Daily Telegraph Review 2/3/13

Howard Goodall’s Story of Music – by Serena Davies

In the grand tradition of Kenneth Clarke, the BBC has seemingly had the wit to give the brilliant Howard Goodall the freedom to write his own fascinating script to this series unhindered by committee suggestions, irrelevant visuals and, most vitally, historical reconstructions.  the series has been educative and enjoyable in equal measure, and this closer, which looks at popular music’s dominance of the 20th century courtesy of the invention of the recording, is one of the best.

Citing examples such as George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, Goodall argues that pop music over the past 100 years cannot be dismissed as trivial.  And further, he says, as we find with David Bowie’s minimalist album Low and the prevalence of sampling in Hip Hop, pop has frequently been willing to absorb influences from the classical ‘side’.  Sampling, for example, was, after all, invented, Goodall claims, by the classical composer Steve Reich.  Along the way, Goodall gets behind a keyboard and gives us very passable impressions of The Beatles and Paul Simon, as well as putting his voice through a synthesiser.  More of this brainy, lucid, inspiring stuff please Aunty.  And another show for Goodall