Music in the Air: The history of music on TV

Celebrating 50 years of the International Music + Media Centre

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John Hurt — Narrator

Pierre Boulez

Gerald Finley

Herbert von Karajan

Brian Large

Bruno Monsaingeon

Christopher Nupen

Andy Sommer

Roger Wright

David Attenborough

Igor Stravinsky

Program notes

Though music engages principally, of course, with our sense of hearing, our experience of music is really a multisensorial one: a tour de force of acting at the opera, or the visible effort and emotion of an instrumentalist tackling a superhuman piece, often becomes as essential to our memories of music as the actual sound of it. In this documentary, some of the distinctive personalities who have shaped the way we see music for nearly a century tell the story of music on the screen.

Pierre Boulez, Brian Large, Bruno Monsaingeon, Christopher Nupen and David Attenborough talk about the importance of video in spreading appreciation for classical music, as well as how our relationship with music has been transformed by visual technology. They also discuss the unprecedented reach of the genre that such innovations made possible, by way of iconic examples like Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concerts, Leonard Bernstein’s widely beloved educational films, and the legendary Herbert von Karajan’s filmed performances with the Berlin Philharmonic—all quintessential examples of the inextricable link between sound and image.

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