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Private Passions

BBC Radio 3

52
Followers
59
Plays
Private Passions

Private Passions

BBC Radio 3

52
Followers
59
Plays
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About Us

Michael Berkeley's guests share their musical passions and reveal which pieces bring them joy and sustain them through hard times.

Latest Episodes

William Sieghart

William Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Prizes for poetry and National Poetry Day, talks to Michael Berkeley about the music and poetry he loves. Over the last twenty-five years National Poetry Day has become a popular fixture in the cultural calendar, and it was William’s idea to have permanent poems engraved at the Olympic Park in East London. He’s also the creator of the hugely successful Poetry Pharmacy. At festivals and events, William sits in a tent and people bring him their dilemmas, problems and sadnesses - and he ‘prescribes’ them a poem to console, comfort or encourage. The Poetry Pharmacy has spread to Radio 4, television and hugely successful poetry anthologies, described by Stephen Fry as ‘a matchless compound of hug, tonic and kiss’. William chooses music by Schubert and by Mendelssohn that reminds him of his father, who fled Vienna just before the Second World War, and he talks movingly about the effect of his father’s immigrant experience on his own life. He describes how poetry and, later, music, helped him through his distress at being sent to boarding school at the age of eight and chooses recordings of music by Bach and by Debussy that have remained vital to him ever since. And in the spirit of the Poetry Pharmacy, he reveals the poetry and music he turns to for comfort in a crisis. Producer: Jane Greenwood A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

31 MIN3 h ago
Comments
William Sieghart

Helen Cammock

Helen Cammock grew up wanting to be a singer, and performed on the folk circuit as a teenager. But then she stopped, and became a social worker for more than ten years. Finally, at the age of 35, she took up photography, went to art school – and she’s never looked back. She’s known now for her richly-layered video installations, which mix film archive, dance and poetry with current interviews, all woven together with music. She is the joint winner of the 2019 Turner Prize; for the first time in its 35-year history, the Prize was shared between all four artists on the shortlist, at their request. In Private Passions, she talks to Michael Berkeley about why music is at the heart of all her work. Last year the MaxMara art prize paid for her to spend six months working in Italy, and there she began to explore the subject of lament, and particularly laments sung by women. As part of her performance work, Helen Cammock began to take singing lessons again, and lament, loss, longing, and hopes for a better future, are all captured in the music she chooses. She shares the excitement of discovering little-known women composers of the 17th century Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi. She talks about the troubling incident which persuaded her to give up a career in social work, when she was told to abandon a young woman outside a police station. She remembers the isolation and boredom of growing up in the countryside of Somerset, and the racist abuse her family faced every Saturday when they went shopping together. Music choices include Jessye Norman singing Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament”; Glenn Gould humming along to Bach; Nina Simone on the piano; and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3 Produced by Elizabeth Burke

33 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Helen Cammock

Carlo Rovelli

As we start a new year, our thoughts turn towards the year ahead with all its plans and resolutions. And yet of course it is irrational to make this complete distinction between December and January; in fact, the more you think about it, the more you realise that everything about time is strangely slippery. The slippery nature of time is something that preoccupies Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist who has worked in Italy and the United States and who is currently directing the quantum research group at the Centre for Theoretical Physics in Marseille. His books “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”, “Reality is Not What it Seems” and “The Order of Time” have become international best-sellers, outselling “Fifty Shades of Grey”. In Private Passions, Carlo Rovelli talks to Michael Berkeley about how music has helped him think about time, and how memory of the past and expectation of the future come into constant play when we listen to music: “We don’t live in the present, we live a little bit in the future and a little bit in the past – we live in a clearing in the forest of time.” He looks back to his childhood, growing up in Verona, and hearing Vivaldi played every week in the local church. He discusses Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach”, a work he admits he likes particularly for its title. He thinks about how Mozart represents the end of time in his “Dies Irae”, music he loves to listen to at full volume when his partner is out of the house. Other choices include Schubert, Arvo Pärt, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the Bach cantata he discovered as a teenager that still astonishes him. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3 Produced by Elizabeth Burke

