Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - Sunday 5 January 2014

It's curtain up on 2014 for Catherine Bott who has a selection of great overtures.

opera house curtain

For her first show of the New Year, Catherine Bott looks at overtures and and openings - and why a piece at the outset of an opera is important. 

Catherine explores how operas have started with an instrumental piece since the 17th century, and how this idea lasted to the present day - even in cinema, with some epic films even having overtures before the film begins.

There'll be French overtures, Italian overtures, a Prelude from Wagner , Lawrence of Arabia, and even a 20th-century overture from Malcolm Arnold, scored for four rifles, three Hoover vacuum cleaners (two uprights in B♭, one horizontal with detachable sucker in C), and an electric floor polisher in E♭.