The Anger of Achilles

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Delia contributed musical effects to Roberto Gerhard's orchestral drama The Anger of Achilles, which won the Prix Italia[1] "RAI prize for literary or dramatic programmes with or without music".

An article at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid[2] says:

Gerhard put together many works for tape at his house in Cambridge but processed them and did the final mix at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in London. His first work was the 1954 incidental music for Bridget Boland's The Prisoner for chamber orchestra and tape [. . .] and he would be honoured with the Prix Italia in 1965 for The Anger of Achilles for orchestra and tape, created and presented by the BBC.

The BBC Programme Catalogue describes the work as an

epic for radio in three parts by Robert Graves, from his translation of Homer's Iliad. [. . .] Music specially composed for the programme by Roberto Gerhard, with special effects by the B.B.C. Radiophonic Workshop", first broadcast 17 May 1964.

Cambridge University Library has seven letters mentioning The Anger of Achilles[3] with classmarks:

  • Gerhard.14.105
  • Gerhard.14.268
  • Gerhard.15.1.57
  • Gerhard.15.1.61
  • Gerhard.15.1.63
  • Gerhard.15.1.68
  • Gerhard.15.31.3

but never replied to my request for them.


The Performing Right Society list of works by Delia Ann Derbyshire has:

Title: The Anger of Achilles
Writer(s): Derbyshire Delia Ann
Co-composers/authors: [None] (!)
Publisher: BBC Worldwide Music
Work number: 1471899K
Type: 10/00 [?]
Work Status Flags: Film/TV / 1st Lic Referral
Creation date: 11 August 1999


  • 1. Achilles' plea to his goddess mother Thetis (1:13) (25:53.24-27:06.88)

The Anger of Achilles 1 - Spectrogram.jpg

  • 2. Thunderclap (0:13) (28:51.89-29:05.53)

The Anger of Achilles 2 - Spectrogram.jpg

  • 3. The sending of the false dream to Agamemnon (2:00) (33:23.28-35:23.47)

The Anger of Achilles 3 - Spectrogram.jpg

  • 4. Father Zeus' message, thunderclap, horse effects (1:08) (30:58.80-32:07.12)

The Anger of Achilles 4 - Spectrogram.jpg

  • 5. Thetis theme reprise (0:36) (31:18.45-31:54.75)

The Anger of Achilles 5 - Spectrogram.jpg


  • Broadcast on BBC radio on 17th May 1964.
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 6031.[4]
  • Some Gerhard fans made a copy from the radio, of which the above are extracts.