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Deception

Can you trust your ears? Can you trust your eyes? How often do you tell lies? Watch out for fraudsters here, for cheats, charlatans and spies. Nothing is what it seems.

Can you trust your ears? Can you trust your eyes? How often do you tell lies? Watch out for fraudsters here, for cheats, charlatans and spies. Nothing is what it seems. William Wordsworth sees an island that he knows isn’t there. Musical mirages are conjured by Shulamit Ran and Kaija Saariaho. Saariaho’s mirage contains a Mexican shaman bursting free from the deception of ‘reality’ to a greater truth beyond.

There are lovers too. Many lovers. Vernon Scannell’s furtive adulterers. Tony and Maria from West Side Story sharing a delusion that there’s a place for them (there’s not). Meanwhile in the shadowy world of espionage, John Hollander’s undercover operative has a crisis of confidence, Joseph Conrad’s secret agent not only misleads his associates but betrays his wife in a terrible way and, as the Rhinemaidens sing in a performance of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung at the Bayreuth festival in 1942, none of the Nazi officials watching suspects that one of them – contralto Margery Booth – is a British spy.

What of the tricksters? The west African spider god Anansi fools stronger, fiercer animals into parting with gold and even their lives, while the ‘sandy-whiskered gentleman’ lulls Jemima Puddle-Duck into a false sense of security. Sometimes we can’t help being deceived and there are examples here – in the opening poem by Walter Savage Landor and the closing sonnet by Shakespeare – where deception in love is positively welcomed.

But make no mistake: deceiving other people is rarely a good thing, so heed the words in Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Lies and extract the appropriate moral lesson from Pete Seeger singing Oh How He Lied.

The readers are Sheila Atim and Guy Masterson

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 7 Oct 2018 17:30

Music Played

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

  • 00:00

    Shulamit Ran

    Mirage (1990) for five players

    Performer: Mary Stolper (flute), Cliff Colnot (conductor).
    • ERATO 0630127872.
    • Tr1.
  • Walter Savage Landor

    You Smiled, You Spoke and I Believed, read by Guy Masterson

  • 00:02

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Six French Songs Op. 65: Deception

    Performer: Ljuba Kazarnovskaya (soprano), Ljuba Orfenova (piano).
    • NAXOS 8570438.
    • Tr3.
  • Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    Lies, read by Sheila Atim

  • 00:05

    Salma Al Assal

    El Ghaddara Deema - Life, The All Time Deceiver

    Performer: Salma Al Assal.
    • ARC Music EUCD 1945.
    • Tr1.
  • Vernon Scannell

    Taken in Adultery, read by Guy Masterson

  • 00:11

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Era la notte, Cassio dormia

    Performer: Sergei Leiferkus (baritone - Iago), Orchestre de l’Opéra Bastille, Myung-Whun Chung (conductor).
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4398052.
    • CD1 Tr21.
  • 00:14

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Oh! mostruosa colpa!

    Performer: Placido Domingo (tenor – Otello), Sergei Leiferkus (baritone - Iago), Orchestre de l’Opéra Bastille, Myung-Whun Chung (conductor).
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4398052.
    • CD1 Tr22.
  • Beatrix Potter

    The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, read by Sheila Atim

  • 00:18

    Edvard Grieg

    Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 - 2. Adagio

    Performer: Stephen Bishop Kovacevich (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (conductor).
    • PHILIPS 4129232.
    • Tr2.
  • Walt Whitman

    Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances, read by Sheila Atim

  • 00:25

    Kaija Saariaho

    Mirage (2007; Text: Maria Sabina)

    Performer: Karita Mattila (soprano), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Orchestre de Paris, Christoph Eschenbach (conductor).
    • ONDINE ODE11302.
    • Tr9.
  • William Wordsworth

    Lays and Legends of the English Lake Country, read by Guy Masterson

  • 00:33

    Leonard Bernstein

    Somewhere

    Performer: Jim Bryant, Marni Nixon.
    • Sony Masterworks SK 48211.
    • Tr14.
  • Virgil, translated by C. Day Lewis

    Aeneid, read by Sheila Atim

  • 00:36

    John Barry

    The Ipcress File

    Performer: John Barry.
    • Echo ECHCD 54A.
    • Tr5.
  • John Hollander

    Reflections on Espionage, read by Guy Masterson

  • 00:41

    Richard Wagner

    Frau Sonne sendet lichte Strahlen

    Performer: Hilde Scheppan (soprano), Irmgard Langhammer (mezzo-soprano), Margery Booth (contralto), Chorus and Orchestra of Bayreuther Festspiele 1942, Karl Elmendorff (conductor).
    • PREISER 90164.
    • CD4 Tr1.
  • Joseph Conrad

    The Secret Agent, read by Sheila Atim

  • 00:45

    Gustav Holst

    Uranus, the Magician

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis (conductor).
    • TELDEC 4509945412.
    • Tr6.
  • Robert Browning

    Mr Sludge, The Medium, read by Guy Masterson

  • 00:53

    Gaetano Donizetti

    Ardir! Ha forse il cielo mandato

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti (Nemorino – tenor), Enzo Dara (Dr Dulcamara – basso buffo), The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, James Levine (conductor).
    • DEUTSHE GRAMMOPHON 4297442.
    • CD1 Tr11.
  • 00:00

    Gaetano Donizetti

    Voglio dire, lo stupendo elisir

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti (Nemorino – tenor), Enzo Dara (Dr Dulcamara – basso buffo), The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, James Levine (conductor).
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4297442.
    • CD1 Tr12.
  • Kwame A. Insaidoo

    How Anansi Survived the Great Famine, read by Sheila Atim

  • 01:03

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Sonata No. 26, op.81A – Les adieux: Adagio, Allegro

    Performer: Arthur Rubinstein (piano).
    • RCA 09026630562.
    • Tr10.
  • William Shakespeare

    Sonnet 138 - When my love swears that she is made of truth, read by Guy Masterson

  • 01:11

    Pete Seeger

    Oh How He Lied

    Performer: Pete Seeger.
    • SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS SFWCD40155.
    • CD4 Tr7.

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