Some institutions seem so established that it’s easy to overlook their origin. This documentary charts the beginnings and the not always smooth road of the London Symphony Orchestra


Alan Bennett

Does treasure have an antonym? Debt? Horror? Perhaps we should ask Alan Bennett, who bridles at the term when directed at him. His latest play, ‘People’ at the National Theatre is discussed at the beginning of this edition of Front Row. The National Trust comes in for some stick in this work which stars the love interest from the seriously dated 70s comedy, Rising Damp, Frances de la Tour.

Music Matters

Is classical music for everyone? Should you have to apply yourself to something to enjoy it? Does classical music deserve the ‘preferential’ funding it receives?

These and other questions are discussed in a fast-paced debate. The panel, chaired by Tom Service includes: Birmingham Opera Company’s founder and artistic director, Graham Vick; Paul Morley, ex-NME writer and author turned contemporary classical composer; Zoë Martlew, cellist, educationalist, avant-cabaret-artist, blogger, and commentator and Kathryn Tickell, Northumbrian pipes virtuoso and no slouch on the fiddle.

The debate, which forms part of Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival, can be heard here.

Free Thinking

Radio 3’s year is punctuated by seasons and festivals: Proms; Edinburgh Festival; London Jazz Festival; Christmas across Europe etc. The one whose title I like best is the Free Thinking Festival. Is it just me or does the title suggest something about processes and qualities of thought elsewhere?

One discussion has the appealingly misanthropic title Hell is Other People. It seems to be less about Sartre than planetary overcrowding, globalism and the ubiquity of social media. Participating in the panel are Kate Adie and Julian Baggini.

The full schedule is here.

Film Music

It’s not often that film music is intelligently discussed – or discussed at all. In a way this is understandable as, if the music is doing its job, it often doesn’t register as a discrete element. However, those interested in how film is put together might like to delve a little. In this week’s edition of The Film Programme, film composer Neil Brand discusses, at the piano, Jonny Greenwood‘s score for The Master. What’s particularly interesting – in addition to his inventive bespoke music – is the use of ‘found music’.

Also very interesting is a chat with Chris O’Dowd about his latest projects.

Silicon Author

Would you read a book written by a computer? Philip Parker, who has written programs which make this possible discusses the issues with author Tiffany Reisz. Scroll forward to 2:21:50 of this edition of Today.