From ancient Greek drama until today, music has often been an integral part of the theatre and it's where many concert hall staples - think Beethoven's Egmont... Schubert's Rosamunde... Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.... Grieg's Peer Gynt - began life. But does the very act of collaboration make incidental music a sort of anaemic, second rate cousin to symphonies, string quartets and sonatas? To help find answers, Tom Service enlists the help of theatre director Elle While and Harrison Birtwistle, whose music was so vital to the 1983 landmark Peter Hall National Theatre production of Aeschylus's The Oresteia.
David Papp (producer)
Countertenors - classical rock gods!
From Frankie Valli and Jimmy Somerville to Andreas Scholl and Iestyn Davies - Tom Service celebrates the male singers hitting the high notes.
Why do they do it? How do they do it? And why is it so uniquely thrilling a sound? And it's not about singing like a woman!
With inside knowledge from countertenor Lawrence Zazzo.
What's the point of practice?
Does practice make perfect? And what is perfect practice? Tom Service asks whether anyone can become a good musician by just putting in the hours. Pianist James Rhodes talks about the role practice plays in his life, and Professor Brooke Macnamara reveals the true role practice plays in performance.
Sound of the Underground
What does the underground sound like?
Beneath the earth lies a noisy vibrant place, from the explosive roar of a volcano erupting, the echoes of caverns down to the barely audible grinding of the earth's plates.
All this noise has long inspired composers and musicians - from Stravinsky and Wagner to Howard Shore and Tom Waits, we burrow into the earth itself to uncover the musical treats that lie under our feet. How do you translate the underground into music and does it bear any resemblance to what is actually happening down there?
Tom discovers what really lies beneath with the sound recordist Jez Riley French who reveals the hidden sounds from the earth itself turning to underground woodlice going about their daily business.
Plus music actually made in the deep places of the world - from Pauline Oliveros's Deep Listening Band to the songs of Welsh miners.
Hannah Thorne (producer)
What is Sound Art? And why?
Tom Service considers the rise of Sound Art, commonly found in art galleries today, and wonders whether it is a new genre or simply music in an art space? He consults musician and sound artist Mark Fell, finds precedents in Wagner's operas, considers how a 16th-century choral work became a contemporary art installation, and celebrates the American performance artist Laurie Anderson who accidentally had a pop hit with her piece O Superman.