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Howard Goodall's Story of Music

Howard Goodall’s Story of Music

Tue March 2, 9.30-10.30pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
Series one, episode six
With BBC4 currently exploring modern classical music in ‘The Sound and the Fury’, it’s interesting to see how Goodall approaches the 20th century. Clearly, a little overlap is unavoidable but mostly, he ploughs his own furrow.

There’s plenty to get through and Goodall does a decent job of integrating jazz, pop, rock and the modernist avant-garde into his finely wrought whole. Much attention is paid to music’s role in the century’s two great conflagrations – Bartok was music’s bravest dissident while Shostakovich scores were dropped into besieged Stalingrad in the hope that they’d inspire resistance.

Inevitably, The Beatles are seen as some sort of culmination – simultaneously futurists and archivists, they pointed the way forward to a time in which no juxtaposition was too unlikely and anything from music hall to musique concrète was fair game. Our time, in other words. A satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly worthwhile series.

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