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Mark Tully asks if 'passion' is an overused term and explores the strengths and weaknesses associated with being passionate.

Mark Tully explores the concept of passion and investigates contemporary understandings of the word. From passion in a traditional religious context to its everyday use in a personal and in a corporate sense, the idea of this strongest of emotions still appears to hold sway in the thinking of many.

Is it simply an overused construct stretched to its limits by hyperbole or an important concept in philosophical, psychological and spiritual disciplines?

We see passion through the eyes of the philosopher Bertrand Russell, poets Linda France and John Keats and musicians Oscar Serpo and Gioaccino Rossini.

The readers are Jonathan Broadbent, Francis Cadder and Adjoa Andoh.

Presenter: Mark Tully
Producer: Frank Stirling
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 21 Aug 2016 23:30

Music Played

  • Sofia Gubaidulina

    St. John Passion: III. Das Gebot des Glaubens

    Performer: Valery Gergiev / Kirov Theater Orchestra & Chorus.
    • Gubaidulina: St. John Pasion.
    • Hänssler Classic.
  • Oscar Serpo


    Performer: Osvaldo Fresedo.
    • Grandes Del Tango 25.
    • Pattaya.
  • Cole Porter

    Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)

    Performer: Ella Fitzgerald.
    • Forever Ella.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Le comte Ory, Act I. Prélude

    Performer: John Eliot Gardiner / Orchestre et choeur de l'Opéra de Lyon.
    • Rossini - Le Comte Ory.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Allegro Ma Non Troppo - Presto from PIano Sonata NO. 23 composed by Beethoven

    Performer: Yundi.
    • Beethoven: Pathetique, Moonlight / Yundi.
    • Deutsche Grammophon 4765049.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Allegro appassionato in B minor Op.43 vers. for cello & orch

    Performer: Johannes Moser / Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
    • Camille Saint-Saëns: The Swan.


Title: Revelations of Divine Love 

Author: Julian of Norwich

Published by Gracewing Publishing



Title: I Cry Your Mercy

Author: John Keats

Published by Houghton Mifflin



Title: If Love Was Jazz

Author: Linda France

From Being Alive published by Bloodaxe



Title: Do you really ‘passionately believe’ in anything, Mr Cameron? Repetition makes you less convincing, not more

Author: Ian Jack

Published in the Guardian online on 1 November 2014



From an untitled letter

Author: Gioachino Rossini

Published in Gioacchino Rossini (1968) translated by Josiah Fish and Jeff Nichols



Title: An Essay on Man

Author: Alexander Pope

Published by Pearson



Title: On The Value Of Scepticism

Author: Bertrand Russell

From The Will To Doubt published by Philosophical Library