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Playing: Sonata for piano no. 2 (Op.35) in B flat minor by Fryderyk Chopin
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09/11/2011

Duration:
20 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 09 November 2011

Sue Perkins and Tom Service unravel everything you ever wanted to know about the symphony...but were too afraid to ask...

Why are symphonies considered the pinnacle of classical music? Who wrote the first one? Is there really a "Curse Of The Ninth"? And can you be a truly great composer without writing a symphony?

Comedienne Sue Perkins joins Tom Service for the first in a six-part celebration of the most famous - and perhaps scariest - form in classical music.

They're here to blow away the myths and unpick the mysteries surrounding this most venerable form - with a host of musical excerpts from Haydn to Hovhaness, Mozart to Mahler, Beethoven to Berio.

Over the six episodes they'll be looking at questions like how the symphony first originated; whether a symphony should be about logic and form, or be a encapsulation of the whole world; and why people get so darn annoyed when you clap between the movements...

Sue Perkins and Tom Service unravel everything you ever wanted to know about the symphony...but were too afraid to ask...

In today's episode, Sue and Tom examine the thorny issue of to clap or not to clap before a symphony's finished; explore at the roots of the symphony - the idea of a 'sounding together'; and get to grips with the titans of the classical symphonic tradition, Haydn and Mozart .

They'll also be asking you to send in your own questions for their perusal later in the series. You can submit your queries about anything symphonic by email to r3symphonyqt@bbc.co.uk; alternatively, you can pose your questions on the BBC Radio 3's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bbcradio3), or via Twitter at @BBCRadio3 (hashtag #R3SymphonyQT).

Music Played

8 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Joseph Haydn

    Joseph Haydn Symphony no. 101 in D major H.1.101 (Clock) II. Andante (extract)

    Performer: Nikolaus HARNONCOURT - Cello Performer: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

    Teldec, 0630189532

  • Image for Igor Stravinsky

    Igor Stravinsky Symphonies of wind instruments (opening extract)

    Conductor: Franz WELSER-MOST Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra

    EMI, CDC 5550302

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Messiah - I. Sinfonia (extract)

    Performer: Nikolaus HARNONCOURT - Cello Performer: Concentus Musicus Vienna

    Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 82876640702

  • Image for Luciano Berio

    Luciano Berio Sinfonia for 8 solo voices and orchestra vers. 1969 [5 movements]III. In ruhig fliessender

    Conductor: Pierre BOULEZ Performer: Chicago S O. Performer: The NEW SWINGLE SINGERS

    ERATO, 4509984962

  • Image for Michael WOLTERS

    Michael WOLTERS Spring Symphony: The Joy of Life

    Conductor: Barrie WEBB Performer: University of Huddersfield Symphony Orchestra

    N/A, N/A

  • Image for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony no. 1 in E flat major K.16: I. Molto Allegro (extract)

    Conductor: Karl BOHM Performer: BERLIN PHILHARMONIC - Record Label

    Deutsche Grammophon, 427 242 12

  • Image for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony no. 40 in G minor K.550 : II. Andante (extract)

    Conductor: Karl BOHM Performer: BERLIN PHILHARMONIC - Record Label

    Deutsche Grammophon, 427 242 12

  • Image for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony no. 41 in C major K.551 'Jupiter': IV. Molto Allegro (extract)

    Conductor: Karl BOHM Performer: BERLIN PHILHARMONIC - Record Label

    Deutsche Grammophon, 4777639

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