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Ave Maria

Jenny Agutter and Andrew Buchan read texts inspired by the Virgin Mary, including Thomas Hardy, Rupert Brooke and Dorothy Parker, with music by Rautavaara, Bach and Nick Drake.

Ave Maria: Music and texts inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary with Jenny Agutter and Andrew Buchan.

Jenny Agutter can currently be seen starring as Sister Julienne in the hit BBC TV series "Call the Midwife", and Andrew Buchan is currently playing the part of the father of a murdered boy in the ITV drama "Broadchurch".

The Virgin Mary has inspired perhaps more writing and music than any other historical or Biblical figure and this edition of Words and Music attempts to dip a small toe in the ocean of material available. Following the Biblical narrative from the Annunciation, the birth and life of her son Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, the story goes beyond the New Testament into Catholic traditions concerning the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, her crowning and, back on earth, the numerous visions and miracles that have been reported in her name over the centuries.

The programme includes poems, prose and texts by a wide variety of authors including Thomas Hardy, Rupert Brooke, Dorothy Parker, W.B. Yeats, Marina Warner and Carol Ann Duffy, as well as extracts from the Gospels.

An eclectic selection of music includes works by Bach, Messiaen, Rautavaara, Robert Parsons, James MacMillan, Massenet and Jacqui Dankworth.

Helen Garrison.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • Catholic News agency report May 5, 2008 (extract)

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:00

    Thomas Bloch

    Sancta Maria (extract)

    Performer: Fabrice Di Falco (male soprano) Performer: Thomas Bloch (glass harmonica)

    • Naxos 8.555295.
  • 00:01

    Maurice Duruflé

    Tota pulchra es (from Quatre motets su des theme gregoriens)

    Performer: The Choir of St John’s College Cambridge Performer: Christopher Robinson (conductor)

    • Nimbus NI5599.
  • Salve Regina (Catholic prayer)

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • George Gordon Noel Byron: The Ave Hour

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 00:05

    Robert Parsons

    Ave Maria

    Performer: The Cardinall’s Musick Performer: Andrew Carwood (conductor)

    • Hyperion CDA67874.
  • Rupert Brooke: Mary and Gabriel

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:11

    Einojuhani Rautavaara

    Cantus Arcticus (Concerto for birds and orchestra): Mvt II Melankolia (extract)

    Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra Performer: Hannu Lintu (conductor)

    • Naxos 8.554147.
  • Bible – Luke 1:35-37

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • Magnificat (from Bible) Luke 1:46-55

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:14

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Magnificat – opening movement

    Performer: Monteverdi Choir Performer: John Elliot Gardiner (conductor)

    • Philips 411 458-2.
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: The May Magnificat

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 00:17

    Frederick Delius

    On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring (extract)

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Richard Hixkox (conductor)

    • Decca 440 323-2.
  • 00:19

    John Adams

    El Ni¬¬ño: Now she was sixteen years old (extract)

    Performer: Willard White (baritone) Performer: Daniel Brubeck (counter tenor) Performer: Brian Cummings (counter tenor) Performer: Steven Rickards (counter tenor)

    • Nonesuch 79634-2.
  • Robert Herrick: Another

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • George Mackay Brown: Carpenter

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 00:21

    Olivier Messiaen

    La Nativité du Seigneur: mvt I La Vierge et l'Enfant (extract)

    Performer: Olivier Latry (organ)

    • DG 471 480-2.
  • 00:22

    Sir James MacMillan

    And lo, the Angel of the Lord

    Performer: Cappella Nova Performer: Alan Tavener (conductor)

    • Linn CKD 383.
  • William Butler Yeats: The Mother of God

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:27

    Benjamin Britten

    This Little Babe (from A Ceremony of carols)

    Performer: Coventry Cathedral Boys' Choir Performer: John Marson (harp) Performer: David Lepine (conductor)

    • Chapter 1 Records: CMS 1007.
    • 7.
  • Dorothy Parker: Prayer for a new mother

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:29

    John Ireland

    The Holy Boy

    Performer: Maggini Quartet

    • Naxos 8.557777.
  • Carol Ann Duffy: The Virgin Punishing the Infant (after the painting by Max Ernst)

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 00:33

    Henry Purcell

    Tell me, some pitying angel (The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation)

    Performer: Nancy Argenta (soprano) Performer: Nigel North (archlute) Performer: Richard Boothby (viola da gamba) Performer: Paul Nicholson (chamber organ)

    • Virgin VC 7 59324 2.
  • 00:40

    Anthony Kerr

    Where are you

    Composer: Jacqui Dankworth Performer: Jacqui Dankworth (voice) Performer: Anthony Kerr (vibraphone) Performer: Bosco de Oliviera (percussion)

    • EFZ1010.
  • Bible – Luke 2:46-52

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:44

    Steve Reich (b1936)

    The Desert music (extract)

    Performer: Chorus sine nomine Performer: Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich Performer: Kristjan Järvi (conductor)

    • Chandos CHSA 5091.
  • Thomas Hardy: An evening in Galilee

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:47

    Antonio Vivaldi

    Stabat Mater (opening mvt)

    Performer: Andreas Scholl (counter tenor) Performer: Ensemble 415 Performer: Chiara Banchini (director)

    • HMC 901571.
  • 00:50

    Sir James MacMillan

    Woman, behold thy Son! (from Seven Last Words from the Cross)

    Performer: Polyphony Performer: Britten Sinfonia Performer: Stephen Layton (conductor)

    • Hyperion CDA67460.
  • Bible - John 19:26-27

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 00:54

    Jules Massenet

    The last sleep of the Virgin (from La Vierge)

    Performer: Matthew Lee (cello) Performer: BBC Concert Orchestra Performor: Barry Wordsworth (conductor)

    • Naxos 8.570331.
    • 3.
  • Clyde McGee: Mary at the cross

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 00:59

    Pavel Lukaszewski

    Ave Maria

    Performer: Tenebrae Performer: Nigel Short (conductor)

    • Signum SIGCD085.
  • Oscar Wilde: San Miniato

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • Marina Warner: Alone of all her sex (extract)

    Read by Jenny Agutter

  • 01:03

    Ermanno Wolf‐Ferrari

    Intermezzo from Act III Jewels of the Madonna

    Performer: Philadelphia Orchestra Performer: Eugene Ormandy (conductor)

    • Sony SBK 63053.
  • Siegfried Sassoon: Morning Glory

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • Timothy Daniel Sullivan: Fisherman’s Prayer

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 01:07

    Nick Drake

    Cello Song (from the album Five leaves left)

    Performer: Nick Drake (voice) Performer: Clare Lowther (‘cello) Performer: Danny Thompson (bass) Performer: Rocki Dzidzornis (congas)

    • IMCD 8/842 915-2.
  • Seamus Heaney: “Mother of God A History of the Virgin Mary”

    Read by Andrew Buchan

  • 01:11

    Charles‐François Gounod

    Ave Maria (arr from Bach Prelude No1 BWV 846)

    Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano) Performer: Cinzia Maurizio (harp) Performer: Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Performer: Myung-Whun Chung (conductor)

    • Decca 478 2249.


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