Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats

Channel 4 (ended 2004)


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Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats

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Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats is a music documentary series from the UK that looks at how classical music from the turn of the century branched off and evolved into popular music. Hosted by British composer, Howard Goodall, the season starts with The Beatles. By using archive footage, Goodall begins to dissect Lennon and McCartney songs and compares them to the classics. The host also heads to George Harrison's hometown. There, he finds out that the musician played the classics as a teenager while taking guitar lessons. Goodall continues his search for a link between the two music genres by scrutinizing the American composer Bernard Herrmann's work in film, looking for a reason why his music made motion pictures exciting to watch. By mid-season, the success of composer Leonard Bernstein appears in Goodall's documentaries, with Broadway composer Cole Porter in the host's spotlight by the end of the series. The documentaries look for the answer to only one question, "Is classical music the reason that music is so popular in society today?"