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Fire and Flame

Many religions have gods that are symbolised by fire, and religious or secular metaphors of flame are many and diverse. Mark Tully discusses the spiritual power of fire and flame.

The spiritual and symbolic power of fire and flame is found in a wide variety of cultures and religions. Flames are an important metaphor in secular literature and art too. Mark Tully searches for what draws so many to the image of a flame - moths, lovers, worshippers and poets.

He meets designer Sarah Van Gameren and discusses her artistic preoccupations with fire and designs which actually burst into flame themselves.

There's poetry by Simon Armitage and Christina Rossetti, and prose by the Indian novelist and politician Shashi Tharoor. Music comes from Gustav Holst and American composer Morten Lauridsen.

The readers are Jane Whittenshaw and David Westhead,

Presenter: Mark Tully
Producer: Frank Stirling

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jan 2018 23:30

Music Played

  • Gustav Holst

    Choral Hymns From The Rig Veda - To Agni God of Fire

    Performer:  David Willcocks / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
    •  Holst: Choral Works.
    • Unicorn .
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    By The Fireside 

    Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
    •  Tchaikovsky: The Seasons.
    • Decca.
  • Morten Lauridsen

     Quando Son Piu Lontan ‘Fire Songs’ 

    Performer: Stephen Layton: Polyphony.
    •  Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna, Madrigali, Latin Motets .
    •  HYPERION.
  • Krysztof Penderecki

     Threnody to Victims of Hiroshima 

    Performer:  Aukso Orchestra.
    •  Penderecki: Threnody To The Victims of Hiroshima, etc; Greenwood: 48 Responses to Polymorphia, Etc. .
    • Nonesuch .
  • Peter, Paul & Mary

    Light One Candle 

    Performer: Peter, Paul & Mary.
    •  No Easy Walk to Freedom.
    • Gold Castle.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Die Geschopfe Des Prometheus, Op. 43: No. 13 Allegro (The Creatures of Prometheus) 

    Performer: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
    • Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheu Ballet Op. 43 .
    • Naxos .


Title: The Great Indian Novel 

Author: Shashi Tharoor

Published By Arcade Publishing 


Title: Sonnets 

Author: Christina Rossetti 

Published by Poetry Foundation 


INTERVIEW - Sarah Van Gameren 


Title: A Book of Matches 

Author: Simon Armitage

Published by Faber 


Title: Night in al-Hamra 

Author: Saadi Youssef 

Published in Being Alive by Bloodaxe 


Title: Neither East Nor West 

Author: Christiane Bird 

Published by Simon & Schuster