Beethoven Unleashed: Getting to grips with Beethoven
Beethoven: deaf for most of his life, unbearable egotist, flagrant opportunist and musical anarchist whose music reaches the heights of ecstasy. Where do you start with this bundle of contradictions, probably the most admired composer in Western music, whose works have unfailingly filled concert halls for over 200 years? Tom Service goes in search of what makes Beethoven Beethoven and suggests a few key pieces to help unlock the man and his music.
David Papp (producer)
Tom Service considers the texture of music. We often talk about the pitches and the rhythms in a piece of music, but how does it strike the ear? Is it rough or smooth, dense or transparent? And how are such textures achieved? He talks to composer Anna Meredith about how she creates excitement through combining different layers of orchestral sound; and to arranger Iain Farrington about how to preserve the textures of a Mahler symphony when it's arranged for only a dozen musicians.
How to love new music
All noise and no tunes?
Why is contemporary classical music often thought of as hard work and how can we learn to love it?
With music from Beethoven to Birtwistle to Burna Boy and Stormzy, new music fan Tom Service has words of encouragement.
The office party... unwelcome relatives... indigestion... alcoholic overindulgence... hideous decorations... Among all the inevitable woes that accompany the festive season, Yuletide music is surely one of the most annoying and pervasive. But what are its origins, its essential ingredients and intrinsic worth? And has the commercial always been a major element of most Christmas music? On a mission to find out, Tom Service has been listening to a lot of it, so you don't have to. Including contributions from Judith Flanders, author of 'Christmas: a Biography' and some of those whose perennial Christmas hits invariably provide the season's soundtrack.
David Papp (producer)
Why backing vocals matter
Every "sha-la-la-la" and every "wo-o-wo-oh"...Tom Service brings the backing singers of both the pop and opera worlds to the fore.
With backing singers David Combes and Izzy Chase, and Royal Opera House chorus member, Rebecca Lodge.