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Our weekly two-hour program that takes an in-depth look at various aspects of music and performance.

“The Illuminations series is of great value for its in-depth exploration of music and themes.
Such programs should be encouraged and celebrated.

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(Tim Brooks – Subscriber)

Born in England, Rodney emigrated to New Zealand in 1950 with his family. A very musical family he, at the age of 9, joined a chidren's choir. The choir conductor suggested he take singing lessons when his voice broke. Joining the local Operatic Society in the chorus he was soon singing leading tenor roles. With little professional work available Rodney returned to England in 1970 to work with The Black and White Minstrel Show. Arriving in Australia in 1974 Rodney joined the Victoria State Ope...learn more

Music Inspired by Literature: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Sir Walter Scott’s family roots are inextricably entwined with the history of Scotland and England, which he absorbed from his childhood. He himself lived through some of the most interesting and momentous events of British and European history. His passion for this history and his ability to set historic events in the issues of his day through the narrative of his poems and novels carry though to the musical works inspired by his writing. Peter Gardner explores this surprisingly extensive body of wonderful music including works by Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Arthur Sullivan, Max Bruch and Adrien Boieldieu. There is much, much more so a second program has now been scheduled for 23 November.

Scott was a formidable character of great significance in literature and in his  political engagement. His grandfather, the Laird of Buccleuch, was knighted on the field for his valiant conduct in the Battle of Flodden (1513) and subsequently led an attempted rescue of the 14 year-old King James V of Scots from virtual captivity by his guardian Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus in 1526. The ensuing battle took place at Melrose. While not successful, Buccleuch’s men rallied at the turn off to the ford from the old Roman road marked by a stone now known as the ‘Turn Again Stone’ where they killed the Kerr of Cessford and the chase seems to have ended. Scott’s father walked the young Walter around many ancient sites and this one seems to have held a special place in Scott’s affections for it was here that he decided to build his home in 1812 and call it Abbotsford. His grand-father was also granted by King James IV the Baillie of the lands of Melrose Abbey (founded 1136), thereafter a hereditary title. There were several fords across the Tweed, including one even closer to the abbey but it seems this is the only one to have been so named. It is still used today – see photos below.

The map below shows the likely path from the “Turn Again” stone to Abbot’s Ford and the location of Scott’s home. It is 300m from Abbotsford House to the ford. The stone was previously used to mark the turn-off from the road to the ford, perhaps by the Roman garrison since it is beside the old Roman road.

Battle of Melrose Map enhanced flat



The photographs below show Abbot’s Ford and Scott’s Abbotsford as they are today.


Abbot’s Ford on the River Tweed by the Galafoot Bridge

© Copyright Jim Barton and licensed for under this Creative Commons Licence.

Abbot's Ford Jim Barton3567964_062444ef
Fording the Tweed Baxter1950677_f7f14676
Fording the River Tweed at Abbot’s Ford. The building on the right is the Kingsknowes Hotel.

© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Looking across the Tweed to Abbotsford

© Copyright Peter Barr and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Looking across the Tweed to Abbotsford House

View from Abbotsford House across the Tweed
View from Abbotsford House across the Tweed

© Copyright Peter Barr and licensed for under this Creative Commons Licence.


More information on Scott’s Abbotsford is at

Poetry and novels:

Walter Scott Research Centre, Aberdeen University:

The Walter Scott Digital Archive, the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library:



