What the press said about Episode 2 of 20th Century Greats

Sunday Times 28.11.04 
You’re the top Howard Goodall’s 20th Century Greats: Cole Porter (C47pm)

After last week’s excellent examination of the Beatles, this exemplary series continues with an analysis of the songs of Cole Porter. Goodall is engaging and erudite, happily taking the side of popular music and pointing out how ill-served it is by the self-professed guardians of the highbrow. He chooses Porter’s Night and Day over Schumann’s Die Lotosblume in answer to charges of plagiarism and reveals how Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, despite hitting a chord with millions of people during the second world war, has been excluded from serious studies of 20th-century music. He’s the tops, he’s the Colosseum – and, yes, Porter’s pretty fantastic, too.

Sunday Telegraph (Television Choice) 27.11.04 
Howard Goodall’s 20th Century Greats

The sophisticated, intricate melodies and lyrics of Cole Porter’s songs get a deserved tribute from the engaging, tousle-haired composer of the themes from Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley. Even if you’ve always known (or conversely, don’t care) about the rising repetition in ‘Anything Goes’ or the semitone sequences of ‘Let’s Do It’, there’s much to enjoy. Delovely.

Evening Standard 3.12.04:
Ceri Thomas. Howard Goodall’s 20th Century Greats

Just how did pop music kick classical into the shadows in the last century? Howard Goodall reckons the whole process wouldn’t have even started if it wasn’t for one man: Cole Porter. Welding the sophistication of classical music on to the cool rhythms of jazz, and then boiling it all down into instantly hummable melodies that worked on the Broadway stage as well as on the silver screen weren’t easy, but, as Goodall explains, Porter was a master. As this entertaining boogie through the main events of Porter’s life goes on, Goodall weaves in an explanation of how the forms and patterns that the composer used still permeate almost every piece of pop being written today. And yes, that does include the likes of Westlife and Blue…

Spellbinding stuff, even if you’re a musical muppet like me.