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