Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Hard Times

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.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Fri 2 Jan 2015 16:30

Music Played

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

  • George Frideric Handel

    Anthem for the Foundling Hospital

    Performer: Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, The Academy of Ancient Music.
    • OISEAU LYRE 4216542.
    • tr 08.
  • 00:04

    Carl Maria von Weber

    Clarinet Concerto No 1 in F Minor, Second Movement: Adagio ma non troppo

    • ASV CDDCA747.
    • tr 02.
  • Sara Teasdale

    Barter, reader Sarah Smart

  • Arthur Ransome

    extract from Bohemia in London, reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 00:12

    Giacomo Puccini

    Vecchia zimarra, senti

    Performer: Nicolai Ghiaurov, Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
    • DECCA 4210492.
    • TR 13.
  • 00:15

    Lili Boulanger

    Nocture for violin, flute, cello and piano

    Performer: violin, Janine Jansen; piano, Itamar Golan.
    • GBBBA1000120.
    • tr 07.
  • Thomas Hardy

    Satires of Circumstance in Fifteen Glimpses VIII: In the Study, reader Sarah Smart

  • Charles Dickens

    Extract from Bleak House: Horace Skimpole, reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 00:21

    Igor Stravinsky

    From The Rake's Progress, Here I Stand

    Performer: Ian Bostridge, London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4596482.
    • tr4.
  • U A Fanthorpe

    You Will be Hearing From Us Shortly, reader Sarah Smart

  • 00:25

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Rondo a capriccio for piano (Op.129) in G major "Rage over a lost penny"

    Performer: piano Evgeny Kissin.
    • RCA Red Seal.
    • tr 3.
  • Philip Larkin

    Toads, reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 00:31

    John Foulds

    Dynamic Triptych for piano and orchestra, 1 Dynamic Mode

    Performer: piano Peter Donohoe, City of Brimingham Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.
    • WARNER 2564629992.
    • tr 1.
  • Simon Armitage

    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 00:40

    Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart

    Ten Cents a Dance

    Performer: Ruth Etting.
    • Naxos Nostalgia 8.120634.
    • tr 18.
  • 00:43

    Gioachino Rossini

    Le Cenerentola, Una volta c'era un re

    Performer: Cecilia Bartoli, Orchestra e coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
    • DECCA 4369022.
    • 12.
  • Testimony of Robert Drury (age 10 1/2)

    Extract from the Report of the Children’s Employment Commission, 1842, reader Sarah Smart

  • 00:45

    Frank Higgins

    The Testimony of Patience Kershaw

    Performer: The Unthanks.
    • EMI.
    • tr 5.
  • 00:50

    Sergei Prokofiev

    Cinderella Suite no. 1, Fairy godmother and Winter

    Performer: Royal Scottish Orchestra, Neeme Järvi.
    • CHANDOS CHAN8939.
    • tr 4.
  • George Gissing

    from The New Grub Street, reader Sarah Smart

  • T E Hulme

    The Embankment (The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)

  • 00:55

    Engelbert Humperdinck

    from Hänsel und Gretel, Abends, will ich schlafen

    Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
    • EMI CMS5670612.
    • tr 17.
  • 00:58

    György Ligeti

    Musica Ricercata, IV. Tempo di valse (poco vivace - à l'orgue de Barbarie)

    Performer: Erika Haase, piano.
    • TACET TACET 129.
    • tr 12.
  • George Orwell

    from Down and Out in Paris and London, reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 00:59

    Dmitry Shostakovich

    The Gadfly suit from the film music, no.5; Barrel-organ waltz (Hurdy-gurdy waltz)

    Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Neville Marriner.
    • EMI Classics 689532.
    • tr 11.
  • 01:02

    Jay Gorney / EY Harburg

    Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

    Performer: Nathan Gunn, piano Kevin Murphy.
    • EMI CDZ5731602.
    • tr 02.
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Michael Hofmann

    The Beggars, reader Nathaniel Parker

  • 01:06

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Ave verum corpus motet for chorus and strings K618

    Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers.
    • COR16057.
    • tr 01.
  • William Carlos Williams

    To a poor old woman

  • 01:09

    Charles Chaplin, Geoffrey Claremont Parsons, John Turner

    Smile

    Performer: Judy Garland.
    • Capitol C2 96600.
    • tr 20.

Producer's Note

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

Broadcasts

The hidden history of plant-based diets

The hidden history of plant-based diets

Forget social media influencers - the meat-free movement started with the Victorians.

Books website

Books website

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.

Gallery