Audio and Video

The first part of this Audio/Video section has audio renditions, or links to renditions, of some favorite Hopkins poems. The second part contains audio recordings of original musical compositions based either on Hopkins poems or, as is the case with Douglas Lilburn, on concepts associated with Hopkins (inscape).

Audio/Video Renditions of Poems

The two sonnet readings below, one of an exuberant nature poem and one of a so-called “terrible” [i.e. dark, desolate] sonnet, are both by Richard Austin, the premier performer of Hopkins for this generation. His readings are marked by the fact that Richard Austin grew up in the same part of England as Hopkins did, so the intonation and accent are as close to Hopkins’s as we can provide today. Those who would like his rendering of 27 Hopkins poems can purchase his CD Back to Beauty’s Giver by ordering from his website at

“Hurrahing in Harvest”
Performed by Richard Austin, Back to Beauty’s Giver

“No worst there is none”
Performed by Richard Austin, Back to Beauty’s Giver

Another outstanding contemporary performer of Hopkins is Lance Pierson. He too has a CD, this time of some of the lesser-known Hopkins poems, which can be purchased from his website at>. Here are two examples:

“The May Magnificat”
Performed by Lance Pierson

“To R.B.”
Performed by Lance Pierson

Famous British actors from an earlier generation have also recorded Hopkins poems. Here is Richard Burton reading the favorite poem of his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, namely Hopkins’s “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo”:

“The Leaden Echo,” read by Richard Burton

And here is a link to a 1958 recording by Cyril Cusack where he reads 19 of Hopkins’s poems.

“The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins,” read by Cyril Cusack

Other contemporary performers, both men and women, have undertaken one or more of Hopkins’s poems:

“Felix Randal,” read by Meg Harrington

“Inversnaid,” read by Tom O’Bedlam

“Spring and Fall,” read by Tom O’Bedlam

“As kingfishers catch fire,” read by Tom O’Bedlam

“Spring,” read by Jan Francis

“The Windhover,” read by Elizabeth Whittome

“Carrion Comfort,” read by Hugh Schwartzberg on The Poetry Foundation:

Here is a link which combines both audio and video, i.e. it shows Richard Austin recording “God’s Grandeur” for the CD mentioned earlier, Back to Beauty’s Giver. Video by Tim Wilson, see

Musical Compositions

Here are links to original musical compositions based on specific Hopkins poems or concepts.

“The Leaden Echo,” Leonid Desyatnikov

“Nondum,” Benedict Sheehan
Performed by The Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s Monastery

“A Nun Takes the Veil,” Samuel Barber

“Three Inscapes,” Douglas Lilburn
“Three Inscapes: I.—”

“Three Inscapes: II.—”

“Three Inscapes: III.—”

“Spring and Fall: To a Young Child,” a musical interpretation of the Hopkins poem by Natalie Merchant

“God’s Grandeur,” a musical interpretation of the Hopkins poem by Paul Kelly

“The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo,” Margaret Tait
Available to view at the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive