30 September 2015

"The pictures are better on radio"

It's interesting to see radio being "made", and the Why Music? weekend was a great chance to be in the audience for some interesting programmes. Radio 3 was broadcasting live from the Wellcome Collection all weekend, and all the programmes can be found on the iPlayer (if you're in the UK) for a few weeks - the clips are available internationally, I believe.
The studio in the foyer. With the headphones, you could listen live throughout the building

My first stint as an audience member was at "Playing with Patterns" - the way composers have worked patterns and mathematics from nature into their music, from Bach and Mozart to Messiaen and Berg. Here we are in the Reading Room, waiting for the presenter and performers to arrive and oust the photographer -
Later that day, the lecture theatre was packed for "The Psychiatrist at the Keyboard" - Dr Richard Kogan showing how mental illness shaped the works of Robert Schumann and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Leaning on the piano, he spoke without notes, and every now and then sat down and played without notes - for two hours, which passed in a flash. Well worth a listen.
The lecture theatre was packed again to hear sound recordist Chris Watson in "The Sounds of Nature", which included not just natural sounds but a live cellist duetting with a recorded nightingale. (But his favourite birdsong is ... the blackbird.)

As we waited for our live events to begin, we caught the tail end of the previous programme - yet more fascinating listening to be had.

How about "Shaping the Brain" - the ways in which music can influence - even mould - the brain from a neurological and social perspective, to discover how our musical tastes, education and preferences shape more than just our social lives.

Or "Why Music" - Author Philip Ball asks why music is such a universal human trait. How do we recognise music, where does it come from, and how does it affect us so deeply? Philip Ball speaks to scientists and musicians from around the world, including Tecumseh Fitch, Joe Stilgoe, Aniruddh Patel, Robert Zatorre, Laurel Trainor, and Daniel Levitin to explore these questions and some of the insights provided by neuroscience and evolutionary theory.

Or "The Listening Brain" - the benefits of listening to and performing music ... plus ... how and why the brain responds to music, and how musical experience shapes the brain.

Or "Music as Medicine" - the many issues, recent discoveries and theories around music and health, including how music helps both physical and mental wellbeing, and the health problems encountered by musicians.

And more ... at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zjcpx, "for 30 days" (until 26 October).


Heather James said...

This post is very interesting. You might also like 'Playing the skyline' which is archived on Radio 4. It is a series of three programmes where two musicians create very different music while observing the same skyline.

Margaret Cooter said...

Thanks, Heather - those programmes are at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04bgdn0/episodes/player