35 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Carlo Rovelli

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell became principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at the age of only twenty; she went on to become a household name thanks to her seven years as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, a job she unexpectedly stepped down from earlier this year. In conversation with Michael Berkeley, she looks back at a career which started when, against the wishes of her mother, she went to ballet school at thirteen – and was desperately unhappy, thinking she’d made the worst mistake of her life. Alone, away from her family, she used to listen to Mozart’s Requiem again and again. She had little hope of becoming a star ballerina as she was “too tall” at five foot seven, and “not British-looking”; what this amounted to is that most British male dancers were not tall enough to partner her. But then she met choreographer Kenneth Macmillan, and he saw her potential. She reflects candidly on the “disciplines and sacrifices” of a life devoted to dance: the long hours training, dancing till your...

38 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Darcey Bussell

Matthew Bourne

As a small child, Matthew Bourne used to put on shows in his parents’ living room in East London; by the age of eight or nine, he was staging musicals for the whole school, co-opting his friends to star in Mary Poppins and Cinderella. (He played an ugly sister.) Fast forward to today and Sir Matthew Bourne is now Britain’s most popular and successful choreographer and director, with a long list of awards for shows including Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man (based on Carmen), Edward Scissorhands, and The Red Shoes. Sir Matthew has become particularly associated with Christmas shows and he’s somehow nailed the essence of the Christmas “treat”. He attributes this to memories of the shows his parents took him to. But, despite their outings, it never occurred to anyone in the family that Matthew might make a living in the theatre, and he was twenty-two before he took his first dance lesson. This, he believes, has given him a strong connection with the audiences coming ...

34 MIN2019 DEC 22
Comments
Matthew Bourne

David Nott

David Nott is a Welsh consultant surgeon and Professor of Surgery at Imperial College London; for more than twenty-five years he has volunteered as a surgeon in disaster and war zones across the world. He has worked in Sarajevo, Kabul, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Iraq, the Congo, Yemen, Gaza, and, most recently, Syria. Often under fire, in makeshift tents or in rooms with no adequate lighting or machinery or drugs, he has risked his life to save others – operating on people injured by bullets and bomb blasts, delivering babies, stitching people together as the sound of gunfire raged outside. In conversation with Michael Berkeley David Nott reflects on why he chooses to live so dangerously (“It’s a kind of addiction”) and on how his perspective has changed since he had a young family. He tells the story of saving the life of a man he discovered to be an ISIS leader, believing at every moment he was about to be killed. Once back safely in the UK, he suffered an extreme breakdown, and w...

34 MIN2019 DEC 8
Comments
David Nott

Hannah Rankin

Hannah Rankin grew up on a sheep farm near Loch Lomond. Earlier this year she made history by becoming the first Scottish woman to win a boxing world title when she became the IBO (International Boxing Organisation) super-welterweight champion. She’s recently returned from winning her first big fight in America. But, as she tells Michael Berkeley, she is just as likely to be found in the woodwind section of an orchestra as she is in a boxing ring, because Hannah is also a highly accomplished bassoonist. She studied at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music, and now teaches in schools and performs with the London Sinfonietta, at the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and the London Coliseum. With her fellow Royal Academy of Music alumni she founded the Coriolis Quintet. Known on the professional boxing circuit as the Classical Warrior, Hannah explains how she balances her two lives, in the ring and on the stage, and what it’s like building up to a really big fig...

33 MIN2019 DEC 1
Comments
Hannah Rankin

YolanDa Brown

In a special programme to coincide with the London Jazz Festival the outstanding saxophonist YolanDa Brown talks to Michael Berkeley about her passion for spreading the joy of music, especially to children. YolanDa presents 'YolanDa’s Band Jam' on CBeebies and hosts Young Jazz Musician of the Year. She’s an ambassador for BBC Music Day and chair of the charity Youth Music. She has won a string of awards, including two Jazz MOBOs – Music of Black Origin Awards – and her most recent album, 'Love Politics War', topped the jazz charts. Less well known is that she started out on a career in social science research, taking masters degrees in both Operations Management and Methods of Social Research and beginning a PhD before veering back to her first love – music. YolanDa talks about the importance of introducing children to live music at the earliest possible age. Her own daughter responded to music in the womb and went to her first opera at the age of four. We hear music from Yolan...

