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Extreme Voices

Tom Service discovers some of the most extreme vocals in music, from Mozart and Rachmaninov to Stockhausen and Daft Punk, and finds out whether we're all extreme singers at heart.

Whether it's an eye-wateringly high soprano or profoundly low bass, lightning quick rappers, the star castrati of the 18th century, the screamers, the growlers, the robots or the singers that can produce two notes at once - there are a lot of extreme voices out there.

Tom Service takes a trip through the many purveyors of vocal pyrotechnics from Mozart and Rachmaninov to Stockhausen, Tom Waits and Daft Punk, has a lesson in throat singing from overtone singer Michael Ormiston, and finds out whether we're all extreme singers at heart.

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 9 Jul 2017 17:00

Music Played

  • James Brown

    Get Up Offa That Thing

    Performer: James Brown.
    • Get Up Offa That Thing.
    • Universal/Polydor.
  • Alash

    My Throat the Cuckoo

    Performer: Alash.
    • Achai.
  • Alexander Gretchaninov

    Now the Powers of Heaven, Op.58

    Choir: Conspirare. Director: Craig Hella Johnson.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
  • Björk

    Triumph of a Heart

    Performer: Björk.
    • Medulla.
    • Elektra.
  • Nicola Porpora

    Alto Giove (Polifemo)

    Singer: Philippe Jaroussky. Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: Andrea Marcon.
    • ERATO.
  • Tom Waits

    Little Drop of Poison

    Performer: Tom Waits.
    • Orphans (Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards).
    • Anti.
  • Daft Punk

    Harder Better Faster Stronger

    Performer: Daft Punk.
    • Discovery.
    • Virgin.
  • Diamanda Galás

    Wild Women with Steak Knives

    Performer: Diamanda Galás.
    • The Litanies of Satan.
    • Mute.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Alles fühlt der Liebe; Der Hölle Rache (The Magic Flute)

    Singer: Edita Gruberová. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Singer: Peter Keller. Orchestra: Philharmonia Zürich.
    • Teldec.
  • Thomas Adès

    The Tempest

    Performer: Cynthia Sieden. Performer: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Performer: Thomas Adès.
    • EMI.
  • Minnie Riperton

    Loving You

    • Perfect Angel.
    • Import.
  • Björk

    It's Oh So Quiet

    • Post Live.
    • One Little Indian.
  • Kate Bush

    Wuthering Heights

    • The Kick Inside.
    • EMC.
  • Giovanni Aldega

    Domine Salvum Fac Pontificem Nostrum Leonem

    Performer: Alessandro Moreschi.
    • Opal.
  • Nicola Porpora

    Nell' attendere il mio bene (Polifemo)

    Singer: Philippe Jaroussky. Director: Andrea Marcon. Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra.
    • ERATO.
  • Bee Gees


    Performer: Bee Gees.
    • Spirits Have Flown.
    • RSO.
  • Guns N’ Roses

    Sweet Child O Mine

    Performer: Guns N’ Roses.
    • Appetite for Destruction.
    • Geffen.
  • Frank Ocean

    Thinkin Bout You

    Performer: Frank Ocean.
    • Channel ORANGE.
    • Island Def Jam.
  • Guns N’ Roses

    Knockin' On Heaven's Door

    • Use Your Illusion II.
    • Geffen.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Nunc dimittis (Vespers)

    Choir: Latvian Radio Choir. Conductor: Sigvards Kļava.
    • Ondine.
  • Joaquín Rodrigo

    Invocación y danza (Homenaje a Manuel de Falla)

    Performer: Miloš Karadaglić.
    • Milos Aranjuez.
    • DG.
    • 6.
  • Alash


    Performer: Alash.
    • Achai.
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen

    Stimmung (conclusion)

    Ensemble: Theatre of Voices. Director: Paul Hillier.
  • Tom Waits


    Performer: Tom Waits.
    • Swordfishtrombones.
    • Island.
  • Vladimir Vysotsky

    La chasse aux loups

    Performer: Vladimir Vysotsky.
    • Le Vol Arrete.
    • Chant du Monde.
  • Napalm Death

    Silence is Deafening

    Performer: Napalm Death.
    • The Code Is Red...Long Live the Code.
    • Century.
  • John Zorn

    Six Litanies For Heliogabalus

    Performer: Mike Patton.
    • Tzadik.
  • Pampidoo

    Synthesiser Voice

    Performer: Pampidoo.
    • Jammy's Records.
  • Jonathan Harvey

    Mortuos plango, vivos voco

    Ensemble: Ensemble intercontemporain. Conductor: Péter Eötvös.
    • ERATO.
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen

    Gesang Der Jünglinge

    • Gesang der junglinge.
    • Stockhausen.
  • Daft Punk

    One More Time

    Performer: Daft Punk.
    • Discovery.
    • Virgin.
  • Ella Fitzgerald

    Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

    • Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book.
    • Verve.
  • Arthur Sullivan, New Sadler's Wells Opera & Gordon Sandison

    Ruddigore - My Eyes are Fully Open

    Librettist: William Gilbert.
    • That’s entertainment.
  • Eminem

    Rap God

    Performer: Eminem.
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
    • Interscope.
  • Phil Minton

    The Feral Choir

    Performer: The Feral Choir.
    • The Enigma Carols.
    • Recorded.
  • Van Morrison

    Born to Sing

    Performer: Van Morrison.
    • Born to Sing.
    • No Plan B.


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