Sveriges 100 mest populära podcasts

The Listening Service

The Listening Service

Rethink music with The Listening Service. Tom Service presents a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works


iTunes / Overcast / RSS



What's the point of cadenzas?

Tom Service is joined at the 2022 Hay Festival by the American pianist, writer and self confessed 'classical music nerd of the highest order' Jeremy Denk, to explore cadenzas - virtuosic solo improvisations - with help from Freddie Mercury, John Coltrane and J.S Bach.
Länk till avsnitt

Royal Music

Royal music throughout the ages. Tom Service asks: what makes it sound royal, and why? And is there really such a thing as a royal sound world? Royal music doesn?t have to be heraldic, ranging from the pomp and ceremony of Elgar; to the intimacy of lutenists like Dowland writing in the court of Christian IV in Denmark; to the secret music of the Kyoto imperial court, performed exclusively for royal ears. Composers over the centuries and millennia have written for kings, queens, princes and princesses, at times simultaneously praising and even criticising monarchies from within and without.
Länk till avsnitt

Can music be funny?

Tom Service on the art of classical music comedy. And it's not necessarily all about timing - see also parody, pastiche, absurdities, incongruity, subverting of expectations and sometimes, just good old funny noises... With musician and comedian Vikki Stone.
Länk till avsnitt

The Musical Recycling Plant

For centuries, composers have re-used music from their earlier works in their new ones. But why? Were they simply pressed for time, or might there be another reason? And what do these 'recycled' versions sounds like? Does music become diluted and weaker with each reincarnation, or could the opposite be true? Together with expert musical recycler Saul Eisenberg of The Junk Orchestra, Tom Service explores this 'green' musical practice. Dom Wells (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

More Than the Score

Are the 100s of recordings of each Beethoven symphony (and the thousands upon thousands of live performances over the years) really so very different from each other? Can one interpretation be better than another? What is interpretation and why is it apparently so central to western classical music? Why do we keep coming back for more? With the help of music critic Fiona Maddocks and pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, Tom Service is on the case. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

What's in a Name?

A listener asks: "What makes a concerto different from a suite? A bagatelle from a caprice? On my way to work once, Radio 3 Breakfast played a gentle, quiet piece, with chords languidly spread into arpeggios. Aha, I thought; this is a nocturne. But no, it was an etude." So when is a song not a song? Tom Service tackles the complicated world of classical musical titles, catalogue numbers and naming conventions.
Länk till avsnitt

Song Cycles and Concept Albums

Tom Service explores the world of the song cycle - from the tortured passions and existential angst of Beethoven and Schubert's protagonists in 19th-century Vienna, to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole's ebullient takes on the genre with the birth of the concept album, and Kate Bush's groundbreaking experimental pop suite The Ninth Wave. Our witness today is composer Emily Hall whose work Life Cycle, written with Toby Litt for singer Mara Carlyle, explores the theme of motherhood. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

Finishing the Hat

Tom Service explores the unique relationship between music and lyrics in the work of Stephen Sondheim who died in 2021. Credited with 'reinventing the American musical' his works include Follies, Passion, Company, Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd. Our witnesses are musical director Jason Carr, and thanks to archive interviews, Stephen Sondheim himself. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

John Williams - the Force of Music!

Tom Service has a close encounter with the film music of John Williams.
Länk till avsnitt

Classical Crossover

The genre of classical crossover music has produced some of the highest-selling artists of all time. Why has it become so popular, who are the great exponents of the art, and what techniques transform the performance of a classical piece or a pop track into "crossover"?
Länk till avsnitt


For many years, the humble, plastic and mass-produced recorder has been a mainstay of music education. The first instrument put into the hands of thousands of 20th-century primary school children across the world, creating lifelong musical memories, some good, some bad. That?s all now under threat from a small, stringed imposter: the ukulele. A recent survey of children who play a musical instrument found that the proportion playing the recorder has collapsed from 52% in 1997 to just 15% in 2020. Ukelele playing since 2014 is up by 15%. Recorders appear in paintings as early as the 15th century and have long been associated with angels and amateurs as well as children. Henry VIII was a big fan ? ?exercising himselfe dailie in ? plaieing at the recorders?; and on hearing one in 1668 Samuel Pepys said it was ?so sweet that it ravished me ; and indeed, in a word, did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick, just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife?. He bought himself one six weeks later. An understated presence in the history of classical music nevertheless, the recorder has been utilised by composers from Henry Purcell and Handel, to Paul Hindemith and Luciano Berio. So, what next for the recorder and can it survive all those ukuleles? Tom Service investigates? Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