31 MIN2019 NOV 17
Comments
YolanDa Brown

Ken Loach

The film director Ken Loach talks to Michael Berkeley about the classical music he’s loved throughout his life and the dangerous power of music in film. Ken Loach began his career directing Z Cars - but very soon entered the national consciousness in the late 1960s with films such as Cathy Come Home, Poor Cow and Kes. He’s kept up this prolific pace in the subsequent fifty years, making more than fifty award-winning films for cinema and television, and achieving a level of realism rarely captured by other directors. His latest film, Sorry We Missed You, is about the impact on families of the gig economy. Ken talks to Michael about the music of his childhood growing up in Nuneaton after the war – he chooses Brahms's Academic Festival Overture to recall music lessons at school - and he we hear a piece by Schubert which reminds him of his own children growing up. Ken picks recordings which bring back particular moments in his life: the sheer energy and excitement of Carlos Kleiber’...

33 MIN2019 NOV 10
Comments
Ken Loach

Philippa Perry

Psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry talks to Michael Berkeley about the power of music to shape our emotions and tell the stories of our lives. Philippa left school at fifteen and did all sorts of jobs, including a stint in McDonalds before training as a psychotherapist and becoming a best-selling author, agony-aunt and broadcaster. Her graphic novel about the process of psychotherapy, 'Couch Fiction', was published in 2010, and since then she’s written 'How to Stay Sane' and 'The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read – and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did'. Philippa talks to Michael Berkeley about her thirty-year marriage to the artist Grayson Perry, and how a song from La Traviata broke through her father’s dementia; she emphasises the importance of learning new things throughout our lives, choosing music by Shostakovich that surprised and delighted her at this year’s Proms. We hear music played by the violinist Min-Jim Kym; a supremely joyful moment from Beethoven;...

24 MIN2019 NOV 4
Comments
Philippa Perry

Latest Episodes

William Sieghart

William Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Prizes for poetry and National Poetry Day, talks to Michael Berkeley about the music and poetry he loves. Over the last twenty-five years National Poetry Day has become a popular fixture in the cultural calendar, and it was William’s idea to have permanent poems engraved at the Olympic Park in East London. He’s also the creator of the hugely successful Poetry Pharmacy. At festivals and events, William sits in a tent and people bring him their dilemmas, problems and sadnesses - and he ‘prescribes’ them a poem to console, comfort or encourage. The Poetry Pharmacy has spread to Radio 4, television and hugely successful poetry anthologies, described by Stephen Fry as ‘a matchless compound of hug, tonic and kiss’. William chooses music by Schubert and by Mendelssohn that reminds him of his father, who fled Vienna just before the Second World War, and he talks movingly about the effect of his father’s immigrant experience on his own life. He describes how poetry and, later, music, helped him through his distress at being sent to boarding school at the age of eight and chooses recordings of music by Bach and by Debussy that have remained vital to him ever since. And in the spirit of the Poetry Pharmacy, he reveals the poetry and music he turns to for comfort in a crisis. Producer: Jane Greenwood A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

