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Easy Listening?

The series concludes with the focus shifting to the United States in the post-war years of the 1950s and beyond. Beginning with arguably the most notorious work of 20th century classical music, John Cage's 'silent' composition 4'33", it looks at how a series of maverick Americans re-invented the sound of classical music into a more simple form, bringing back harmonies and rhythms that made it increasingly popular with audiences across the world. It also examines how this music found its way into a spiritual realm, with the strain of pared-down religious composition that came to be known as 'holy minimalism'.

From the Maverick concert hall in Woodstock, New York to an Orthodox cathedral in Estonia to a car park in Peckham, south London, the story is told by a stellar line-up of contributors including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt and John Tavener.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Fri 11 Oct 2013 19:30


Role Contributor
DirectorIan MacMillan
Series ProducerIan MacMillan
Executive ProducerRoy Ackerman

Celebrate 20th Century music with The Open University

OU on the BBC - The Sound and the Fury

Explore the world of 20th Century classical and avant-garde music