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Jane Birkin

Michael Berkeley's guest is the actor and singer Jane Birkin. Music choices include Stravinsky, Mahler, Allegri's Miserere, and Leonard Bernstein.

Jane Birkin came to fame in the swinging 60s, thanks to her wild beauty and daring appearances in avant-garde films such as Blow-up, and thanks also to her tempestuous relationship with Serge Gainsbourg. In 1969 their song "Je t'aime" was banned by the BBC and the rest is history; it became the biggest-selling foreign language record ever. Since then, Jane Birkin has appeared in more than fifty films, been awarded the OBE for services to Anglo-French relations and released thirteen albums.

In Private Passions, she remembers Paris in the 1960s, and above all, her beloved Serge Gainsbourg; she describes the night they met in vivid cinematic detail. She talks too about her marriage to the film composer John Barry and chooses music he wrote for the funeral of her daughter. She talks perceptively about getting older, and the strange freedom age brings.

Music choices include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; Allegri's Miserere; John Barry's music for The Lion in Winter; Mahler's 10th Symphony, and Bernstein's West Side Story.

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

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Jun 2018 12:00

Music Played

  • Serge Gainsbourg

    Je t'aime

    Performer: Serge Gainsbourg. Performer: Jane Birkin.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring

    Orchestra: Mariinsky Orchestra. Conductor: Valery Gergiev.
  • John Barry

    Chinon-Eleanor's Arrival (The Lion in Winter)

    Orchestra: City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Nic Raine. Choir: Crouch End Festival Chorus.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony no.10 (1st mvt: Adagio)

    Orchestra: Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. Conductor: David Zinman.
  • Gregorio Allegri


    Choir: King'S College Cambridge Choir. Conductor: Stephen Cleobury.
  • Olivier Messaien

    Turangalila-symphonie (5th mvt: Joie du sang des etoiles)

    Orchestra: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Seiji Ozawa.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    West Side Story - Overture

    Orchestra: Orchestra. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.


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