Jeremy Irons Reads TS Eliot

All audio, photos and all text ©BBC

Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day, 2017, on BBC Radio 4.


Part One – Prufrock and Other Observations

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Martha Kearney talks to award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson about her first experience of reading T.S.Eliot and the transformative impact of his language on her as a teenager. She explains why the turn of the year is a good time to read Eliot’s work.

Jeremy Irons reads:
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Portrait of a Lady
Preludes
Rhapsody on a Windy Night
Morning at the Window
The ‘Boston Evening Transcript’
Aunt Helen
Cousin Nancy
Mr. Apollinax
Hysteria
Conversation Galante
La Figlia Che Piange

With contribution from Jeanette Winterson


Part Two – Poems (1920)

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Martha Kearney talks to Anthony Julius ( the new Chair of Law and the Arts and University College London) and writer Jeanette Winterson about the enduring power and beauty of the opening lines of Eliot’s poem ‘Gerontion’ – ‘Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.’ and explore references in the poems that have been judged anti-semitic. They consider how we should read these poems now, and what we can learn from Eliot’s ‘ugly’ references’.

Jeremy Irons reads:
Gerontion
Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar
Sweeney Erect
A Cooking Egg
The Hippopotamus
Whispers of Immortality
Mr Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service
Sweeney Among the Nightingales

With contributions from writer Jeanette Winterson and lawyer and academic Anthony Julius


Part Three – The Waste Land

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Martha Kearney explores the resonance and the contemporary appeal of ‘The Waste Land’ with award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson. Jeanette explains why this poetry of fragments can still speak to us so powerfully, whilst the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Scots Makar Jackie Kay, both make contributions to explore the emotional and creative impact of the poem.


Part Four – The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday and Ariel Poems

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Martha Kearney is joined by the acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw, who has performed ‘The Waste Land’, to explore the impact of Eliot’s language on her own life and to consider the imagery and the seductive music of his poems of spiritual struggle.

Jeremy Irons reads:
The Hollow Men
Ash Wednesday
Journey of the Magi
A Song for Simeon
Animula
The Cultivation of Christmas Trees


Part Five – Four Quartets

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Martha Kearney and Rory Stewart MP, ( and author of ‘The Places in Between’ – an account of a six thousand mile trek from Herat to Kabul ) discuss Rory’s unusual encounter with what Eliot regarded as the culmination of his achievement: the sequence he called the ‘Four Quartets’. Rory learned the entire poem whilst walking through Nepal. He explains why he also used language from the poem when he was campaigning in his constituency, and the importance to him of Eliot’s sense that ‘soil’ and roots matter, even in an poem about time and timelessness.

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Jeremy Irons at the Ryedale Festival

Jeremy Irons was the Artist in Residence at the 2016 Ryedale Festival. Jeremy read T.S. Eliot and appeared alongside The Heath Quartet, who performed selections by Beethoven.

Review from The York Press

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A Meeting of Minds: T.S. Eliot and Beethoven’s Late Quartets I
Long Gallery, Castle Howard – 19 July 2016

Jeremy Irons (reader)
Heath Quartet

Beethoven – Quartet no. 12 in E flat (op. 127)
T.S. Eliot – Burnt Norton
Beethoven – Quartet no. 13 in B flat    (op. 130)


A Meeting of Minds: TS Eliot and Beethoven’s Late Quartets II

St Mary’s Church, Birdsall, Malton, North Yorkshire – 20 July 2016

Jeremy Irons (reader)
Heath Quartet

TS. Eliot – East Coker
Beethoven – Quartet no. 14 in C sharp minor (op. 131)


A Meeting of Minds:

T. S. Eliot and Beethovens
Late Quartets III

Church of St Michael le Belfrey, High Petergate, York – 21 July 2016

Jeremy Irons (reader)
Heath Quartet

T. S. Eliot – The Dry Salvages
Beethoven – Quartet no. 15 in A minor (op. 132)


A Meeting of Minds:

T. S. Eliot and Beethoven’s Late Quartets IV

The Saloon, Duncombe Park, Helmsley, York – 23 July 2016

Jeremy Irons (reader)
Heath Quartet

Beethoven – Quartet no. 16 in F major (op. 135)
T. S. Eliot – Little Gidding
Beethoven – Grosse Fuge (op. 133)


Jeremy Irons Reads ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’

Airing on Christmas Day 2015, Jeremy Irons read from TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, on BBC Radio 4.

