Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury on the BBC

What to watch and lis­ten out for on TV and ra­dio

BBC Music Magazine - - Sounds Of A Century -

From Nov 2018 to July 2019, Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury will chart the mu­sic of the last 100 years, di­vided into four parts. Each part will be headed by an in­tro­duc­tory guide on BBC Four, while ac­com­pa­ny­ing pro­grammes on BBC Two and Ra­dio 3 will ex­plore the sub­ject in greater de­tail. Here are the high­lights…


Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury: Episode One (1918-36) In the first pro­gramme of the se­ries, pre­sen­ters Suzy Klein and Sir Lenny Henry (see p130) ex­plore the pro­found im­pact of the First World War on clas­si­cal mu­sic in Britain, from Holst’s The Plan­ets on­wards.

BBC Four, Novem­ber 2018 Dis­cov­er­ing… Gersh­win’s Rhap­sody in Blue In the first of ‘Dis­cov­ery Con­certs’, Josie D’arby delves into one of the 20th cen­tury’s most iconic works (see p28), brought to life by the BBC Scot­tish Sym­phony Or­ches­tra. BBC Four, Novem­ber 2018 Holst & Vaughan Wil­liams – Mak­ing Mu­sic English Tom Ser­vice joins his­to­rian Amanda Vick­ery to look into the friend­ship of Vaughan Wil­liams and Holst, re­trac­ing their trips across Britain in search of new in­flu­ences. The BBC Con­cert Or­ches­tra il­lus­trates the nar­ra­tive with ex­cerpts from their works. BBC Two, Novem­ber 2018 Top 100 Count­down in Es­sen­tial Clas­sics (1-25) Through­out the com­ing months, Ra­dio 3’s Es­sen­tial Clas­sics will be iden­ti­fy­ing 100 great clas­si­cal mu­sic mo­ments from the last cen­tury, from ground­break­ing pre­mieres to per­for­mances that had a ma­jor im­pact.

Ra­dio 3, Nov-dec 2018


Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury: Episode Two (1936-53) Suzy Klein and John Simp­son ex­am­ine the role of clas­si­cal mu­sic dur­ing and af­ter the Se­cond World War. Key mo­ments in­clude the first per­for­mance of Shostakovich’s Len­ingrad Sym­phony at the BBC Proms and the wartime Na­tional Gallery con­certs by pi­anist Myra Hess. BBC Four, Feb­ru­ary 2019 Dis­cov­er­ing… Brit­ten’s The Young Per­son’s Guide to the Or­ches­tra Katie Der­ham in­tro­duces Brit­ten’s much loved work, which be­gan life as a com­mis­sion for a Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion film. It’s played here by the BBC Na­tional Or­ches­tra of Wales.

BBC Four, Feb 2019 Brit­ten’s War Re­quiem at English Na­tional Opera A doc­u­men­tary trac­ing ENO’S year-long jour­ney to­wards a per­for­mance of Brit­ten’s War Re­quiem, staged to mark the cen­te­nary of the WWI ar­mistice. BBC Four, Feb­ru­ary 2019 Top 100 Count­down in Es­sen­tial Clas­sics (26-50) Ra­dio 3, ex­act dates TBC


Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury: Episode Three (1953-71) Suzy Klein and Joan Bakewell ex­plore the col­li­sion of clas­si­cal mu­sic with pop­u­lar cul­ture dur­ing this era, with con­tri­bu­tions from cel­lists Sheku Kan­neh-ma­son and Ju­lian Lloyd Web­ber.

BBC Four, April 2019 Dis­cov­er­ing… Arnold’s The Bridge on the River Kwai Katie Der­ham and the BBC Con­cert Or­ches­tra delve into the 1957 sound­track com­posed by Mal­colm Arnold in just ten days. BBC Four, April 2019 Brian Cox on Holst’s The Plan­ets In the com­pany of the BBC Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, Brian Cox (be­low) looks at what science has re­vealed to us about the plan­ets in the last 100 years. BBC Two, April 2019 Top 100 Count­down in Es­sen­tial Clas­sics (51-75) Ra­dio 3, ex­act dates TBC


Our Clas­si­cal Cen­tury Episode Four: (1980s – present) With singer Alexan­dra Burke,

Suzy Klein ex­plores how clas­si­cal mu­sic has been re­de­fined and made more ac­ces­si­ble through tech­nol­ogy. Fea­tur­ing con­tri­bu­tions from Nigel Kennedy, Steven Isserlis and Si­mon Rat­tle. BBC Four, June 2019 Dis­cov­er­ing… Saari­aho’s Graal Théâtre Tom Ser­vice in­ves­ti­gates Saari­aho’s elec­tri­fy­ing vi­o­lin con­certo with the BBC Phil.

BBC Four. June 2019 Top 100 Count­down in Es­sen­tial Clas­sics (76-100) Ra­dio 3, dates TBC First Night of the Proms 2019 Fea­tur­ing a newly com­mis­sioned work Ra­dio 3, 12 July

A clas­sic ex­plored:Alec Guin­ness and Ses­sue Hayakawa in The Bridge on the River Kwai

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