Michael Berkeley's guest is historian and author of The Origins of Sex Faramerz Dabhoiwala. With music from Purcell, Bach, Schubert, Philip Glass, Nina Simone and Jan Garbarek.
Faramerz Dabhoiwala, who is Professor of History at Exeter College, Oxford, has proved that what people got up to in the past is a serious and neglected subject of historical enquiry. His book The Origins of Sex explores what he describes as 'the First Sexual Revolution' - a transformation of attitudes to sex which happened in Britain in the 18th century and which gives us the template for how we think about sex today. He argues that during the 18th century older, punitive attitudes to sex began to give way to new ideas of pleasure.
In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about his upbringing in permissive Amsterdam, and about why discovering his Indian grandparents' love-letters inspired him as a historian. His music choices reflect his love for the 18th century, with Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and two pieces by Bach: his Double Violin Concerto and the Cantata Wachet Auf. The programme also includes Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major played by Alfred Brendel, Philip Glass's music for Cocteau's film Beauty and the Beast, and an angry political protest song by Nina Simone which played a key part in the American civil rights movement. He includes, too, an interpretation of 16th-century plainsong by the Norwegian jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, a creative interpretation of the past which echoes the excitement he finds in his work as a historian.