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Searching for Paradise

The Listening Service joins the BBC's Civilisations season to sound the divine in music.

The Listening Service investigates music's divine journeys as part of the BBC's Civilisations season.

Humanity has used music to commune with the sacred for as long as we have been human: from the caves of Chauvet, tens of thousands of years ago, to the churches, temples, and synagogues of today, we have sung and hymned and played our connection with our God(s).
Something else has happened in modern Western society: as organised religion has waned, a cult of music has developed, in which we don't just use music to worship, but worship music and musicians as carriers of a divine spark. With the help of Keith Howard, Emeritus Professor of Music at SOAS and The Reverend Lucy Winkett, Tom explores how music has sounded the sacred and itself become sacred.

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Traditional

    Afternoon Prayers

    • ARION.
  • Traditional

    Chant Chamanique

    Performer: Nina Demnimeevna Lorvinova.
    • BUDA.
  • Traditional

    Jewish Liturgical Music

    Performer: Brich Shmei. Performer: Berele Chagy.
    • NIMBUS.
  • Gustav Holst

    I Vow to thee My Country

    Performer: Westminster Choir.
    • TBA.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Mass (BWV.232) in B minor: Part 4 - Sanctus

    Performer: Monteverdi Choir. Performer: English Baroque Soloists.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Requiem in D minor K.626 - Lacrimosa dies illa; Domine Jesu

    Performer: Monteverdi Choir. Performer: English Baroque Soloists. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphony of Psalms: Part I

    Performer: Toronto Festival Singers. Performer: CBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Igor Stravinsky.
    • CBS.
  • Judith Weir

    Nunc Dimittis

    Performer: BBC Singers. Performer: David Hill.
    • SIGNUM.
  • Traditional

    Ale Ile (for Egungun)

    Performer: Dundun Ensemble from Atchoukpa.
    • SMITHSONIAN.
  • Traditional

    Raag Bhatiyar

    Performer: Rakesh Chaurasia. Performer: Sunil Das. Performer: Bhavani Shankar.
    • SONA RUPA.
  • Traditional

    Afternoon Prayers

    Performer: Unknown.
    • ARIO.
  • Traditional

    Antifona from Officum sancti Severi

    Performer: Calixtinus. Performer: Gianni de Gennaro.
    • TACTUS.
  • Traditional

    Paravi lucernam Christo meo

    Performer: Ensemble Organum. Performer: Marcel Pérès.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Traditional

    Offertorio from Feria VI stacio ad sanctum Vitalem

    Performer: Calixtinus. Performer: Gianni de Gennaro.
    • TACTUS.
  • Traditional

    Mi Shesoso nisim

    Performer: Berele Chagy.
    • NIMBUS.
  • Traditional

    Psalmodie bouddhique, pomp’e

    Performer: Unidentified.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Traditional

    Hicaz Ayini III. Selam

    Performer: Nezih Uzel. Performer: Istanbul Sema Group Mevlevi Music Board Orchestra.
    • HEMISHERE.
  • Traditional

    Maulah Ali Maulah Ali (Traditional Sufi Qawwali)

    Performer: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Performer: Mujahid Mubarak. Performer: Ali Khan & Party.
    • NAVRAS.
  • Traditional

    Tenores su cuntrattu de Seneghe: Gosos

    Performer: Unidentified.
    • ARC.
  • Traditional

    Pachyu Nghachhya

    Performer: Yarjung Tamu. Performer: Man Bhadur. Performer: Jaman Sing. Performer: Thau Bhadur.
    • SOAS.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV80: opening

    Performer: Monteverdi Choir. Performer: English Baroque Soloists. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • SOLI DEO GLORIA.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Mass (BWV 232)in B minor, Part 4; Sanctus

    Performer: onteverdi Choir. Performer: English Baroque Soloists.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Pérotin

    Viderunt Omnes

    Performer: The Hilliard Ensemble.
    • ECM.

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