Jane Ellen

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Back on the Radio

Last Monday I had the privilege of being in the studio with producer Paul Ingles recording material for an upcoming episode of Peace Talks. I've always enjoyed radio work, but it's been a while since I've been in a radio studio.

There's a rhythm to the work, and a need to be endlessly forgiving of yourself, especially if you’re working without a script. You sense fairly quickly how long to pause between attempts as you work to refine what's coming off the top of your head without putting the session into overtime. And then there's the problem of hearing your voice …

Very few people like to hear a recording of their voice, i'’s just a manner of getting used to it. Since we hear ourselves through bone and flesh, our sense of our own voice is quite different from how others actually hear it. Once I've heard the first playback, and the initial shock has passed, that doesn't worry me so much as trying to flatten out my Heinz 57 accent as I speak.

Paul had asked me to look into classical works written about peace, but it was actually easier to look for the flip-side of the coin – music that is distinctly anti-war. In retrospect, isn't that the way of humanity? Don't we tend to go about things in a circuitous manner, rather than simply approaching the end goal directly?

You never know how much of a recorded conversation will actually make it past the final edits; there are musical excerpts to be added, as well as intros, outros, transitions, and credits. But I do hope that one particular quotation from Leonard Bernstein makes it into the programme. It's always been one of my favourites; it was his response to the assassination of President John F Kennedy: 'This will be our response to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully and more devotedly than ever before.'

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