England's Favourite - Chandos

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England's Favourite - Chandos

England’s Favourite PoemsRead by Margaret HowardAn anthology of England’s favourite poems chosen and read by broadcaster Margaret Howard, withBernard Palmer and David Bellan.The programme include classic and well-known works interspersedwith appropriate piano music.E n g l a n d ’ sF a v o u r i t e1 The Listeners Walter de la Mare (1873–1956)2 UponWestminster BridgeWilliam Wordsworth (1770–1850)3 Ode to Autumn John Keats (1795–1821)4 Music: Nocturne in E flat majorFrédéric Chopin (1810–1849)5 I remember I remember Thomas Hood (1799–1845)6 How do I love thee?Elisabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)7 Music: Dreaming Robert Schumann (1810–1856)8 Blow, bugle, blow Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)9 Home thoughts from abroadRobert Browning (1812–1889)10 Kubla Khan Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)11 Pied beauty Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)12 Music: Butterflies Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)13 When you are old WBYeats (1829–1922)14 Sea Fever John Masefield (1878–1967)15 Do not go gentle Dylan Thomas (1914–1953)16 The way through the woodsRudyard Kipling (1865–1936)17 Music: Little bird Edvard Grieg18 If Rudyard Kipling19 Music: Presto agitato from ‘Moonlight’ SonataLudwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)20 The old vicarage Rupert Brooke (1887–1915)21 Gus the theatre cat TS Eliot (1888–1965)22 Music:‘Kitty’waltz Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)23 Welsh incident Robert Graves (1895–1985)24 Not waving but drowning Stevie Smith (1902–1971)25 When I am old Jenny Joseph (b. 1932)26 What is this life William Henry Davies (1871–1940)27 I wandered lonely as a cloud William Wordsworth28 Remember me Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–94)29 Stop all the clocks WH Auden (1907–1973)30 Adelstrop Edward Thomas (1878–1917)ReadersMargaret HowardBernard PalmerDavid BellanMusic played by Martin SouterRead by Margaret HowardCCL CDG1083Published by Classical Communications Ltd. & 2004 Classical Communications Ltd. Image:Quiet James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836–1902) Christie’s Images Ltd.Made in Great BritainFor our complete range of high qualityCDs, please ask for a catalogue or visitour website: t: 01865 882920www.thegiftofmusic.comClassical CommunicationsWorton, Oxfordshire OX29 4SZ


England’s Favourite PoemsRead by Margaret HowardThis album assembles a collection of poetry, chosen from among the favouritepoems of the English-speaking world, and from personal favourites of MargaretHoward and her companion readers. Poetry is expressive and emotional, and wehave amplified the emotions and expressivity we have found in these poems byadding suitable music to the programme.The music serves partly as illustration,and partly as reflection of the words we hear. We also have used some soundeffects to add a certain ‘atmosphere’, and take our readings beyond the everyday.We hope that our additions to the spoken word will help listeners, either byguiding their thoughts, or simply producing further musical pleasure beyondthat of the words themselves. For we must not forget that, while there aredifferences between words and music, there are nevertheless similarities too:words when spoken have a language and rhythm of their own, and thus, as wehear or read them, they create their own music.Words and music are curious bedfellows.Words are theoretically precise, and aredesigned to express the thoughts of the speaker or writer as accurately as theauthor’s own grasp of language and that of their listener or reader will allow.Composers of music have devoted much time and energy in the last fewcenturies to turning their musical art into as precise an expressive form as words,and would argue that the very nature of music, which bypasses spoken language,gives it a very direct, intuitive form of communication, not dependent upon aspoken language.Thus listeners from different nations or continents can hear thesame meaning in a piece – or their own interpretation of some universalmeaning – without the need either to speak the same language as the composer,or even to be from a similar cultural background. Music can thus amplifyunderstanding of words.This may, in fact, be why opera has survived as a genrefor centuries, despite the ridicule to which it is periodically subjected. Ourprogramme is not operatic in any way, of course, but nevertheless, thecombination of music and the spoken word is designed for the one tocomplement the other.As I listen to the selection of poems on this album I am struck that many ofthem feature a landscape or scene. A physical place (or even an imagined one)becomes the anchor point for a story, or an emotional description of events inthe life (or soul) of the author, or a further journey into an inner landscape.Walter de la Mare’s ‘ferny forest floor’ is instantly clear to the mind’s eye, but thepoet leads us much further than that, upon a psychological journey and into astrange world of ghosts and darkness. Wordsworth starts out ‘Upon WestminsterBridge’, but soon takes us much further away. To dwellers in the very earlytwenty-first century Wordsworth’s London would doubtless seem calm andquiet in comparison with our own experiences, but for the Lakeland composer,the big city was noisy and bustling, certainly compared with the Grasmerehome he loved so much. It proved to be an inspirational starting point for someuniversal truths.The world of Kubla Khan is conjured up in so few words, as isthe ‘pied beauty’ of Manley Hopkins or Kipling’s ‘Way through the woods’.We hope that you will enjoy this journey of poetry and music and that thecombination of the two will bring you much pleasure.Martin Souter, executive producer

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