recess radio program

Mother Goose and Dame Judy Dench
    Read by Fiona Barnes

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You're hearing Dame Judi Dench reading from A. A. Milne's "Wind on the Hill," from a recent CD called "Kids' Stuff. " Here, the noted British actress sets the tone and the context for the elegant vocal arrangements of the King's Singers and their spirited versions of both traditional nursery tunes, like "Humpty Dupty" and "The Owl and the Pussycat" and more contemporary songs like "Yellow Submarine."

Once again Dame Judi, or simply Judi, as she introduces herself on the recording, is playing an archetypal role. This time, she is that most august Queen Mother of childhood, Mother Goose. Noone really knows who that historical figure was. She might have been Elizabeth Goose of colonial Boston, or Perault's Mother Goose from 18th century France, or Bertha, the mother of the first Holy Roman Emporer, Charlagmane. But whoever she actually was, in fact, she was, in a larger, more important sense, the primal posessor and passer-on of the lore and language, the myths and tales, the rhymes and rhythms that tune us to our cultures from our earliest years. Without her, we would, quite literally, have nothing to start singing about -- the funny or the sad, the windiest or the lowliest.

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Copyright 2003 John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."