Money and its lack provides the theme for this edition. Sarah Smart and Nathaniel Parker read poems and prose about the Bohemian life, the dream of getting rich and life at the bottom of the pile by Thomas Hardy, George Orwell and U A Fanthorpe. There's music by Handel, Ligeti and Prokofiev.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Barter, reader Sarah Smart
extract from Bohemia in London, reader Nathaniel Parker
Satires of Circumstance in Fifteen Glimpses VIII: In the Study, reader Sarah Smart
Extract from Bleak House: Horace Skimpole, reader Nathaniel Parker
U A Fanthorpe
You Will be Hearing From Us Shortly, reader Sarah Smart
Toads, reader Nathaniel Parker
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations reader Nathaniel Parker
Testimony of Robert Drury (age 10 1/2)
Extract from the Report of the Childrens Employment Commission, 1842, reader Sarah Smart
from The New Grub Street, reader Sarah Smart
T E Hulme
The Embankment (The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)
from Down and Out in Paris and London, reader Nathaniel Parker
Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Michael Hofmann
The Beggars, reader Nathaniel Parker
William Carlos Williams
To a poor old woman
Money and the lack of it is the subject of this programme. We begin with Handel’s anthem written as a fundraiser for the Foundling Hospital urging charity: Blessed Are They that Considereth the Poor.
Ideas about the romantic bohemian world and the value of life rather than things compete with the realities of a life lived without cash. The debt ridden Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No 1 accompanies Sara Teasdale’s assertions that life’s “loveliness” should be pursued at all costs; Arthur Ransome struggles with definitions of Bohemia in London whilst Puccini’s Colline sings a fond goodbye to the coat he’s about to pawn. Thomas Hardy’s portrait of genteel poverty contrasts with the wastrels of Dickens and Stravinsky: Harold Skimpole and Tom Rakewell both of whom refuse to knuckle down to the tedium of everyday work.
Work, and getting it, is dealt with in the next section. The composer John Foulds was best known in his lifetime for the light music by which he made his living and was disheartened that his serious music was largely ignored. Simon Armitage’s slog at an unfeasible anthology is undertaken to satisfy the demands of his bank manager whilst Ruth Etting summons the relentless round of the Depression era taxi-dancer.
The fairy-tale poor, Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, mingle now with the testimony of children employed in the Durham minefields in the mid-nineteenth century, George Orwell’s London beggars and the tramps and down and outs of T E Hulme, Rilke and William Carlos Williams whose “poor old woman” enjoys a moment’s ecstasy in the bite of a ripe plum.
Judy Garland sings us out, revelling in the pleasure of misery, with Charlie Chaplin’s sign off from his Great Depression era classic – Modern Times.
Producer: Natalie Steed