Dancing about Architecture

Despite barbed quips about the impossibility of writing about music, people have been at it, successfully, for thousands of years, from Plato in ancient Greece until today. Many composers, too, have felt the need to set down in writing their musical credos; composers like Berlioz and Debussy have themselves been great writers about music. And then, what about the literary representations of music in passages which so clearly and evocatively describe what it's like to listen to music, which manage to articulate the emotions music so readily arouses but we find so hard to describe? So is writing about music really like dancing about architecture? No, says Tom Service. But clunky, not-quite-worked through metaphors are definitely best avoided. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Playing at sight and playing from memory

Tom Service on two of the most astounding musical skills, which the majority of professional classical musicians have in abundance - the ability to play from memory, and the ability to play at sight, without study or much in the way of rehearsal. How and why do they do it? With pianist and teacher Richard Sisson, and violinist Eva Thorarinsdottir, of the Aurora Orchestra, whose members are unusual in that they often play from memory as an ensemble.
Länk till avsnitt

Making Overtures

Tom Service explores the rise and fall of the musical curtain-raiser. From the birth of the opera with Monteverdi, to the lavish cinematic releases of the 20th century, the overture has had an important place in music history, priming audiences for the characters and atmospheres they'll encounter in the action that follows. So how did the overture develop, and how did it become greater than just a device to signal the start of a show? And why has it largely disappeared from concerts and cinemas? With guest Matthew Sweet, from Radio 3's Sound of Cinema.
Länk till avsnitt


Written in just 24 days, premiered in Dublin almost 280 years ago, and performed thousands of times since, Handel?s ?Messiah? is one of the most popular choral works of all time. A staple of many amateur and professional festive concert seasons, it?s also raised huge amounts of money for charity through the annual Foundling Hospital performances and Scratch Messiahs which now take place all over the world. But what exactly is the 'Messiah'? How and why did Handel write it? And does its familiarity make us take it for granted? Tom Service investigates? Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

How to listen to...Erik Satie

Tom Service explores the maverick world of one of the most popular French composers, Erik Satie, composer of the three Gymnopédies, with help from pianist Nicolas Horvath and composer Christine Ott.
Länk till avsnitt

The Borrowers

Taking other people's music and using it for your own purposes might look like the very opposite of creative originality. But down the centuries, from the parody masses of the middle ages and the habitual borrowings of the Baroque, through to 21st-century digital sampling, the greatest musical minds have done just that. Tom Service looks into the hows, whys and copyright pitfalls of musical borrowing with the help of legal expert and historian Olufunmilayo Arewa and composer and sound designer Pascal Wyse. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt


Tom Service explores the connections between Klezmer and classical music. With violinist and founder of the London Klezmer Quartet Ilana Kravitz, and writer and musicologist David Conway.
Länk till avsnitt

The timeless power of contemporary choral music

The vocal music of contemporary composers like Morton Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo and Caroline Shaw, is hugely popular with choirs, congregations and audiences. How do they achieve their brand of mystery and magic? Tom Service immerses himself in the resonant sound world of 21st-century choral music and discovers how it works. With guest, Kerry Andrew, who makes music for communities as well as choirs.
Länk till avsnitt

Eat to the Beat

What have a Mahler symphony and a recipe for sautéed kidneys got in common? Why do refugees and other displaced people take food and music with them when they are forced to leave their homeland? How do today's Spotify restaurant playlists and their 18th-century equivalents compare? Can you play in an orchestra and then eat your instruments? Tom Service and anthropologist Jonathan H Shannon have the answers. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Out of Tune

What does it really mean to be in tune? In tune with what - or who? And why is it simultaneously something that?s so important yet so relative, flexible and movable a feast when it comes to our musical culture? Tom Service investigates.
Länk till avsnitt

How to listen to... Arvo Pärt

Tom Service lifts the lid on the music of the most popular living composer - Arvo Pärt. Nominated for 11 Grammy awards and revered by Björk, P.J Harvey, and Radiohead, as well as classical musicians around the world, his seemingly simple and spiritual music is loved by millions. Born in Estonia in 1935 he did military service in the Soviet Army, worked as a radio producer, and wrote music for films, documentaries and animations, before creating his unique style of composition ?tintinnabulation?. But what exactly is tintinnabulation? What do you get when you cross mathematics with love? And how can strict rules and discipline ultimately mean freedom? Our witnesses are violinist Viktoria Mullova who has recorded many of Pärt?s seminal works, and theologian Dr Peter Bouteneff who has researched his music?s connections with his Orthodox faith. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

