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A Feline Celebration in Words and Music
From the 8th century Pangur Ban to Samuel Johnson's Hodge, "a very fine cat indeed!", this is a tale of cats from some of the greatest English writers read by Margaret Howard. We've added some feline music too, by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky and others.
A Very Fine Cat A feline celebration in words and music
From the eight century Pangur Bán to Samuel Johnson's Hodge, 'a very fine cat indeed', this is a tale of cats told by some of the greatest English writers. We've added several varieties of feline music, too, by Chopin, Fauré, Confrey, Rossini, Scarlatti, Copland, Anderson and Tchaikovsky.
1 Hodge Samuel Johnson
2 'Cat' Waltz (Grande Valse Brillante) Op34/3 Frédéric Chopin
3 Familiarity dangerous William Cowper
4 Pangur Bán Anon (eight century)
5 Mi-a-ou Gabriel Fauré
6 Lat take a cat from The Manciple's Tale Geoffrey Chaucer
7 To my cat Rosamund Marriot Watson
8 The Cat and the moon William Butler Yeats
9 Kitten on the keys Zed Confrey
10 The kitten and falling leaves William Wordsworth
11 To a cat John Keats
12 Cat duet Gioacchino Rossini
13 On a cat aging Alexander Gray
14 To a Cat Ibn Alalaf Alnaharwany (AD 829)
15 Kitty Waltz Gabriel Fauré
16 On the death of a favourite cat Thomas Gray
17 Last words to a dumb friend Thomas Hardy
18 'Cat' Fugue Domenico Scarlatti
19 Lisy's parting with her cat James Thomson
20 My Cat Geoffrey Christopher Smart
21 The Cat and the mouse Aaron Copland
22 A Cat Edward Thomas
23 War cat Dorothy L Sayers
24 Waltzing cat Leroy Anderson
25 Five Eyes Walter de la Mare
26 Cat's meat Harold Munro
27 Puss in Boots from Sleeping Beauty Piotr Illich Tchaikovsky
28 The matron's cat song Ruth Pitter
Poetry read by
Margaret Howard (3, 7, 16, 23, 26, 28)
John Touhey (1, 6, 8, 11, 14, 19, 23, 25, 28)
Bernard Palmer (1, 4, 10, 13, 17, 20, 22, 28)
Music performed by
Martin Souter, piano (2, 5, 9, 15, 18, 21)
Sara Stowe, Penelope Martin Smith and Matthew Spring (12)
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (27)
Leroy Anderson and His Pops Concert Orchestra (24)
P & C 2004 Classical Communications Ltd
Cover image: Tortoiseshell Cat and Flowers 1984 by Elizabeth Blackadder (b. 1931) Private collection/Bonhams, London/www.bridgeman.co.uk
Made in Great Britain
From De Rerum Natura Bartholomew Glanvil, translated by Trevisa (1398):
The catte is a beaste of uncertain heare and colour, for some catte is white, some rede, some black, some spewed and speckled in the fete and in the face and in the eares. And he is in youth swyfte plyante and mery, and lepeth and reseth on all thynge that is tofore him; and he is led by a strawe and playeth therewith. And is a right hevy best in age, and ful sleepy, and lieth slily in wait for myce. And when he taketh a mous he pleyeth therwith, and eateth him, after the play. And he maketh a ruthefull noyse and gustful when one proffereth to fyghte with another.
From Hakluyt's Voyages (1589):
It chanced by fortune that the Shippes Cat lept into the sea, which being downe kept herselfe very valiauntly above water, notwithstanding the great waves; still swimming, the which the Master knowing, he caused the skiffe with half a dozen men to goe towards her and fetch her againe, when she was almost half a mile from the Shippe, and all this while the shippe lay on staies. I hardly believe they would have made such haste and meanes, if one of the company had been in peril. They made the more haste because it was the patron's cat.
Anonymous (Twentieth century):
Brother Cat doth sit and purr,
He looks around but does not stir.
Sister Mouse comes creeping by,
Thinking she is very sly.
Brother Cat doth see the mouse,
Creeping round inside his house,
But full of food and lazy and fat,
He has had his fill, and is a sleepy cat.
Sister Mouse walks over the floor,
And makes her escape through a hole by the door,
While Brother Cat doth sit and stare,
Then goes to sleep without a care.