151 episodes

Rethink music with The Listening Service. Tom Service presents a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works

The Listening Service BBC

    • Music
    • 4.7, 87 Ratings

Rethink music with The Listening Service. Tom Service presents a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works

    Wagner’s Ring Cycle: the Ultimate Box Set Binge

    Wagner’s Ring Cycle: the Ultimate Box Set Binge

    Tom Service explores classical music’s ultimate binge-listening box set - Richard Wagner’s apocalyptic four-part 16-hour marathon music drama, The Ring.

    Cram packed with heroes, heroines, gods and goddesses, it took 25 years to write and has inspired everyone from JRR Tolkein to Francis Ford Coppola, and Bugs Bunny.

    Selfishness, deception, hypocrisy, greed, destruction; like all good box sets they’re all in there, but what’s The Ring really about? And what can we, and perhaps today’s world leaders, learn from it?

    Tom has half an hour to find out.

    • 30 min
    English Music

    English Music

    Does English music have a formula? Think of the stirring 'nobilmente' tunes of Elgar and those melodies and harmonies of Vaughan Williams and Holst which have become inextricably linked with the very notion of Englishness. When did English music begin and is it still being written? In an attempt both to define English music and explain its appeal Tom Service enlists the help of Em Marshall-Luck, founder-director of The English Music Festival.

    • 30 min
    Talking in music

    Talking in music

    Tom Service explores talking in music - from Gilbert and Sullivan's patter songs to high-art ‘sprechgesang’ by Schoenberg, from Mozart's recitative to the rap of present-day LA. Anyway, who's to say what is talking and what is singing? Archive recordings of WB Yeats reveal him intoning his poetry melodically, while Ken Nordine devised what he called ‘Word Jazz’.

    • 29 min
    Lisztomania

    Lisztomania

    Tom takes a deep drive into the music of Franz Liszt, celebrated, and sometimes denigrated, for his ultra-virtuosity. Tom is joined by former Radio 3 New Generation Artist Mariam Batsashvili who plays some of her favourite moments of Liszt at the piano, and explains why Liszt has always held a special place in her heart. From struggling with being the first world-famous musician, to pre-empting the likes of Wagner and Schoenberg, Tom explores the surprising and conflicting role Liszt played on the musical stage.

    • 29 min
    Close Harmony

    Close Harmony

    From Corsican polyphony to Jacob Collier, 50s rock and roll and global hit TV series Glee, close harmony runs through music traditions around the world: but nowhere is it more important than in Barbershop, famous for its striped waistcoats, bow ties, and comedy parodies. But today over 70,000 singers of all ages and genders participate in barbershop societies around the world, coming together to compete and perform in quartets and larger choruses, enjoying its exuberant and expressive performance style, and revelling in its magical 'overtones'.

    With Brian Lynch from the Barbershop Harmony Society in Nashville and members of the BBC Singers, Tom explores what makes it so unique, from it's vocal setting to its use of 'just intonation', and discovers the roots of its history, far from the exclusive Ivy League world it's thought to represent.

    • 29 min
    The music of Kaija Saariaho

    The music of Kaija Saariaho

    Tom Service takes an introductory journey through the beguiling sound world of Kaija Saariaho.

    Finnish-born, Paris-based Saariaho's music, at once dark and dazzling, immediate and sensual, has ensured her position as one of the world's leading living composers. From operas which explore the big human themes, to orchestral and instrumental works which fuse electronic and acoustic sounds, her voice is completely distinctive and instantly recognisable, a triumph of extraordinary imagination and determination over an unpromising family background.

    David Papp (producer)

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

Oceanjaws ,

What a find!

So much to listen to!
And each episode a wonderful journey through a fascinating world.

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Top notch.

Highly recommended.

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