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Christopher Ricks

Michael Berkeley's guest is critic and scholar Sir Christopher Ricks. His selections include Holst, Beethoven, Haydn, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Prince Albert and Bob Dylan.

Michael Berkeley's guest is the distinguished scholar Sir Christopher Ricks, who was described by W.H. Auden as 'the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding.' He has championed the work of new poets including Seamus Heaney and Christopher Hill, and in book after book over 50 years he has thrown new light on the great poets of the past: Milton, Keats, Tennyson, T.S. Eliot. He has been the Oxford Professor of Poetry, and Professor of English at Cambridge; he is now Professor of the Humanities at Boston University. Outside the university, he's probably best known for two driving passions - for T.S. Eliot and (more controversially) for Bob Dylan. His new edition of Eliot's poems comes out this month: it's been several years in the making, and is the first complete edition of Eliot's poetry ever published.

For Private Passions, he has compiled a fascinating playlist of music, including musical settings of great poetry, and some Bob Dylan naturally. And there's an overall theme - it's a meditation on youth and age. Composers include Holst, Beethoven, Haydn, Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Prince Albert.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

34 minutes

Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    Ombre insepolte (Orlando Palatino)

    Singer: Thomas Quasthoff. Orchestra: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: Gottfried von der Goltz.
  • Trad.

    This Old Man

    Performer: Bob Dylan.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Linden Lea

    Performer: Gerald Moore. Singer: Janet Baker.
  • Gustav Holst

    Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal (Songs from the Princess)

    Choir: Holst Singers. Conductor: Stephen Layton.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

    Singer: Neil Mackie. Orchestra: Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Steuart Bedford.
  • Joseph Haydn

    5 Variations in D H.XVII:7

    Performer: John McCabe.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    7 Variations on 'God Save the King'

    Performer: Melvyn Tan.
  • Prince Albert


    Performer: Jennifer Partridge. Singer: Ian Partridge.
  • Bob Dylan


    Performer: Bob Dylan.


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