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Free for All

   2013    Art
Part 2 examines how the freewheeling modernism that had shocked audiences in the first two decades of the century came under state control. Initially, many practitioners thought the totalitarian regimes would be good for music and the arts. What followed in Germany was a ban on music written by Jews, African-Americans and communists, while in the Soviet Union there was a prohibition on music the workers were unable to hum. After the cataclysm of the 1940s, a new generation of composers - Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Nono, Ligeti - turned their back on what they saw as the discredited music of the past and tried to reinvent it from scratch. Or, at least, from serialism, which became as much of a straitjacket as totalitarianism's strictures had been. But from this period of avant-garde experimentation, which many listeners found baffling and terrifying, came some of the most influential and radical musical innovations of the century.
Series: The Sound and the Fury

Easy Listening

   2013    Art
Series concludes with the focus shifting to the United States in the post-war years of the 1950s and beyond. Beginning with arguably the most notorious work of 20th century classical music, John Cage's 'silent' composition 4'33", it looks at how a series of maverick Americans re-invented the sound of classical music into a more simple form, bringing back harmonies and rhythms that made it increasingly popular with audiences across the world. It also examines how this music found its way into a spiritual realm, with the strain of pared-down religious composition that came to be known as 'holy minimalism'. From the Maverick concert hall in Woodstock, New York to an Orthodox cathedral in Estonia to a car park in Peckham, south London, the story is told by a stellar line-up of contributors including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt and John Tavener.
Series: The Sound and the Fury

Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams

   2013    Technology
Professor Simon Schaffer presents the amazing and untold story of automata - extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life. The film brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess". All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today. As well as the automata, Simon explains in great detail the world in which they were made - the hardship of the workers who built them, their role in global trade and the industrial revolution and the eccentric designers who dreamt them up. Finally, Simon reveals that to us that these long-forgotten marriages of art and engineering are actually the ancestors of many of our most loved modern technologies, from recorded music to the cinema and much of the digital world.

Downloaded

   2013    Technology
Alex Winter explores the downloading revolution; the kids that created it, the bands and the businesses that were affected by it, and its impact on the world at large. He focuses on the advent of digital media sharing, including the rise of game-changing company Napster and controversial pioneers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The digital revolution ultimately created a technology paradigm shift and upended the music industry. Audiences will hear insight from well known music artists and figures within the music industry including: The Beastie Boys' Mike D, Noel Gallagher, Henry Rollins, former Sony Music Chairman, Don Ienner, former record producer and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.

A Leap of Faith

   2013    History
With optional Hebrew subtitles. This episode explores how the spread of the Enlightenment brought ghetto walls around Europe crashing down and allowed Jews to join the wider fabric of modern life in Europe in unprecedented ways. This Jewish renaissance saw Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn to establish the enduring tradition for Jewish musical prodigies. However the integration of Jewish talent into the mainstream of European culture and commerce eventually stirred up ancient prejudice, expressed in the new fashion of Romantic nationalism and the pseudo-science of anti-semitism.
Series: The Story of the Jews
The Germanic Tribes
The Germanic Tribes

   2007    History
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Planet Earth II
Planet Earth II

   2016    Nature
Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero

   2007    Technology
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer

   2015    History
Space Deepest Secrets
Space Deepest Secrets

   2020    Science
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD

   2011    History