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Lancashire dialect in song

Kate Molleson explores dialect in Manchester's broadside ballads, and talks to Matthew Herbert about his new book.

In the latest feature about the connections between language and music around the British Isles, Kate Molleson is in Manchester to explore local dialect in song with Jennifer Reid, a researcher and singer of broadside ballads from the city's industrial communities of the mid-19th century.

And at Leith Hill Place, Vaughan Williams' childhood home in the Surrey hills, the historian and music writer Andrew Green suggests a fresh way of listening to the composer's pastoral music, placing it in the context of the great agricultural depression from the 1870s to 90s.

Kate drops in on rehearsals for Rambert's new production, the first full-length ballet set to music by Lutosławski. Based on a drama by the Spanish playwright Calderon, in which a prince is locked inside a tower, Life Is a Dream is an exploration of silence and the private spaces where creative imaginations fly. Kate meets the choreographer Kim Brandstrup, conductor Paul Hoskins, dancers Stephen Quildan and Simone Damberg Würtz, and sound designer Ian Dearden.

Plus the composer and audio pioneer Matthew Herbert's new album, which is actually a book, The Music: A novel in sound. Kate asks Matthew about this ambitious project to open our ears to a universe of sound, and we hear passages from the book read by Skye Hallam.

Available now

45 minutes


  • Life is a Dream - Lutosławski

    Duration: 12:24

  • Jennifer Reid

    Duration: 08:23

  • Andrew Green (Vaughan Williams)

    Duration: 09:29

  • Matthew Herbert (The Music)

    Duration: 12:55


Role Contributor
Presenter Kate Molleson
Interviewed Guest Jennifer Reid
Interviewed Guest Andrew Green
Interviewed Guest Kim Brandstrup
Interviewed Guest Paul Hoskins
Interviewed Guest Stephen Quildan
Interviewed Guest Simone Damberg Wurtz
Interviewed Guest Ian Dearden
Interviewed Guest Matthew Herbert


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