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Helen Macdonald

Michael Berkeley’s guest is writer Helen Macdonald. With Stravinsky, Sibelius and Lully.

Michael Berkeley’s guest is the writer Helen Macdonald, whose book "H is for Hawk" shot to the top of the bestseller lists, not just here but around the world. It’s perhaps no surprise that there’s a certain amount of birdlife in her playlist, from Stravinsky’s The Firebird to a piece inspired by a song thrush by the Finnish-English singer Hanna Tuulikki. She chooses music from A Carol Symphony by Victor Hely-Hutchinson, full of glittering ice, which consoled her when she was living in the desert of the UAE. We hear Britten’s Second String Quartet, Lully’s “The Triumph of Love”, Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony, and a song by Henry VIII.

Helen Macdonald talks about why writing about nature can be a way of holding the world to account, and about how she finds joy in the fields and lanes around her in Suffolk, during this difficult time. She reveals too what it’s like living with her grumpy parrot Birdoole, who steals the keys from her computer keyboard.

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3
Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

15 days left to listen

59 minutes

Last on

Sun 28 Jun 2020 12:00

Music Played

  • King Henry VIII of England

    Pastime with Good Company

    Choir: Oxford Camerata. Conductor: Jeremy Summerly.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Firebird (excerpt)

    Orchestra: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.
  • Benjamin Britten

    String Quartet no.2 in C major (1st mvt: Allegro)

    Ensemble: Takács Quartet.
  • Victor Hely-Hutchinson

    A Carol Symphony (3rd mvt: Andante)

    Orchestra: City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Gavin Sutherland.
  • Hanna Tuulikki

    Song Thrush

  • Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No.7 in C major (excerpt)

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.
  • Jean‐Baptiste Lully

    Prelude pour la Nuit (Le Triomphe de l'Amour)

    Orchestra: Capriccio Stravagante. Conductor: Skip Sempé.

Broadcast

  • Sun 28 Jun 2020 12:00

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