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For reasons I cannot divine, my Google alert for new items on <Rosmeary Sutcliff> pointed today to a 2011posting at this blog about  her appearance on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs! At that time, a recording of Rosemary Sutcliff’s appearance with Roy Plomley was not available for downloading. It is now, here.

In the usual way on this radio programme, Rosemary Sutcliff talked (in October 1983) about her life and work and chose eight records to take to the mythical BBC Radio desert island. She said she chose her music just because she loved it—not everyone does, especially these PR-obsessed days. Her choices were:

  1. Record 1: Dvorak’s New World Symphony, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, by Istvan Kertesz.
  2. Record 2: “Eternal father strong to save” – Hymn.
  3. Record 3: L’Apres-midi d’une Faune by Debussy. Royal Philharmonic conducted by Thomas Beecham.
  4. Record 4: “We’ll Gather Lilacs” sung by Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth.
  5. Record 5: “The Flowers of the Forest” played by the pipes & drums of the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards.
  6. Record 6: Excerpt from “Under Milk Wood”. Polly Garter’s song.
  7. Record 7: “The Lark Ascending” by Vaughan Williams. The Boyd Kneale Orchestra. With Frederick Grinker.
  8. Record 8: “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach. Choir of King’s college, Cambridge, conducted by David Willcocks.
  • If she could only take One Record: The Lark Ascending
  • One Luxury for the island: Roy Plomley refused her request to take her beloved dogs. She chose therefore flowers, “delivered daily by bottle”.
  • One Book for the island: “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling.

Read more about Desert Island Discs, and stream the episode, here

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For more on the  unique Folk in a Box project, see here 

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The music of The Eagle film of Rosemary Sutcliff‘s historical novel for children and young adults The Eagle of the Ninth came in for praise in a review in Boston in the US. The reviewer commented that Atli Orvarsson‘s score for The Eagle “evokes true majesty” and “brings us into the film’s world”.

Although perhaps not quite a household name within soundtrack circles, Icelandic composer Atli Orvarsson has a lot of sonic potential lurking under his belt, with his score for director Kevin MacDonald’s The Eagle serving as his best offering to date. (more…)

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Children’s author and historical novelist Rosemary Sutcliff chose  ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams as her seventh record on Desert Island Discs in 1983. (Played by The Boyd Kneale Orchestra with Frederick Grinker).

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On Desert Island Discs in 1983 Rosemary Sutcliff’s fifth choice  was a military lament, and bagpipes music. The bagpipes were her favourite instrument. She chose a version of  “The Flowers of the Forest” played by the pipes & drums of the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards, perhaps reflecting also her love of all things military. This is the traditional lament for the fallen (people killed) in forces of the British Commonwealth.

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Tom Lehrer did not figure in Rosemary Sutcliff’s Desert Island Discs choices; but both she and my mother – they were great friends –  loved the satirical songs of Tom Lehrer. And the visit of the Pope to the UK reminds me of a Lehrer song The Vatican Rag which they would undoubtedly have known from record and then also from watching in the 1970s Marty Feldman’s take on the song. (more…)

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Rosemary Sutcliff’s fourth choice of music on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs in 1983 was the song “We’ll gather lilacs in the spring (play here)” sung by Anne Ziegler and  Webster Booth.

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