History of Modern "Classical" (Arts) Music Series on BBC Radio 4, Today

Have you ever wondered who were the great composers of “classical” (arts) music after Beethoven?? Did you know that Brahms and Wagner looked down at each other?? Have you ever just wanted to learn more about modern “classical” music and opera??

BBC 4 has a monumental music series called The Making of Music; it focuses on music from the second half of the 19th century to our present day.

It is monumental because it is on everyday M-F for the next six weeks.

Best of all, if you have the internet, you can listen for free; I’ve seen similar courses on tape being sold for $100.00-$150.00.

The man from the BBC, in my opinion, is culturally liberal, so you need to take that into account. The BBC has very few kind words for the Catholic Church.

Otherwise, the series is excellent.

The show today is on 19th century Russian composers like Glinka, Mussorgsky, Borodin.

Unfortunately, if you want to listen to the whole thing, you missed one show, and you need to listen everyday, starting today.

I think the website is bbc.co.uk, just click on the Radio box and go to BBC Radio 4.

The Making of Music is located on the bottom lower left where it says “This Week’s Shows.”

The Radio 4 show is a 15 minute lecture explaining the history and events that helped shape music.

Then, there is a link on the show’s main page to BBC Radio 3, which airs a one hour program and plays the music discussed in the lecture; the Radio 3 program is also called The Making of Music.

Heres the exact link to BBC 4’s Making of Music series:


It does look very interesting, but you’re right about the anti-Catholic bias.

The very first entry on the Timeline relates to Hildegard, in 1136, who writes sacred songs.

The second entry, on the very same page, is about Pierre Abelard, 1141, in which it states:

…scholar and philosopher Pierre Abelard is summoned to trial for heresy by senior cleric Bernard of Clairvaux for publishing rationalist arguments against religious dogma.

When I first read it (browsed it quickly), I thought it was related to the composer Hildegard. On more careful reading, it seems to be unrelated to music, and was simply thrown in to “enlighten” the BBC readers.

There is a strong anti-Catholic bias at the BBC, in my opinion.

As long as your aware of this, and know that everything the host of the show (and the BBC in general) says does come with a certain bias (in my opinion, mainly a secular, relativist, atheistic scientific point of view), and should be listened to with a critical ear, I wouldn’t let that from deter you from enjoying either the historical lectures or the great music (remember, most of modern classical music and opera is secular in nature).

For instance, the lecture on Russian classical music said that Tschaikovsky composed the music of The Nutcracker ballet while he was visiting the United States; something I did not know.

Comments similar to what you mentioned are found in just some of the 30 episodes; it isn’t like the guy is spouting anti-Catholic vitriol in every episode; but you probably will eventually run into some comments like that in this series.

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