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Premier :: 2011-11-03

Airs :: Thursday 21:00 on BBC Four

Genre :: Documentary

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Simon Russell Beale presents a radical reappraisal of the place of the symphony in the modern world and explores the surprising way in which it has shaped our history and identity

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 4 - Revolution and Rebirth
Aired - 24 November 2011

Episode summary:

Simon Russell Beale's journey takes him into the 20th century, a time when the certainties of empire were falling away, war was looming and the world was changing faster than ever before. Simon investigates the extraordinary symphonic world of Shostakovich, the star composer of the new Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ives and Copland who were both, in their different ways, creating a new American sound. He discovers how the development of the gramophone and broadcasting meant that more people could hear their music than ever before and how it became possible to immortalise the symphony in sound. The symphonies are played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

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