That’s Pliny the Elder, whose Naturalis Historia is for some reason extracted on BBC Radio 3’s website. You may have stumbled across it while looking for those generous MP3s of all the Beethoven symphonies the Beeb is currently giving away.
Pliny is tucked away on a programme I’d never heard of before, Between the Ears. Next up, this Saturday, is a 20 minute soundscape of the soon-to-be-demolished Gateshead multi-storey carpark. Phil Daoust on the Guardian’s new arts blog has this on the piece:
Philip Tagney, Felix Carey and Iain Chambers turn out to be gathering sounds for a piece of musique concrète, constructed from naturally occurring noises distorted and manipulated with good old analogue technology. “Doors are an ongoing interest for the three of us,” says Carey, who describes hinge-oilers as “the bane of our lives”. “Slow them down and you get these amazing melodies you just wouldn’t have imagined.”
It could hardly sound more magical (if you’re suspecting sarcasm at this point, you’re wrong). I’m still kicking myself for missing the National Theatre of Brent’s Complete and Utter History of the Mona Lisa the other day on Radio 4 so don’t, for pity’s sake, let me miss two only-on-radio triumphs in a week:
Art-lovers might like to note this is the very first time an historic work of art has actually been re-created on radio exactly as it would have been done at the time. Please note: doing the Mona Lisa at home should not be attempted by listeners unless under expert guidance.