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Ranked Amateurs

Instead of a byword for sloppy low standards and dilettantes, Tom Service wants you to think of amateurs as an essential and vital force in music for the last three centuries.

Today, 'amateur' has become a byword for sloppiness and low standards. But for centuries amateurs were the bedrock of musical life and an essential and vitalising force for composers, providing not only a cohort of highly-accomplished performers and the most discerning audience but also a lucrative vein to be mined by music publishers. To find out how and why attitudes changed - and if they are still changing - Tom Service is joined by writer and historian Katy Hamilton.

David Papp (producer)

13 days left to listen

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 9 in D minor Op.125 (Choral)

    Conductor: Claudio Abbado. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Eric Ericsons Kammarkör. Performer: Radiokören.
    • DG.
    • 4714912.
  • Franz Schubert

    Die Forelle D.550

    Performer: Barbara Bonney. Performer: Geoffrey Parsons.
    • Elatus.
    • 0927-467412.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Concerto no. 9 in E flat major K.271 for piano and orchestra

    Performer: Leif Ove Andsnes. Performer: Det Norske Kammerorkester.
    • warner classics.
    • 5578032.
  • Johannes Brahms

    4 Songs Op.17 for women's voices, 2 horns and harp

    Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Performer: Anneke Scott. Performer: Nuala Hebert. Performer: Monteverdi Choir.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Noye's fludde - children's opera in 1 act Op.59

    Conductor: Richard Hickox. Performer: Endymion Ensemble.
    • Erato.
    • 3499232.
  • Tansy Davies

    Feather and Groove

    Conductor: Gregory Rose. Performer: London Sinfonietta.
    • NMC.
    • NMC DL 228.
  • Edward Elgar

    Severn suite Op.87 for brass band in B flat or C major

    Conductor: Elgar Howarth. Performer: Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
    • decca.
    • 4737412.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Elijah Op.70

    Performer: Paul McCreesh. Performer: Gabrieli Consort. Performer: Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.
    • SIGNUM.
    • SIGCD300.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Quartet in A major Op.20`6 for strings

    Performer: Chiaroscuro Orchestra.
    • BIS.
    • BIS 2168.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Musikalisches Opfer BWV.1079

    Performer: Sonnerie.
    • VIRGIN CLASSICS.
    • VC-5451392.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Lieder ohne Worte - book 7 Op.85

    Performer: Ronald Brautigam.
    • bis.
    • 1983.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Die Weihe des Hauses - overture Op.124

    Conductor: Neville Marriner. Performer: Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
    • CAPRICCIO.
    • C10549.
  • Franz Schubert

    3 Marches militaires D.733 for piano duet

    Performer: Daniel Barenboim. Performer: Radu Lupu.
    • Teldec.
    • 0630171462.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah

    Conductor: Malcolm Sargent. Performer: Huddersfield Choral Society. Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Warner Classics.
    • 375 9202.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 4 in B flat major Op.60

    Performer: Yury Martynov.
    • ZigZag.
    • ZigZag ZZ356.
  • Franz Schubert

    Trinklied (Freunde sammelt euch im Kreise) D.75 for bass, male chorus and piano

    Conductor: Jan Schumacher. Performer: Andreas Frese. Performer: Cantabile Limburg.
    • Genuin.
    • GEN18616.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    25 Scottish songs Op.108 for voice and piano trio

    Performer: Christopher Maltman. Performer: Krysia Osostowicz. Performer: Malcolm Martineau. Performer: Ursula Smith.
    • DG.
    • 4775128.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    3 Waltzes Op.64 for piano

    Performer: Ingrid Fliter.
    • WARNER CLASSICS.
    • 5148992.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 5 in C minor Op.67

    Performer: Yury Martynov.
    • ZigZag.
    • ZigZag ZZ356.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 5 in C minor Op.67

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Carlos Kleiber.
    • DG.
    • 4474002.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Symphony no. 1 in C minor Op.68

    Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • WARNER CLASSICS.
    • 2672542.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Don Giovanni - opera in 2 acts K.527

    Performer: Budapester Bläserensemble.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • 903008.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Don Giovanni - opera in 2 acts K.527

    Performer: Bryn Terfel. Performer: New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Conductor: James Levine.
    • DGG.
    • DG-445866-2.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Elijah Op.70

    Performer: Paul McCreesh. Performer: Gabrieli Consort. Performer: Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.
    • SIGNUM.
    • SIGCD300.
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    Pierrot lunaire Op.21 for voice and ensemble

    Conductor: Pierre Boulez. Performer: Chistine Schafer. Performer: Ensemble intercontemporain.
    • DG.
    • 4790563.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 5 in C minor Op.67

    Conductor: Artúr Nikisch. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Symposium.
    • sympcd1087-88.
  • Traditional

    Joe Cooley's Fancy Trad Music Session, Dolan's Pub

    Performer: Rambling Fiddler.
  • Jack's Raging Mind

    Taken to the Gallows

    Performer: Jack's Raging Mind.
  • Susan Boyle

    I Dreamed a Dream

    • SONY MUSIC.
    • BOO2LE-8EFQ.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Noye's fludde - children's opera in 1 act Op.59

    Conductor: Norman Del Mar. Performer: East Suffolk Children's Orchestra. Performer: English Chamber Orchestra Chorus. Performer: English Chamber Orchestra.
    • decca.
    • 4251612.
  • Cornelius Cardew

    The Great learning [rev.1970-71]

    Performer: Scratch Orchestra. Performer: Cornelius Cardew.
    • dg.
    • 4715722.
  • Just Because

    Trap Nation Drop

    Performer: Just Because.

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