Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Rebel, Rebel

American novelist JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye tells the story of a teenager at odds with the world. To mark the centenary of his birth, poetry and music on rebellion.

Words and Music this week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American novelist, J.D. Salinger, whose classic novel The Catcher in the Rye told the story of the troubled teenager Holden Caulfield, at odds with a world he feels is cruel and unfeeling. First published as a novel for adults it’s become popular with teenagers around the world: it’s very hard to believe it was first published at the end of WWII. Rebel Rebel visits the world of those who don’t obey from composers and performers including the wild living Debussy and the minimalism of the pioneer Erik Satie and later the American composer Steve Reich who broke all the rules from the very start of his career in the 1960s, fighting against the musical establishment with his groundbreaking style. And, of course, you’ll hear the work of Mozart who did everything from composing his country’s national anthem to writing cruel parodies of his contemporaries’ work to make fun of them. You’ll also hear Don’t Rain on My Parade from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s musical Funny Girl, performed by Barbra Streisand who has had a hugely successful long career in Hollywood while refusing to conform to the rules. Samuel West and Natalie Simpson read words including poetry from the maverick Emily Dickinson who refused to live in the real world and the French writer Arthur Rimbaud who wrote nearly all his work between the ages of 16 and 20 before he abandoned poetry. Yearning to get away from the conventions of society he chose to give up his artistic life for that of a vagabond in East Africa. You’ll also see Samuel read from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind and Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, poems by two writers who broke all the rules, moral and artistic, both involved in the social and political problems of their revolutionary age. Byron said of himself that he was ‘born for opposition’. Natalie reads from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, a character who, like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, begin their difficult early lives as passionate, intelligent and defiant children. And in a special linking up with the Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network, Jade Cuttle and Aisha Mango Borja’s writing is featured.

Producer: Fiona McLean

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Dec 2018 17:30

Music Played

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

  • J.D. Salinger

    Extract from The Catcher in the Rye, read by Samuel West

  • 00:01

    Nicolò Paganini

    24 Caprices for solo violin – No.16 in G minor

    Performer: Julia Fischer (violin).
    • DECCA 4782274.
    • Tr16.
  • Aisha Mango Borja

    Resolution, read by Natalie Simpson

  • Mark Twain

    Extract from Tom Sawyer, read by Samuel West

  • 00:04

    Ferde Grofé

    Mississippi Suite – Huckleberry Finn

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Enrique Batiz (Conductor).
    • EMI CDC7490562.
    • Tr7.
  • Louisa May Alcott

    Extract from Little Women, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:08

    Jule Styne and Bob Merrill

    Don’t Rain on my Parade

    Performer: Barbra Streisand.
    • COLUMBIA 5062572.
    • CD1 Tr9.
  • William Shakespeare

    Extract from Romeo and Juliet, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:11

    Sergei Prokofiev

    Romeo and Juliet – Act I, Scene 2 – Juliet's Variation

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre Previn.
    • EMI CDS7490128.
    • CD1 Tr14.
  • Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Wyatt Mason

    Extract from Novel, read by Samuel West

  • 00:14

    Erik Satie

    Gnossienne no 1

    Performer: Pascal Roge (piano).
    • DECCA 4102202.
    • Tr10.
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Extract from Ode to the West Wind, read by Samuel West

  • Emily Dickinson

    My Cocoon Tightens read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:20

    Joni Mitchell

    Urge for Going

    Performer: Nigel Kennedy (violin), English Chamber Orchestra.
    • EMI CDC 5568902.
    • Tr19.
  • Qui Jin

    Capping Rhymes, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:24

    Claude Debussy

    Deux Arabesques L. 66 - No. 2 Allegretto scherzande

    Performer: Pascal Rogé.
    • Decca 443 021-2.
    • Tr18.
  • Roald Dahl

    Extract from Matilda, read by Samuel West

  • 00:29

    Tim Minchin


    Performer: Adrianna Bertola Josie Griffiths and Kerry Ingram (Matilda).
    • RSC RSCE002.
    • Tr14.
  • J.D. Salinger

    Extract from The Catcher in the Rye, read by Samuel West

  • 00:32

    Charles Mingus

    Self-Portrait in Three Colors

    Performer: Charles Mingus.
    • COLUMBIA CK64624.
    • Tr4.
  • Jane Austen

    Extract from Emma, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:37

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Concerto no. 2 in E Flat Major - Rondo

    Performer: Barry Tuckwell (Horn), the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Neville Marriner (Conductor).
    • EMI CDM7695692.
    • Tr5.
  • Charlotte Bronte

    Extract from Jane Eyre, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 00:41

    Clara Schumann

    Drei Romanzen für violin und clavier op. 22 – Allegretto in G minor

    Performer: Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Alice Sara Ott (piano), Staatskapelle Dresden, Christian Thielemann (Conductor).
    • Tr5.
  • Lord Byron

    Extract from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, read by Samuel West

  • 00:45

    Dmitry Shostakovich

    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in F major, Op.102 - Andante

    Performer: New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (piano).
    • Tr6.
  • W.B. Yeats

    Extract from Easter 1916, read by Samuel West

  • 00:52

    Alexander Scriabin

    Piano Sonata No. 9, op.68

    Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
    • DECCA 4255792.
    • CD2 Tr4.
  • Jade Cuttle

    The Miracle of Mould, read by Natalie Simpson

  • 01:00

    Steve Reich

    Electric Counterpoint - Fast

    Performer: Pat Metheny (guitar).
    • NONESUCH 7559791762.
    • Tr6.
  • Dylan Thomas

    Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, read by Samuel West

  • 01:06

    Jean Sibelius

    Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47

    Performer: Nigel Kennedy, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle (Conductor).
    • EMI 5574112.
    • CD2 Tr7.


Books website

Books website

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.