Click below to listen to Part 1:

Click below to listen to Part 2:

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Text from the BBC:

On Christmas Day 1937 , nearly two years before book publication, five of T.S Eliot’s Practical Cats poems were broadcast as readings by Geoffrey Tandy on BBC Radio . The Radio Times wrote’ For some time past Mr Eliot has been amusing and instructing the offspring of some of his friends in verse on the subject of cats. These poems are not the kind that have been usually associated with his name’.

Over 75 years later, one of our greatest actors, Oscar- winning Jeremy Irons re-visits the original five poems along with the further ten which make up the Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats .

In this treat for Christmas day you will find familiar much-loved characters including Growltiger, Mungojerrie , Rumpleteaser, Old Deutoronomy, Mr Mistoffelees, Macavity Gus and Skimbleshanks . These are cats who are notorious , lurk in shadows, baffle Scotland yard, dance by the light of the moon and who must not be woken . They are found on trains, in the theatre, in the high street. They juggle, sleep, conjure, are curious and bore but they all show another side of one of our most important British poets .

T.S Eliot ‘s poems have been enjoyed by many in the musical Cats, but here we return to the poems without any music and celebrate the inventiveness in the original words. Following on from his powerful readings of The Waste land , Four Quartets and The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock for BBC Radio 4 Jeremy Irons continues his radio journey through the works of T.S Eliot with the cats .

The Naming of Cats
Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat
Growltiger’s Last Stand
The Rum Tum Tugger
The Song of the Jellicles
Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer
Old Deuteronomy
Of the Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles
Mr Mistoffelees
Macavity:The Mystery Cat

Gus:The Theatre Cat
The Old Gumbie Cat
Bustopher Jones:The Cat about Town
Cat Morgan introduces himself
The Ad-dressing of Cats.

Directed in Salford by Susan Roberts.

Jeremy Irons Pays Homage to T.S. Eliot at Wilton’s Music Hall

Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Simon Russell Beale, Ben Whishaw and Fiona Shaw paid homage to T.S. Eliot, at Wilton’s Music Hall in London, on Wednesday 21 October 2015.

Jeremy Irons read “Gus: The Theatre Cat” and “Little Gidding”.

Read a review of the event from The Londonist

A great account of the event from ifindpeopleconfusing on Tumblr

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Jeremy Irons Reads at London Library for TS Eliot Summer School

Jeremy Irons was on hand to read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, at the London Library in St. James Square, as part of the TS Eliot Summer School, on Friday 17 July 2015.

The event also included a poetry reading by Sinéad Morrissey and a reception generously provided by Mark Storey.

Photo by Wim Van Mierlo

Photo by Wim Van Mierlo

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Photo via Youngmin Kim

Photo via @wvmierlo on Flickr

Photo via @wvmierlo on Flickr

Photo via @wvmierlo on Flickr

Photo via @wvmierlo on Flickr

Jeremy Irons in Cotswold Life Magazine

Jeremy Irons is featured in the August 2015 issue of Cotswold Life magazine, in an article by Katie Jarvis, with photos by Antony Thompson.

A physical copy of the issue can be purchased online HERE for £3.99.  The issue is also available to purchase and download in digital format, for a lower price.

All images and text ©Cotswold Life and Antony Thompson at Thousand Word Media.

Click on the images below for larger views:

Jeremy Irons Reads ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot

Listen to the entire BBC Radio 4 broadcast HERE.

On Tuesday 2 June, BBC Radio 4 aired a programme about T. S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, to celebrate the centenary of the poem’s publication.

Click on the player below to listen to Jeremy Irons reading the poem:

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