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From timpani to timbales, crotales to cow bells, Colin Currie conjures up a spectacular range of music for percussion.

Brash, visceral, thrilling, terrifying. Ethereal, delicate, exquisite, meditative.

Colin Currie presents a celebration of a musical family that spans the sonic spectrum in a unique and almost limitless fashion: percussion.

Colin has been called “one of the greatest musicians in the world today” by none other than Steve Reich, who knows a thing or two about percussion, and in this, the first of three episodes, Colin introduces a taste of the huge array of colours and sounds that the percussion family can conjure up.

Over the past century the percussion section has been freed from its previous role as rhythmic accompaniment and occasional sound effect, and has taken centre stage in an explosion of music written for solo percussion, percussion ensembles, chamber groups and orchestras.

In this episode, music by Messiaen, Britten and Stravinsky sits alongside tracks by Bjork, John Williams and Manu Delago. And instruments dating back hundreds of years mix with new instruments from the 21st century creating beautiful, surprising and unexpected aural delights.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

59 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jul 2019 23:00

Music Played

  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring Part II - Sacrificial Dance

    Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra. Conductor: Iván Fischer.
  • Manu Delago


    Performer: Manu Delago.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    West Side Story - Mambo

    Orchestra: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Marin Alsop.
    • NAXOS.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Prince of the Pagodas - Act II scene II

    Performer: James Holland. Performer: London Sinfonietta.
    • VIRGIN.
  • Claude Debussy

    Pagodes (Estampes)

    Music Arranger: Percy Grainger. Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
    • EMI.
  • Björk


    Singer: Björk.
    • Biophilia.
    • 7.
  • Richard Strauss

    Don Quixote - Variation 7 (The Ride Through the Air)

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
    • DG.
  • Richard Strauss

    Alpine Symphony - Auf der Alm (On the Alpine Pasture)

    Orchestra: Bavarian Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Mariss Jansons.
  • John Williams

    Jaws - Chrissie's death

    • Jaws - original film score.
    • MCA.
    • 2.
  • George Gershwin

    An American in Paris (excerpt)

    Orchestra: New York Philharmonic. Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas.
    • SONY.
  • Olivier Messiaen


    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Antal Doráti.
    • EMI.
  • George Antheil

    Ballet Mecanique (excerpt)

    Orchestra: Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Spalding.
    • NAXOS.


  • Sun 13 Jan 2019 23:00
  • Sun 14 Jul 2019 23:00

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