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The Mighty Oak

With texts by Shakespeare, A A Milne, Emily Brontë and Samantha Harvey read by Siân Phillips and Joseph Mydell. Music includes works by Verdi, Smetana and Britten.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Macbeth

    Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti.
    • EMI CDC7479542.
    • tr1.
  • Shakespeare

    Macbeth, read by Sian Phillips

  • Shakespeare

    Macbeth, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:00

    Bedrich Smetana

    Macbeth and the Witches

    Performer: Radoslav Kvapil.
    • Unicorn-Kanchana.
    • tr1.
  • Powers

    The Overstory, read by Sian Phillips

  • 00:00

    Bedrich Smetana

    Macbeth and the Witches

    Performer: Radoslav Kvapil.
    • Unicorn-Kanchana.
    • tr1.
  • Enright

    The Acorn, read by Sian Phillips

  • 00:00

    Butterworth

    English Idyll no.1

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, John Wilson.
    • Avie AV2194.
    • tr1.
  • Frazer

    The Golden Bough, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:00

    Hector Berlioz

    Royal Hunt and Storm from The Trojans

    Performer: LSO, Colin Davis.
    • LSO Live LSO0010.
    • tr1.
  • Aesop

    The Oak and the Reeds

  • 00:00

    Beethoven

    Symphony no.6 ‘Pastoral

    Performer: Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vanska.
    • BIS SACD182526.
    • tr5.
  • Dickinson

    I robbed the woods, read by Sian Phillips

  • Tennyson

    The Oak, read by Sian Phillips

  • Milne

    Winnie The Pooh, read by Sian Phillips

  • 00:00

    Murray

    The Teddy Bears’ Picnic

    Performer: Val Rosing.
    • Columbia DB955.
    • tr1.
  • Clare

    The Round Oak, read by Sian Phillips

  • 00:00

    Franz Schubert

    Die schone Mullerin

    Performer: Jonas Kaufmann, Helmut Deutsch.
    • Decca 4781528.
    • tr16.
  • Burke

    Reflections on the Revolution in France, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:00

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Entracte no.2 from The Wasps

    Performer: RLPO, James Judd.
    • Naxos 8572304.
    • tr4.
  • Harvey

    The Western Wind, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:00

    Herrmann

    Introduction from Wuthering Heights

    Performer: Pro Arte Orchestra, Bernard Herrmann.
    • Unicorn-Kanchana UKCD20505152.
    • tr1.
  • Bronte

    Wuthering Heights, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:01

    Burgon

    Farwell to Narnia

    Performer: Philharmonia, Geoffrey Burgon.
    • Silva Screen FILMCD117.
    • tr24.
  • Ainsworth

    The Old Oak Coffin, read by Joseph Mydell

  • 00:01

    Arnold Schoenberg

    Verklarte Nacht

    Performer: Juilliard Quartet, Walter Trampler, Yo Yo Ma.
    • Sony Classical SMK62019.
    • tr4.
  • Carlyle

    The French Revolution, read by Sian Phillips

  • 00:01

    Benjamin Britten

    Who are these children?

    Performer: Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten.
    • Decca 4768492.
    • tr28.

Words and Music: The Might Oak

Producer’s note:

As Radio 3 ventures Into The Forest, Words and Music focusses on the mighty oak.  We start with Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the witches, illustrated with music by Verdi and Smetana; a more contemporary American production described in Richard Powers’ The Overstory.

Winnie-the-Pooh comes unstuck looking for honey in an oak tree, while Aesop’s fable contrasts the unbending oak with the more flexible reeds.  Rhapsodic oak-themed poems come from Emily Dickinson, Lord Tennyson and Joseph Enright, one more tinged with wistful sadness from John Clare.

Our uses for oak wood for furniture feature in selections from Emily Bronte and Samantha Harvey, and for coffins from W. Harrison Ainsworth.

And as a metaphor for the end of things, William Soutar’s bleak vision of the cruel death of an oak under the axeman’s gleam comes from Benjamin Britten.

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