31 MIN3 h ago
Comments
William Sieghart

Helen Cammock

Helen Cammock grew up wanting to be a singer, and performed on the folk circuit as a teenager. But then she stopped, and became a social worker for more than ten years. Finally, at the age of 35, she took up photography, went to art school – and she’s never looked back. She’s known now for her richly-layered video installations, which mix film archive, dance and poetry with current interviews, all woven together with music. She is the joint winner of the 2019 Turner Prize; for the first time in its 35-year history, the Prize was shared between all four artists on the shortlist, at their request. In Private Passions, she talks to Michael Berkeley about why music is at the heart of all her work. Last year the MaxMara art prize paid for her to spend six months working in Italy, and there she began to explore the subject of lament, and particularly laments sung by women. As part of her performance work, Helen Cammock began to take singing lessons again, and lament, loss, longing, and hopes for a better future, are all captured in the music she chooses. She shares the excitement of discovering little-known women composers of the 17th century Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi. She talks about the troubling incident which persuaded her to give up a career in social work, when she was told to abandon a young woman outside a police station. She remembers the isolation and boredom of growing up in the countryside of Somerset, and the racist abuse her family faced every Saturday when they went shopping together. Music choices include Jessye Norman singing Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament”; Glenn Gould humming along to Bach; Nina Simone on the piano; and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3 Produced by Elizabeth Burke

33 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Helen Cammock

Carlo Rovelli

As we start a new year, our thoughts turn towards the year ahead with all its plans and resolutions. And yet of course it is irrational to make this complete distinction between December and January; in fact, the more you think about it, the more you realise that everything about time is strangely slippery. The slippery nature of time is something that preoccupies Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist who has worked in Italy and the United States and who is currently directing the quantum research group at the Centre for Theoretical Physics in Marseille. His books “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”, “Reality is Not What it Seems” and “The Order of Time” have become international best-sellers, outselling “Fifty Shades of Grey”. In Private Passions, Carlo Rovelli talks to Michael Berkeley about how music has helped him think about time, and how memory of the past and expectation of the future come into constant play when we listen to music: “We don’t live in the present, we live a little bit in the future and a little bit in the past – we live in a clearing in the forest of time.” He looks back to his childhood, growing up in Verona, and hearing Vivaldi played every week in the local church. He discusses Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach”, a work he admits he likes particularly for its title. He thinks about how Mozart represents the end of time in his “Dies Irae”, music he loves to listen to at full volume when his partner is out of the house. Other choices include Schubert, Arvo Pärt, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the Bach cantata he discovered as a teenager that still astonishes him. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3 Produced by Elizabeth Burke

35 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Carlo Rovelli

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell became principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at the age of only twenty; she went on to become a household name thanks to her seven years as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, a job she unexpectedly stepped down from earlier this year. In conversation with Michael Berkeley, she looks back at a career which started when, against the wishes of her mother, she went to ballet school at thirteen – and was desperately unhappy, thinking she’d made the worst mistake of her life. Alone, away from her family, she used to listen to Mozart’s Requiem again and again. She had little hope of becoming a star ballerina as she was “too tall” at five foot seven, and “not British-looking”; what this amounted to is that most British male dancers were not tall enough to partner her. But then she met choreographer Kenneth Macmillan, and he saw her potential. She reflects candidly on the “disciplines and sacrifices” of a life devoted to dance: the long hours training, dancing till your...

38 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Darcey Bussell

Matthew Bourne

As a small child, Matthew Bourne used to put on shows in his parents’ living room in East London; by the age of eight or nine, he was staging musicals for the whole school, co-opting his friends to star in Mary Poppins and Cinderella. (He played an ugly sister.) Fast forward to today and Sir Matthew Bourne is now Britain’s most popular and successful choreographer and director, with a long list of awards for shows including Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man (based on Carmen), Edward Scissorhands, and The Red Shoes. Sir Matthew has become particularly associated with Christmas shows and he’s somehow nailed the essence of the Christmas “treat”. He attributes this to memories of the shows his parents took him to. But, despite their outings, it never occurred to anyone in the family that Matthew might make a living in the theatre, and he was twenty-two before he took his first dance lesson. This, he believes, has given him a strong connection with the audiences coming ...

34 MIN2019 DEC 22
Comments
Matthew Bourne

David Nott

David Nott is a Welsh consultant surgeon and Professor of Surgery at Imperial College London; for more than twenty-five years he has volunteered as a surgeon in disaster and war zones across the world. He has worked in Sarajevo, Kabul, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Iraq, the Congo, Yemen, Gaza, and, most recently, Syria. Often under fire, in makeshift tents or in rooms with no adequate lighting or machinery or drugs, he has risked his life to save others – operating on people injured by bullets and bomb blasts, delivering babies, stitching people together as the sound of gunfire raged outside. In conversation with Michael Berkeley David Nott reflects on why he chooses to live so dangerously (“It’s a kind of addiction”) and on how his perspective has changed since he had a young family. He tells the story of saving the life of a man he discovered to be an ISIS leader, believing at every moment he was about to be killed. Once back safely in the UK, he suffered an extreme breakdown, and w...

