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Peace and Protest

Marking the 50th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed-Ins for Peace. Juliet Stevenson and Jamie Glover with poetry and music on calm, tranquility and activism.

It is 50 years since John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-Ins For Peace. Actors Juliet Stevenson and Jamie Glover mark the anniversary with readings and music exploring themes of calm, tranquillity and activism.

John Lennon said of peace that it “is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”. What Lennon did, with his new wife Yoko Ono, was to stage two “bed-ins”, one in Montreal and one in Amsterdam; welcoming the world's press to join at their bedsides. While in Montreal, Lennon recorded his 'Give Peace a Chance' anti-war song. We also hear Yo-Yo Ma’s Donna Nobis Pacem (Give us Peace) followed by Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, written when he was a prisoner of war in German captivity and first performed by his fellow prisoners. And in Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha, Mahatma Gandhi makes a plea for non-violent resistance to injustice. The selection of readings includes All of these People by Michael Longley, Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye and Ann Pettitt’s Walking to Greenham.

The selection of readings includes Between Waves, Heather Glover’s winning poem in the Poems for Peace competition run by the Royal Society of Literature. We also explore the peace of nature in WB Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree, in which the poet longs for the tranquillity of the island where he went as a boy, away from his adult life in the city. He imagines a life similar to that of the American Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, who lived this idyllic existence on Walden Pond. We end with Denise Levertov’s Making Peace on the need for poets to write of peace, creating an energy field more intense than war.

Producer: Fiona McLean

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 Mar 2019 17:30

Music Played

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

  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono (BBC World Service Archive)

    John and Yoko at the Amsterdam Bed-In

  • 00:00


    Dona Nobis Pacem

    Performer: Yo‐Yo Ma.
    • SONY CLASSICAL 88697344802.
    • Tr1.
  • Moniza Alvi

    How the World Split in Two read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:03

    Olivier Messiaen

    Quatuor pour la fin du temps - Intermede

    Performer: Maryvonne Le Dizes, Pierre Strauch and Alain Damiens.
    • Adda 581029.
    • Tr4.
  • Michael Longley

    All of These People read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:05

    Arvo Pärt

    Spiegel im Spiegel

    Performer: Nicola Benedetti.
    • Deutsche Grammophon 4763399.
    • Tr6.
  • Li-Young Lee

    Immigrant Blues read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:10

    Philip Glass

    Protest from Sattagraha

    Performer: Douglas Perry and New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
    • SONY SBK64133.
    • Tr6.
  • Naomi Shihab Nye

    Jerusalem read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:16

    John Lennon


    Performer: John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band.
    • Parlaphone 8219542.
    • Tr1.
  • Heather Glover

    Between Waves read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:22

    George Butterworth

    Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad - Is my team ploughing?

    Performer: Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside.
    • NAXOS 8572426.
    • Tr6.
  • 00:25

    Joni Mitchell

    The Fiddle and the Drum

    Performer: Joni Mitchell.
    • REPRISE K244070.
    • Tr9.
  • Ann Pettitt

    from Walking to Greenham read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:29

    John Lennon

    Give Peace a Chance

    Performer: Plastic Ono Band.
    • Parlophone 8219542.
    • Tr20.
  • Christopher Logue

    from Prince Charming read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:32

    Ian Campbell

    The Sun is Burning

    Performer: Simon & Garfunkel.
    • CBS CD63370.
    • Tr10.
  • 00:34

    Gideon Klein

    String Trio - Lento

    Performer: Daniel Hope, Philip Dukes and Paul Watkins.
    • NIMBUS NI5702.
    • Tr2.
  • Homer translated by Martin Hammond

    from The Iliad read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:41


    Symphony no 6 – Allegro ma non troppo

    Performer: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
    • Decca 4783513.
    • CD1 Tr6.
  • Wendell Berry

    The Peace of Wild Things read by Juliet Stevenson

  • W.B. Yeats

    The Lake Isle of Innisfree read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:52

    Max Richter

    Written on the Sky

    Performer: Max Richter.
    • FAT CAT CD1304.
    • Tr11.
  • Virginia Woolf

    from To the Lighthouse read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 00:55

    Toru Takemitsu

    Toward the Sea - The Night

    Performer: Aureole with Laura Gilbert.
    • KOCH 374492.
    • Tr7.
  • Henry David Thoreau

    from Walden or Life in The Woods read by Jamie Glover

  • 00:59

    Aaron Copland

    Down a Country Lane

    Performer: Leo Smit, piano.
    • Sony Classical SM2K66345.
    • CD2 Tr11.
  • 01:01

    Harold Arlen

    Over the Rainbow

    Performer: Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
    • Tr1.
  • Denise Levertov

    Making Peace read by Juliet Stevenson

  • 01:05

    Morten Lauridsen

    O magnum mysterium

    Performer: Handel and Haydn Society Chorus.
    • AVIE AV0039.
    • Tr4.


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