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Pictures of the Floating World

With readings by Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker, this programme moves from snapshots and haikus inspired by C17th Japan via Kyoto water chimes to the Antarctic and the Chilterns

With readings by Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker, this programme moves from Japanese haikus to the Antarctic and ballooning in the Chiltern hills.

Pictures of the floating world have a way of lodging in our minds. Whether we realise that they’ve actually fluttered there all the way from 17th century Japan or not. Just think for a moment – a huge, spume-topped wave curling and about to crash; a symmetrical snow-capped peak; ornamental cherry blossom against an equally ornamental moon; black- haired courtesans in silky sleeves stooping to serve tea or sake to their customers; threads of rain stitched onto a landscape; or maybe just lovers locked in a close embrace. These are just some of the images we associate with Edo – or Tokyo as we now call it – a place where peace has reigned for more than two hundred years and where however hierarchical the society the common goal is pleasure. It's somewhere that bears more than a passing resemblance to our own world and this evening’s Words and Music takes this as a starting point. Almost immediately we’re in the “pleasure district” - the realm of sex and fashion and the heart of any floating world with a simple invitation to follow our heart’s desire. Side by side with this urgent hedonism though there’s the kind of quiet contemplation that gave rise to the haiku – each a kind of snapshot but also a spell, like the one cast by the Kyoto water chime that you’ll hear near the beginning of the programme. Before long the emphasis shifts and the idea of floating takes over and we drift from century to century. This is not without jeopardy as falling is one aspect of floating.
The actors, Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker take us on a trip from Basho and Saikaku, via Pope and Coleridge to Ian McEwan, Jenny Diski and James Hamilton-Paterson. Mendelssohn, Django Reinhardt, Takemitsu and Ravel amongst others keep us sonically buoyant - all you’ll need are your ears, a mind prepared for weightlessness and maybe some metaphorical water wings!

Producer: Zahid Warley

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 2 Sep 2018 18:45

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    John Kander

    Willkommen

    Performer: Joel Grey.
    • MCA MCLD19088.
    • Tr1.
  • Asai Ryoi, translated by Daniel Lewis Barber, Ohio State

    From Tales of the Floating World, read by Peter Marinker

  • 00:04

    Felix Mendelssohn

    Gondellied – Allegretto non troppo

    Performer: Daniel Barenboim (piano).
    • Deutsche Grammophon 453 063-2.
    • CD2 Tr31.
  • 00:07

    n o t . a p p l i c a b l e

    Suikinkutsu Water Chime

    Performer: recorded by Yoshihiro Kawasaki.
    • Virgin AMBT10.
    • CD2 Tr17.
  • Fukuda Chiyo-ni, translated by Patricia Donegan and Yoshi Ishibashi

    Morning Glory, read by Alice St Clair

  • Matsuo Basho, translated by Lucien Stryk

    Muddy Sake, read by Peter Marinker

  • Fukuda Chiyo-ni, translated by Patricia Donegan and Yoshi Ishibashi

    A single spider's thread, read by Alice St Clair

  • Matsuo Basho, translated by Lucien Stryk

    In the garden, read by Peter Marinker

  • Fukuda Chiyo-ni, translated by Patricia Donegan and Yoshi Ishibashi

    On the road, read by Alice St Clair

  • Matsuo Basho, translated by Lucien Stryk

    Town Merchants, read by Peter Marinker

  • Fukuda Chiyo-ni, translated by Patricia Donegan and Yoshi Ishibashi

    Sound of things, read by Alice St Clair

  • Unknown (text appears on a fan in a print by Utamaro)

    Its beak caught firmly, read by Peter Marinker

  • 00:08

    Toru Takemitsu

    Music Of Training And Rest (From the film José Torres)

    Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop (Conductor).
    • Naxos 8557760.
    • Tr3.
  • D.H. Lawrence

    From Chapter XX, Women in Love, read by Alice St Clair

  • 00:16

    Sammy Cahn

    Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (Means That You're Grand)

    Performer: The Andrews Sisters.
    • Capitol Records CDEMS 1558.
    • Tr9.
  • Alexander Pope

    From The Rape of the Lock, read by Alice St Clair

  • 00:20

    Mischa Spoliansky

    L’Heure Bleue

    Performer: Ute Lemper.
    • Decca 452 601 2.
    • Tr7.
  • Ihara Saikaku, translated by Ivan Morris

    From The Life of an Amorous Woman, read by Peter Marinker

  • 00:27

    Angelo Badalamenti

    Falling

    Performer: Julee Cruise.
    • Warner 9258592.
    • Tr2.
  • Ian McEwan

    From Enduring Love, read by Alice St Clair

  • 00:35

    Stephan Micus

    For Yuko – 2 flowerpots – 8 voices - shakuhachi

    Performer: Stephan Micus.
    • ECM 1597392.
    • Tr9.
  • Katharine Towers

    The Floating Man, read by Peter Marinker

  • 00:44

    Maurice Ravel

    Une barque sur l’océan

    Performer: Angela Hewitt (piano).
    • Hyperion CDA 673412.
    • CD2 Tr12.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, read by Alice St Clair and Peter Marinker

  • 00:53

    Jon Hassell

    Air

    Performer: Jon Hassell (trumpet), Miguel Frasconi (flute), J.A. Deane (Percussion and Electronic Percussion, Alto Flute), Jean-Philippe Rykiel (Electronic keyboards, Facsimile Bass, Percussion, Strings).
    • ECM 8294662.
    • Tr7.
  • Seamus Heaney

    A Kite for Aibhin, read by Peter Marinker

  • 01:00

    Django Reinhardt

    Nuages

    Performer: Django Reinhardt et le Quintette du Hot Club de France.
    • Classics Classics 852.
    • Tr2.
  • Jenny Diski

    From Skating to Antarctica, read by Alice St Clair

  • 01:06

    Simon Fisher Turner

    Simon Fisher Turner original soundtrack to the film The Great White Silence

    Performer: Simon Fisher Turner.
    • Soleilmoon Recordings SOL 176 CD.
    • Tr1.
  • Marianne Moore

    A Jelly-Fish, read by Alice St clair

  • 01:10

    recorded by Dr. Roger S. Payne

    Solo Whale

    • Living Music LD0021.
    • Tr1.
  • James Hamilton- Paterson

    From Seven Tenths, read by Peter Marinker

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