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Tom Service explores how to get a piece of music off to a good start. What does the beginning of a piece tell us about the culture around it and the expectations of listeners.

The Listening Service - an odyssey through the musical universe with Tom Service. Join him on a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works.

Each week, Tom aims to open our ears to different ways of imagining a musical idea, a work, or a musical conundrum, on the premise that "to listen" is a decidedly active verb.

How does music connect with us, make us feel that gamut of sensations from the fiercely passionate to the rationally intellectual, from the expressively poetic to the overwhelmingly visceral? What's happening in the pieces we love that takes us on that emotional rollercoaster? And what's going on in our brains when we hear them?

When we listen - really listen - we're not just attending to the way that songs, symphonies, and string quartets work as collections of notes and melodies. We're also creating meanings and connections that reverberate powerfully with other worlds of ideas, of history and culture, as well as the widest range of musical genres. We're engaging the world with our ears. The Listening Service aims to help make those connections, to listen actively.

So where do we start? This inaugural programme takes "Beginnings" at its theme - how do you begin a piece of music?
Tom looks at a cornucopia of opening bars - from classical to pop, to see how composers grab our attention, and go on to keep us listening. With thoughts from composer Anna Meredith on the terror of the blank page, tune in and rethink music with The Listening Service..

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 1 May 2016 17:00

Music Played

  • Rodgers and Hammerstein

    Do Re Mi

    Performer: Julie Andrews.
    • The Sound of Music (Original Soundtrack Recording.
    • RCA.
  • Edvard Grieg

    Concerto for piano and orchestra (Op.16) in A minor, 1st Mvt.

    Performer: Stephen Kovacevich. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Colin Davis.
    • Grieg, Schumann: Piano Concertos.
    • NEWTON.
    • 1.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 3 (Op.55) in E flat major "Eroica", 1st movement

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic String Quintet. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9.
    • DG.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

    Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • J. S. BACH Weihnachtsoratorium.
    • TELDEC.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    La forza del destino (Overture)

    Orchestra: National Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
    • Verdi: 7 Overtures.
    • DECCA.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No. 1, 1st Mvt.

    Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra. Conductor: George Szell.
    • Mahler Symphony 1.
    • SONY.
  • Louis Armstrong

    West End Blues

    • West End Blues.
    • Pickwick.
  • Niccolò Piccinni

    Iphigenie en Tauride, Overture

    Orchestra: Orceshra dell’Ente Artistico Teatro Petruzzelli. Conductor: Donato Renzetti.
    • Iphigenie en Tauride.
    • WARNER.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony No. 31 in D major, K.297, 1st Mvt.

    Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Performer: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Mozart: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
    • TELDEC.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony No. 31 in D major, K.297, last Mvt.

    Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Performer: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Mozart: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
    • TELDEC.
  • Anna Meredith

    Nautillus

    • Varmints.
    • Moshi Moshi Records.
  • Anna Meredith

    The Vapours

    • Varmints.
    • Moshi Moshi Records.
  • Joseph Haydn

    The Creation

    Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • The Creation.
    • BMG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 9 (Op.125) in D minor "Choral", 1st movement

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Herbert von Karajan.
    • Symphony No. 9 'Choral'.
    • DGG.
  • Richard Wagner

    Die Walkure [Part 2 of 'Der Ring ...'], Act 3; The Ride of the Valkyries

    Performer: Donald Runnicles. Performer: Staatskapelle Dresden.
    • Der Ring des Nibelungen.
    • TELDEC.
  • Richard Wagner

    Prelude to Das Rheingold

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Georg Solti.
    • Rheingold.
    • DECCA.
  • Derek and the Dominos

    Layla

    • Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
    • Atco Records.
  • Pharrell Williams

    Happy

    • G I R L.
    • i am OTHER.
  • ABBA

    Dancing Queen

    • Arrival.
    • Polar Music International.
  • The Beatles

    Strawberry Fields Forever

    • Magical Mystery Tour.
    • Parlophone.
  • Edvard Grieg

    Morning Mood (Peer Gynt, Op.23)

    Performer: San Francisco S O. Performer: Herbert Blomstedt.
    • Grieg - San Francisco Symphony.
    • DECCA.
  • David Bowie

    'Heroes'

    • Heroes.
    • RCA Records.
  • Antonio Vivaldi

    The 4 Seasons: Spring (Violin Concerto in E, RV269)

    Performer: La Serenissima. Performer: Adrian Chandler.
    • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons.
    • AVIE.
  • Led Zeppelin

    Stairway To Heaven

    • Led Zeppelin IV.
    • Atlantic.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Le Nozze di Figaro - (K.492), Overture

    Performer: Staatskapelle Dresden. Performer: Colin Davis.
    • Staatskapelle Dresden.
    • RCA.

Contact The Listening Service

You can email us at thelisteningservice@bbc.co.uk


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