10th August

Show Playlist
  • Purcell: They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships. Charles Brett, alto., Brian Runnett, org., Inia Te Wiata, bass, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, St John's College Choir, Cambridge/George Guest.
  • Purcell: The Indian Queen: Overture. Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas.
  • Purcell: If music be the food of love. Emma Kirkby, sop., AAM/Christopher Hogwood.
  • Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, Z626. Emma Kirkby, sop., David Thomas, bass, Michael Chance, alto., Catherine Bott, sop., John Mark Ainsley, ten., Julianne Baird, sop., Elisabeth Priday, sop., Daniel Lochmann, treb., Sara Stowe, m-sop., AAM, Academy of Ancient Music Chorus/Christopher Hogwood.
  • Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, Z626: The Triumphing Dance. Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players/Geoffrey Lancaster.
  • Purcell: The Fairy Queen:Hush, No More, Be Silent, All. Cantillation, Orch of the Antipodes/Antony Walker.
  • Purcell: King Arthur: Fairest Isle. Sara Macliver, sop., Australian Brandenburg Orch/Paul Dyer.
  • Purcell: If music be the food of love. Alfred Deller, alto., William Christie, hpschd., Wieland Kuijken, bass viol.
  • Purcell: Chaconne in F. E Power Biggs, org.
  • Purcell: Fanfare in C. E Power Biggs, org.
  • Purcell: With Sick and Famish'd Eyes, Z.200. Charles Daniels, ten., Robert King, org.
  • Purcell: Rejoice in the Lord Alway, Z49. James Bowman, alto., Charles Daniels, ten., Michael George, bass, New College Choir, Oxford, King's Consort/Robert King.
  • Purcell: Te Deum. Christina Clarke, sop., Alfred Deller, alto., Honor Sheppard, sop., Neil Jenkins, ten., Maurice Bevan, bar., Stour Music Festival CO, Deller Consort, Stour Music Festival Chorus/Alfred Deller.
  • Purcell: Full of Wrath, His Threatening Breath, Z185. Charles Daniels, ten., King's Consort/Robert King.
  • Purcell: Hear my Prayer, O Lord. Monteverdi Choir, Monteverdi Orch/Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
  • Purcell: Abdelazar: Rondo. Taverner Consort, Taverner Players/Andrew Parrott.
  • Purcell: Celia has a Thousand Charms. Emma Curtis, contr., The Frolick.
  • Purcell: Remember me Lord our offences, Z50. Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly.
  • Purcell: Lord how long wilt thou be angry, Z25. Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly.
  • Purcell (arr. Stokowski): Dido and Aeneas: Dido's Lament. Timothy Walden, vlc., Bournemouth SO/Jose Serebrier.
  • Purcell: Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, 1695. Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly.
  • Purcell: I attempt from love's sickness to fly. Alfred Deller, alto., William Christie, hpschd., Wieland Kuijken, bass viol.
  • Purcell: Hear my Prayer, O Lord. City of London Sinfonia, Cambridge Singers/John Rutter.
  • Purcell: Beneath a Poplar's Shadow Lay Me. Orpheus Ensemble.
  • Purcell: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day - I Welcome to All the Pleasures. Stour Music Festival CO, Deller Consort/Alfred Deller. 5 sections Overture 2.22 mins Wdelcome All the Pleasures 2.11 mins: Here the deities approve, while joys celestial 5.02Beauty thou scene of love 1.08: In a consort of voices
  • Purcell: Music for a While. Annalisa Kerrigan, sop., Virtuosi Tasmania.
  • Purcell: Overture - Dido and Aeneas in C minor. Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas.
  • Purcell: Overture - King Arthur or the British Worthy, act 1, in D. Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas.
  • Purcell: Overture - The Fairy Queen in D. Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas.
  • Purcell: Overture - Timon of Athens - the Man Hater in D major/minor. Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas.
  • Purcell: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day - Welcome to All the Pleasures. David Thomas, bass, Charles Daniels, ten., John Mark Ainsley, ten., Timothy Wilson, alto., Emily van Evera, sop., Taverner Choir, Taverner Players/Andrew Parrott.

  • 3rd August

    Show Playlist
  • Salieri: Armida, Overture. Czechoslovak RSO/Michael Dittrich.
  • Salieri: Concerto in C for flute and oboe. Richard Adeney, fte., James Brown, oboe, English CO/Richard Bonynge.
  • Salieri: Sinfonia in D - Veneziana. English CO/Richard Bonynge.
  • Salieri: The Stolen Bucket, Overture. Czechoslovak RSO/Michael Dittrich.
  • Salieri: Concerto for violin, oboe, cello & orchestra in D. Heinz Holliger, oboe, Thomas Fueri, vln., Thomas Demenga, vlc., Camerata Bern/Thomas Fueri.
  • Salieri: Concerto for fortepiano & orchestra in B flat. Paul Badura-Skoda, pno., I Solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone.
  • Salieri: Harmony for a Temple of the Night, Serenade for wind orchestra. Il Gruppo di Roma.
  • Salieri: Rich for a Day, Overture. Czechoslovak RSO/Michael Dittrich.
  • Salieri: Les Danaides, Overture. Czechoslovak RSO/Michael Dittrich.
  • Salieri: The Talisman, Overture. Czechoslovak RSO/Michael Dittrich.

