Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
In the late Seventies small pockets of electronic artists such as The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle were inspired by Kraftwerk and J G Ballard to dream of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain.
Gary Numan's 1979 appearance on Top Of The Pops heralded the invention of synthpop, which would provide the soundtrack as Britain entered a new, ruthless era in the Eighties.
Depeche Mode, four lads from Basildon, came to embody the new sound, while post-punk bands such as Ultravox, Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Yazoo took the synth from the pages of the NME and onto the front cover of Smash Hits.
By 1983 the Pet Shop Boys and New Order were pointing to where the future of electronic music lay – in dance.
Contributors to Synth Britannia include Philip Oakey, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan and Neil Tennant.
BBC Four provides a showcase for performances by the best international young piano talent at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, including extensive coverage of the finals presented by Huw Edwards.
In a series of six programmes about this year's competition, BBC Four features each finalist's concerto performance. The programmes will include profiles of the finalists and discussion about each performance, repertoire information and a brief historical portrait of the competition.
Winter operatic highlights on BBC Four include Rolando Villazon in Nicholas Hytner's production of Verdi's Don Carlo.
Simon Russell Beale continues his exploration of the story of western Sacred Music in four new programmes.
Shot on location around Europe, series two focuses on the lives and music of Brahms and Bruckner, Faure and Poulenc, Gorecki and Part. It concludes with British contemporary figures Tavener, Rutter and MacMillan.
Filmed across North America and the Caribbean and featuring the finest Latin musicians, musical performances and previously unseen archive, this groundbreaking series describes Latin music's profound and deep impact on the United States' musical and social landscape and its promotion of the struggles and achievements of immigrants as they moved from the margins to the mainstream of American society.
East Side Story, charts the influence of the Cuban immigrants and their Afro-Cuban music which enthralled fifties America, changing attitudes and challenging stereotypes. Part two tells the story of how the rhythms of Havana and Puerto Rico were transformed in Seventies New York by a brilliant group of players and the Fania label to create Salsa, now a global music. Borderlands traces the waves of immigration between the USA and Mexico and reveals the dynamic role that Mexican-American music has played, while The Latin Explosion tells how Latin Pop, born in Miami, impacted on music, business, fashion and media across the Americas and the world to reflect a new-found power and confidence for the Latin community.
Featured artists include Carlos Santana, "Cachao", Dizzy Gillespie, Ruben Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Johnny Pacheco and The Fania, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Shakira and Gloria Estefan.
Metal Britannia traces the emergence of the genre in Britain in the late Sixties and Seventies. Metal began life in the mid-Sixties underground rock scene – a fledgling style spearheaded by the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. This early metal was dominated by paranoia and darkness, albeit often tongue-in-cheek. The players were male, mostly working-class – a unique Seventies British style – spawning their own long-haired, head-banging audience with their own dress codes and world view.
While this generation still defines classic British metal, it was nearly overtaken by British punk in the late Seventies. Then back came a new generation such as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon, dubbed "The New Wave Of British Metal" by the press.
As the Eighties dawned, the best of these two metal generations were ready for the long haul, to make their genre the key force in music it remains today.
BBC Four's music coverage is broad and deep. This season viewers can look forward to performance in the form of operas, piano recitals and the BBC Proms as well as major series Sacred Music, Latin Music and Synth Britannia.
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