Fiddles and Fiddle Tunes

What?s the difference between a fiddle and a violin? How did an English jig turn into a Virginian reel? And what do Bach?s violin sonatas have in common with folk tunes from Finland? In The Listening Service today Tom Service explores fiddles, fiddlers, and fiddle tunes from around the globe, looking at how they connect communities, reflecting the stories of migrants and musicians across time, and staying true to tradition whilst continually changing. And how have classical composers incorporated fiddle tunes into their work? From Max Bruch?s Scottish Fantasy, based on tunes found in a library in Munich, to Aaron Copland?s Rodeo Hoe-Down, an orchestral transformation of the Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp?s tune Bonaparte?s Retreat. Our witnesses today are Pete Cooper, who learnt classical violin as a teenager before discovering busking and ending up fiddling in West Virginia, and Lori Watson whose music and research draw on the landscapes and folklore of the Scottish Borders where she grew up. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

Themes and Variations

Tom Service explores the endless potential of musical variations on a theme. On the one hand it's the simplest of all musical ideas - take a basic tune and play around with it - and yet on the other, it's a deeply profound reflection of life, as small sequences of musical DNA provide the building blocks for structures of ever increasing complexity.
Länk till avsnitt

Money Makes the Music Go Round

What have the Pet Shop Boys and Prokofiev got in common? How can you sing about not wanting money at the same time as making it? What does it feel like to burn a million pounds? Tom Service explores how our transactional economy underpins centuries of music making from Notre-Dame?s patronage of the polyphonic Perotin, to Beethoven writing a symphony for £100 and Wagner losing over a million on the premiere of his operatic masterpiece The Ring cycle. Our Listening Service witness today is macroeconomist, fund manager and sometime cellist Felix Martin, who has written the unauthorised biography of money. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

How to listen to... Gilbert and Sullivan

Tom Service immerses himself in the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan, and finds things are seldom what they seem... With Derek Clark of Scottish Opera and pianist and composer Richard Sisson.
Länk till avsnitt

Playing Second Fiddle (and Horn and Trumpet...)

What's it like to play second fiddle in an orchestra? Or to sit beside the first horn or trumpet as they garner the limelight with their flashy solos and are stood up for a bow by the conductor at the end of the concert? Are orchestral seconds a tribe of self-effacing, embittered Eeyore-ish wannabees, or does it involve a set of skills and a personality just as musically vital as their more lauded colleagues? Tom Service seeks answers with the help of London Symphony Orchestra principal second violin David Alberman, second trumpet with English National Opera and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Will O'Sullivan and the Berlin Philharmonic's second horn, Sarah Willis. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Brass Bands

What?s the difference between a cornet and a trumpet? How did Czech music and a hill in Dorset sell a million loaves? What happened at Manchester?s Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in 1853? Tom Service answers these questions and many more as he explores the world of brass bands: our witnesses are the music director of the Elland Silver Youth Band, Samantha Harrison, who?s immersed in today?s competitive banding world, and composer Gavin Higgins, who?s written a ballet for brass band. Producer: Ruth Thomson
Länk till avsnitt

Is Music Good for You?

Tom Service examines the intimate relationship between music and our minds. How does music affect our mental health? How do we use music to alter, deepen or understand the way we feel?
Länk till avsnitt

Tunes for 'Toons

Tom Service explores "tunes for 'toons" - the music that accompanies cartoons from the earliest Mickey Mouse to the sophisticated animations of today. Unlike conventional film soundtracks, cartoon music is often upfront and very much part of the manic action of cartoons. And that distinctive breakneck energy has inspired concert composers such as John Zorn. Tom talks to Daniel Goldmark, author of Tunes for 'Toons, about the music of Hollywood animated cartoons of the 1930s to the 1950s; and to Lolita Ritmanis, LA-based composer for many recent animations including Batman: The Animated Series.
Länk till avsnitt

