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Nitin Sawhney

This major new three part series captures the atmosphere, excitement and creativity of a unique and crucial chapter in British musical history - the six eventful decades since the end of the Second World War.

The BBC's extraordinary television archive of classical music - performances, interviews, workshops, master classes, rehearsal sequences and behind the scenes footage - brings the past 60 years to life. There's plenty of wit, humour, conflict and controversy in this story, as well as great characters and wonderful music making.

This is the story of British Musical Life in the round; the stars, the composers, the performers, the audience, the technology, the multi million pound business. Never before has there been such an exhaustive study of what makes Britain's musical heritage so uniquely fascinating.


Episode 1: The Landscape Changes (1945-1962)

  Friday 25 July 208 10pm; 3.05am
Benjamin Britten

The first twenty years of the story were characterised by rivalries between composers of genius, by the rise of extraordinary and influential performers, and by an audience hungry for new experiences in a country searching for a peacetime identity.
More about Episode 1

Episode 2: Modernism and Minimalism (1962-1980)

Harrison Birtwistle

The revolutionary sixties saw the rise of a new generation of fiercely individual composers like Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, Cornelius Cardew and John Tavener. But by the 70s, new music needed to find new ways to survive.
More about Episode 2

Episode 3: Adapt or Die (1980-2007)

Mark Anthony Turnage

At the end of the 1970s 'New Music' faced a real crisis in Britain when the already tiny audiences began to seep away. Little did anyone realise then that classical music was about to undergo a massive resurgence in popularity.
More about Episode 3

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