Dr’s Discs: The Rt Revd Rowan Williams

3D characters and theological intricacies: we’re getting all the celebs

Cambridge desert island discs rowan williams theology

Desert Island Discs, Cambridge style…

i) You are given a CD player. If you could take four musical pieces onto the island, what would they be?

Lots of Bach, whatever else – so probably the St Matthew Passion and the cello suites, if I can have two boxed sets! Then ideally something sixteenth century – dance music of the period, lute songs, Byrd, Monteverdi, whatever’s available.  And some Welsh music, either hymns or folksongs.

All the Bach

ii)  You are given The Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare. If you could take one novel and one poem as well as these, what would they be?

Novel would probably be War and Peace – for one thing, it’s long, so that by the time you’ve finished it you could start again without feeling too stupid, but also because it has such astonishing three-dimensional characters that you get to enjoy their company.

This is big!

Poem either T. S. Eliot’s ‘Marina’ or some of Auden’s ‘For the Time Being’: the first because I find it the most simply haunting and emotionally open of T. S. Eliot’s poems, Auden because of the intricacy of the ideas and language, a very contemporary series of poems about very traditional religious themes.

Do I dare?

iii)  If you could take one painting onto the island, what would it be?

Probably something by my sister-in-law, Celia Paul – either one of her pictures of the family or one called ‘Waiting’ from her last big exhibition.

It’s going on the palm tree

(iv)  You can take one luxury item onto the island. What would it be?

Can we manage to salvage a piano?  I’ve always wanted more time to practice, as I’m appallingly bad but enjoy it as something that involves you both physically and mentally.

We’ll make it grand

(v)  Magdalene (hypothetically!) is the only college without a motto. You are asked to give the college a motto before you leave. What would it be?

Give with the generosity you’d like to receive.

Give with the generosity you’d like to receive.

Of course we could salvage you a piano. Is all I have to say.