Leo? Janá?ek: music is a being come alive

How did Leo? Janá?ek, a committed Czech nationalist whose intensely personal response to the places, landscapes and traditions of his Moravian homeland, produce music that is not only instantly recognisable but also viscerally connects to audiences all over the world? And how, in the last decade of Janá?ek's life, did a chance encounter with a woman almost 40 years his junior release a surely unparalleled burst of creative energy and a spate of late, great masterpieces? Tom Service goes in search of Leo? Janá?ek, composer and man, in the company of musicologist and conductor Nigel Simeone, and Relate Counsellor Simone Bose. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Perfect Harmony

How does harmony work? How do certain chord sequences bring a sense of tension and release, and actually how many chords do you really need? With improvisor extraordinaire Wayne Marshall at the piano and choral director Patrick Allies.
Länk till avsnitt

The Viola - Music's Secret Fire

Describing it as 'music's secret fire', Tom Service explores the world of the viola. Speaking to Lawrence Power, one of the world's great viola players who has commissioned numerous works for his instrument and Sally Beamish, viola player and composer, Tom sets out to unlock the key to the viola's elusive sound and to understand how it can drive the energy of the orchestra.
Länk till avsnitt

The Feasibility of Studies

Studies began life as an aid in the struggle to master the piano within the human limitations of two hands and ten fingers. But from being the bane of many a pianist's life and a means of selling more pianos, these arid technical exercises flowered into some of the greatest music written for piano from Chopin, though Debussy to György Ligeti. And in Conlon Nancarrow's studies for player piano, they even inspired the greatest set of keyboard works beyond any human ability. To find out how and why studies evolved to transcend their original function, Tom Service is joined by musicologist Katy Hamilton and talks to Pierre-Laurent Aimard who worked closely with Ligeti on his extraordinary series of studies, widely regarded as some of the greatest piano music of the 20th century. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Musical Signatures

What gives away a composer's personal style? How can we spot their musical signatures? And having done so, could they be convincingly copied? Tom looks for clues in the potentially similar music of Mozart and Haydn, and in the English styles of Vaughan Williams and Elgar, and speaks to art historian and discoverer of lost masterpieces, Dr Bendor Grosvenor.
Länk till avsnitt

Dream Teams

Tom Service explores some of the most successful working partnerships in music. Mozart and Da Ponte wrote some of Mozart's most famous operas but what came first, the music or the words - what's more important? With the help of librettist and translator Amanda Holden, Tom discovers what makes a musical spark. Produced by Calantha Bonnissent
Länk till avsnitt

The Inbetweeners

Baroque, Classical and Romantic... the big categories of music history all have their big-name composers. But what about the composers less easy to categorise, the ones who fall in between the gaps? Tom Service goes in search of the Inbetweeners from all eras and, with the help of CPE Bach aficionado Andreas Staier, discovers how these once hugely influential figures still speak directly to us now. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

What if...? Tom's Marvellous Musical Multiverse

As we move from one year to the next, Tom indulges in some speculative musical time travel.
Länk till avsnitt

Swing, Rubato and Bounce

Tom Service investigates what happens when musical rhythm gets stretched or loosened. What is going on when a jazz band makes a tune swing, or a Viennese orchestra makes a waltz swirl? Liberties are taken with strict musical time in order to add expression and excitement - but you have to have the knack. He also consults pianist Stephen Hough about how to play Chopin and Rachmaninov with authentic flexibility. So whether it's Count Basie's Band or the Vienna Philharmonic, Tom unlocks the secrets of rubato.
Länk till avsnitt

Becoming Beethoven's Fifth

Beethoven 5: one of the most instantly recognisable and enduring works in all classical music. How did Beethoven compose it? How did he whittle down his musical choices from the endless number available to make this seemingly inevitable-sounding, gripping orchestral drama? For insights into the essence of composition -- how you decide what comes next -- Tom Service talks to one of today's most exciting young composers. Shiva Feshareki explains how she decides one musical path over another in her own work and what choices she has made in her new piece based on a specially recorded performance of the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth. Part of Radio 3?s Beethoven Remixed project, which offers musicians and non-musicians alike the chance to create their own remixes of Beethoven?s Fifth, using recordings made by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales: David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Rewilding Sibelius

Tom Service explores the music of Sibelius as a force of nature with 'Wild' writer Jaye Griffiths. The inspiration for Sibelius's Fifth Symphony - the famous flight of sixteen majestic swans across the lake from his house north of Helsinki was, in the composer's words 'one of my greatest experiences. Lord God, that Beauty...' It's a well-known story, but in today's Listening Service Tom argues that Sibelius's music isn't just a prettified depiction of nature, it's a wilderness itself, with its own teeming, wild ecologies: from the pagan creationism of Luonnotar, to the primeval forest gods of Tapiola, and the elemental forces of the Oceanides. With writer Jaye Griffiths on wilderness as freedom, listening to a woodlouse, devotion to absolute life, and silence as extinction.
Länk till avsnitt

How to Sing Classical - Vibrato!

