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Publisher's Summary

In this major BBC Radio 4 series, James Naughtie uncovers the roots of our music and reveals the soundtrack to our own history.

The history of classical music is inextricably linked with the places it was written, its purpose and its patrons as well as with politics, war and social change. From the earliest music of the monasteries to the court and church music of the Renaissance and Reformation and beyond, composers have always changed with the times.

In these programmes James Naughtie reveals how the chance happenings of history built a classical tradition that tells a glittering and inspiring story. His journey takes him from early beginnings to the present day, where he examines the current state of classical music.

This epic and important series features extracts from the music itself as well as the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Alison Carney, Laurence Fox and Simon Russell Beale alongside James Naughtie's own.

©2015 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2015 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simple, clear, and simply extraordinary

This is simply extraordinary for the simple, clear way that James Naughtie covers the history of music. He ties music to historical, social and political developments, as well as to musical personalities and other influences of each age. This is all done in about 15 minute segments, which makes sense since it was a BBC series originally. Highly recommended and it is something that may just live on my iPod for occasional listening.

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  • grateful reader
  • 08-24-18

exceptional audio book... highly recommended

this is an exciting and exceptional book. beautifully written,narrated and produced... with some amazing music of course

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-14-18

Fantastic audio, made to be listened to

I enjoyed this production so much and learned so much. Naughtie takes the listener through the history of music from the very beginning right up to date, and he illustrates it with excepts of the music he is talking about, so unlike a book you actually get to hear the music. I really enjoyed this history, and the music extracts, and made notes of the music that I wanted to hear more of. I especially enjoyed his analysis of the development of music in the twentieth century. The series was originally on Radio 4 in the UK.

Highly recommended.