The Listening Service-logo

The Listening Service

BBC

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

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

Location:

United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

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

Language:

English


Episodes

Playing at sight and playing from memory

1/16/2022
Tom Service on two of the most astounding musical skills, which the majority of professional classical musicians have in abundance - the ability to play from memory, and the ability to play at sight, without study or much in the way of rehearsal. How and why do they do it? With pianist and teacher Richard Sisson, and violinist Eva Thorarinsdottir, of the Aurora Orchestra, whose members are unusual in that they often play from memory as an ensemble.

Duration:00:29:24

The Listening Service: Playing at sight and playing from memory

1/16/2022
Tom Service flexes his musical memory muscles whilst also improving his sight reading.

Duration:00:30:00

Making Overtures

1/2/2022
Tom Service explores the rise and fall of the musical curtain-raiser. From the birth of the opera with Monteverdi, to the lavish cinematic releases of the 20th century, the overture has had an important place in music history, priming audiences for the characters and atmospheres they'll encounter in the action that follows. So how did the overture develop, and how did it become greater than just a device to signal the start of a show? And why has it largely disappeared from concerts and...

Duration:00:29:23

Hallelujah!

12/12/2021
Written in just 24 days, premiered in Dublin almost 280 years ago, and performed thousands of times since, Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is one of the most popular choral works of all time. A staple of many amateur and professional festive concert seasons, it’s also raised huge amounts of money for charity through the annual Foundling Hospital performances and Scratch Messiahs which now take place all over the world. But what exactly is the 'Messiah'? How and why did Handel write it? And does its...

Duration:00:29:10

How to listen to...Erik Satie

11/21/2021
Tom Service explores the maverick world of one of the most popular French composers, Erik Satie, composer of the three Gymnopédies, with help from pianist Nicolas Horvath and composer Christine Ott.

Duration:00:29:03

The Borrowers

11/14/2021
Taking other people's music and using it for your own purposes might look like the very opposite of creative originality. But down the centuries, from the parody masses of the middle ages and the habitual borrowings of the Baroque, through to 21st-century digital sampling, the greatest musical minds have done just that. Tom Service looks into the hows, whys and copyright pitfalls of musical borrowing with the help of legal expert and historian Olufunmilayo Arewa and composer and sound...

Duration:00:29:03

Klezmer

11/7/2021
Tom Service explores the connections between Klezmer and classical music. With violinist and founder of the London Klezmer Quartet Ilana Kravitz, and writer and musicologist David Conway.

Duration:00:29:03

The timeless power of contemporary choral music

10/17/2021
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.

Duration:00:29:05

Eat to the Beat

10/3/2021
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)

Duration:00:29:15

Out of Tune

9/26/2021
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.

Duration:00:28:50

How to listen to... Arvo Pärt

9/19/2021
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...

Duration:00:29:06

Fiddles and Fiddle Tunes

7/25/2021
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...

Duration:00:29:02

Themes and Variations

7/18/2021
Tom Service explores the endless potential of musical variations on a theme. On the one hand it's the simplest of all musical ideas - take a basic tune and play around with it - and yet on the other, it's a deeply profound reflection of life, as small sequences of musical DNA provide the building blocks for structures of ever increasing complexity.

Duration:00:29:10

Money Makes the Music Go Round

6/27/2021
What have the Pet Shop Boys and Prokofiev got in common? How can you sing about not wanting money at the same time as making it? What does it feel like to burn a million pounds? Tom Service explores how our transactional economy underpins centuries of music making from Notre-Dame’s patronage of the polyphonic Perotin, to Beethoven writing a symphony for £100 and Wagner losing over a million on the premiere of his operatic masterpiece The Ring cycle. Our Listening Service witness today is...

Duration:00:28:51

How to listen to... Gilbert and Sullivan

6/13/2021
Tom Service immerses himself in the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan, and finds things are seldom what they seem... With Derek Clark of Scottish Opera and pianist and composer Richard Sisson.

Duration:00:29:11

Playing Second Fiddle (and Horn and Trumpet...)

6/6/2021
What's it like to play second fiddle in an orchestra? Or to sit beside the first horn or trumpet as they garner the limelight with their flashy solos and are stood up for a bow by the conductor at the end of the concert? Are orchestral seconds a tribe of self-effacing, embittered Eeyore-ish wannabees, or does it involve a set of skills and a personality just as musically vital as their more lauded colleagues? Tom Service seeks answers with the help of London Symphony Orchestra principal...

Duration:00:29:01

Brass Bands

5/16/2021
What’s the difference between a cornet and a trumpet? How did Czech music and a hill in Dorset sell a million loaves? What happened at Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in 1853? Tom Service answers these questions and many more as he explores the world of brass bands: our witnesses are the music director of the Elland Silver Youth Band, Samantha Harrison, who’s immersed in today’s competitive banding world, and composer Gavin Higgins, who’s written a ballet for brass band. Producer:...

Duration:00:29:59

Is Music Good for You?

5/9/2021
Tom Service examines the intimate relationship between music and our minds. How does music affect our mental health? How do we use music to alter, deepen or understand the way we feel?

Duration:00:29:34

Tunes for 'Toons

5/2/2021
Tom Service explores "tunes for 'toons" - the music that accompanies cartoons from the earliest Mickey Mouse to the sophisticated animations of today. Unlike conventional film soundtracks, cartoon music is often upfront and very much part of the manic action of cartoons. And that distinctive breakneck energy has inspired concert composers such as John Zorn. Tom talks to Daniel Goldmark, author of Tunes for 'Toons, about the music of Hollywood animated cartoons of the 1930s to the 1950s; and...

Duration:00:30:03

Leoš Janáček: music is a being come alive

4/18/2021
How did Leoš Janáček, a committed Czech nationalist whose intensely personal response to the places, landscapes and traditions of his Moravian homeland, produce music that is not only instantly recognisable but also viscerally connects to audiences all over the world? And how, in the last decade of Janáček's life, did a chance encounter with a woman almost 40 years his junior release a surely unparalleled burst of creative energy and a spate of late, great masterpieces? Tom Service goes in...

Duration:00:29:36