BBC Four is to broadcast ‘The Sound And The Fury: A Century Of Modern Music’ this February. Designed to accompany the Southbank Centre’s yearlong ‘The Rest Is Noise’ festival, which explores the cultural and musical history of the 20th century, the three 60-minute documentaries (first screened at the Southbank Centre on January 19 and 20) will be broadcast on February 12, 19 and 26.
'The Sound And The Fury' explores ‘why individual composers felt compelled to create the challenging music they did and how they were influenced by the moral, philosophical, and social upheavals at the time’. Featured during the series are 20th century music experts and historians, including writer Alex Ross, whose The Rest Is Noise survey of 20th century music inspired the Southbank Centre’s festival. There are also contributions from an impressive field of composers, including Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Philip Glass, Sir John Tavener, George Benjamin and Michael Tilson Thomas. The three episodes in addition feature specially filmed performances from the London Sinfonietta, as well as archive footage from throughout the century.
The first episode, entitled ‘Wrecking Ball’, explores the origins of contemporary music and the reasons for discarding accepted musical structures of form, melody and rhythm. In the second episode, ‘Free For All’, composers discuss 20th century artistic freedom as a reaction to totalitarian regimes. The final episode, ‘Easy Listening’, demonstrates the gradual return to tonality and the advent of minimalism.
The first episode of 'The Sound And The Fury' will be broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9pm.