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Tom Service ponders silence as an integral part of music, from classical and avant-garde concert hall to techno dance floor.

All music begins and ends in silence and often there's a bit in the middle, too. Some pieces skirt silence as they hover at the edge of audibility; in others the performers are completely silent. Tom Service ponders silence's fundamental importance to music and how composers have made it an integral part of their works, from classical concert hall to today's avant-garde, from indie pop to techno dance floor. And as he asks if we, as listeners, can ever actually experience real silence, he's joined by composer Michael Pisaro to hear about the implications of silence for him and his audience.

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No. 1 in D major: Mvt I, Langsam. Schleppend

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Georg Solti.
    • Decca.
  • Morton Feldman

    String Quartet II

    Performer: FLUX Quartet.
    • Mode.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 5 in C major: Mvt I, Allegro con brio

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Carlos Kleiber.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet in E flat, Op. 33/2 "The Joke": Mvt IV, Presto

    Performer: London Haydn Quartet.
    • Hyperion.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No. 92 in G major 'Oxford': Mvt III, Menuet (Allegretto)

    Performer: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Performer: René Jacobs.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
  • Franz Schubert

    String Quintet in C major, D956: Mvt 2, Adagio

    Performer: Takács Quartet. Performer: Ralph Kirshbaum.
    • Hyperion.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor: Mvt III Adagio, (Langsam, feierlich)

    Performer: Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Pet Shop Boys

    Heart

    • Ultimate Pet Shop Boys.
    • Parlophone.
  • James Blake

    Limit To Your Love

    • James Blake.
    • Atlas Recordings.
  • Stella

    La silence

    • Stella.
    • RPM Records.
  • Michael Pisaro

    Ricefall

    Performer: University of South Carolina Experimental Music Workshop. Performer: International Contemporary Ensemble. Performer: Greg Stuart.
    • https://vimeo.com/187971251.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No 9: Mvt IV, Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.

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