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Why does music move us?

Tom Service explores how music can tug our heartstrings like nothing else. He asks how, from Mahler to Miley Cyrus, music inspires the most powerful emotions within us.

How can music make us cry?
Why does our favourite piece give us the shivers?
And why, when we're feeling down, do we enjoy nothing more than a good wallow in sad music?

Is it something in the music - or something in ourselves?

From Schubert to Stravinsky and Mahler to Miley Cyrus - Tom Service is joined by music psychology expert Dr Victoria Williamson to investigate how music can tug on our heartstrings like nothing else.

Rethink music, with The Listening Service.

Available now

29 minutes


Music Played

  • Pietro Mascagni

    Cavalleria rusticana (Intermezzo)

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
    • Opera Intermezzi and Balle Music: Berlin Phil/Karajan.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • 5.
  • Richard Strauss

    Im Abendrot (Four Last Songs)

    Singer: Jessye Norman. Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Conductor: Kurt Masur.
    • Strauss, R.: Four Last Songs; 6 Orchestral Songs - Norman, Gewandhausorchester L.
    • Philips.
    • 4.
  • Roberta Flack

    The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

    • First Take.
    • Atlantic.
  • Adele

    Someone Like You

    • 21.
    • High Note.
  • Franz Schubert

    Quintet in C major D.956 for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos – Adagio

    Performer: Gautier Capuçon. Ensemble: Quatuor Ébène.
    • Quatuor Ébène // Schubert: Quintet and Lieder.
    • Erato.
  • R.E.M.

    Everybody Hurts

    • Automatic for the People.
    • Warner.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Concerto for piano and orchestra no. 2 (Op.18) in C minor, 2nd mvt; Adagio...

    Performer: Simon Trpceski. Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • Avie.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No 5 in C sharp minor (4th mvt, 'Adagietto')

    Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Rafael Kubelík.
    • Mahler: Symphony No. 5: Kubelik.
    • DG.
    • 4.
  • ABBA

    The winner takes it all

    • Gold.
    • Universal.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Requiem: Introitus

    Singer: Barbara Bonney. Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists.
    • Mozart: Requiem K626/Kyrie K341: Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner.
    • Philips.
    • 1.
  • Miley Cyrus

    Wrecking Ball

    • Bangerz.
    • Sony.
  • Carpenters

    Goodbye To Love

    • The Carpenters.
    • A&M.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

    Stabat mater... in F minor [1736], Stabat mater dolorosa

    Conductor: Christophe Rousset. Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques. Singer: Andreas Scholl. Singer: Barbara Bonney.
    • Pergolesi: Stabat Mater: Les Talens Lyriques/Rousset.
    • Decca.
    • 1.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No 2 in C minor, 'Resurrection' (4th mvt; Urlicht)

    Singer: Magdalena Kožená. Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • G. Mahler, Symphony no. 2 'Resurrection': Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle.
    • EMI Classics.
    • 3.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Symphony No 2 in E minor, Op 27 (3rd mvt)

    Conductor: Iván Fischer. Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra.
    • Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer.
    • Channel Classics.
    • 3.
  • Frederick Delius

    Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra

    Performer: Tasmin Little. Performer: Paul Watkins. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Sir Andrew Davis.
    • Delius: Double Concerto/Violin Concerto/Cello Concerto.
    • Chandos.
  • Whitney Houston

    I Will Always love You

    • I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston.
    • Arista.

    Half the World Away

    • Half the World Away.
    • Librator.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Serenade in G major, K 525, 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' (2nd mvt)

    Orchestra: London Mozart Players. Conductor: Jane Glover.
    • Mozart The Collectors Edition 50 CDs The Masterpieces The Greatest Artists.
    • EMI Classics.
    • 2.
  • Igor Stravinsky


    Performer: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Performer: Sao Paulo SO. Performer: Yan Pascal Tortelier.
    • Stravinsky: Works for Piano and Orchestra.
    • Chandos.
  • Nina Simone

    I Put A Spell On You

    • I Put a spell on you.
    • Verve.


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