From Hitchcock to Tarantino, John Williams to A R Rahman, BBC celebrates the Sound Of Cinema

It's so fantastic that the BBC, the biggest producer of music content, is showing how music works for films this autumn with Sound of Cinema. Film scores demand an extraordinary degree of both musicianship and dramatic understanding on the part of their composers."Neil Brand
Date: 25.07.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.50
BBC Radio and Television announce an autumn season of programming dedicated to the composers, songs and film scores that form the soundtrack to the big screen.
  • BBC Four – Silent film composer Neil Brand presents a three-part series Sound Of Cinema: The Music That Made The Movies, featuring directors ranging from Tarantino to Scorsese
  • BBC Radio 3 – Three weeks of programming including director Ken Loach and composer George Fenton discussing their 20-year partnership, and a live programme with the spookiest scores in cinema from the BFI on Friday 13th
  • BBC Radio 6 Music – In a five-part series, big names from cinema including actor Cillian Murphy and Bond film composer David Arnold discuss their favourite film music moments
  • BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – As part of their Soundtrack Season, The Story Of Hip Hop In The Movies reveals how Hip Hop and films collaborate, featuring Pharrell Williams and Roots Manuva
  • BBC Asian Network - Bobby Friction looks at how the journey of Bollywood film music has evolved through the decades, in Men Behind The Music

BBC Four’s celebration of film music begins with Sound Of Cinema: The Music That Made The Movies, a three-part documentary presented by writer, composer and film music aficionado Neil Brand. Neil tells his alternative history of cinema, putting the soundtrack centre stage. The series features some of the biggest directors of past and present, including Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese, alongside film scores of cult and blockbuster movies like Star Wars, Inception, Hitchcock’s Psycho, and Gladiator.

BBC Four will also broadcast 2013’s Film Music BBC Prom, showcasing excerpts from great British film scores and music from science fiction titles such as Alien and Independence Day.

BBC Radio 3 celebrates film music through the eyes and ears of composers, actors and directors. Two icons of cinema, Terence Stamp and Sir Tom Courtenay, present their music choices in Saturday Classics. The BBC’s Performing Groups play film music Live in Concert; conductors featured in the season include Carl Davis, John Wilson and Robert Ziegler. Tom Service talks to some of today’s most successful film music composers about their collaborations with leading directors - Ken Loach and George Fenton discuss their 20-year partnership, Carter Burwell reflects on working with the Coen Brothers and James Horner discusses his partnerships with James Cameron and Ron Howard.

Composer Of The Week takes a look at British Film Music and Hollywood composers, including an exclusive interview with John Williams. Essential Classics features Neil Brand’s Sound Of Cinema downloads and there will be a week of reflections on film music hosted by Matthew Sweet. In Tune will be live from the BFI in the season’s opening week for a gothic-inspired programme on Friday 13 September, looking at how the spookiest scores in cinema have worked; and The Tippett Quartet will be performing music by the master of unsettling strings, Hitchcock’s favourite composer Bernard Herrmann.

Night Waves will also broadcast from the BFI a discussion presented by Matthew Sweet about the 1960s gothic horror, The Innocents. Other guests across the season include directors Alan Parker, Beeban Kidron, Kevin Macdonald and Mike Figgis; actors Tim Piggott –Smith and Olivia Williams; composers Howard Blake, Debbie Wiseman and Alex Heffes, plus Herrmann’s widow Norma Herrmann.

Neil Brand, presenter and composer, says: “It's so fantastic that the BBC, the biggest producer of music content, is showing how music works for films this autumn with Sound Of Cinema. Film scores demand an extraordinary degree of both musicianship and dramatic understanding on the part of their composers. Whilst creating potent, original music to synchronise exactly with the images, composers are also making that music as discreet, accessible and communicative as possible, so that it can speak to each and every one of us. Film music demands the highest standards of its composers, the insight to 'see' what is needed and come up with something new and original. With my series and the other content across the BBC’s Sound Of Cinema season I hope that people will hear more in their movies than they ever thought possible.”

BBC Radio 6 Music presents an epic selection of film-focused programming. In a five-part series called Sound Of Cinema in the Sunday midday slot, iconic names from the movie world will host a series of one-hour shows picking their favourite film music moments.

Presenters include actor Cillian Murphy and composer David Arnold, who has scored an impressive five Bond movies. Further highlights include Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service in which he will be exploring the sound effects department at a big UK film studio; New York boy Huey Morgan puts the focus on Blaxploitation in his show; and in The First Time With Quentin Tarantino, the visionary movie writer and director talks about his iconic soundtracks.

In her Three Minute Epiphany segment, film and music lover Mary Anne Hobbs will feature Academy award-winning music composer Hans Zimmer, and Grammy-nominated Clint Mansell. DJ, film-maker, music video director and Grammy winner Don Letts will be sharing some of his insights into the role that music plays in film. Plus there’ll be further tailored programming across 6 Music’s shows.

As part of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s Soundtrack Season, Radio 1Xtra Stories explores hip-hop's complex, sometimes confused, and always developing relationship with film in the The Story Of Hip-Hop In The Movies. Rappers/actors Ludacris, Riz Ahmed and Doc Brown investigate how easy it is to move between the arts, while Pharrell Williams, Sway and Roots Manuva consider how a killer soundtrack can often keep a very average film alive. Radio 1Xtra’s film critic Rhianna Dhillon looks at how, through drama and documentaries, film opened a window into some raw aspects of African American life before going on to influence the UK and the world.

The BBC Asian Network turns its attention to the music of Bollywood film. In Men Behind The Music, Bobby Friction’s show will include music ranging from the melodious Shankar-Jaikishan to the seminal RD Burman, explaining how the journey of Hindi film music has evolved through the decades as Asian Network celebrates the life and work of India’s biggest music directors. For four weeks starting on Monday 16 January in Filmy Island Discs, Tommy Sandhu will be joined by distinguished Asian celebrities from the world of film and music who will pick their best-loved soundtrack, and Voices Of Bollywood will see Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan looking back at some of the most influential performers from the South Asian film industry.

For detailed network-by-network programme information, please download the Sound Of Cinema Media Pack (PDF).

Notes to Editors

• BBC Radio 3 is the home of classical music. The station also broadcasts a wide range of cultural programming including jazz, world music, arts and over 25 new drama programmes a year. BBC Radio 3 features more live classical music programming than any other station and is the home of the BBC Proms, broadcasting every Prom live and over 600 complete concerts a year. The station is also the most significant commissioner of new musical works in the world and is committed to supporting new talent, composers, writers and new young performers through schemes such as New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers.

• As the gold card channel for arts, BBC Four features the most music programming on television and is the home of classical music on television which features in the heart of the schedule.

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EH