The vocal music of contemporary composers like Morton Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo and Caroline Shaw, is hugely popular with choirs, congregations and audiences. How do they achieve their brand of mystery and magic? Tom Service immerses himself in the resonant sound world of 21st-century choral music and discovers how it works. With guest, Kerry Andrew, who makes music for communities as well as choirs.
Eat to the Beat
What have a Mahler symphony and a recipe for sautéed kidneys got in common? Why do refugees and other displaced people take food and music with them when they are forced to leave their homeland? How do today's Spotify restaurant playlists and their 18th-century equivalents compare? Can you play in an orchestra and then eat your instruments?
Tom Service and anthropologist Jonathan H Shannon have the answers.
David Papp (producer)
Out of Tune
What does it really mean to be in tune? In tune with what - or who? And why is it simultaneously something that’s so important yet so relative, flexible and movable a feast when it comes to our musical culture? Tom Service investigates.
How to listen to... Arvo Pärt
Tom Service lifts the lid on the music of the most popular living composer - Arvo Pärt. Nominated for 11 Grammy awards and revered by Björk, P.J Harvey, and Radiohead, as well as classical musicians around the world, his seemingly simple and spiritual music is loved by millions. Born in Estonia in 1935 he did military service in the Soviet Army, worked as a radio producer, and wrote music for films, documentaries and animations, before creating his unique style of composition ‘tintinnabulation’.
But what exactly is tintinnabulation? What do you get when you cross mathematics with love? And how can strict rules and discipline ultimately mean freedom?
Our witnesses are violinist Viktoria Mullova who has recorded many of Pärt’s seminal works, and theologian Dr Peter Bouteneff who has researched his music’s connections with his Orthodox faith.
Producer: Ruth Thomson
Fiddles and Fiddle Tunes
What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin?
How did an English jig turn into a Virginian reel?
And what do Bach’s violin sonatas have in common with folk tunes from Finland?
In The Listening Service today Tom Service explores fiddles, fiddlers, and fiddle tunes from around the globe, looking at how they connect communities, reflecting the stories of migrants and musicians across time, and staying true to tradition whilst continually changing. And how have classical composers incorporated fiddle tunes into their work? From Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, based on tunes found in a library in Munich, to Aaron Copland’s Rodeo Hoe-Down, an orchestral transformation of the Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp’s tune Bonaparte’s Retreat.
Our witnesses today are Pete Cooper, who learnt classical violin as a teenager before discovering busking and ending up fiddling in West Virginia, and Lori Watson whose music and research draw on the landscapes and folklore of the Scottish Borders where she grew up.
Producer: Ruth Thomson