William Blake: the man and the music

For the past couple of months I have been recording a series of radio programmes for Siren Radio, the community radio station housed at the University of Lincoln. The first three of these are now online and will be followed up next month by a programme dedicated to David Axelrod, the Los Angeles-based composer whose first two albums were based on William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

The aim for each programme is to take either a work by Blake and discuss how it has been adapted to music by various later composers and songwriters, or to concentrate on a single artist who set a number of Blake’s works to music. The first one (on the hymn “Jerusalem”) has a few glitches as I get used to the format, but those are starting to be ironed out by the second (on “The Tyger”) and the third (“Holy Thursday”).

Click on the images below to listen to each episode.

Zoapod 16: The Ancient Poets from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

This podcast is a brief discussion of plate 11 from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, where Blake offers an Enlightened view of the origins of religion from poetry. The text of the plate is below:

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could percieve.

And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country. placing it under its mental deity.

Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood.

Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.

And at length they pronounced that the Gods had orderd such things.

Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast. (E38)

 

Zoapod 15 – The Devil’s Party: Blake’s Marriage and Milton

Zoapod 15: Of the Devil’s Party – Blake’s Marriage and Milton’s Paradise Lost

A reading of Blake’s commentary on Milton’s Paradise Lost in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, explaining the significance of his statement that Milton was “a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it”.

This podcast is taken from chapter four of the Zoamorphosis Essential Introductions: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.