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Tom Service goes on a voyage to discover why music has long been inspired by the sea, while marine biologist Helen Scales reveals the true sound of the oceans.

Join Tom on a Listening Service voyage across our oceans to discover why music has long been inspired by the sea - from Sibelius and Mendelssohn to John Luther Adams and the Beatles - how have composers tried to capture the ocean in their music? Is it even possible?

Meanwhile, Tom discovers music that is literally created by the sea itself from Blackpool to the Arctic, and dives down into the sounds of coral reefs with the marine biologist Helen Scales to hear the noisy vibrant reality of life under the waves, from snapping pistol shrimps and angry damsel fish to singing whales.

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29 minutes

Music Played

  • Claude Debussy

    Nocturnes for orchestra, no.3; Sirenes

    Performer: Cleveland Orchestra. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG 4398962.
  • Tim Buckley

    Song to the Siren from ‘Starsailor’

    Performer: Unknown.
    • Straight.
  • Otis Redding

    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

    Composer: Steve Cropper. Performer: Otis Redding.
    • Stax.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Four Sea interludes from 'Peter Grimes, Op.33a

    Performer: BBC Philharmonic. Performer: Edward Gardner.
    • Chandos.
  • Claude Debussy

    Petite suite for piano duet: En bateau

    Performer: Martha Argerich. Performer: Cristina Marton.
    • Warner.
  • Chuck Berry

    Surfin’ USA

    Performer: The Beach Boys.
    • Capitol Records.
  • Richard Wagner

    The Flying Dutchman Overture

    Performer: Hallé. Performer: Sir Mark Elder.
    • Halle.
  • Charles Trenet

    La Mer

    Performer: Charles Trenet.
    • EMI.
  • John A. Glover-Kind

    I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside

    Performer: Unknown.
    • Kala International.
  • Sir Cliff Richard & The Shadows

    Summer Holiday

    • EMI.
  • Groove Armada

    At the River

    Performer: Groove Armada.
    • Tummy Touch.
  • David Guetta

    When Love Takes Over

    Composer: NERVO. Performer: David Guetta. Performer: Kelly Rowland.
    • Virgin Records.
  • Traditional

    Ten Thousand Miles Away

    Performer: Ian Giles. Performer: John Spiers. Performer: Jon Boden. Performer: Graham Metcalfe.
    • CCL.
  • Jean Sibelius

    The Oceanides

    Performer: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Jukka‐Pekka Saraste.
    • RCA.
  • Iannis Xenakis

    Sea Change

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Andrew Davis.
    • BBC recording.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) – Overture, Op.26

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Radiohead

    Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

    Performer: Radiohead.
    • XLCD.
  • Stef Veldhuis

    Music by Oceans

    Performer: Unknown.
    • Private recording.
  • Miles Davis

    All Blues

    Performer: Steve Turre.
    • Smoke Sessions Records.
  • John Luther Adams

    Become Ocean

    Performer: Seattle Symphony. Performer: Ludovic Morlot.
    • Cantaloupe.
  • Richard Starkey

    Octopus’s Garden

    Performer: The Beatles.
    • Parlophone.

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