Tara Fitzgerald and Giles Terera explore the art of the violin through the words of Yeats, Amy Lowell and Whitman, with recordings of great violinists like Heifetz and Menuhin.
Producer: Elizabeth Arno
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Summertime (extract VI), read by Tara Fitzgerald
The Tongues of Violins, read by Giles Terera
Bach in the DC Subway, read by Tara Fitzgerald
Stradivarius, read by Giles Terera
Elijahs Violin (from Elijahs Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales), read by Tara Fitzgerald
Stradivarius (opening extract), read by Giles Terera
From The Cremona Violin, read by Tara Fitzgerald
MAURICE FRANCiS EGAN
The Old Violin, read by Tara Fitzgerald
AGHA SHAHID ALI
Violins (Eleven Stars Over Andalusia 11.), read by Giles Terera
Don't Let That Horse, read by Tara Fitzgerald
Little Tommy Tiddler, read by Giles Terera and Tara Fitzgerald
W. S. MERWIN
The Notes, read by Giles Terera
Fanfare (Chapter 1, Heifetz As I Knew Him), read by Tara Fitzgerald
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
My Sweet Brown Gal, read by Giles Terera
MYRA BROOKS WELCH
The Touch of the Master's Hand, read by Tara Fitzgerald
JULES FRANCOIS FELIX HUSSON (CHAMPFLEURY), trans. HELEN B. DOLE
The Faience Violin (extract), read by Giles Terera
HAFIZ, trans. DANIEL LADINSKY
When the Violin, read by Tara Fitzgerald
GEORGE MEREDITH / JOHANN N. VOGL
To an Old Gypsy, read by Giles Terera and Tara Fitzgerald
The Fiddler of Dooney, read by Giles Terera
The Violins of Saint-Jacques (extract), read by Tara Fitzgerald
At Madame Tussaud's in Victorian Years, read by Giles Terera and Tara Fitzgerald
Producer noteThis edition of Words and Music is a celebration of the violin and begins with the beguiling arpeggios of the Imitazione delle campane from Westhoff’s Sonata for violin and continuo, No.3, which reflect the words of Elsa Conkling’s depiction of the violin making brown music ‘like bees and honey’. The Westhoff leads into the Pavane from the Partita No.2 in D minor by Bach that is mentioned in David Lee Garrison’s poem, Bach in the DC Subway.
Very often there are references in literature to the soul of the violin. I have chosen two texts to represent the violin’s soul, the first of which is Samuel Ward’s poem, Stradivarius, which is followed by John Tavener’s In Nomine played by the viol consort Fretwork, viols being the ancestors of the violin family. A single lira playing a traditional taksim segues from the Tavener into Howard Schwartz’s fairy tale, Elijah’s Violin, which tells the story of a princess who lures her prince by playing a magic violin.
Great violins, and particularly those made by Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesu, fascinate the world with their increasing values. George Eliot wrote a lengthy poem on Stradivarius, the opening of which is included in the programme and coupled with Amy Lowell’s poem, the Cremona Violin. Matthew Hindson’s fast-paced violin duet, The Metallic Violin, recreates an auction as the two actors, Tara Fitzgerald and Giles Terera, read out the names of some of the most famous violins to have been sold under the hammer.
I have also included some poems about travelling violins, from Agha Shahid Ali’s poem, Violins, about violins ‘weeping with gypsies going to Andalusia’, to Lawrence Ferlighetti’s humorous portrayal of Chagall’s mother warning her son not to let ‘that horse eat that violin’. Patricia Kopatinskaja’s virtuosic performance of Dinicu’s Hora staccato with cimbalom accompaniment reflects these images of gypsy violinists. Later in the programme, there are more travelling violins in George Meredith’s poem, To an Old Gipsy, Yeats’ the Fiddler of Dooney, and Patrick Leigh-Fermor’s haunting tale of The Violins of Saint-Jacques, as they sing from the bottom of the sea accompanied by Firsova’s Moonlight over the sea for solo violin and the Pavane from Warlock’s Capriol Suite.
Kreutzer’s Etude No.2 begins a sequence of poems and texts about learning and teaching the violin, from Edmonds’ well-loved verse Little Tommy Tiddler to W. S. Merwin’s poem The Notes and Ayke Agus’s recollections of Heifetz’s devotion to teaching the art of the violin. The programme captures the many styles of violin playing from Heifetz in Wieniawski to Menuhin in Dvorak, Kreisler playing his own Tambourin chinois and Grumiaux in Svendsen. These old masters are included alongside Aisha Orazbayeva playing Helmut Lachenmann’s Toccatina and the electronic strains of violins in Klaus Schulze’s Melange, plus songs about violins: Ella Fitzgerald singing Johnny Burke’s Misty and Petula Clarke singing Kay Thompson’s I love a violin.
Producer: Elizabeth Arno
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