161 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

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

    Latin America: It Takes Two

    Latin America: It Takes Two

    What is it about the Tango that has enabled it to transcend its origins in the late 19th-century slums of Buenos Aires to become one of most popular dances in the world's glittering ballrooms and beloved of gymnasts, figure skaters and synchronized swimmers? How did Tango escape the sparkle of the glitter ball and the borders of Argentina to be taken seriously as art music?

    It may take two to Tango but there's a trio here to tease out the complex, multiple strands of this beguiling dance, as Tom Service is joined by Tango historian John Turci-Escobar and Buenos Aires-born Tango dancer Carla Dominguez. Part of Radio 3’s focus on the music, history and culture of Latin America.

    David Papp (producer)

    • 29 min
    What makes the organ so mighty?

    What makes the organ so mighty?

    Tom Service takes on the largest instrument created by human hands: the organ. With the help of organist Anna Lapwood, Tom asks: what makes the organ so mighty? Why has it fascinated musicians from Bach to Procol Harum? Along the way, Tom will delve into the Delphian roots of the organ and we’ll hear what its ancestor the Hydraulis sounded like, created in ancient Egypt. And we’ll drop in on Madison Square Garden where Gladys Gooding entertained huge audiences at sports events for over thirty years, starting in the 1930s. Finally, we’ll hear what makes the organ timeless and immortal in music by John Cage and Olivier Messiaen. All hail: the organ!

    • 28 min
    Musical Highs

    Musical Highs

    Tom Service looks under the bonnet at musical climaxes and crescendos. How do composers negotiate musical drama to often devastating beauty and power?

    • 29 min
    Is Classical music fashionable?

    Is Classical music fashionable?

    You might think classical music is timeless and sits above passing trends and fashions, but in this edition of The Listening Service Tom discovers otherwise. He talks to newspaper fashion director Lisa Armstrong about how trends are made in what we wear, and to music streaming curator Guy Jones, about what influences our listening habits.

    And – spoiler alert - classical music is IN!

    • 29 min
    HIPP to be Square

    HIPP to be Square

    Tom Service dips a toe into the choppy waters of historically informed performance practice. HIPP is the latest term for the well-established vogue of recreating the sounds of music from past centuries. But how can we possibly know what music sounded like before it was recorded? Can HIPP ever be more than a hopeful stab in the dark? Like quinoa and farmers' markets, is it merely another facet of fashion and commercial imperative, a mirror which reflects us and our current concerns straight back at ourselves? Or is it a revitalising and constantly evolving force for good, sweeping away years of lazy and complacent tradition, revealing afresh music we thought we knew? Violinist Rachel Podger and chronicler of HIPP Nicolas Kenyon are on hand to help.

    David Papp (producer)

    • 28 min
    Is it canon?

    Is it canon?

    The classical music canon - who decides what's in and what's out? Can it and should it change?

    Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - widely regarded as permanent fixtures in the generally accepted canon. But what about the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Louise Farrenc or Steve Reich?

    Tom Service looks at how and why certain composers and pieces of music became part of an established canon, and how things are changing over time, especially with the desire to see better representation of women and composers from more diverse backgrounds in the mix.

    With writer and historian Katy Hamilton and oboist and researcher Uchenna Ngwe.

    • 29 min

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