject of war, this time WW1 in his War Elegy. The programme ends with a safer passage, on board a gondola, with Mendelssohn’s lilting Gondellied to close. 

Producer – Ellie Mant

 

Broadcasts

The hidden history of plant-based diets

The hidden history of plant-based diets

Forget social media influencers - the meat-free movement started with the Victorians.

Books website

Books website

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.