Good vibrations or horrible wobbling? Why do singers use vibrato? Tom Service goes to the wobbling heart of the matter of vibrato in singing. Why does it induce such visceral reactions - love and hate? Is it a matter of classical-singing artifice or is it a welcome and naturally occurring phenomenon in the healthy workings of our vocal cords, in the way our bodies make the sounds we call singing?
Länk till avsnitt

Tricky timing

Two, three and four beats in a bar are pretty standard in music. But what happens when a composer decides to go with 7 or 5 or 13 as the underlying structure? And why would they do that? Tom Service talks to composer Anna Meredith and conductor Martyn Brabbins about the fascination and challenge of the off-beat beat.
Länk till avsnitt

It Takes Two

What is it about the tango that has enabled it to transcend its origins in the late 19th-century slums of Buenos Aires to become one of most popular dances in the world's glittering ballrooms and beloved of gymnasts, figure skaters and synchronized swimmers? How did tango escape the sparkle of the glitter ball and the borders of Argentina to be taken seriously as art music? It may take two to tango but there's a trio here to tease out the complex, multiple strands of this beguiling dance, as Tom Service is joined by tango historian John Turci-Escobar and Buenos Aires-born tango dancer Carla Dominguez. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

What makes the organ so mighty?

Tom Service takes on the largest instrument created by human hands: the organ. With the help of organist Anna Lapwood, Tom asks: what makes the organ so mighty? Why has it fascinated musicians from Bach to Procol Harum? Along the way, Tom will delve into the Delphian roots of the organ and we?ll hear what its ancestor the Hydraulis sounded like, created in ancient Egypt. And we?ll drop in on Madison Square Garden where Gladys Gooding entertained huge audiences at sports events for over thirty years, starting in the 1930s. Finally, we?ll hear what makes the organ timeless and immortal in music by John Cage and Olivier Messiaen. All hail: the organ!
Länk till avsnitt

Musical Highs

Tom Service looks under the bonnet at musical climaxes and crescendos. How do composers negotiate musical drama to often devastating beauty and power?
Länk till avsnitt

Is Classical music fashionable?

You might think classical music is timeless and sits above passing trends and fashions, but in this edition of The Listening Service Tom discovers otherwise. He talks to newspaper fashion director Lisa Armstrong about how trends are made in what we wear, and to music streaming curator Guy Jones, about what influences our listening habits. And ? spoiler alert - classical music is IN!
Länk till avsnitt

HIPP to Be Square

Tom Service dips a toe into the choppy waters of Historically Informed Performance Practice. HIPP is the latest term for the well-established vogue of recreating the sounds of music from past centuries. But how can we possibly know what music sounded like before it was recorded? Can HIPP ever be more than a hopeful stab in the dark? Like quinoa and farmers' markets, is it merely another facet of fashion and commercial imperative, a mirror which reflects us and our current concerns straight back at ourselves? Or is it a revitalising and constantly evolving force for good, sweeping away years of lazy and complacent tradition, revealing afresh music we thought we knew? Violinist Rachel Podger and chronicler of HIPP Nicholas Kenyon are on hand to help. David Papp (producer)
Länk till avsnitt

Is it canon?

The classical music canon - who decides what's in and what's out? Can it and should it change? Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - widely regarded as permanent fixtures in the generally accepted canon. But what about the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Louise Farrenc or Steve Reich? Tom Service looks at how and why certain composers and pieces of music became part of an established canon, and how things are changing over time, especially with the desire to see better representation of women and composers from more diverse backgrounds in the mix. With writer and historian Katy Hamilton and oboist and researcher Uchenna Ngwe.
Länk till avsnitt

The Goldberg Variations

Tom Service is joined by harpsichordist Richard Egarr to explore one of the most mysterious, complex and rewarding pieces in all music, Bach's keyboard work The Goldberg Variations.
Länk till avsnitt
Hur lyssnar man på podcast?

En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
Uppdateras med hjälp från iTunes.