The Art of Simplicity with Stuart Maconie

The Grand Scheme Of Things

Series 1 - Episode 2 The Grand Scheme Of Things



Broadcaster Stuart Maconie is fascinated by the way composers and musicians have found inspiration and innovation in the principles of simplicity. In this two-part series he investigates how the idea of purity and taking things back to basics has meant different things at different times. Episode two looks at how simplicity doesn't necessarily mean small forces and sparse sonic worlds, that simple music can also emulate monolithic austerity and colossal form. These techniques are heard in pieces like Ellen Arkbro's immersive organ drones and their awe-inspiring, massive escarpments of sound. The grandness of simplicity is also found in the works of the so-called Holy Minimalists, composers like Arvo Part who have used techniques of frugality of expression, silence and stasis to evoke the mystical or divine. ‘Simple' music can exude a freshness that can be bright or grave, vivacious or solemn and is not the same as easy listening. It is never tricksy, dry or freighted with self-regard, but above all else, music. Pure and simple.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Stuart Maconie
Producer Rebecca Gaskell