As the BBC Proms begin, Tom Service ponders the seemingly never-ending allure of the orchestra for both composers and audiences, and how and why they've changed over the centuries.
As the world's greatest celebration of orchestras and orchestral music that is the BBC Proms gets underway, Tom Service attempts to shed some light on three centuries of orchestral manoeuvres... When did orchestras begin and why? Why do they have standardised sections of strings, woodwind, brass and percussion? Why did they seem to get bigger and bigger as the 19th century turned into the 20th? Why have so many of the great composers spent so much of their time writing for them? Are they still relevant to today's composers and what's their future?
And to find out what it's actually like to play in an orchestra, an individual working together with sometimes 100 others, Tom talks to Beverley Jones, double bassist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
David Papp (producer).