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Fairy Tale

Texts and music on the theme of fairy tales, with readings by Hayley Atwell and Tim Pigott-Smith. With Medtner, Szymanowski and Dvorak, plus the Brothers Grimm and Margaret Atwood.

Fairy tales shape our imagination. As children their fantasy strikes us as vivid and compelling and as adults their simple surface often seems a shimmering veil over a more profound if disturbing reality. They're distorting mirrors where for a moment at least a prince can look like a frog and a pea can leave a bruise on the soft flesh of a sleeping princess. The actors Hayley Atwell and Tim Pigott-Smith invite us for a stroll in this deep, dark wood - haunted by, Medtner, Syzmanowski, Dvorak and Humperdinck on one side of the twisting path and by Sylvia Townsend Warner, the Brothers Grimm and Margaret Atwood on the other.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Robert Schumann

    Marchenbilder

    Performer: Gyorgy Kurtag.
    • ECM.
    • Tr22.
  • 00:03

    Carol Ann Duffy

    Sheherazade, reader Hayley Atwell

  • 00:05

    Syzmanowski

    Fairy Tale – The Lonely Moon

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
    • EMI Classics.
    • Tr1.
  • 00:10

    Philip Pullman

    The Frog King Part 1, Grimm Tales reader Tim Pigott-Smith

  • 00:12

    Eleni Karaindrou

    Journey to Cythera

    Performer: George Dalaras.
    • EMI.
    • Tr6.
  • 00:14

    Philip Pullman

    The Frog King Part 2, Grimm Tales reader Hayley Atwell

  • 00:16

    Humperdinck

    Hansel and Gretel

    Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra, choirs of Loughton High School for Girls and Bancroft’s School.
    • EMI.
  • 00:25

    Hans Christian Andersen

    The Princess and the Pea reader Tim Pigott-Smith

  • 00:28

    Maurice Ravel

    Pavane de la belle au bois dormant( Ma mere l’oye)

    Performer: Brodsky Quartet.
    • Teldec.
    • Tr13.
  • 00:29

    Sylvia Townsend Warner

    Lolly Willowes reader Hayley Atwell

  • 00:32

    Gioachino Rossini

    La Cenerentola

    Performer: The orchestra of the Royal Opera House with the Covent Garden Opera Chorus.
    • Teldec.
    • Tr19.
  • 00:36

    Angela Carter

    The Erl King reader Hayley Atwell

  • 00:37

    Franz Schubert

    Erlkonig

    Performer: Dietrich Fischer Dieskau Gerald Moore.
    • EMI.
    • Tr21.
  • 00:41

    John Keats

    La Belle Dame Sans Merci reader Tim Pigott-Smith

  • 00:44

    Béla Bartók

    Door 7 from Bluebeard’s Castle

    Performer: Berliner Philharmoniker with John Tomlinson, Anne Sofie von Otter and Sandor Eles.
    • EMI Classics.
    • Tr8.
  • 00:54

    David Morley

    From Invisible Kings reader Tim Pigott-Smith

  • 00:57

    Medtner

    Skazki – Tales of Elves

    Performer: Hamish Milne.
    • Hyperion.
    • Tr5.
  • 01:01

    Margaret Atwood

    Girl with no hands reader Hayley Atwell

  • 01:02

    Antonín Dvořák

    Rusalka

    • Tr8.

Producer's Note

Fairy tales shape our imagination. As children their fantasy strikes us as vivid and compelling and as adults their simple surface often seems a shimmering veil over a more profound if disturbing reality. They're distorting mirrors, if you like,  where for a moment at least a prince can look like a frog and a pea can leave a bruise on the soft flesh of a sleeping princess. The actors Hayley Atwell and Tim Pigott-Smith invite us for a stroll in this deep, dark wood. To one side of the twisting path lie the Schumann of Marchenbilder,  Medtner’s elfin Skazki, the lunar beauty of Syzmanowski’s Fairy Tale, Dvorak’s Rusalka and  Hansel and Gretel; while on the other lurk Carol Ann Duffy’s Sheherazade, Philip Pullman’s  Grimm Tales and Sylvia Townsend Warner’s small feline familiar as well, of course,  as Hans Christian Andersen and a palely loitering Keats…in fact, a whole world of enchantment.

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