Written and presented by Sir Simon Rattle, the foremost British conductor of our day, this series forms a fascinating introduction to, and overview of, the music of the twentieth century. Each of the seven programmes feature over thirty minutes of specially-shot music in performance, with Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Simon Rattle leads viewers on an exhilarating journey through the music of our time, explaining the chief musical developments from Mahler to the present day. Each programme is illustrated with evocative imagery, archive film and photographs and the featured music is set within the broader context of artistic and social change.
Why “Leaving Home”? The story of twentieth-century music is one of leave-takings in many ways. As a wealth of talented composers searched for new creative responses to the world around them, many made departures from the solid ‘home’ foundations of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music – tonal harmony, melody, regular rhythm and metre. Many had to literally leave home, displaced by political uphevals. A remarkable diversity of expression developed – not all of the difficult or discordant variety commonly associated with modern music. The range is wide and this series samples the work of over thirty composers, discovering new and challenging sounds as well as some unexpectedly familiar music. It presents an extraordinary kaleidoscope of orchestral images, full of contrasts and surprises.
The first episode in the series describes a great musical culture in decline in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Vienna. From that decline erupted a musical revolution whose reverberations have continued to this day. The names of Schönberg, Webern and Berg still strike terror into the hearts of many concert-goers, but with Simon Rattle we hear in this music’s brooding power not only the collapse of the old Austro-German order and the rise of Facism, but also the portents of the music to come in the second half of the twentieth century.