Words and Music on the theme of The Exotic with readings by Greta Scacchi and Simon Woods. Words from Byron, Forster and Shakespeare, with the music of Berlioz, Mozart and Ades.
Words and Music on the theme of The Exotic. Readings by Greta Scacchi and Simon Woods.
Distant lands full of heat, opulence and mysterious inhabitants; lost civilisations full of entrancing women and god-like warriors have provided vivid inspiration to authors and composers across the centuries. The Exotic has meant different things to different generations: from Shakespeare's visions of a savage island full of unnerving sights and sounds, informed by the era of exploration and brutal empire building in which he lived; to the rich visions of the romantics: Coleridge's Xanadu and Byron's Childe Harolde who wonders in landscapes described with the linguistic lushness of love poetry. Musical and literary experiences of exoticism are often about western artists seduced by a vision of otherness which is little more than a mirage: from Mozart's typically eighteenth century take on a Turkish harem to Kipling's colonial representations of India. Yet from the excitement of imagined faraway lands and people comes the lush beauty of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and the delicate orientalism of Debussy's Pagodes. Gustave Flaubert's entrancing Salammbô and Shakespeare's glittering Cleopatra offer visions of exotic womanhood; the goddess who commands adulation and fear in equal measure - like the distant corners of the earth from which she comes.
Producer: Georgia Mann.