Jane Austen’s Ipod ~ you can listen!

Three days left to listen to the BBC Radio 4 program of Jane Austen’s Ipod [first heard in January and now repeated] – here’s the link:

BBC Radio 4 Programme  – Jane Austen’s Ipod

A rare insight into the family life of Jane Austen through her favourite songs. She collected songs all her life, but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants. Jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs some of these songs.

Professor Richard Jenkyns inherited a pile of music manuscripts which are only just being looked at by the Austen scholars. He shows us what he found: some have been laboriously copied out by Jane herself – among the music manuscripts in Jane’s handwriting is a piano piece which he believes she composed.

David Owen Norris brings him together with scholars Deirdre Le Faye and Samantha Carrasco at Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, Hampshire. Together they cast a new light on one of our best-loved and most enigmatic writers.

Some of the songs included are:

  • A romantic song by Robert Burns, to which she changed the words, so that the final words referred to herself -“the charms of your Jane.”
  • A tragic French song, “Les Hirondelles”, which ends with imprisonment and death. Jane’s sister in law Eliza had lived in France, and her first husband was guillotined in the Terror.
  • “The Ploughboy” – a popular song of the time, witty, and with a politically subversive message about corrupt politicians who are only interested in money, and manage to buy their way into power.
  • “Goosey Goosey Gander” – Jane had a lot of nursery rhymes, and was constantly surrounded by boisterous nephews and nieces.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

[Image and text from the BBC site]

[Posted by Deb, with thanks to Janeite Kerri]

…AND if you happen to be around the University of Southampton on June 30th, don’t miss this Jane Austen program at Turner Sims:

Calling all Jane Austen enthusiasts!

Discover the music that influenced Jane Austen whilst writing her classic novels, as pianist David Owen Norris explores the nine newly-discovered volumes of the Austen family music collection. Entertaining Miss Austen is on Wednesday 30 June at 8pm.

David Owen Norris is Professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, an Educational Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and an authority and leading performer on early pianos and rare piano concertos. Joined by soprano Amanda Pitt, David sheds unique light on the musical loves of Jane Austen and her family.

This fascinating recital includes favourite airs and dances – and the only piece of music actually mentioned in Jane’s novels; Kiallmark’s ‘Robin Adair’, which is performed expertly by Jane Fairfax in Emma.

Tickets are £10 and free to Friends of Turner Sims.

[from the Turner Sims website]


2 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s Ipod ~ you can listen!

  1. Just checked with our kitchen calendar. June 30th is a Wednesday.

    If I haven’t got any work on I might try and make it. If I do, I’ll write a report for you Deb. I can’t promise at the moment. Supply teaching crops up just when you don’t want it.

    All the best,


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