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Documenting the quest to track down everything written by (and written about) the poet, translator, critic, and radio dramatist, Henry Reed.

An obsessive, armchair attempt to assemble a comprehensive bibliography, not just for the work of a poet, but for his entire life.

Read "Naming of Parts."

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Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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Reeding:

I Capture the Castle: A girl and her family struggle to make ends meet in an old English castle.
Dusty Answer: Young, privileged, earnest Judith falls in love with the family next door.
The Heat of the Day: In wartime London, a woman finds herself caught between two men.


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All posts for "EmilyButter"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

16.10.2018


A Little Pat of Butter

Henry had a cameo appearance on BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week yesterday, in which Donald Macleod presented a history of musical fictions and hoaxes, "Unbelievable Spoofs." Well, not a cameo by the Old Man himself, but one of the plays from his Hilda Tablet series:

With the help of silent film accompanist Neil Brand we meet such dubious figures as Bolognese theatre composer Lasagne Verdi, famously submitted (and nearly printed) in the music world's most trusted encyclopedia, served for good measure with an accompaniment of Pietro Gnocchi. There's a chance to hear the music of Pietro Raimondi, the man who composed three oratorios to be performed simultaneously, centuries before Charles Ives conceived of such an adventure. Avant-garde composers reemerge from the BBC archive too, including Hilda Tablet whose 'reinforced concrete music' found its way into the repertory of Covent Garden in the 1950s. Plus a bizarre encounter with the man said to be a reincarnation of Merlin and Francis Bacon, variously described as a courtier, adventurer, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, pianist, violinist and amateur composer. But did he really exist? You'll have to make up your own mind.

Here, Mr. Macleod introduces a clip from Reed's satirical, all-female opera, Emily Butter (1954), ostensibly written by the twelve-tone composeress Hilda Tablet, supposedly performed at the Royal Opera House. This bit is "I Have a Little Mark On My Left Upper Arm":


Mr. Macleod says the performers are "unnameable," but Emily was, of course, famously voiced by Marjorie Westbury. Here is the 1960 Times "interview" with Dame Hilda, which is mentioned. The music for Emily Butter was written by the incomparable Donald Swann, and orchestrated by Max Saunders. Read The Times review of the original BBC Third Programme broadcast, from November 15, 1954.

Follow this link to listen to "Unbelievable Spoofs" in its entirety, until March 25. Thanks to the folks at the Friends of Radio 3 forums for leading me to this broadcast!

«  EmilyButter Radio Audio  0  »


1524. Reed, Henry. Letters to Graham Greene, 1947-1948. Graham Greene Papers, 1807-1999. Boston College, John J. Burns Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department, MS.1995.003. Chestnut Hill, MA.
Letters from Reed to Graham Greene, including one from December, 1947 Reed included in an inscribed copy of A Map of Verona (1947).


In the Pink

The BBC Programme Catalogue is back in Beta, with a new look and a slight change of address.


Everything appears to work the same as the "experimental" version which has been out since the spring of 2006, although I think there's been some re-organization of the way data is displayed in series and one-offs. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The first thing I noticed was this entry for a 1987 recording of Reed's Emily Butter: 'The first performance of Hilda Tablet's opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Starring Mary O'Farrell and Hugh Burden. Music realised by Max Saunders with orchestrations by Max Saunders.' I'm not at all sure I'd ever seen that before!

«  BBC EmilyButter  2  »


1523. Reed, Henry. "Simenon's Saga." Review of Pedigree by Georges Simenon, translated by Robert Baldick. Sunday Telegraph (London), 12 August 1962, 7.
Reed calls Pedigree a work for the "very serious Simenon student only," and disagrees with the translator's choice to put the novel into the past tense.



1st lesson:

Reed, Henry (1914-1986). Born: Birmingham, England, 22 February 1914; died: London, 8 December 1986.

Education: MA, University of Birmingham, 1936. Served: RAOC, 1941-42; Foreign Office, Bletchley Park, 1942-1945. Freelance writer: BBC Features Department, 1945-1980.

Author of: A Map of Verona: Poems (1946)
The Novel Since 1939 (1946)
Moby Dick: A Play for Radio from Herman Melville's Novel (1947)
Lessons of the War (1970)
Hilda Tablet and Others: Four Pieces for Radio (1971)
The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio (1971)
Collected Poems (1991, 2007)
The Auction Sale (2006)


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