Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - 14 September 2014

This week, Catherine Bott explores some of the most intense musical rivalries.

On this Sunday's programme, Catherine Bott asks: "Do musicians, singers and composers get on well with each other?" Generally speaking, the answer is yes. However - as Catherine explains tonight - classical music has seen some tremendous spats over the centuries. 

For example, there's the rivalry between the fans of French opera composer Jean-Philippe Rameau and those who worshipped his predecessor Jean-Baptiste Lully. Lully represented the great French tradition, Rameau the new wave - and the rival factions spent about ten years issuing pamphlets denouncing each other. 

Then there's the famous, and probably mostly fictional, battle between Mozart and Salieri (pictured) as promulgated by the play and film, Amadeus.

In the case of two of the greatest sopranos of the 20th century, it’s their fans who were – and are – the real rivals. These glorious divas were known as Angel Voice and La Divina – Renata Tebaldi versus Maria Callas.

And then there are two grand old-school conductors - Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwängler, whose rivalry was inextricably tied up with the social forces at work in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

Find out more about these intense musical rivalries on the show this week. 

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