We're saddened by the death of Michael Mosley

Tunes for Tyrants

In this ambitious new series, Suzy Klein explores how the power of music to rouse our emotions gave it a crucial role – from the Russian revolution and the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin to WW2.

What fascinates me is music’s uncanny ability to stir us up, calm us down – to express every possible human emotion. It bypasses language and reason and aims instead directly for our souls. And that’s what makes music so incredibly powerful, and potentially incredibly dangerous.”                                                              Suzy Klein

Suzy’s rich repertoire of musical stories, brought wonderfully to life through performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and its Chorus, conducted by Otto Tausk, sheds fascinating light on the history of some of the most turbulent years of the 20th Century.

Episode 1 - REVOLUTION  takes us back to the volatile years following the Russian Revolution and WW1. Very different times call for very different culture, and music became a fertile laboratory for new ideas, experiment and subversion. This was a time when people believed that music wasn’t just a mirror to society; it was a tool to change it.

Episode 2 - DICTATORSHIP investigates the 1930s, when the totalitarian dictators sought to manipulate and control music for ideological ends and composers living under extraordinary personal pressures wrote some of the greatest music of the 20th Century.

Episode 3 – WORLD WAR explores the fascinating use, abuse and manipulation of music in WW2. The war, Suzy argues, wasn’t just a military fight; it was an ideological battle, in which both sides used music as a weapon to secure their vision for civilization.

Episode 1      Episode 2      Episode 3