34 MIN2019 DEC 8
Comments
David Nott

Hannah Rankin

Hannah Rankin grew up on a sheep farm near Loch Lomond. Earlier this year she made history by becoming the first Scottish woman to win a boxing world title when she became the IBO (International Boxing Organisation) super-welterweight champion. She’s recently returned from winning her first big fight in America. But, as she tells Michael Berkeley, she is just as likely to be found in the woodwind section of an orchestra as she is in a boxing ring, because Hannah is also a highly accomplished bassoonist. She studied at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music, and now teaches in schools and performs with the London Sinfonietta, at the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and the London Coliseum. With her fellow Royal Academy of Music alumni she founded the Coriolis Quintet. Known on the professional boxing circuit as the Classical Warrior, Hannah explains how she balances her two lives, in the ring and on the stage, and what it’s like building up to a really big fig...

33 MIN2019 DEC 1
Comments
Hannah Rankin

YolanDa Brown

In a special programme to coincide with the London Jazz Festival the outstanding saxophonist YolanDa Brown talks to Michael Berkeley about her passion for spreading the joy of music, especially to children. YolanDa presents 'YolanDa’s Band Jam' on CBeebies and hosts Young Jazz Musician of the Year. She’s an ambassador for BBC Music Day and chair of the charity Youth Music. She has won a string of awards, including two Jazz MOBOs – Music of Black Origin Awards – and her most recent album, 'Love Politics War', topped the jazz charts. Less well known is that she started out on a career in social science research, taking masters degrees in both Operations Management and Methods of Social Research and beginning a PhD before veering back to her first love – music. YolanDa talks about the importance of introducing children to live music at the earliest possible age. Her own daughter responded to music in the womb and went to her first opera at the age of four. We hear music from Yolan...

31 MIN2019 NOV 17
Comments
YolanDa Brown

Ken Loach

The film director Ken Loach talks to Michael Berkeley about the classical music he’s loved throughout his life and the dangerous power of music in film. Ken Loach began his career directing Z Cars - but very soon entered the national consciousness in the late 1960s with films such as Cathy Come Home, Poor Cow and Kes. He’s kept up this prolific pace in the subsequent fifty years, making more than fifty award-winning films for cinema and television, and achieving a level of realism rarely captured by other directors. His latest film, Sorry We Missed You, is about the impact on families of the gig economy. Ken talks to Michael about the music of his childhood growing up in Nuneaton after the war – he chooses Brahms's Academic Festival Overture to recall music lessons at school - and he we hear a piece by Schubert which reminds him of his own children growing up. Ken picks recordings which bring back particular moments in his life: the sheer energy and excitement of Carlos Kleiber’...

33 MIN2019 NOV 10
Comments
Ken Loach

Philippa Perry

Psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry talks to Michael Berkeley about the power of music to shape our emotions and tell the stories of our lives. Philippa left school at fifteen and did all sorts of jobs, including a stint in McDonalds before training as a psychotherapist and becoming a best-selling author, agony-aunt and broadcaster. Her graphic novel about the process of psychotherapy, 'Couch Fiction', was published in 2010, and since then she’s written 'How to Stay Sane' and 'The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read – and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did'. Philippa talks to Michael Berkeley about her thirty-year marriage to the artist Grayson Perry, and how a song from La Traviata broke through her father’s dementia; she emphasises the importance of learning new things throughout our lives, choosing music by Shostakovich that surprised and delighted her at this year’s Proms. We hear music played by the violinist Min-Jim Kym; a supremely joyful moment from Beethoven;...

24 MIN2019 NOV 4
Comments
Philippa Perry
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