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Sue Perkins and Tom Service explore the roots of the symphony, discovering who wrote the first, as well as discussing the so-called 'father' of the form, Joseph Haydn.

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).

Available now

20 minutes

Last on

Wed 9 Nov 2011 20:15

Music Played

  • 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.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphonies of wind instruments (opening extract)

    Conductor: Franz WELSER-MOST Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra

    • EMI.
    • CDC 5550302.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah - I. Sinfonia (extract)

    Performer: Nikolaus HARNONCOURT - Cello Performer: Concentus Musicus Vienna

    • Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.
    • 82876640702.
  • 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.
  • Michael WOLTERS

    Spring Symphony: The Joy of Life

    Conductor: Barrie WEBB Performer: University of Huddersfield Symphony Orchestra

    • N/A.
    • N/A.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Broadcast