Esoteric Island Discs: Angela Voss

Esoteric Island Discs is an esoteric homage to the great Desert Island Discs, a classic radio programme which is owned entirely by the British Broadcasting Corporation. We hope they receive it in the loving spirit in which it is intended.

Esoteric Island Theme composed by Shackleton.

Download Esoteric Island Discs with Angela Voss

Our castaway is Dr Angela Voss. She discusses her life and work, as a performer of early music, as a researcher of western esotericism (in particular the work of Marsilio Ficino and Renaissance Platonism and astrology), and as a teacher of the history of western esotericism at a number of British universities. She has published extensively on the western esoteric traditions (see her bibliography) and put the astrological music theory of Ficino into practice through a number of ambitious musical performances and recordings, some of which can be acquired here.

Her current project, continuing many decades of teaching and learning work on myth, cosmology, and the sacred, can be found here.


  1. J. S. Bach double violin concerto: first movement. Netherlands Bach Society with Shunske Sato and Emily Deans.
  2. Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium: version made in lockdown at the Tate Modern by the Ora Singers, conducted by Suzi Digby. Text: I have never put my hope in any other but in Thee, God of Israel who canst show both wrath and graciousness, and who absolves all the sins of man in suffering. Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Regard our humility.
  3. Ralph Vaughan-Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis: Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian.
  4. Claudio Monteverdi: Duo Seraphim. Monteverdi Choir at St Marks, 1990. Text: Two seraphim called to one another Holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts The whole earth is full of his glory. There are three that bear record in heaven: The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, And these three are one. Holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.
  5. Orphic Hymn to Jupiter from ‘Secrets of the Heavens’, The Marini Consort 2000 with Mark Rylance and Mark Tucker. Text: O Jove, much-honour’d, Jove supremely great, To thee our holy rites we consecrate, Our pray’rs and expiations, king divine, For all things to produce with ease thro’ mind is thine. Hence mother Earth and mountains swelling high Proceed from thee, the deep and all within the sky. Saturnian king, descending from above, Magnanimous, commanding, sceptred Jove; All-parent, principle and end of all, Whose pow’r almighty shakes this earthly ball; Ev’n Nature trembles at thy mighty nod, Loud-sounding, arm’d with light’ning, thund’ring God. Source of abundance, purifying king, O various-form’d, from whom all natures spring; Propitious hear my pray’r, give blameless health, With peace divine, and necessary wealth.
  6. John Dowland: Lachrimae Veræ from Lachrimæ Pavans, Phantasm.
  7. Arvo Pärt: Silentium from Tabula Rasa 1977: Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Richard Studt/Tasmin Little/Robert Aldwinckle.
  8. Claudio Monteverdi: Con che suavità, (7th Book of Madrigals, 1619): performed by L’Arpeggiata. Text: With what softness, oh scented lips, I both kiss you and I hear you speak; but if I enjoy one pleasure, the other is taken from me. Why do your delights kill each other, When my soul lives so sweetly for both of them? What sensuous harmony you make, O dear kisses, oh sweet words, If only you were able to unite both your sweetnesses, Words kissing, and kisses speaking.