Soul Music

Soul Music

The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Bach Cello Suite No 1

    Tue, 21 Apr 15

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Bach's Cello Suite No I in G major is one of the most frequently performed and recognisable solo compositions ever written for cello. Yet it was vitually unknown for almost two hundred years until the Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals discovered an edition in a thrift shop in Barcelona. Casals became the first to record it and the suites are now cherished by musicians across the globe. The world renowned cellist, Steven Isserlis describes his relationship with the piece and why it still surprises and excites him. Fellow cellists Richard Jenkinson and Jane Salmon talk about the challenge of playing it and we hear from the Dominic Martens, a member of the National Youth Orchestra and his teacher, Nick Jones as they explore the piece together.

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  • Hallelujah

    Sat, 18 Apr 15

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' took him years to write. It originally had as many as 80 verses. Recorded for his 'Various Positions' album, it was almost ignored when first released in 1984. Only Bob Dylan saw its true worth and would play it live. John Cale eventually recorded a version which was heard by an obscure musician called Jeff Buckley. The song has been covered by hundreds of artists including Rufus Wainwright, K.D.Lang and Alexandra Burke. We hear from those whose relationship with the song is deep and profound: singer Brandi Carlisle listened to it over and over again as a troubled teenager; it became a sound-track to James Talerico falling in love and Jim Kullander made a connection with the song after the death of his wife.

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  • La Boheme

    Tue, 9 Dec 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Opera Director John Copley CBE reflects on his 40 years of bringing this tale of friendship, love and loss to the stage of the Royal Opera House alongside stories from people whose lives have been touched by - and often reflect - the essence of this most popular of operas.

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  • Soul Music: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

    Tue, 2 Dec 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    The Smith's 1986 classic, 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' was on 'The Queen Is Dead' albumn. Writer Mark Gatiss and others talk about what the song means to them.

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  • SoulMusic:25Nov14 Gracias A La Vida

    Tue, 25 Nov 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    The Latin American anthem explored through stories of survival from around the world

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  • Plaisir d'Amour/Can't Help Falling in Love

    Wed, 19 Nov 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Marianne Faithful recalls the little french song that went on to inspire an Elvis Classic.

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  • 11 Nov 14 A Shropshire Lad

    Wed, 12 Nov 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    George Butterworth's adaption of AE Housman's poem A Shropshire Lad is examined through stories of loss and landscape around the time of the Great War.

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  • Albinoni's Adagio

    Tue, 29 Apr 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor was not written by Albinoni, as academic, Andrew Gant, explains. For Virginia McKenna and her late husband Bill Travers, it was their signature piece.

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  • Myfanwy

    Tue, 22 Apr 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    The hauntingly beautiful Welsh song Myfanwy is the choice of this week's Soul Music contributors who range from a Welsh woman living in Sicily for whom the song represents 'hiraeth', a longing or homesickness for Wales to singer Cerys Matthews and members of the Ynysowen choir started in Aberfan after the mining disaster. An ex soldier recalls digging through the rubble for survivors with lines from the song playing in his head "Give me your hand, my sweet Myfanwy", and a man remembers his brother who was tragically killed in India. Producer: Maggie Ayre

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  • Something Inside So Strong

    Tue, 15 Apr 14

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Labi Siffre wrote Something Inside So Strong in 1984. Widely believed to have been inspired by seeing film footage from South Africa, of young blacks being shot at by white policeman, he now reveals that the lyrics were also informed by the oppression he had experienced as a homosexual. Producer: Lucy Lunt

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