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The Annunciation

In the build-up to Christmas, Mark Tully considers the very first moment in the story of the Nativity, in a tale of angelic apparitions and maternal courage.

In conversation with former BBC Deputy Director General, the journalist and author, Mark Byford, Mark Tully asks why the story of the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary has become a neglected part of Jesus’ narrative. They discuss the literal and metaphorical importance of the conception of Christ, the idea of the Virgin Birth and the iconography of Mary. The programme draws on the poetry of Denise Levertov and Elizabeth Jennings and there is music from Sir John Tavener, Percy Grainger and Norwegian pop composer Milton Nascimento.

The readers are Jane Whittenshaw and David Holt.
Presenter: Mark Tully
Producer: Frank Stirling

TX: 16th December 2018 0605 and 2330

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 16 Dec 2018 23:30

Music Played

  • Traditional

    Angelus ad virginem “The Annunciation Carol”

    Performer: J. Michael Holmes, Phil Pierick, Adrianne Honnold, Joyce Griggs, Drew Whiting, Jesse Dochnahl, Ben Kenis. Music Arranger: Percy Grainger.
    • Music for Saxophones.
    • NAXOS 8573228.
  • Milton Nascimento


    • Original Album Series.
    • WM Brazil.
  • Josquin des Prez

    Ave Maria

    Performer: The Sixteen.
    • Renaiisance Choral Masterpieces.
    • Decca 4783622.
  • Kim André Arnesen

    Magnificat: II. Ecce enim

    Performer: Sarah Weaver / Bella Voce / Lynne Gackle,.
    • The Unbroken Circle.
    • Affetto Recordings AF1807.
  • Cole Porter

    Blow Gabriel Blow

    Performer: Martha Titlon.
    • T as in Tilton, Martha.
    • LOFA.
  • John Tavener


    Performer: Winchester Cathedral Choir / David Hill.
    • David Hill Conducts Tavener & Part.
    • Erato 6932332.


Title Blue Sky GodAuthor Don McGregorPublished by John Hunt Publishing
Title AnnunciationAuthor Denise LevertovFound in A Door in the HivePublished by Norton
Title The AnnunciationAuthor Elizabeth JenningsFound in New Collected PoemsPublished by Carcanet Press
Title Mary’s VisitationAuthor Rainer Maria RilkeFound in Gospels in Our ImageTranslated from German by David Curzon and Will Alexander WashburnPublished by Harcourt
Title AnnunciationAuthor Stephanie PaulsellPublished by The Literary Review Winter 2007
Title AnnunciationAuthor John DonneFound in Chapters Into VersePublished by Oxford University Press