The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Music

Easy Listening?

Series 1 - Episode 3 Easy Listening?



There’s a nice moment in this final episode when composer Philip Glass laughingly recalls a review of a concert: “Glass invents new sonic torture.” It’s extraordinary how this series has managed to interview quite so many major composers – tonight Glass, Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, John Taverner, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez and many more, all talking about their own music and other people’s and disagreeing wildly.

Boulez dismisses Glass and the minimalists with hilarious Gallic disdain, as if they were children who needed to grow up. Then again, various contributors dismiss Boulez and his ilk as unlistenable. The debate will run and run.


Exploring efforts by American composers in the 1950s to reintroduce harmonies and rhythm to classical music, and how the music found an outlet in pared-down spiritual compositions. The programme also examines John Cage's 1952 composition 4'33'' - which does not contain a single note. With contributions by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Part and John Tavener. Last in the series.