Texts and music exploring the feeling of being trapped, with readings by Kate Phillips and Tobias Menzies. With Defoe, Orwell and Flaubert, plus Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
Today's Words and Music explores the feeling of being trapped, both physically and emotionally. Moll Flanders, Casanova and Alan Bennett's Lady of Letters are all incarcerated in prison. Others, such as Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male and Julia and Winston in Orwell's 1984, are almost as constricted by their circumstances. And for some the entrapment is emotional; Emma Bovary and Mr Rochester are both miserable in their marriages, and desperate to be with the person they really love. Includes music by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Queen. Extracts are read by Kate Phillips and Tobias Menzies.
Producer - Ellie Mant.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Catch 22, read by Kate Phillips
Jane Eyre, read by Tobias Menzies
Prisoner, read by Kate Phillips
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm trans DL Ashliman
Rapunzel, read by Tobias Menzies
Gustave Flaubert trans Geoffrey Wall
Madame Bovary, read by Kate Phillips
Ballade of Reading Gaol, read by Tobias Menzies
Moll Flanders, read by Kate Phillips
Rogue Male, read by Tobias Menzies
Lamia, read by Kate Phillips
1984, read by Tobias Menzies
Alices Adventures in Wonderland, read by Kate Phillips
Song of the battery hen, read by Tobias Menzies
A Lady of Letters, read by Kate Phillips
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt trans Arthur Machen
The memoirs of Casanova, read by Tobias Menzies
In a London Drawing Room, read by Kate Phillips
Sonnet 133, read by Tobias Menzies
Producer's Note - Trapped
Today’s Words and Music explores the feeling of being trapped, both physically and emotionally. For some the confinement is prison; Moll Flanders’ luck has finally run out and has been sent to Newgate, and Casanova is busily planning his real-life escape. (Alan Bennett’s Lady of Letters is unusual in that prison suits her so well that it actually gives her a first taste of freedom!) Oscar Wilde wrote his Ballade of Reading Gaol after having seen a prisoner hanged there during his own incarceration, and Elizabeth Jennings dwells on the loneliness of the prisoner. For some the situation is so constricting that they might as well be in prison. Julia and Winston in Orwell’s 1984 know that it’s only a matter of time before their illicit relationship is discovered, and Edwin Brock’s battery hen is making the best of its rotten circumstances. Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male has literally gone to ground to escape his enemy, and Alice isn’t faring well in Wonderland after growing so big that she can’t get out of the White Rabbit’s house. The feeling of being trapped can be emotional rather than physical. Emma Bovary is adored by her husband, but is bored to distraction by him. Mr Rochester is trapped by marriage too, after being tricked into a union with the mad Berthe Mason.
Some extracts had obvious musical parallels. Catch 22 means that Joseph Heller’s Orr can’t get out of flying dangerous missions, while Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci is desperate to fly like the birds to escape her loveless marriage. Rapunzel lets her hair tumble down from the top of her tower which reminded me of Melisande letting her hair down to Pelleas in Debussy’s opera . Keats tells the Greek myth of Lamia, an enchantress trapped in serpent form, which was in turn the inspiration for Edward MacDowell’s symphonic poem of the same name. And Casanova has an obvious parallel with another notorious seducer, Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Producer – Ellie Mant