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.
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.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
from Radio 4, read by Nick Miller
Cargoes, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Brideshead Revisited, reader Jonathan Keeble
Arthur Conan Doyle
J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement, reader Anne-Marie Duff
There is a boat down on the quay, reader Jonathan Keeble
Jerome K. Jerome
Three Men in a Boat, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Sonnet 80, reader Jonathan Keeble
The Wind in the Willows, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Robert W Daniel (Philadelphia Banker)
Geoff Tibballs: The Titanic, reader Jonathan Keeble
The Sailor's Vow, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Robinson Crusoe, reader Jonathan Keeble
Billy Budd, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Life of Pi, reader Jonathan Keeble
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, reader Anne-Marie Duff
Martial, translated Pott and Wright
Epigrams Book 10, reader Jonathan Keeble
Longitude, reader Anne-Marie Duff
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
Richard Henry Wilde
Barcarola, reader Anne-Marie Duff
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