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I Love No Leafless Land

Texts and music inspired by trees, with readings by Lucy Briers and Gerard Murphy. Including DH Lawrence, Shakespeare and CS Lewis, plus Repighi, Butterworth and Takemitsu.

"I love no leafless land"

Readers: Lucy Briers and Gerard Murphy.

Taking its title from words by A E Housman, this edition of Words and Music is inspired by trees.

There are individual real trees such as Sassoon's "Blunden's Oak", or a spectacularly "dissolving" storm-battered beech, and trees that are symbolic - C. Day Lewis's Christmas Tree, and the trees that mark the passing of the year.

With poetry on the relationships between people and trees, the pleasure and pain of being solitary (Walt Whitman), and the struggle for survival (D H Lawrence), insistence on the need for trees (Gerard Manley Hopkins "Binsey Poplars, felled") and meditations on long life and ageing (W H Davies).

There are also celebrations of the sheer beauty and abundance of trees. Trees have spirits, so the Green Man makes his appearance, as do the dryads and hamadryads of mythology. (Shakespeare, James Thomson, C S Lewis)

The words are interleaved seamlessly with music, including Respighi's Pines, song settings by Butterworth and Madeleine Dring, an atmospheric evocation of acacias by Toru Takemitsu and some music generated by the wood of the trees themselves, using electronics and a modified turntable.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Butterworth (Words: A E Housman)

    Loveliest of trees the cherry now

    Performer: Christopher Maltman (baritone) Performer: Roger Vignoles (piano)

    • Hyperion CDA 67378.
  • Browning : Home thoughts from abroad

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:02

    Christian Sinding

    Rustle of Spring

    Performer: Joseph Cooper (piano)

    • Decca 433 2222.
  • Joyce Kilmer: Trees

    Lucy Briers

  • Siegfried Sassoon: Blunden’s Beech

    Lucy Briers

  • 00:06

    Arnold Bax

    The Happy Forest

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: John Wilson

    • Avie AV 2194.
  • Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 4 Scene 4

    Lucy Briers

  • Charles Causley : Green Man in the Garden

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:10

    Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick

    Carthy's March/The Lemon Tree

    Performer: Martin Carthy Performer: Dave Swarbrick

    • Special Delivery ?– SPDCD 1030.
  • 00:15

    Toru Takemitsu

    Tree Line

    Performer: Gareth Hulse (oboe) Performer: The London Sinfonietta Performer: Oliver Knussen

    • Virgin Classics VC7911 802.
  • A E Housman : Give me a land of boughs in leaf

    Lucy Briers

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Binsey Poplars – felled 1879

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:18

    Jean Sibelius

    Five Pieces "The Trees" op 75 No 3. The Aspen

    Performer: Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

    • BIS CD 192729.
  • 00:21

    Tigran Tahmizyan

    A Cool Wind is Blowing

    Performer: Djivan Gasparian (duduk) Performer: Kronos Quartet

    • Elektra Nonesuch 7559 79346-2.
  • D H Lawrence: Delight of being alone

    Lucy Briers

  • Walt Whitman: I saw in Louisiana a love oak growing

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:26

    Antonín Dvořák

    Silent Woods

    Performer: Dmitry Yablonsky (cello and director) Performer: Russian Philharmonic Orchestra

    • Naxos 8.557352.
  • William Meredith : Tree Marriage

    Lucy Briers

  • P J Kavanagh : A Single Tree

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:33

    Billy Mayerl

    Song of the fir-tree - a Swedish impression for piano [1938]

    Performer: Philip Dyson (piano)

    • ASV CD WHL 2071.
  • W H Davies : Violet and Oak

    Lucy Briers

  • Ben Jonson : A Part of an Ode

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:38

    Madeleine Dring

    Under the Greenwood Tree

    Performer: Robert Tear (tenor) Performer: Philip Ledger (piano)

    • Meridian CDE 84386.
  • James Thomson : The Four Seasons : Summer

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:41

    Eric Coates

    Wood Nymphs

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Sir Charles Groves

    • EMI 3 52356 2.
  • C S Lewis : Prince Caspian

    Lucy Briers

  • 00:44

    Eric Whitacre

    Little Tree (words E E Cummings)

    Performer: The Elora Festival Singers Performer: Leslie De’Ath (piano) Performer: Noel Edison (conductor)

    • Naxos 8. 559677.
  • 00:50

    Franz Liszt

    Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas Tree) No 10 : Long ago

    Performer: Rhondda Gillespie (piano)

    • CHAN 6629.
  • C. Day Lewis : The Christmas Tree

    Lucy Briers

  • Robert Herrick : February 2nd Candlemas

    Gerard Murphy

  • 00:53

    George Frideric Handel

    Ombra mai fu (Serse)

    Performer: Dame Janet Baker (mezzo) Performer: English Chamber Orchestra Performer: Raymond Leppard

    • Philips 465 253-2.
  • Paul Hyland : To make a tree

    Lucy Briers

  • 00:57

    Lewis Allan

    Strange Fruit

    Performer: Billie Holiday

    • Verve 5474942.
  • 01:01

    Ottorino Respighi

    The Pines of Rome. The Pines of the Janiculum

    Performer: San Fransisco Symphony Performer: Edo de Waart

    • Philips 462 853 2.
  • Peter Porter : The Pines of Rome

    Gerard Murphy

  • 01:07

    Brian Eno

    Dark Trees

    Performer: Brian Eno

    • Island.
  • Richard Mabey: The unpredictable power of nature

    Lucy Briers

  • D H Lawrence : Almond Trees

    Gerard Murphy

  • 01:10

    Bartholomäus Traubeck

    Years. Australian Hoop Pine

    Used with permission. Modified turntable reads a wooden disc and produces music from tree rings.

  • Tennyson : In memoriam. Old Yew

    Lucy Briers


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