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Episode 5 of 6

Exploring what Leonard Bernstein’s song from ‘West Side Story’ means to different people. With Stephen Sondheim. From 2002.

A hit from West Side Story, that yearns for a better world, has come to have special significance for many - from Mary Wilson of the Supremes who found it a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King, to the mother who sings it at the end of long frustrating days with her beloved autistic son.

Plus, Stephen Sondheim and his daughter discuss writing the lyric and the relatively bad critical response to it.

Series about music that makes the hairs stand up on the back of our necks.

Taking part:

Mary Dhonau
Peter Dhonau
Nina Bernstein
Humphrey Burton
Stephen Sondheim
Steve Nallon
Clive Snelling
Adrienne Snelling
Graham Clarke
Mary Wilson

Producer: Lucy Lunt

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2002.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Wed 19 Aug 2020 00:30


  • New Year's Day 2016 18:30
  • Sat 2 Jan 2016 00:30
  • Tue 18 Aug 2020 18:30
  • Wed 19 Aug 2020 00:30

Why Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' became a Civil Rights anthem

Why Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' became a Civil Rights anthem

Watch the animation - Professor Mary King describes how the song became a symbol of hope.

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