Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Series about 18th-century British music. As money poured in from its trade empire, Britain rediscovered a taste for pleasure and fun, and music became a tool for social mobility.

Broadcaster and writer Suzy Klein explores the remarkable music that became the soundtrack to the roaring 18th century.

As money poured in from a flourishing trade empire, the British rediscovered a taste for pleasure and fun, and music was at the very centre of it. Aspiring young girls played the keyboard to attract a good husband and nothing beat dancing a minuet if you wanted a place in the best society.

Europe's best composers and performers descended upon Britain, certain that the 'rage for music' would make them rich. Music had become a tool for social mobility, but it was also starting to shape the physical fabric of Britain - concert halls, assembly rooms and pleasure gardens sprang up across the country as the thirst for entertainment grew.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • George Frideric Handel

    Music For The Royal Fireworks Rejouissance - Allegro

  • 00:01

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Sinfonia Concertante In F Major - Allegretto

  • 00:04

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Symphony In C Major Op 3 No 2 ii) Andante

  • 00:06

    Henry Purcell

    Abdelazer Suite

  • 00:07

    Henry Purcell

    Trio Sonata

  • 00:07

    Henry Purcell


  • 00:08

    Henry Purcell

    Jephtha Sinfonia

  • 00:10

    William Boyce

    Concerto Grosso - Fuga, Allegro

  • 00:11

    James Hook

    (Sweet) Lass of Richmond Hill

  • 00:12

    William Boyce

    Overture No. 10 In F Major: Allegro - Dolce Moderato - Allegro Assai

  • 00:13

    Luigi Boccherini


  • 00:15

    Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Sinfonia In G Major iii) Presto

    Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen. Orchestra: Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
  • 00:16

    George Frideric Handel

    Airs From Vauxhall Gardens: Overture

  • 00:17

    John Garth

    Concerto No 4 In B Flat Major iii) Minuet

  • 00:22

    Baldassare Galuppi

    Sonata In C Major - Adagio

  • 00:25

    Henry Purcell

    Come Let Us Drink

  • 00:26


    Chloe At Cock's Auction

  • 00:28

    Thomas Arne

    Rule Britannia

  • 00:29

    Charles Avison

    Concerti Grossi - Con No.1 In A: Adagio

  • 00:30

    Charles Avison

    Concerti Grossi - Con No.2 In G: Vivace

  • 00:32

    Charles Avison

    Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 6

  • 00:34

    George Frideric Handel

    Organ Concerto In G Minor

  • 00:39

    Johann Christian Bach

    Sinfonia Concertante In F Major - Larghetto

  • 00:39

    George Frideric Handel

    Organ Concerto In F Major - Andante

  • 10:40

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Allegretto, K. 15a

  • 00:42

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Fantasia (Prelude), K. 15g

  • 00:43

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony No 1 In E Flat

  • 00:48

    George Frideric Handel

    Pieces For A Musical Clock - A Voluntary On A Flight Of Angels

  • 00:50

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Adagio For Glass Armonica In C Major

  • 00:50

    Thomas Arne

    Concerto No 1 In C Major - Allegro

  • 00:51

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  • 00:56

    George Frideric Handel

    Sonata 5 Adagio - Allegro

  • 00:58

    John Newton

    Amazing Grace

  • 00:58

    William Herschel

    Symphony No 8 - Allegro Assai


Role Contributor
Presenter Suzy Klein
Producer Steve Freer
Director Steve Freer
Executive Producer Paul Bullock


18th Century Season

18th Century Season

Meet the Georgians who forged modern Britain, across BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3.