  • 27th July

    Show Playlist
  • Viardot: Seize Ans: Malgorzata Kubala, soprano, Francesco Soriani, piano
  • Garcia: Yo Que Soy Contrabandista. Cecilia Bartoli, m-sop., Orch La Scintilla/Adam Fischer.
  • Bellini: La Sonnambula: Ah! Non creder mirarti: Marilyn Horne, soprano
  • Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice: J'ai perdu mon Euridice" Marilyn Horne
  • Handel: Rinaldo: Lascia ch'io pianga: Maria Bayo, soprano
  • Rossini: Otello: Assisa a un pie d'unsalice: Julia Lehneva, soprano
  • Mozart: don Giovanni: Non mi dir: Leontyne Price, soprano
  • Meyerbeer: La Prophete: Ah? Mon fils: Veronique Gens, soprano
  • Gluck: Alceste: Divinite dy Styx: Dame Janet Baker, mezzo soprano
  • Halevy: La Juive: Rachel, quand du seigneur: Richard Tucker, baritone
  • Gounod: Sapho: Ah! My lyre immortelle: Marilyn Horne, soprano
  • Donizetti: L'elisir D'amore: Prendi per me sei libero: Elena Xanthoudakis, soprano
  • Delibes: Les Filles de Cadiz: Vittoria de los Angelos, soprano
  • Viardot: Fleur desechee: Helene Guilette, soprano
  • Chopin arra Viardot: Coquette: Olga Paschichnyk, soprano
  • Viardot: Hai Luli: Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano, Jean Yves Thibaudet, piano
  • Viardot: La Fete: Isabel Bayradarian, soprano
  • Viardot: Cendrillon: Il etait un jadis un Prince, Releve toi les larmes: Elizabeth Vidal, soprano, Sandrine Piau, soprano

  • 20th July

    No available playlist

    13th July

    Show Playlist
  • George Gershwin Rhapsody In Blue Harmonie Ensemble, Arranged by Grofe
  • Gershwin (arr. Rutter): They Can't Take that Away From Me. Jane Rutter, fte., Adelaide SO/Sean O'Boyle.
  • Lets Call The Whole Thing Off George Gershwin on piano roll
  • I Get Rhythm - George Gershwin
  • George Gershwin Do It Again - Jane Russell Orchestra conducted by Lou Bring
  • Gershwin: How Long has This Been Going On. Kimba Griffith, voc., Kimba Griffith Septet.
  • Gershwin: Swanee. Al Jolson, voc., Unnamed Orch/Charles A. Prince.
  • Gershwin: I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise. Paul Whiteman and His Orch/Paul Whiteman.
  • Gershwin, Somebody Loves Me Harmonie Ensemble conducted by Stevwn Richman
  • Gershwin: Fascinating rhythm. Fred Astaire, voc., Ray Brown, db., Oscar Peterson, pno., Barney Kessel, gtr., Charlie Shavers, tpt., Alvin Stoller, drums.
  • Gershwin: Tee-oodle-um-bum-bo. George Gershwin, pno.
  • Gershwin: Someone to Watch Over Me. Gertrude Lawrence, voc., Unnamed Orch.
  • Gershwin (arr. Mooney): A Foggy Day. Sarah Vaughan, voc., Unnamed Orch.
  • Gershwin: Oh, Lady Be Good. Ella Fitzgerald, voc., Bob Haggart and His Orch.
  • Gershwin: Tell Me More: Kickin' the Clouds Away. George Gershwin, pno.
  • Gershwin: Embraceable You. Billie Holiday, voc., Eddie Heywood and his Orch.
  • Gershwin: How Long has This Been Going On. Audrey Hepburn, voc.

  • 6th July

    No available playlist

    29th June

    No available playlist

    22nd June

    No available playlist