Tamsin Greig and Tom Hollander uncork a celebration of the joys and pitfalls of wine, including texts by Shakespeare, Chaucer and Baudelaire, with music from Offenbach, Mahler and Frank Martin.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
The Canterbury Tales, read by Tamsin Greig
Ulysses, read by Tom Hollander
Anna Karenina, read by Tamsin Greig
Drinking Alone by Moonlight, read by Tom Hollander
Sense and Sensibility, read by Tamsin Greig
A Drinking Song, read by Tamsin Greig
Taste, read by Tom Hollander
The Soul of Wine, read by Tamsin Greig
Henry IV Part Two, read by Tom Hollander
Join Tom Hollander and Tamsin Greig for a festive glass of wine in the company of a wide range of writers and composers.
In the prologue to his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes a table of strangers gathered round a tavern table, the sole connection between them their love of wine. Shakespeare’s Falstaff tells all who will listen of the stimulating and fortifying properties of sack, a precursor to sherry while, in Sense and Sensibility, Austen’s Elinor appreciates the healing properties a glass has on pains both physical and emotional. Li Po, Baudelaire, Yeats and Joyce all praise wine: ambrosial, unifying, aphrodisiac, ecstatic.
Musical oenophilia comes from a tipsy Bartok burlesque and the famous brindisi from Verdi’s La traviata. Debussy evokes the Alhambra’s Wine Gate; Mahler a springtime drunkard; Offenbach, in his wonderful operetta Christopher Columbus, the Queen’s rather grim hangover. Frank Martin’s Le vin herbe is a retelling of the story of Tristan and Isolde and the flask of wine infused with herbs in order to inflame the senses; Belshazzar orders his retinue to drink wine from the exiled jews’ sacred vessels, thus ensuring this feast is his last. Johann Strauss’s Wine, Women and Song is kicked up a notch in Godowsky’s high-proof piano reworking, while Ibert’s Bacchanale was written sixty years ago for the tenth anniversary of the BBC Third Programme.
Now, could someone please help me find the Radio 3 corkscrew…
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