From March 2019 until January 2020 the Arzamas website will publish articles about UK music in parallel with podcasts (where the music will be broadcast and discussed) on the Arzamas Radio mobile app.

British and Russian experts will curate learning materials featuring music across hundreds of years, from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, from Purcell to The Beatles, and from Handel to acid house and grime.

The project will not only feature famous classics and world hits, but also lesser-known names and folk songs by unknown composers, like compositions for harpsichord and electric guitar, for church choirs and synthesizers and drum machines.

The cycle aims to give a perspective of the full diversity of British music, what makes it unique and what it contributed to the world.

The project’s curator is music journalist Lev Gankin.

March: Rave and Acid-house (18+)

In the first podcast Lev Gankin, together with social researcher Mark Simon and musician and journalist Nick Zavriev, discuss why rave culture became so important for British society in the 1990s. What made crowds of people dance to acid house? What was the reaction of both the authorities and rock musicians to raves? What is the legacy of the rave-era and how are those parties linked to Margaret Thatcher? The debate is accompanied by the music of Autechre, Goldie, Happy Mondays and Bomb the Bass.

In longread "Rave: story of a revolution" Lev Gankin describes where the dance culture originates from, who invented acid-house and why you can't forbid a rave.

April: Henry Purcell

What do you know about the great English composer, Henry Purcell? In our second Arzamas podcast we go back in time to the 17th century to examine the background and music of arguably one of the greatest English composers of all time, now perhaps best remembered for his songs, incidental music and the opera Dido and Aeneas.  

But what makes Purcell’s music so special? Lev Gankin, together with music specialist Yulia Bederova, discuss the stylistic features of Purcell’s music, with comparisons to contemporary composers such as Benjamin Britten and Michael Nyman. The podcast also explores themes around puritan censorship, the Italians and noble ladies and sailors of Purcell’s era.  

Our online article “10 major works by Henry Purcell” lists Purcell’s most renowned semi-operas, anthems, catches and songs – a perfect introduction to the world of English Baroque music.

May: Music of immigrants

No national culture lives on its own. Sometimes it goes abroad for inspiration and blends influences from far and wide. In our latest material From Handel to grime: how international influences shaped British music, we discover the impact of immigration and cultural cross-pollination on British music through the ages.

And in the podcast Lev Gankin, together with social researcher Mark Simon and editor Kirill Golovastikov talk about how people coming to the UK across the sea in XX century shaped the British music and the music of the whole world

June: Choirs

In the podcast, Lev Gankin and Julia Bogatko talk to the Intrada ensemble director Ekaterina Antonenko about the history of the British choir music.

July:The Beatles

In this new podcast episode, Lev Gankin and Arzamas editors Kirill Golovastikov and Alexey Ponomarev discuss how The Beatles changed the music industry and the world.

August: Benjamin Britten

In this podcast episode, Lev Gankin and Julia Bederova talk about the most important works of one of the greatest British composers Benjamin Britten.

September: Music in the Elizabethan era

In the new podcast episode, Lev Gankin and music journalist and art historian Sergey Khodyrev talk about the music in the Elizabethan era.

October: How did soundtracks and radio jingles change popular music?

Episode 8 talks about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop where radio engineers were coming up with radio jingles, soundtracks and other sound bites for radio and TV creating a completely new approach to sound-making and as a result influenced the music of the XX century, primarily avant-garde and electronic.




November: What is English folk made of?

In the 9th episode of the podcast, Lev Gankin talks about English folk songs. What did plowmen and sailors usually sing about? Why obscenities were removed from Shakespeare’s plays and songs about deer? What did Henry VIII write a song about - and why is it also folk?

December: Post-punk, syntypop, indie - what is it all about?

In the 10th episode, Lev Gankin, social researcher Mark Simon and music journalist Nick Zavriev discuss how post-punk changed the UK music and the world. 


Bonus: 1000 years of British music

As a bonus piece, Arzamas collected all the main names, events and works representing ten centuries of British music.