Arts Channel's blog

ARTS CHANNEL – Sunday 13 January, 8.30pm

Legendary 60s supergroup Cream reunites to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the venue which was the scene of the trio’s last appearance in 1968. After leaving John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966, Eric Clapton accepted drummer Ginger Baker’s offer to start a new band and Eric suggested bassist Jack Bruce to complete the trio. During its two-year life span, Cream released four albums and the band’s performances were not a series of three-minute hit song recreations but featured ground-breaking long-form improvisation around album cuts. In the decades since the band broke up in late 1968, countless musicians have pointed to the power trio as an important influence on their own playing and style and the hard rock genre. This legendary band reunited in May 2005 for a series of concerts that went down in history.

ARTS CHANNNEL – Sunday 13 January, 9.05am

Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed at the Royal Opera House with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. The Royal Opera Chorus and The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House are under the baton of Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera for a score that includes such great set pieces as the Act I ‘Te Deum’ and the arias ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, a political world of control and suspicion, beautifully evoked in Paul Brown’s lavish designs.

ARTS CHANNEL – Friday 11 January, 10.05pm

On December 16th and 17th, 2011, Yanni, music’s true world citizen and most popular contemporary composer, fulfilled a 20-year-old dream to perform at the beautiful and historic 16th-century Castillo San Felipe Del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Backed by his world-renowned orchestra, Yanni performed an awe-inspiring set of favourites from throughout his career.

ARTS CHANNEL – Fridays from 11 January, 8.30pm

Waldemar Januszczak travels the world to prove that what we call Dark Ages left a legacy of outstanding art and breathtaking architecture. Over the course of the four episodes we explore the new Rome with its mosaics and early icon paintings; The Barbarian tribes and their stunning jewellery and architecture; The rise of Islam and the architecture of early mosques and the significance of the dome; and we examine the elaborate manuscript decoration employed by the Celts, Franks and Anglo Saxons.

ARTS CHANNEL – Friday 4 January, 10.15pm

Singer, songwriter and musical maestro Van Morrison travelled to Montreux in 1980 to play a very special show. Leading his large and accomplished live band to spellbinding effect, this performance includes his most loved hit ‘Moondance’ amongst many other of his greats.

ARTS CHANNEL – Thursday 3 January, 9.15pm

Art O’Brian’s award-winning documentary, filmed over a two year period, is an absorbing and evocative exploration of an icon of Irish music that plays a pivotal role in its evolution in the twenty-first century. Natural Grace is a musical journey into the heart and style of one of contemporary Ireland’s great traditional fiddlers; Martin Hayes. We travel with him to his home in East Clare and to the USA and Japan, where we see and hear him in both informal and concert settings.

ARTS CHANNEL – Wednesday 2 January, 8.30pm

From the symphonic poems that brought him worldwide fame in the 1880s and 1890s and his florid operas from the first decade of the twentieth century to the resigned metamorphosis of his final masterpieces after the Second World War. Mariss Jansons is seizing the opportunity to pay tribute with this work, considered to be one of his specialities, to that big name from the orchestra’s early history, Richard Strauss.

ARTS CHANNEL – Sunday 30 December, 8.30pm

In November 1981, with “Under Pressure” topping the charts in the UK, Queen arrived in Montreal following dates in Japan and their record-breaking tour of Latin America. It was to be the only concert by Queen that was ever shot on film. Always a great live band, with arguably the greatest frontman of all time in Freddie Mercury, they excelled themselves with the cameras rolling. The show has been digitally restored from the original film and the sound has been newly mixed and mastered for DTS Surround Sound and PCM Stereo from the original multi-track tapes, Queen have simply never looked or sounded this good.

ARTS CHANNEL – Friday 28 December, 10.15pm

Ray Charles’ first European performance at the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival would prove to be one of the pivotal moments in his storied career. In fact, in July 1961 one would have been hard-pressed to think of any other musician, popular or otherwise, who had achieved so much on so many different levels – socio/political, business and musical – in the previous two years and this performance marked the beginning of Charles’ ascent to international superstardom. The Antibes performance was very strong and presented a wide-angle take on the range of Charles’ musical interests and proclivities featuring jazz, blues, Tin Pan Alley pop, Latin rhythms and gospel-inflected R&B.

ARTS CHANNEL – Wednesday 26 December, 7.30pm

The Verbier Festival is arguably one of the most prestigious classical music events in the world. The quality of the participating artists as well as the originality of the programmes has established the festival as a culminating point in the music season. This series of TV programmes by Id�ale Audience present the highlights of the Verbier Festival 2011, featuring renowned artists such as Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Lars Vogt, Yuja Wang, Renaud Capu�on, Khatia Buniatishvili, and Nelson Goerner.