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The Listening Service

The Listening Service

Podcast The Listening Service
Podcast The Listening Service

The Listening Service


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  • Playing at sight and playing from memory
    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.
  • Making Overtures
    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 cinemas? With guest Matthew Sweet, from Radio 3's Sound of Cinema.
  • Hallelujah!
    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 familiarity make us take it for granted? Tom Service investigates… Producer: Ruth Thomson
  • How to listen to...Erik Satie
    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.
  • The Borrowers
    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 designer Pascal Wyse. David Papp (producer)

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