Orientalism and the Music of Elsewhere
Tom Service unpicks western music's debt to the exotic and asks when western music itself can be exotic. The second of three companion programmes to TV's Civilisations series.
In the second of three companion programmes to BBC TV's Civilisations series, Tom Service unpicks western music's debt to the exotic and ponders the allure of western music for other cultures.
Reflecting contemporary attitudes and trends in fashion and the arts, the exotic has long cast its spell on western composers. Mozart catered to the 18th-century Viennese craze for all things Turkish; in 19th-century France the exotic stretched east to Indonesia and Japan. More recently, the music of Africa has attracted the likes of Steve Reich and György Ligeti. And 150 years ago, as Japan opened up to outside influences, western culture became suddenly desirable in the east, with profound and lasting consequences. But what does it take to make the exotic in music more than a titillating and imperialist added extra?
Including contributions from composer Unsuk Chin, and cultural historian of Japan, Jonathan Service.
David Papp (producer).