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The Garden

Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts encompassing public gardens, secret gardens, magical gardens, and paradise gardens. Including music by Mozart & Tchaikovsky.

Jane Eyre is hiding in one, Peter Rabbit is escaping from one, John Tradescant is tending one, and Rebecca de Winter's has been completely taken over by nature. Whether a place to relax, play, be seen or to hide, the garden serves many purposes in literature, as in life. Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts encompassing public gardens, secret gardens, magical gardens, and paradise gardens. Including music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Gubaidulina and Takemitsu.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jan 2018 17:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    John Pickard

    Eden for brass band (extract)

    Performer: Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklang, Andreas Hanson (conductor).
    • BIS CD 2061.
    • Tr1.
  • Anon

    Genesis from The Bible (King James Version), read by Sally Phillips

  • James Merrill

    A Vision of the Garden, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:03

    Bohuslav Martinu

    Window onto the Garden; Poco andante

    Performer: Radoslav Kvapil (piano).
    • REGIS RRC4006.
    • Tr33.
  • Lewis Carroll

    Through the Looking Glass, read by Sally Phillips

  • 00:07

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Nutcracker; Waltz of the Flowers (extract)

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, James Levine (conductor).
    • DG 4378062.
    • Tr19.
  • WB Yeats

    Down by the Salley Gardens, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:13

    Rebecca Clarke

    Down by the Salley Gardens

    Performer: Patricia Wright (soprano), Kathron Sturrock (piano).
    • GUILD GMCD 7208.
    • Tr8.
  • 00:15

    Einojuhani Rautavaara

    Autumn Gardens; Tranquillo (extract)

    Performer: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor).
    • ONDINE ODE 950-2.
    • Tr5.
  • Elizabeth Jennings

    Her Garden, read by Sally Phillips

  • Philippa Gregory

    Earthly Joys, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:22


    All in a Garden Green

    Performer: The King’s Noyse, David Douglass (director).
    • HMU 907101.
    • Tr2.
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Beloved, thou has brought me many flowers, read by Sally Phillips

  • 00:25

    Lili Boulanger

    D’un vieux jardin

    Performer: Judith Pfeiffer (piano).
    • DREYER GAIDO CD21004.
    • Tr25.
  • Sir John Hawkins

    A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:28

    George Frideric Handel

    Organ Concerto in B flat major, HWV.290; Allegro

    Performer: Daniel Moult (organ), London Early Opera, Bridget Cunningham (conductor).
    • Tr4.
  • Charles Dickens

    Nicholas Nickleby, read by Sally Phillips

  • 00:36

    Percy Grainger

    Country Gardens

    Performer: The Bilder Duo (pianos).
    • GRAND PIANO GP633.
    • Tr5.
  • Oscar Wilde

    Le Jardin des Tuileries, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:39

    Modest Musogsky

    Pictures from an Exhibition; Tuileries

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (conductor).
    • DG 423 901-2.
    • Tr6.
  • 00:40

    Toru Takemitsu

    Spirit Garden (extract)

    Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop (conductor).
    • NAXOS 8.557760.
    • Tr1.
  • Daphne Du Maurier

    Rebecca, read by Sally Phillips

  • Beatrix Potter

    Peter Rabbit, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 00:45

    Cab Calloway

    Run Little Rabbit (extract)

    Performer: Cab Calloway & His Orchestra.
    • CLASSICS629.
    • Tr8.
  • Charlotte Bronte

    Jane Eyre, read by Sally Phillips

  • 00:49

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Marriage of Figaro; Deh, vieni, non tardar

    Performer: Marie McLaughlin (Susanna), Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Zubin Mehta (conductor).
    • SONY CLASSICAL S3K53286.
    • CD3 Tr7.
  • 00:53

    Sofia Gubaidulina

    Gardens of Joy and Sadness (extract)

    Performer: Irena Grafenauer (flute), Maria Graf (harp), Vladimir Mendelssohn (viola).
    • PHILIPS 4340412.
    • Tr1.
  • WH Auden

    Their Lonely Betters, read by Bertie Carvel

  • Edwin Arlington Robinson

    The Garden, read by Sally Phillips

  • 00:57

    Frank Lambert

    God’s Garden

    Performer: Thomas Allen (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano).
    • HYPERION CDA67290.
    • Tr20.
  • 00:59

    Uljas Pulkkis

    Enchanted Garden (extract)

    Performer: Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Susanna Mälkki (conductor).
    • BIS SACD1339.
    • Tr1.
  • John Wyndham

    Day of the Triffids, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 01:03

    Joaquín Turina

    Jardín de niños: Cloches

    Performer: Jordi Masó (piano).
    • NAXOS 8.570026.
    • Tr28.
  • Alfred Tennyson

    The Gardener’s Daughter, read by Sally Phillips

  • Frances Hodgson Burnett

    The Secret Garden, read by Bertie Carvel

  • 01:07

    Rued Langgaard

    Rose Garden Songs; Behind the wall stand little roses

    Performer: Vocal Group Ars Nova, Tamás Vetö (conductor).
    • DACAPO 8.224058.
    • Tr5.

Producer's Notes

I was struck when making this programme how varied the literary gardens I chose were, and what different purposes they serve. Sometimes they are a haven, away from the hurly-burly of the outside world. Elizabeth Jennings describes building a garden within high walls, the only place an ill woman can escape intrusion, and similarly Tennyson’s poetic garden is enhanced by the distant sound of church bells. Sometimes the gardens are enchanted; Alice is in discussion with the flowers in Through the Looking Glass, and enchanted gardens have inspired music from contemporary composers Takemitsu, and Uljas Pulkkis. Sometimes gardens are a backdrop for plotting and scheming; In Philippa Gregory’s Earthly Joys, spy-master Robert Cecil uses the garden as a place to quiz his gardener John Tradescant, who’s always too busy tending his plants to lie. More intrigue in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, where the gardens are full of characters hiding, and in disguise.  Jane Eyre is hiding too, after detecting the tell-tale smell of Mr Rochester’s cigar in amongst the garden’s evening scents. 

There are public gardens such as Spring Gardens in Vauxhall, the place to be seen in the mid 18th century, boasting summer concerts and a fine statue of Handel. Oscar Wilde describes Paris’s equivalent, the Jardin des Tuileries, a painting of which is included in Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition. Then to some less welcoming gardens. The famous opening of du Maurier’s Rebecca describes visiting Manderley in a dream to find that the garden ‘had obeyed the jungle law’. But this is nothing compared to the havoc that the plants in Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids will cause. And poor Peter Rabbit is desperately trying to escape Mr McGregor’s garden, hindered by his large buttons and a gooseberry net. I finish with one of the most evocative gardens, as Mary Lennox finally manages to get into The Secret Garden.

Ellie Mant - Producer


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