Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Music is everywhere and the most accomplished musicians can make beautiful sounds out of anything. But can they make beauty out of garbage and perform at a high-profile concert in the summer? That's the question at the heart of Scrapheap Orchestra, a new and ambitious 90-minute documentary for BBC Four.
Inspirational conductor Charles Hazlewood leads the challenge, charging a group of the UK's top instrument makers with the mission of transforming junk, broken furniture and the contents of roadside skips into an orchestra of instruments. He'll then conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra, playing only scrap instruments, in the hope of performing a flawless medley of three classical pieces – one of which will be an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. And in doing so, we find out what makes a musical instrument actually work – the science of music.
Scrapheap Orchestra reflects BBC Four's role to create cultural events as well as broadcast them.
The Prince And The Composer is a film about Hubert Parry by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Sir Hubert Parry is simultaneously one of Britain's best-known and least-known composers. Jerusalem is almost a national song, regularly performed at rugby grounds, schools, Women's Institute meetings and the Last Night of the Proms. Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind is one of Britain's best-loved hymns. Everyone knows the tunes, yet hardly anyone knows much about the man who wrote them.
In The Prince And The Composer, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, a longstanding enthusiast of Parry's work, sets out to discover more about the complex character behind it, with the help of members of Parry's family, scholars and performers. This feature-length documentary by award winning director John Bridcut offers fresh insight into the life and work of Hubert Parry through the unique perspective of HRH The Prince of Wales.
A Crux/Rareday production
In a special Cello Night, BBC Four celebrates one of the orchestra's most charismatic instruments.
No one has done more for the cello than Mstislav Rostropovich, or "Slava", as he was widely known. As well as being arguably the greatest cellist of the 20th century, he expanded and enriched the cello repertoire by the sheer force of his artistry and his personality. Composers lined up to write works for him.
In Rostropovich – The Genius Of The Cello by John Bridcut, friends, family and former pupils explore the unique talents of this great Russian artist, and listen to and watch him making music.
Contributors include his widow, Galina Vishnevskaya, and their daughters Olga and Elena; eminent conductors Seiji Ozawa and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky; and cellists who attended his famous classes in Moscow: Natalya Gutman, Mischa Maisky, Moray Welsh, Elizabeth Wilson and Karine Georgian. The film traces the development of Rostropovich's international career amid the political tensions of the final years of the Soviet Union.
An ITN Factual production
BBC Four is turning its spotlight on dance with a weekend of programmes exploring and celebrating this most physical of art forms.
At the heart of the weekend is a completely new, full-length dance work commissioned and produced by the world's leading dance house, Sadler's Wells, in collaboration with radical director and choreographer Javier De Frutos. Based on a fantastical short story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Most Incredible Thing has been adapted by Matthew Dunster and features a specially composed score by electronic pop legends Pet Shop Boys, their first composition for a full-length dance work. Former Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov, South Bank Show Breakthrough Award winner Aaron Sillis and critically acclaimed Clemmie Sveaas lead an exciting cast to tell the tale of a contest with a prize of half the kingdom and the princess's hand in marriage at stake. This highly anticipated new dance event features the work of an award-winning design, film and animation team and is brought to television in co-production with the Sadler's Wells Trust. This performance film also includes additional contextualisation, including insights into the creative process and interviews with key members involved in the production.
Running alongside this is a new documentary film which sets out to unlock the mysteries and debunk the myths surrounding contemporary dance, through an insightful, passionate and, at times, light-hearted examination of the genre.
Complementing both these new films is a collection of performance-based programmes covering the broad spectrum of dance – from classical ballet to ballroom.
BBC Productions, Wales
The 2011 season of BBC Proms features an exciting feast of music and performances by world-class orchestras, conductors and soloists. BBC Four will continue to feature two concerts a week across the season, led on-screen by Charles Hazlewood, Suzy Klein and Petroc Trelawny. Each broadcast features direct engagement with orchestral players, conductors and soloists both backstage and during intervals. Coverage also includes red button offerings.
Further details will be announced when the 2011 BBC Proms are officially launched on 14 April.
The BBC returns to the world's largest festival in June to bring audiences a wealth of programming, on television across BBC Four, BBC Two and BBC Three and on radio on BBC 6 Music.
BBC Four focuses on some of the key heritage and classic artists at the festival, offering a mix of live sets from several stages. Across all platforms, there will be extensive live coverage including headline sets and acoustic sessions, as well as a range of performances and features on other events happening around Worthy Farm.
From this spring, BBC Four will be playing out Top Of The Pops from 1976 episode by episode on Thursday nights at 7.30pm – the same time as the original programme transmitted.
The nation grew up with Top Of The Pops and it was always a talking point, but 35 years ago a particular kind of Top Of The Pops programme and tone held sway. To launch the re-runs, a special documentary explores Top Of The Pops in 1976, as a barometer of the state of pop and light entertainment television. It celebrates the power of the programme and observes British society of the mid-Seventies, British TV and the British pop scene.
In 1976 glam was over and nothing had replaced it; the charts belonged to Showaddywaddy, Brotherhood Of Man and The Wurzels, all to be found on Top Of The Pops hosted by the BBC Radio 1 DJs. If you wanted rock you looked to the Old Grey Whistle Test. Meanwhile, outside the charts a new scene was rumbling...
The documentary is accompanied by both an edition of Top Of The Pops from April 1976 and a 90-minute compilation of performances from the preceding 12 years of the programme.
Theodore "Sonny" Rollins is the greatest living jazz saxophonist. Last September, his playing undiminished by age, Sonny celebrated his 80th birthday with a gig at the Beacon Theatre in New York where he played with some of his old friends in the game including Jim Hall, Ornette Coleman and Roy Haynes. Arena – Sonny Rollins represents the lonely journey of this solitary, sometimes tortured man towards his dream of perfection.
A jazz prodigy on a quest, Sonny Rollins has been among the most celebrated musicians in jazz since the early Fifties. Disillusioned by the booze, the drugs and the kinds of tragedy that killed his mentor Charlie Parker, he withdraws periodically from the jazz scene to search for a power in music that could change the world.
Laced with stunning performance, Arena follows Rollins from his childhood in Harlem through his glittering but troubled career to his iconic status today. Contributors and collaborators include jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Stan Tracey and Courtney Pine.
It's over 40 years since Annie Nightingale's very first show on BBC Radio 1. She was the station's first female DJ and is its longest serving broadcaster. A life-long champion of new music, first with punk, then new wave, acid house and chill-out, Annie is still at the cutting edge in her current incarnation as the queen of the breaks.
In this film, Annie takes viewers on a counter-cultural journey through the events, people and sounds that have inspired her career. Full of insightful anecdotes about her sonic adventures and the numerous pop culture shifts that have helped shape her idiosyncratic outlook and tastes, the film features contributions from some of the many artists Annie has championed and helped to break over the years. They agree that she's still there, still popular, still relevant and an icon of the British music scene.
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