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Enjoy your day of rest with a literary and musical celebration of Sunday. Frances Barber and Greg Wise read extracts by Jane Austen, Graham Swift and Margaret Atwood.

Frances Barber and Greg Wise read texts and poems covering many Sunday-related occupations and states of mind, as well as thoughts about the very purpose of Sunday. A full list of the music and readings can be found on the Words and Music programme website.

Jane Eyre is enduring a freezing cold walk to church, Jim Dixon is nursing the mother of all hangovers, Peter Grimes is fishing and William Brown is looking forward to creating havoc on a Sunday School outing. For some Sunday is a day of rest, a chance to play sports, cook a roast, and read the papers. For others it's planned around one, or in the case of Samuel Pepys, several trips to church. For children it can be a day of utter tedium, captured beautifully by Margaret Atwood in her poem Bored. But for adults Sunday can be an opportunity for a rare day off, to take a moment to dream about the past, as Edward Hirsch does in his poem Early Sunday Morning, or to contemplate the week ahead. Extracts include works by Jane Austen and Graham Swift, with Sunday-themed music by Vaughan Williams, Haydn, Sondheim, and Ellington.

Producer - Ellie Mant.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Edvard Grieg

    Bell ringing – Lyric pieces book 5 (excerpt)

    Performer: Mikhail Pletnev (piano).
    • REGIS RRC1350.
    • Tr1.
  • Louis MacNeice

    Sunday Morning, read by Frances Barber

  • Samuel Pepys

    Samuel Pepys’ Diary, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:04

    Francesco Corbetta

    Allemande (excerpt)

    Performer: Robin Jeffery (guitar).
    • SAYDISC CDSDL385.
    • Tr9.
  • King James Bible

    Genesis 2:2, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:06

    Joseph Haydn

    Haydn The Creation: The great work is completed (excerpt)

    Performer: RIAS Chamber Choir, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
    • PROFIL PH07074.
    • CD1 tr28.
  • 00:09

    William Grant Still

    The Sunday Symphony; Prayer (excerpt)

    Performer: The North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Carlton Woods (conductor).
    • CAMBRIA CD 1060.
    • Tr2.
  • Edward Hirsch

    Early Sunday Morning, read by Greg Wise

  • George Crabbe

    The Borough, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:12

    Benjamin Britten

    Sunday morning (Peter Grimes)

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Takuo Yuasa (conductor).
    • EMI CDEMX2231.
    • Tr11.
  • Kingsley Amis

    Lucky Jim, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:17

    Johnny Cash

    Sunday Morning Coming Down (excerpt)

    Performer: Johnny Cash (singer).
    • COLUMBIA 5174612.
    • CD1 tr19.
  • John Clare

    Sunday Dip, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:20

    Maurice Ravel

    Jeux d’eau (excerpt)

    Performer: Louis Lortie (piano).
    • CHANDOS CHAN70045.
    • CD1 tr9.
  • Essays From Addison, Spectator, ed JH Fowler

    Sir Roger at Church, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:25

    George Butterworth

    Bredon Hill (A Shropshire Lad) (excerpt)

    Performer: Roderick Williams (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano).
    • NAXOS 8.572426.
    • Tr12.
  • Graham Swift

    Mothering Sunday, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:28

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Seventeen come Sunday (English Folk Song Suite)

    Performer: Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Timothy Reynish (conductor).
    • CHANDOS CHAN9697.
    • Tr13.
  • James Smith

    The Newspaper, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:33

    Johann Strauss II

    Morning Papers – waltz (excerpt)

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorin Maazel (conductor).
    • DG 4748302.
    • Tr5.
  • 00:37

    Aaron Copland

    Sunday Afternoon Music

    Performer: Nina Tichman (piano).
    • WERGO WER 6212-2.
    • Tr5.
  • Charlotte Bronte

    Jane Eyre, read by Frances Barber

  • Thomas De Quincey

    Confessions of an English Opium Eater, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:39

    Hector Berlioz

    Symphonie Fantastique – 1st movt (excerpt)

    Performer: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (conductor).
    • DG 474165-2.
    • Tr2.
  • Jane Grigson

    English Food, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:44

    Richard Leveridge

    The Roast Beef of Old England (excerpt)

    Performer: Ernie Mayne (singer).
    • WINDYRIDGE WINDTCDR25.
    • Tr18.
  • Simon Armitage

    The Catch, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:46

    Henry Cowell

    Dance of Sport (excerpt)

    Performer: The Califonia Parallele Ensemble, Nicole Paiement (conductor).
    • MODE MODE101.
    • Tr8.
  • Jane Austen

    Mansfield Park, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:48

    Francis Purcell Warren

    A Sunday Evening in Autumn

    Performer: Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano).
    • BIS CD1562.
    • Tr7.
  • John Betjeman

    Pershore Station, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:51

    Edward Elgar

    Adieu

    Performer: Bournemouth Sinfonietta, George Hurst (conductor).
    • CHANDOS CHAN6544.
    • Tr18.
  • Margaret Atwood

    Bored, read by Frances Barber

  • 00:56

    Stephen Sondheim

    Sunday in the park with George (excerpt)

    Performer: Jenna Russell and Daniel Evans (singers), Orchestra.
    • PS CLASSICS PS640.
    • Tr2.
  • Seamus Heaney

    When all the others were away at Mass, read by Greg Wise

  • 00:59

    Frank Bridge

    3 Idylls – Allegretto poco lento (excerpt)

    Performer: Coull Quartet.
    • HYPERION CDA55218.
    • Tr5.
  • Richmal Crompton

    William the Conqueror, read by Frances Barber

  • 01:01

    Percy Grainger

    Children’s March (excerpt)

    Performer: Martin Jones and Richard McMahon (pianos).
    • NIMBUS NI 5286.
    • Tr2.
  • Alan Sillitoe

    Saturday Night and Sunday Morning read by Greg Wise

  • 01:05

    Duke Ellington

    Come Sunday Interlude (excerpt)

    Performer: Ray Nance (violin), Duke Ellington and his Orchestra.
    • COLUMBIA CK64272.
    • Tr5.
  • Caroline Anne Bowles

    Sunday Evening, read by Frances Barber

  • 01:09

    Henry Purcell

    Evening hymn

    Performer: Eamonn O’Dwyer (treble), Jane Coe (bass violin), David Miller (theorbo), Robert King (organ).
    • HYPERION KING2.
    • Tr18.

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